2018 Best EMBAs: Nate Kimball, New York University (Stern)

Nate Kimball

New York University (Stern)

Transportation nerd and renewable energy/electric vehicle evangelist excited about finding innovation in unconventional places.”

Age: 30

Hometown: Moose, WY

Family Members: Timothy Eng: spouse and Director of Strategy and Operations at ITHAKA S&R.

Fun fact about yourself: I never planned to focus on a science-based discipline in college, and certainly never thought that would lead me to business school. Career and school paths can be unpredictable, but I am unexpectedly right where I want to be!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Vassar College, Earth Science

Where are you currently working? Sustainability Manager at the Port Authority of NY & NJ

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

  • Past chair of Airport Council International’s Sustainability Working Group
  • Significant contributor to the Airport Cooperative Research Panel of the Transportation Research Board (TRB)-panelist on four research panels covering airport sustainability issues.
  • ASCENT-FAA Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment – Member of Advisory Committee.
  • Founding member of PA PRIDE, the Port Authority’s LGBTQ+ employee resource group.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I managed to get the first sustainability policy passed for Airports Council International-North America, which was the capstone of my work with the sustainability working group. It was a lot of fun.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I’m most proud of completing the federal regulatory approval process for the LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal Building Redevelopment Program. It allowed financing and construction of a $4 billion terminal program to move forward, and through the approval process we were able to incorporate some of the most ambitious sustainability commitments of any airport terminal in the country.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it?  Conquering High Stakes Communications was a two-week intensive focused on presentation and persuasive speaking skills. It made everyone really uncomfortable, but reinforced the fact that delivery and interpersonal skills are critical to business success. The course pushed me to hone my presentation skills and has really helped my delivery during presentations with senior leadership.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program?  NYU Stern has always been a cut above other business schools when it comes to diversity. Our class makeup reflects this, and it’s great to have a wide range of perspectives from folks in various industries and to have NYC resources at our fingertips.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? I have realized how important financial literacy is. Gaining a strong background in accounting and finance has helped me make stronger arguments in support of investments in projects that improve environmental performance.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? Through the Innovation and Design Course with Professor Luke Williams, I learned a lot about the process that make concepts become reality. It’s all about how you convey excitement in each opportunity. Luke’s design philosophy can be applied to anything, and I’ve found myself using his process when introducing new issues to my colleagues and executive leadership.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? I was headed out on vacation for the July 4th week. I had to finish up all my work for while I was going to be gone and finished two finals on the Sunday after a Friday-Saturday class weekend, working for the whole day. This turned into a strategy that I replicated several times over. Taking the Sunday after class weekend to knock out class work was one way I kept the rest of my life from being overwhelmed by school. When you’re in an MBA program, the best feeling is knowing that you’re facing a few days of vacation and all your work is done. It’s a great feeling because it’s so rare.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? That your whole life is on hold for two years. I’ve been able to enjoy some of the best times with family and friends even though half of my weekends are class weekends. Plus, I’ve made many great new friends from class. It’s all about working smart (and working hard, but mostly working smart).

What was your biggest regret in business school? That I didn’t go on the Vietnam Global Study Tour.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire all of my classmates who have kids or are having kids during the program. I’ve seen them all be absolutely excellent parents. I admire all of the fearless mothers and fathers pulling off the challenge of parenting, going to school, and working at the same time. I’m in awe of their time management and dedication.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I was looking for my next step and realized that I needed to gain background in management and financial skills in order to avoid falling into the “specialist trap.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…much less financially literate, which has been a key component of my position. I moved into this position while I was in school.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I would like to serve in a leadership capacity in the transportation space, focusing on low carbon transport.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Always up for a school or work-related challenge but equally ready for an adventure.

Favorite book: Markings by Dag Hammarskjold

Favorite movie or television show: Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. The HBO version with Meryl Streep. She’s a Vassar alum.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Both travel related: doing a multi-day touring ski trip in the Rockies and backpacking through New Zealand.

What made Nate such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“In an executive cohort in which many of his classmates come from mainstream, for-profit jobs, Nate uses his background as a sustainability specialist at a multi-state public entity consistently to ​encourage his colleagues to think ​​more broadly.  He takes advantage of what Stern has to offer; when I’m going home at night, I often find him on his way to a sustainability presentation at Stern. He has gathered together his LGBTQ colleagues and encouraged them to join Outclass, Stern’s LGBTQ affinity group. Nate makes it clear to everyone by example and encouragement that connections, collaborations, and friendships are equal to the academic side of the program. He is a real role model of the ​NYU Stern Executive MBA community.”

MaryJane Boland
Senior Director, Executive MBA Student Services
NYU Stern School of Business

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE LIST OF 100 BEST & BRIGHTEST EXECUTIVE MBA GRADS OF 2018