Steven Nelson

Steven Nelson
Class Year
Colorado Springs, CO
Areas of Interest
Financial Services
Previous Education
United States Air Force Academy

Prior to starting, what were you expecting the program to be like? How was it different than your expectations?

During my recruiting events, the student body was so welcoming and open to talking to prospective students. I wondered if that comradery would stay the same after becoming a full-time student. After my arrival, I was glad to see that the student body was still as open and accepting as it was during the admissions process.

Why did you choose Columbia Business School?

I’ve always known that I wanted to get into the investing career field. It was something that has been innate to me ever since my early twenties. However, I knew that coming from the Air Force, I would need a program that not only would give me the best chance at making a successful career switch but also an institution that would help me grow as a person. Columbia Business School fits all the personal requirements I needed for business school: an incredible student body, a stellar investment management curriculum, and the perfect location of where I wanted to live post-graduation.

When did you first feel the impact of the program?

I honestly felt the impact as soon as I was accepted into the program. People at my current job sent congratulation emails once they heard the news. Also, multiple CBS clubs reached out to me sending me congratulatory notes. It made me feel so welcomed to the community. That momentum rolled right over into Orientation, which then solidified that I had made the right business school choice.

Which faculty member(s) influenced you the most, and how?

Professor Salvatore Galatioto (The Business of Sports) and Professor Damon Phillips (Foundations of Entrepreneurship/Reforming Mass Incarceration and the Role of Business) has had incredible influence on my CBS experience. Both teachers really brought the best out of me and taught some of the most impactful classes I have taken at the School. Other courses that I have taken that were also impressive were the Applied Security Analysis and Alternative Investments courses.

How have you been involved in the student community?

I have been involved in a multitude of things. In my first year, I was on the board at the Columbia Student Investment Management Association (CSIMA), Black Business Student Administration (BBSA), and the Military in Business Association (MiBA). I was heavily in contact with admissions to reach out to prospective students, giving any help that I could. In my second year, I was voted onto the Executive Board (EXBO) as the VP of Alumni and became a liaison between the students and the administration.

What was the most challenging part of the program, and how did you handle it?

The most challenging part of the program was learning how to balance between recruiting, social activities, and academics in my first year. It initially seems hard to balance all three, but once I accepted this was going to change and fluctuate week to week, it made it easier to manage. Before I knew it, recruiting was over and I only had to worry about academics and my social life.

Did you take advantage of the Career Management services offered to all students? If so, how did the office help you?

I definitely used the Career Management Center (CMC) during my time at CBS. Not only did I use their services during recruiting, but also when I needed help managing offers. I spoke to second year CMC fellows and advisors. Having students who are closer to recruiting plus the expertise of the CMC was the perfect mix.

What advice would you give to a new student coming into the MBA program at Columbia Business School?

Enjoy your time with your friends and family before you get to CBS because in your first semester, the academic experience will most likely grasp all of your attention. You will be managing a lot of things and your time will be spread thin. Don’t worry, it’s all worth it!

What will you take with you from Columbia Business School?

I will take away how great the overall experience was. I came to this School to pivot my career into investment management, join a new community, and learn from incredible instructors. I can honestly say that all three of those boxes have been checked off. I really enjoyed my time as a CBS student.