Consultant Spotlight: Elisa from Cornell Johnson School of Business and School of Industrial Labor Relations

Bio of Elisa from Cornell Johnson School of Business and Cornell School of Industrial Labor Relations


Elisa has an MBA and Masters of Industrial Labor Relations from Cornell’s Johnson School of Business and Cornell’s School of Industrial Labor Relations. Elisa focused on Marketing during her MBA and Organizational Behavior during her time at ILR, combining her interests in consumer behavior and decision making in organizations. Both of Elisa’s internships during her studies were with IBM in HR in Sao Paolo, Brazil and Enterprise Sales in New York City. Shortly after graduation Elisa joined IBM in a rotational development program, gaining experience in HR, Marketing, and Finance. Elisa decided to leave IBM to join the startup world in 2014, where she worked as both a Director of Human Resources and Product Marketing Manager for two different artificial intelligence companies.

Prior to graduate school, Elisa worked for a human resources lobbying firm in Washington, DC. She went to undergraduate at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, where she majored in City Planning and Spanish. Elisa speaks 4 languages, loves travel and international cooking, horseback riding, and spending time outdoors with her husband and two dogs.


Our Interview with Elisa 

What schools did you attend for undergrad and grad school?

I attending Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania for Undergraduate, where I studied City Planning and Spanish.  For graduate school, I went to Cornell University for a dual degree. I received an MBA in Marketing from the Johnson School of Business and a Masters in Industrial Labor Relations from the school of Industrial Labor Relations.

Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

I grew up in Southbury, Connecticut, a small quiet town at the base of the Litchfield hills.  It was a rural area so I grew up with my classmates.  This is where I learned to love the outdoors and animals.  

Today I live in Austin, Texas.  By chance, I moved here for a job after graduate school.  My husband and I loved it so much, we never left!  We love the relaxed culture of the city and the summer heat.  

 What was your career like before grad school and what is it like now?

Before going to graduate school, I worked for a legal firm that lobbies for Corporate Human Resources legislation in Washington, DC.  This job allowed me to experience policy creation from both business and legal perspectives.  I worked on legislation for health care policy and disabilities acts.  

Today I work for a marketing technology company in Customer Success.  I work with other businesses to implement new trends in marketing using our technology.  In both jobs I have to do a lot of research on my customer’s businesses and create strategies to make them successful.  

What influenced you to go to grad school?

I traveled to South America during undergraduate school and noticed that economic success was directly related to investment in education and business.  I decided then to pursue a career that would allow me to use business to impact education policy.  I knew I had to learn more to pursue this goal.  I applied exclusively to dual degree programs because I knew I needed a strong foundation in organizational psychology and business.  Cornell ended up being the best fit for me because I could pursue graduate studies in both areas in two and a half years.

What was the most challenging part of the application process for you?

The most challenging part of the application process was the GMAT.  I’m notoriously not a great standardized test taker so I knew had to work hard to overcome this challenge.  I took the test 4 times and took a Princeton course to study.  I also wrote all essays, including the optional to explain my score.  I kept in close touch with the admissions team at more competitive schools to help improve my chances.  This helped me get accepted to my #1 school.

Tell us one of your favorite memories from graduate school.  

My favorite memory of graduate school was during my first year when I traveled with 40 classmates to visit different companies around New York and New Jersey.  This was a great way to get to know classmates that were also specializing in marketing and learn about different types of companies, from consumer product to high tech.  Meeting with marketing and product design firms influenced my interest in marketing and technology, which what I pursued professionally.

How long have you been with TAOA and what led you to join the team?

I joined TAOA in 2016 after speaking on a panel for women in MBA programs for Kaneisha.  We were introduced through a mutual friend and I learned more about her mission.  I’m excited to be helping others on their journey to graduate school!

Would you say you have any specialties when it comes to client work? If so, what are your specialties?  

I specialize in those interested in MBAs and other business related grad schools.  I love to list and I’m great at helping clients craft and tell their story.  I am also a pro at editing resumes and essays.  

What are three things you would want The Art of Applying’s clients and subscribers to know about you?  

I’m a high energy, former Northeasterner.  I am learning not to speak so quickly and am passionate about helping people.

I ask a lot of questions.  I want you to tell your story in your own words, so I’ll encourage you to tell me details about your background.

I am highly committed.  I follow through with what I promise and work hard.

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