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What I’m Thankful For

We asked some of our student leaders to reflect on the last year and tell us what is making them feel grateful as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.

John ChengJohn Cheng ’22
Orange Cohort Representative

I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the immensely diverse and talented SOM community, especially in light of the ever-evolving pandemic situation. It is a tremendous privilege to learn and exchange with my peers, and every day I am inspired by everyone’s positive energy and patience, despite the current challenges. Personally, I am simply humbled to be in Yalesomething I never thought possibleand it still feels like a dream!

Sarah Gannon and FriendsSarah Gannon ’22
Student Government President

Recently, I’ve been thankful for many small joys: eating lunch in the Evans courtyard with friends, Monday night wine class, seeing the fall trees in East Rock Park, planning upcoming trips, Sunday soccer games, and listening to classmates share their stories at Voices and at Koffee?. However, as I think about my life post-graduation, I am also thankful to know that my future will include so many of my SOM classmates. My friends here have made me laugh, traveled New England and the world with me, supported my career search, and shaped how I see my place in society. While I’m not ready for my MBA experience to be nearing the end, I can’t wait to continue strengthening these relationships after we graduate and am thankful that SOM has placed these amazing people in my life.

Prerak JuthaniPrerak Juthani ’22
Student Photographer

I am thankful for the SOM communityone that has made me feel unconditionally accepted and provided me with guidance whenever I’ve felt lost. With all the unpredictability of the last year, the one constant has been SOM’s support and desire to overcome challenges. I am also grateful for the exceptional education that I’ve gotten at SOM. As an MD/MBA, I was nervous about the curriculum, given that I had never been exposed to subjects like economics or even marketing before. Nevertheless, the professors consistently came through with lectures that were clear and to-the-point. Nearing the end of my SOM journey, I can truly say that I feel more prepared than I’ve ever been to apply my business skillset to the real world.

Sannah KakalSannah Kakal ’23
MBA for Executives Class Representative for the Healthcare Area of Focus

This year I’m thankful for change! After 2020 felt like Groundhog Day for most of the year, 2021 gifted me several new chapters in my life. I moved from Minnesota to Connecticut with my husband, started at SOM, welcomed my niece Zoya to the world, and started a new job. I’m grateful to be part of this vibrant, unique, and outstanding cohort at SOM and for everything the program team has done to make it possible for us to be here. I’ve found sources of inspiration, support, and endless laughter in my classmatesnot to mention friendships that are irrationally strong for only being four months old! I’m most thankful to my husband, Dan, for supporting me while I went off to pursue my dreams and followed with a hot cup of coffee each step of the way. Hope you all have a warm and safe holiday season!

Elaine Kelch and friendsElaine Kelch ’23
Marketing and Communications Chair


Warm socks. New friends. Family visits. Green ’23. Cheap printing. Olmo bagel sandwiches. McNay Café ginger snaps. The mood that is Handsome Dan. Easy street parking. Courtyard sunlight. The Yale Center for Engineering, Innovation, & Design (pictured). Time.

Frances FriendsFrances Klimczak ’23
Gold Cohort Representative

New SOM friends :)


Emily KlingEmily Kling ’21
Career Conversations Podcast Producer

Hello from the U.K., where I’m currently finishing my SOM degree at the London School of Economics. When I got here, I knew essentially no one. But I had lots and lots of strangers to meet, and for that, I’m immensely grateful.

I met my favorite stranger, Sue, on the train coming back from Bath into London. She heard my American accent and struck up a conversation. We talked about the books we were reading (she: a mystery; me: a memoir). She told me about her mother’s recent passing and her hopes to move closer to her sister in a seaside town. Sue said she didn’t think she’d ever convince her husband to leave London, but that she was working on it. I told her about my engagement, and we balked at the cost of wedding flowers. Before either of us knew it, we were pulling into King’s Cross Station. Sue’s husband met her on the platform, we waved goodbye, and I walked home.

Sometimes strangers become friends (technically: all friends were once strangers). But more often, strangers stay just that. We didn’t exchange any identifying information beyond our first names, and there’s no reason our paths will ever cross again.

I’ve missed these short connections and the feeling that you and somebody else are making small cameos in each other’s lives. It only really feels like in this past year that we’ve started to return to a life in which random encounters with strangers is even possible, let alone common. So, this year, I’m most thankful for Sue, and for all the other “Sues” out there. And also for the fact that my parents said they’d pay for those overpriced wedding flowers.

Victoria LeeVictoria Lee ’23
First-Year Green Cohort Representative

As a first-year, I feel so thankful to be surrounded by the coolest, smartest, funniest, and kindest classmates in the best cohort ever, Green ’23. Just a few months ago, prior to moving to New Haven, I felt nervous leaving my existing support network of family and friends, but that anxiety quickly subsided once school began. In and out of the classroom, they empower me to be comfortable with being myself, quirks and all. I am especially grateful for my health, vaccines, and in-person events!

Sherry LiSherry Li ’22
Community & Inclusion Co-Chair

I’m thankful for my classmates, who inspire me every day to be better, whether that’s taking the time to learn something new or challenging myself to take a different perspective on a problem or issue. I’m inspired especially by my peers in Student Government, Business Students for Racial Equity, and Out of Office and their visions and commitment to making the SOM community a more inclusive and impactful place for current students and generations of students to come.

Fang LiuFang Liu ’22
Student Photographer

I am very grateful to my family, friends, and Yale alumni for their support and sharing so that I can continue to study at Yale. There’s no doubt that Yale is a great platform, and I’ve learned a lot of interesting things through courses at Yale SOM, such as Mastering Influence and Persuasion, Patterns in Entrepreneurship, and so on, which have broadened my vision by allowing me to have discussions with professors and classmates from all over the world. The knowledge and learning experience makes me feel more confident to face the challenges of my future life. In addition, I also can take non-SOM courses, which let me talk more to students at other colleges and know more about the Yale community. Every day at Yale has been very new and fulfilling for me, and I feel like I’m growing every single day. I’m thankful for everyone I’ve met in my life. I believe that my experience at Yale with all of you will be the best memory for me.

Shay LiuShay Liu ’22
Academic Affairs Co-Chair

After meeting a grand total of three new people in 2020, I am thankful for the opportunity to meet so many inspiring members of the SOM community this year. I love that you all aren’t afraid to speak your mind and ask difficult questions. I’m grateful that we have access to all the resources at Yale SOM, including the TAs, faculty, facilities, and mental health assistance. Most of all, I’m thankful for my Gold family (the best cohort), especially my learning team members who are all individually passionate about everything from crypto to sustainability, multi-masking masters, social events planning royalty, and so caring.

Stephanie LuStephanie Lu ’23
Student Photographer

This Thanksgiving, I have a lot to be thankful for as I began a new chapter of my life at Yale SOM. The past four months have been a whirlwind. I have experienced a range of emotions—excitement, humility, and hope, just to name a few—but as I sit here today reflecting on my early days in New Haven, the greatest emotion I feel is gratitude. I am grateful for my classmates (especially those in the Red cohort, which is universally known as the best). From our first interactions to where we are today, we have built trust and camaraderie and have shared openly and genuinely from our backgrounds and experiences. I am confident I will leave SOM as a more empathetic global citizen because of them. I know I am always able to lean on them, and they are the core reason why my first few months here have been so great. I am also grateful for the SOM community beyond Evans Hall. The SOM alumni have demonstrated time and time again how they are my biggest advocates. They have been more than generous with their time, sharing with me honestly their experiences, and have become some of my closest mentors. I am beyond thankful for these lifelong relationships that are blossoming as my time here flies by! Wishing you all a very happy thanksgiving and holiday season!

Damiel Mainye NyokaDaniel Mainye Nyoka ’22
Vice President, Yale Africa Startup Review
Student Photographer

There is a lot I could be grateful for this year, but I would like to focus on two things that have had the greatest impact: my family and the Yale community.

At the height of the Delta COVID-19 wave, there were many travel restrictions across the globe and lots of uncertainty around international travel just when I was meant to start my classes in August at Yale SOM. I remember vividly the U.S. consulate in Nairobi giving me an interview appointment date of Nov 15—that was two months after I was supposedly required to be in school. One could easily lose hope, but my family kept me going. Things changed, and I traveled with my amazing wife to a new country with a new set of challenges and opportunities.

I am grateful for my uncles and aunties in the U.S. who helped us settle in and figure our way around and to the Yale community that welcomed us with open arms. I am grateful for the networks I have created that have been critical in shaping my character and perspective about what it means to be a global leader. I have the most wonderful classmates and faculty and am grateful that we had the opportunity to have physical classes this year. Shout out to Academic Affairs & Student Life and the Career Development Office for making life bearable in this transition. I can’t wait for what life and Yale has in place for the next couple of months.

TamaanTamaan Osbourne-Roberts ’23
MBA for Executives Panel of Peers Coordinator

As a physician living through the worst pandemic of the past century…very simply put, I am thankful for life and health.  For myself, and for those I love.


GokhulGokhul Ramakrishnan ’22
Vice President and Second-Year Admissions Chair

This year, I am thankful to each and every one of my friends at SOM, for the memories that we have been able to create together, and the good times that I know are to come. In an environment which can be, at times, overwhelming, knowing you have support around every corner of New Haven and Evans Hall is so reassuring.

It’s a privilege to be part of such an amazing community that I know will be a huge part of my life going forward.

Susanne Reeg ’22
Instagram Stories Producer/Photographer

This year I am thankful for in-person classes. I love crossing campus to walk to SOM in the morning, to see other students rush to their classes, and to bump into friends every now and then. I love chatting to classmates about weekend plans and athletic events just before class starts. I love the lively discussions, laughter, and story-telling in the classroom. I love walking up to teachers after class and asking for personalized advice. I love getting lunch in the courtyard and seeing more familiar faces. I learn so much more in the in-person school environment and am extremely grateful for the effort that SOM has put into making this an amazing school year despite challenging times.

Bisman SethiBisman Sethi ’22
Career Development Chair

This year I am incredibly thankful for all the friends and support I have at Yale SOM. I think for everyone it has been a very intense and challenging 18 months, and the relationships I have built at SOM have been so incredible and helped me through these tough times! I am grateful we now have the opportunity as well to interact more in person, and as a result I have been able to meet so many of my wonderful classmates and peers in person and hear their stories, which has been such a rewarding experience. Happy Thanksgiving and lots of love and cheer to everyone in the SOM community.

Ritesh SinghRitesh Singh ’22
Marketing and Communications Chair

I am thankful for several things as I think back on my time at SOM this year: The chance to meet new people at SOM; even as a second-year I am meeting new people in my class every week who have done incredible things and offer interesting perspectives. The opportunity we have this year to restart SOM traditions and start new SOM traditions. And the room to grow that I have found at SOM—I have been able to take lessons away from my experiences as a club leader and in the classroom.

Baseball diamondBen Tannenbaum ’22
Second-Year Red Cohort Co-Representative

I’m thankful to attend baseball games again. When COVID started, I missed baseball more than anything—even more than I missed my family and most friends.

This year I made up for lost time by attending seven games in four different ballparksincluding two trips to Yankee Stadium with SOM classmates.

Lacie ThorneLacie Thorne ’23
MBA for Executives Class Advisor

This year I am so very grateful to be a part of the Yale SOM community. My cohort, professors, the administration, and curriculum have had a profound impact on my life since the start of the program. I am grateful for the opportunity to leverage this community to learn, grow, and intellectually explore topics at the intersection of Yale’s mission of business and society. But I am most grateful for my family—their incredible support, the small moments, and the ability to influence their future with Mom leading by example.

Alice YuanAlice Yuan ’22
Student Life Chair

I’m thankful for my fellow Student Government members and all of SOM’s club leaders. Our community has experienced many changes over the past two years, and I’m grateful for my classmates who still step up to lead, rise up to all of the challenges, and commit to building up our community creatively, together.