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Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Zoya Agarwal, Columbia Business School


“Disruptor, visionary, pioneer, inspirational, passionate, dreamer, change- maker, path- breaker. Here to change the world! I M POSSIBLE!”

Hometown: Delhi, Delhi

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am hilarious and I love to bring a smile on people’s faces to give them a streak of happiness

Undergraduate School and Major: St. Stephens College, Bachelor of Science

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Air India Limited and Senior Commander

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Columbia Business School’s MBA curriculum programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I am especially excited to attend LEAD: People, Teams, Organizations. I’ve been a leader of an airplane, but now I want to expand my horizons to leading organizations and Columbia will help me do that!

What has been your first impression of the Columbia Business School MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best CBS story so far. Almost all of them are leaders and path-breakers. I’ve interacted with my fellow Feldberg Fellows, and I am amazed that all of them, being so busy in their careers as senior leaders and CEOs of billion-dollar empires, have reached out to me to help me. It just makes me realize the sense of camaraderie and how the sense of “community” is so important!

I recently ended up going to New York City for a day. Even though I was jetlagged and tired, nothing could possibly stop me from visiting the sublime Manhattanville campus. I was surprised at how many students and faculty I met were so warm and welcoming even before they knew I was in the class of 2024! This is just the start, and I am excited!

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What course, club or activity excites you the most at Columbia Business School? The student organization Columbia Women in Business (CWIB). I look forward to learning from industry women leaders and giving back through my experience what I have learned being a path breaker who has shattered glass ceilings. I envision a world in which women will be so far ahead in every aspect and field that the terms “path breaker” and “change maker ” will be accepted as the “Norm”!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I am already at the pinnacle of my aviation career, commandeering the largest twin jetliner in the world and being a pioneer, the youngest woman commander on the Boeing 777, to commanding the record-breaking flight over the North Pole with an all women crew! My career has been a blessed and an exciting flight literally and figuratively.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I am a highly motivated airline professional with a proven track record, a passion to champion women to lead in STEM and a major proponent of eco-friendly activism for climate change. I have a vision to lead and drive change. My goals are to expand my horizons into investment, finance, and management and to acquire the business acumen required to lead organizations. I also wish to continue empowering young girls who see me through my high-visibility social media platform.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? Working Identity by Professor Herminia Ibarra as it puts a lot of things in perspective for many people who are on the brink of changing careers or expanding their horizons.

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What other MBA programs did you apply to? Stanford GSB

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Columbia Business School’s MBA program? Please be true to yourself and be certain of what your goals are. Take the time to introspect.  Talk to current students and alumni to get a real sense of what the school offers. Visit in-person or virtually. The essays require you to have a deep understanding of both your goals and why CBS is a good fit for you, so take the time to formulate well-thought answers.





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