2022 MBA To Watch: Evan F. Gerbino
Evan F. Gerbino, Rutgers Business School, MBA '22
“A highly motivated individual with a passion for connecting with people and solving problems.”
Hometown: Glen Ridge, NJ
Fun fact about yourself: I am a hobbyist woodworker and I sell cutting boards, wood art, and furniture under the name “Oak & Honey Woodshop”.
Undergraduate School and Degree: Thomas Edison State University, BA in Liberal Studies
Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Pronovias NYC, the US flagship store of one of the world’s largest bridal designers. I worked in various roles, including customer relations and sales. My final role there was as the store coordinator, where I managed both alterations and the sales team.
Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? Quest Diagnostics, Secaucus NJ
Where will you be working after graduation? Quest Diagnostics as a Senior Financial Analyst
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I served as the treasurer of the Finance Club. I also worked in a fellowship position conducting mock interviews for undergraduate students. Through the pandemic, I also coordinated informal peer gatherings to facilitate networking with other MBA students.
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The accomplishment that I am most proud of during my time at business school is that I made the most of the experience. While maintaining a high GPA, I found time to network, learn from others, and successfully secured a role at a Fortune 500 company. This was a huge challenge, but I pushed through it and even had fun with it. It’s not every day that someone can say they made the leap from selling wedding dresses to working in corporate finance!
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? At Quest Diagnostics, I spearheaded a project to help automate the account mapping process. The process at that time was a massive workload for those involved as it required each account to be manually tracked and assigned to a health system and, in many cases, accounts needed to be fixed manually after account creation due to errors in the initial input. By gathering a cross-functional team, I was able to weed out problems plaguing the system, solve data discrepancy issues, and put together a program that mostly automates the process. This solution cut mapping times down by over 75% which saved the company over 3,000 man-hours and several hundred thousand dollars. It was the largest project I had ever worked on, and I was trusted to lead a team of industry professionals.
Why did you choose this business school? I was looking for a career change, a pretty drastic one at that. Prior to attending Rutgers, when I first applied to the roles I wanted, no one took my resume seriously. I knew I needed something to help me fix that. Rutgers was the obvious choice due to its outstanding reputation and locality. Now my resume has the proof to back up my claim that I belong in the roles I want.
Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Lisa Kaplowitz was my favorite professor at Rutgers – and probably of all time. She teaches advanced financial management and tailors the course to the career interests of the students in the class ensuring that the information is both useful and relevant. She also made the course an interactive one, using tools like business simulations and group exercises, which made learning finance fun and engaging. I highly recommend that students take her class if they have the opportunity.
What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? “Tuesday Meetups” was my favorite tradition at Rutgers. Given the environment with COVID-19, it was difficult to have many of the traditions prior students had, but our class found creative solutions to the challenges that a virtual environment brought with it. We set up virtual happy hours and networking events to make sure we found connections in our remote environment. Once we finally were able to meet in person, we continued this tradition and expanded the group to include part-time students and underclassmen. We’d go out for dinner every Tuesday night to build relationships and strengthen class bonds and brought in new faces every chance we had.
Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? If I could do it all over again, I think I’d be a little less focused on what classes my concentrations required and take a more diverse approach to class selection. I am very excited to be graduating with a dual concentration in Finance and Entrepreneurship, but I wasn’t able to take some of the classes I really wanted because I had to make things fit within a fairly tight set of parameters.
What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about business school is that the Office of Career Management acts as a placement program. That’s not to say they don’t work hard to give you as many opportunities as possible…they do. The OCM does an incredible job putting us in contact with many amazing companies and helping us find job openings, but the onus is on the student to make the most of the opportunities given and to pursue as many options as they can to ensure their own success.
What surprised you the most about business school? How much I enjoyed it. The MBA program offered the opportunity for me to take classes I was interested in and to concentrate in multiple fields. I learned an incredible amount and had fun doing it. I also got the opportunity to create relationships with some of the most amazing people I have ever met along the way; relationships that will last a lifetime. The experience was extremely fulfilling.
What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I have always been a people person and I also come from a sales background. The combination of these two factors has helped me develop the skill to sell myself very well and make myself memorable. It has also given me insight into just how much preparation and research you need to do beforehand. Just like it’s hard to sell a product if you don’t know much about it, it’s hard to prove you’re a good fit for a company or a school if you have not taken the time to understand the role and the requirements and how you fit into it.
Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The classmate I admire most is Marsha Fils. She is a standout in the class of 2022, becoming our class leader before elections even came around. From the moment we started orientation, she hit the ground running, forming group chats, study groups, and setting up ways for us all to get our bearings. She never stopped helping other students, doing everything from organizing class events to sending out interesting job postings she found, opportunities she could have easily held for herself but chose to share willingly. She is honest and kind and willing to give everything to help those around her. The most impressive part is that she does not let this abundance of altruism impede her success. She has secured multiple internships in our short two years at Rutgers and has landed an exciting role at Google upon graduation. It is rare to find someone of her caliber as a colleague and a friend.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? The person who most influenced me to go after my MBA was my mother. She is a math and science teacher who has made math and education a part of my life starting at a very young age, sneaking fun lessons into everyday activities. She has always pushed me to pursue excellence and when I hit roadblocks, she taught me the importance of finding ways around it. One of my favorite quotes from her is this: “Everyone should work a job they hate so they know what it’s like to be miserable and learn to take steps to change it.” When I first thought about making a career change, she was the one who pushed me to pursue my MBA rather than settle for a job that didn’t make the most of my skillset.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
1. I want to start a non-profit woodshop and makerspace where people who don’t have the funds or space for tools will have access to them. From an early age, I knew I loved to build, engineer, and make art. I am incredibly lucky to have had parents who facilitated a space where I had room to be creative and the access to resources required to build things. I know there is a direct connection between those experiences and my ability to problem-solve. My dream is to build a space where people who don’t have direct access to those tools can have a place to create!
2. I want to work for Sazerac Group or another major spirits company. I find the science and anthropology around alcohol deeply fascinating. Some of the world’s greatest technologies and discoveries were fostered by discussions between friends around a glass of whiskey. Sazerac Group also happens to produce one of my favorite bourbons.
How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? The pandemic may have changed the way we do things, but it hasn’t changed my view of a career. Sure, there are some drastic changes in how we conduct business and most of the jobs I have in the future will never be fully in person again, but that just means there is a new setting. My views are the same. I still have to work hard to achieve my goals, strike a good work-life balance, and navigate through new experiences and challenges to get there. The landscape may be different, but change is inevitable no matter what form it takes. The fact that to be successful, regardless of what an individual defines this as, requires the drive to overcome whatever challenges new landscapes bring. That never changes.
What made Evan such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?
“From selling wedding dresses to a Sr. Financial Analyst, that’s quite a story! Indeed, it’s the story of not just a career changer but of an extreme career changer.
Evan Gerbino is a very impressive individual and student. Over the past two years, he has taken advantage of every opportunity afforded to him at Rutgers Business School. Not only did he jump headfirst into his finance course load, but he also took on leadership roles in the Rutgers Corporate Finance Club and joined several national-level case competitions.
Furthermore, Evan joined our student-led mentorship program and has taken several first-year students under his wing. To that end, he has given talks to his first-year classmates about the importance of proper storytelling and preparation in the interview process and followed up by conducting mock interviews with several of them.
Despite the challenges that arose due to COVID-19, Evan found ways to bring his classmates together. He coordinated several virtual networking meetings and Happy Hours. Evan redoubled his efforts once in-person classes were allowed, giving him and his classmates opportunities to get to know each other and bolster class comradery.
Evan earned a summer internship at Quest Diagnostics in their Finance Leadership Development Program, despite coming from a non-quantitative background. Because of his impressive performance last summer, Quest made him a full-time offer.
Evan is a humble individual who understands that his success is partly due to the help he has received along life’s journey. I do not doubt that he will be an alumnus who will give back to his alma mater while he succeeds in a corporate finance career. The highest compliment I can bestow on him is that I wish I could have 50 Evan Gerbinos in every incoming class.”
Dean R. Vera
Assistant Dean, Graduate Career Management
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