Yale School of Management

What I’m Thankful For

As Thanksgiving approaches, we asked our student leaders what they are thankful for. We know we are grateful for their tireless work behind the scenes to coordinate events, club meetings, and other outreach activities, all of which help make Yale SOM a special place.

November 16, 2020

Manuel Morales Ancira ’21

Manuel Morales Ancira
Manuel Morales Ancira ’21

Orange Cohort Representative
“I’m thankful for every step that I had to take to be here today, for the people that cheered me up, the missteps and the obstacles that taught me not to give up, the many places I have seen and the many experiences I have lived along the way. The road could have been long, but there is no better reward than becoming part of the great SOM community!

I’m thankful because here I walk among some of the most inspiring individuals, from professors and TAs to classmates. We always look after each other. No matter if we are thousands of miles away from home or in the middle of a pandemic, we never feel alone. I’m thankful for my cohort, that quickly became my family. I know I can always count on them; they make me laugh and help me recharge my energy after a long week of classes. Finally, I’m thankful for the new steps that my Yale SOM experience will help me take tomorrow!”

Gina Calder ’22

Gina Calder
Gina Calder ’22

MBA for Executives Class Advisor
“The Thanksgiving season is a time to reflect on all we are grateful for. I am grateful to be part of the SOM community and on a journey with my fellow EMBA students to not only lead but also transform business and society.”

Nauman Charania ’21

Nauman Charania
Nauman Charania ’21 (Photo: January 2020)

2Y Career Development Chair
“As chaotic as this year has been, I think there are so many things that I am thankful for. I am thankful to have a Learning Team that, I think, is the most caring and passionate group of people that I have met. I still remember our first interactions during orientation week and I am happy that we still enjoy each other’s company today. I am thankful to have roommates that are some of the most fantastic people at SOM. Eric, Norbert, and Jake are sincerely the most selfless people I have come across and I love that we take any extra time to give back to the SOM community (even if it involves a raging hangover). I am thankful to my Student Government and Tech Club peers who devote so much time behind the scenes and who are always willing to do the hard work without expecting any appreciation back. I truly think we are a big component of why we are back in New Haven this year. I am thankful for the best cohort at SOM…GO BLUEEEE! Lastly, I am thankful for my SOM community. We are in such an amazing incubator where people are asking bigger, tougher questions beyond a business’s bottom line. Thank you for reaffirming that it is okay to be extremely passionate about something even when you are faced with extreme resistance. Happy Holidays, love y’all!”

Patricia Daniel ’22

Patricia Daniel
Patricia Daniel ’22

1Y Community and Inclusion Chair
“I am grateful for the challenge. It has been a rollercoaster so far at SOM, academically and personally. My romantic idea of business school has not materialized. But the lessons that I am learning in the process, particularly about myself and the impact that I want to make, are immeasurable…Oh and I am grateful for the bomb, lifelong friendships that I am already starting to build. The real ones know who they are!”

Grace Dann ’22

Grace Dann
Grace Dann ’22

MBA for Executives Social Chair
“This Thanksgiving, I am truly grateful for so much. The challenges of 2020 have confirmed that relationships with family, friends, classmates, and colleagues provide much needed solace and joy. I am particularly thankful for the addition of the SOM community in my life. It feels like a luxury to have made so many new and wonderful connections with my classmates and the broader SOM community this year. I am continuously impressed, challenged, and supported by this accomplished and thoughtful group of individuals. Each interaction I have with my classmates, and especially how we’ve bonded in a hybrid in-person/virtual model, has affirmed that the EMBA ’22 group is excellent. Look forward to continuing the journey!”

Mario Feola ’21

Mario Feola
Mario Feola ’21

2Y Clubs and Finance Chair
“I've had a great experience with the SOM alumni network–it was a real pleasure getting to know so many passionate and accomplished people. They were very helpful in navigating the recruiting process and helped me make the most of my summer internship. I'm thankful that that the SOM community extends far beyond the walls of Evans Hall!”

Nicholas Herold ’21

Nicholas Herold
Nicholas Herold ’21

Purple Cohort Representative
“After a year with a lot of uncertainty, I regard this Thanksgiving as a chance to pause and reflect what I am really thankful for. First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my family, who put a lot of faith in me over the past years. Their support helped me not only better endure tough times but also make great times much more enjoyable and memorable. In addition, I am thankful for the friends that I made and the mentors who supported me on my path. I highly appreciate their trust and advice that helped me make the right choices at the right time. Finally, I am incredibly thankful for being a part of the SOM community. The breadth and depth of experience of SOMers surprises me every time in and outside the classroom, and I am very thankful to learn with and from this community of globally minded and exceptionally talented people. My gratitude also extends to my classmates in the GBS cohort. We have been able to build very strong bonds with each other despite (or perhaps because of) the difficulties posed by the novel coronavirus, and I am convinced that these deep personal connections will last far beyond our time at Yale.”

Sarah Gannon ’22

Sarah Gannon
Sarah Gannon ’22

1Y Silver Cohort Representative
“This year has made me incredibly grateful for all of the small communities that I have found within SOM. Given the crazy year we’ve had, I’m especially thankful for all the people here that have quickly made it feel like home. Special shout out to my fellow MBA/MPHers, my amazing learning team, and my Silver family. I am also thankful for the experiences SOM has given me in such a short amount of time. Whether it’s through student government, volunteering at HAVEN clinic, or planning a global case competition, each of these activities helps me feel connected to Yale, New Haven, and the broader world around me. The relationships that I’ve built and the chances I’ve had to make an impact on my communities have been true bright spots in 2020!”

Sheila Grandio ’22

Sheila Grandio
Sheila Grandio ’22

MBA for Executives Class Advisor
“Last year my husband and I spent our Thanksgiving Day at the hospital. At 10 p.m. that night, after 30 hours of complicated labor and some fearful moments, we were able to hold in our arms our second son: a tiny little warrior that we could only possibly name Alexander. It was almost midnight when the three of us were able to take a deep breath and have a bite—apple juice and some soda crackers. Not a very Instagrammable Thanksgiving dinner, but to us it tasted like heaven! That day the universe reminded me that the big THANKS is never about where you are or what you have…but who you are with. And that, the people, is what makes SOM a truly special place! ”

Charles Gress ’21

Charles Gress
Charles Gress ’21

2Y Community Service Chair
“This year, I'm grateful for the resilience of the SOM community in the face of so many challenges. Not only have I been amazed by the professionals leading SOM offices from Facilities to AASL to Admissions and beyond, I'm inspired by my classmates on a daily basis in terms of their creativity and desire to help make the best of a less-than-ideal situation. Whether it be joining any number of club events organized by colleagues, going for a walk around East Rock, or getting out of my bubble and outdoors to volunteer, I've been pleasantly surprised at how rich the experience has been this fall in New Haven and am so thankful to our SOM community for making that possible.”

Lina Kacyem ’21

Lina Kacyem
Lina Kacyem ’21

2Y Blue Cohort Representative
“What am I thankful for? This woman right here! About four months ago, my favorite person in the entire world (grandma) got COVID-19. My parents knew how much it would be devastating to me (there’s literally no one I love more than her), and they hid it from me for a while. I don’t know what I would have been or done if I had lost her half way across the world, and unable to say my last goodbye because of travel restrictions. Fortunately, God had a different plan and I am given another chance to hear her voice (even if it is to lecture me about my poor American eating habits lol). I aspire to have grandma’s heart, resilience, and freedom. I am grateful she is still here to love me, teach me and pray for me. Being grateful for her has taught me to be grateful for EVERYTHING that SOM and Yale at large has offered me: lifelong friendships, amazing professors, breakthroughs, opportunities, and even things like being able to take COVID tests as often as I want/need (what a privilege we have!).”

Amanda Martinez ’22

Amanda Martinez
Amanda Martinez ’22

1Y Community Service Chair
“I have a whole lot to be grateful for right now. In the midst of a global pandemic, I am extremely thankful for the health and well-being of my family and friends. I'm grateful to live in a country that has decided that the character of our leader matters. And I'm very thankful for the opportunity to attend Yale SOM, where I have already met wonderful people and learned so much. I appreciate faculty and the administration for trying to make virtual learning as fulfilling as possible, and my classmates for making the most of the situation. I feel lucky to be connected with so many fantastic people here, at Yale SOM and in New Haven at large, and I look forward to the day when we can all gather without restrictions!"

Dan Neubelt ’22

Dan Neubelt
Dan Neubelt ’22

MBA for Executives Social Chair
“I would be remiss to not start this post by acknowledging the difficulties of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has, at best, confused and disrupted the lives of millions, and at worst, taken jobs, lives, and wellbeing. With this in mind, I am so thankful for the year I have had. My family has stayed safe and healthy, my company was able to pivot to remote work quickly and smoothly in March, and I was accepted in Yale’s EMBA program! In most respects, it has been a fantastic year. I am honored to be a social chair in this class at Yale, and I have been awestruck at the way our class has come together during these difficult times. We quickly formed digital channels of communication which have been used to support and encourage each other, sharing small victories and celebrating our classmates. Students in the same areas have formed remote learning cohorts, perhaps escaping to a farm in upstate New York or an available office in the city to take classes in small groups. While we have certainly been impacted as a class by COVID – stretching Zoom to its limits – I’m not sure if we are worse off for it. Creativity and compassion has brought us together in ways that would never have happened in 2019, and I’m thankful for everyone’s effort to remain connected in this new world. If any classmates have thoughts or recommendations on how we can do even better, I would be thankful for that as well!”

Danny Qiao ’22

Danny Qiao
Danny Qiao ’22

1Y Blue Cohort Representative
“I don’t think I can put into words how grateful I am for the people I have met these past few months. I started my summer unsure about how exactly the fall will look and uneasy about this grand new hybrid learning experiment forced upon us. Nevertheless, I committed and here I am, halfway done with Fall 2 and I say, I am much better for it. I am unbelievably privileged to be here with such dedicated faculty, students, and administration and I am unbelievably proud at what my peers and I have accomplished in the face such challenges these past few months as the Class of 2022. I can only look forward with pride and hope as each day I spend as a Yale SOM student invigorates me to truly become a leader for business and society.”

Gokhul Ramakrishnan ’22

Gokhul Ramakrishnan
Gokhul Ramakrishnan ’22

1Y Admissions Chair
“This year I’m thankful for the community at SOM for welcoming me with open arms. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting amazing people from around the world and all walks of life that have supported me through the last few months and who will drive me to seek excellence long into the future. Further, I am grateful for the SOM administration who have put in an immense amount of hard work and effort to make this semester as engaging as possible for students.”

Dan Paul Salimbangon ’21

Dan Paul Salimbangon
Dan Paul Salimbangon ’21

MBA for Executives Social Chair
“Although this year continues to present us with challenges across the world, it has not dampened my gratitude to be part of the Yale SOM community and, more importantly, the MBA for Executives Class of 2021. I am humbled to be part of a cohort that is comprised of high caliber individuals, who truly aspire to be the best leaders for business and society. My friends, you inspire me to continue to exceed expectations and to not settle for anything less. Additionally, I am thankful that even in this hybrid platform, we are still able to make each other (and some professors) laugh with our vibrant zoom chats. Lastly, I am grateful for all those who continue to support us (friends, family, significant others) in our journey to attain our MBA and to the Yale SOM team for making this possible.”

Bisman Sethi ’22

Bisman Sethi
Bisman Sethi ’22

1Y Career Development Chair
“In these trying times, I am enormously grateful to be apart of the SOM community. While it hasn’t been an traditional experience thus far , I wouldn’t want to be experiencing 2020 anywhere else. I am thankful for my classmates who continuously inspire me by their stories, goals and perseverance. Even “distanced,” I’ve forged some lasting friendship and grown personally and professionally, which was one of my initial goals when coming to SOM. In addition to my amazing peers, being in New Haven and having the ability to explore the city in “new ways” like hikes in East Rock, apple picking, lots of BBQs and endless outdoor coffee chats has been incredible. After travelling for work continuously for the past 3 years, it’s been a wonderful experience to take a breath, stay grounded in one place and make new connections here at SOM.”

Jennifer Shinpaugh ’22

Jennifer Shinpaugh
Jennifer Shinpaugh ’22 (Photo: Feb. 2020)

MBA for Executives Class Advisor
“2020 will be remembered for many things. For me, there were two very important milestones in my life that I am thankful for. I got engaged and then married to my husband, Christian, and I was accepted to Yale SOM. At the time that I was applying and interviewing for Yale, it was before COVID had become a global pandemic, and life was admittedly very different. I am so thankful for all of the efforts from the admissions and program teams at Yale who have worked tirelessly to ensure we were able to have the best experience possible given the new and ever-changing restrictions. We have been able to learn in a new hybrid model when many business schools did not. I am thankful for my amazing classmates, who I hope will always continue to push me to grow. In a short time, I’ve made connections that will last a lifetime, and I’m very grateful to be part of such a high-quality group of leaders. As my classmates will attest, it takes a village, and I’m very thankful to have the support of my husband in my EMBA journey – he even traveled to New Haven with me the day I interviewed, for support, to check out the campus, and let’s be honest… some New Haven pizza!”

Pascal Su ’22

Pascal Su
Pascal Su ’22 and his friend’s daughter Grace

1Y GPSS Senator (MBA)
“This Thanksgiving, I would like to give thanks to the amazing SOM community and incredible friendships I have built over the past three months. I continue to be impressed by each and every one of my classmates, who have enriched my experience thus far in ways I could not have imagined. I am also grateful for East Rock Park, which provides gorgeous views over New Haven and an easy getaway from the stress of academic life. SOM is a truly phenomenal place, and I am reminded of that every day by being here.”

Benjamin Tannenbaum ’22

Benjamin Tannenbaum
Benjamin Tannenbaum ’22

1Y Red Cohort Representative
“I’m thankful for the great friendships and connections I have been able to make with the classmates on my learning team. Everyone comes from very diverse backgrounds, and we may not have had the chance to become friends if it wasn’t for a place like SOM bringing us together. They even tolerate my ineptitude in accounting and excessive use of Slack GIFs. More seriously, many of us come from backgrounds that would not have had access to a place like Yale in the past, and I am thankful to have the opportunity to attend this school.”

Grania VanHerwarde ’22

Grania Vanherwarde
Grania VanHerwarde ’22

1Y Green Cohort Representative
“This year I'm most grateful for two things: health and community. Choosing to start an MBA program during a pandemic wasn't an easy choice, but I'm grateful for the access that Yale has provided to assist us all in staying healthy: masks, testing, de-densification, etc. Mental health is also a priority for me, so I'm taking advantage of what is offered to us as students by attending a Mindfulness class.

But what I'm most grateful for at SOM: the community. Trying to get through classes, recruiting for internships, clubs, and socializing all via zoom is tough, but these people make it worth it! I have attended events such as Ask Me Anything and Voices where students have been extremely vulnerable by sharing their stories, which is incredibly inspiring. Everyone is leaning on other people to make sure that they can recruit for what they want and put their best foot forward. I already feel like I've made incredible friendships that will last a lifetime, provide the support to help me reach my goals, and whom I can help lift up and achieve their goals too.”

Alice Yuan ’22

Alice Yuan
Alice Yuan ’22

1Y Student Life Chair
“There are so many things that come to mind about what I’m grateful for at SOM! I’m most grateful for all of the wonderful people I’ve met–especially through student government, Admissions recruiting events, and consulting club. It’s the diverse perspectives and experiences, thoughtful actions, and commitment to community building that makes me so happy to be here. My peers have challenged and inspired me to think bigger and broader, and I know that SOM is the best place I can spend my next two years.”