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Before the Come Up

Before the Come Up

By GT Svanikier
To learn more about the inspiring people in his class, GT decided to start "Before the Come Up," a podcast that brings his classmates' remarkable stories and life experiences to light.

Each week the podcast features a different member of the Columbia Business School class of 2023. The podcast's goal is to foster community, empathy, and understanding as we learn about each guest's unique background and explore their passions and motivations.
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Colin Rodgers
In episode 19 of Before the Come Up, we sit down with Colin Rodgers. Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Colin reflects on his family's formative impact on him and discusses his experience pushing himself to his physical and mental limits through his incredible career in the US Army. He also talks about his wide-ranging passions, from sports to travel, and what led him to Columbia.
51:25
September 23, 2022
Samantha Shapses
In episode 18 of Before the Come Up, we sit down with Samantha Shapses. She is a student affairs professional committed to engaging students, faculty, and administrators in the practice of exploring diversity, equity, and inclusion within all aspects of higher education. Currently, Dr. Shapses serves as Associate Dean and Dean of Student Affairs, Full-Time MBA Programs at Columbia Business School, where she draws upon 20 years of professional experience working in the field of higher education as a student affairs professional. Dr. Shapses has also served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at SIPA, New York University, and Teacher’s College, Columbia University where she teaches courses on social justice education and higher education administration. Dr. Shapses has presented at numerous national conferences on this topic and has published articles featured in the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Education and Whiteness, and the Journal of South African Higher Education.
49:44
September 16, 2022
Owen Odigie
In episode 17 of Before the Come Up, we sit down with Owen O. Odigie. Owen is a 3rd year grad student at Columbia co-currently pursuing his MBA and Masters of International Affairs. At CBS, he served as the Student Body President for the 2021-2022 academic year. At the Public Policy school, he is Co-Chair of the Columbia Africa Conference for the 2022-2023 academic year. Owen has worked at Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Nike, the startup space, and recently got into Venture Capital. His dynamic work experience is matched by his dynamic upbringing growing up in Nigeria, the UK and the United States. He's super passionate about bringing people together, self-development and leadership, mindfulness and enjoying what life has to offer. Post graduation, Owen hopes to have a career spanning the private sector, government and the non-profit sector.
42:57
September 09, 2022
Yvoire Whittaker
In episode 16 of Before the Come Up, we sit down with Yvoire Whittaker. Prior to attending CBS, Yvoire worked at Deloitte Consulting, LLP as a Human Capital Senior Consultant. At Deloitte, Yvoire gained experience in start-up accelerators, branding, marketing, data and analytics, change management, training, project management, human-centered design, customer engagement strategies, and workforce development. As a first-generation Ghanaian-American, Yvoire is passionate about stimulating the Ghanaian economy, influencing job creation, and increasing wealth in Ghana. She is passionate about enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and promoting anti-racism in her communities, using innovation, design, and dialogue to implement relevant and reliable DEI strategies.
47:21
February 19, 2022
Wilburt Carpenter
In episode 15 of Before the Come Up, we sit down with Wilburt Carpenter. Originally from Virginia, Wilburt reflects on his family's formative impact on him and discusses his experience in media, retail, technology, and diversity and how he seeks new ways to use marketing and technology for positive change. He also discusses his wide-ranging passions from fashion to food and what led him to Columbia.
42:55
February 11, 2022
Ijeoma Chimezie
In episode 14 of Before the Come Up, we sit down with Ijeoma Chimezie. She was born in Nigeria but moved to New Jersey in her youth with her family. Before CBS, she got her Doctor of Pharmacy from Rutgers University and worked as a registered pharmacist before pivoting into brand communication strategy at varying capacities within healthcare. In this episode, we learn how she has fused her passions for beauty, marketing, and medicine as she seeks to leverage industry knowledge and her entrepreneurial drive to advance access to healthcare and science globally.
01:00:36
February 04, 2022
Spencer Borison
In episode 13 of Before the Come Up, we sit down with Spencer Borison. Originally from Denver, Colorado, Spencer paints a vivid picture of his upbringing and reflects on his family's formative impact on him. He also discusses his wide-ranging passions and what led him to Columbia.
57:46
December 10, 2021
Mélanie D'Mello Genin
In episode 12 of Before the Come Up, we sit down with Mélanie D'Mello Genin from Reims, France. We've all heard there's a professional harpist in the class of '23 - now we finally get to listen to her story! In this candid exchange, she shares her musical career journey and discusses how she defied social and professional expectations throughout her life. We also hear about what made her decide to get an MBA and her post-CBS career goals.   Check out her website: http://melaniegenin.com
52:51
November 19, 2021
TJ Subramanian
In episode 11 of Before the Come Up, we sit down with TJ Subramanian, originally from St. Louis, Missouri. In this episode, we learn about her Midwestern and Indian cultural upbringing, undying love for New York and the educators that have inspired her along the way.
49:43
November 12, 2021
Watson Leffel
In episode 10 of Before the Come Up, we sit down with Watson Leffel an East Coast native most recently based in Washington DC. We hear about the family that inspires her, her passion for workforce and education issues, and what she hopes to contribute to and gain from the CBS community.
33:39
November 05, 2021
Dalisu Jwara
In episode 9 of Before the Come Up, we sit down with Dalisu Jwara from South Africa. In this deeply moving & inspiring episode, we learn about his upbringing in Johannesburg, love for South African music, and diverse global career experiences that have brought him to where he is today.
58:38
October 29, 2021
Nine Chantawasinkul
In episode 8 of Before the Come Up, we sit down with Nine Chantawasinkul. Originally from Thailand, Nine tells us about his upbringing, how he got his name, and what eventually led him to Columbia. Along the way, we hear about his passions for fitness, traveling, and exploring new places off the beaten path. He also shares stories from working in consulting at McKinsey. This role allowed him to travel to many countries as well.
31:48
October 15, 2021
Nia Johnson
In episode 7 of Before the Come Up, we sit down with Nia Johnson. After leaving her hometown in Massachusetts, she discovered her passion for venture capital and affinity for big cities — which ultimately led her to Columbia. Listen to hear about Nia’s unique experience, career advice, and what’s it’s like to be low-key Twitter famous. (You can follow her at @_johnsonator.) You won’t want to miss it!
37:60
October 08, 2021
John Scalamandre
In episode 6 of Before the Come Up, we sit down with John Scalamandre. Originally from Lond Island, John tells us about his upbringing and what eventually led him to Columbia. Along the way, we hear about his passions for EDM music, playing the piano, and investment banking - all of which he plans to do post-MBA.
52:48
October 01, 2021
Nehika Miglani
In episode 5 of Before the Come Up, we sit down with Nehika Miglani. We learn about her upbringing in the San Francisco Bay Area and her career journey in tech sales on the West Coast. We also dive into what led her to CBS to fuse her passions for entrepreneurship and the beauty industry. She is a licensed esthetician as well as a classicly trained pianist obtaining an Associates Degree in Piano Music Performance from The Royal Conservatory of Music.
39:18
September 24, 2021
Javaun Francis
In Episode 4 of Before the Come Up, we sit down with New York City native Javaun Francis. We learn about his exciting career journey from Wall St to Texas and his passion for traveling the world. We also find out what it was like growing up in NYC and how he navigated being both American and Jamaican. 
57:35
September 17, 2021
Taylor (Lijing) Xie
In the third episode of Before the Come Up, we sit down with Taylor Xie. We discuss her experience growing up in a remote, mountainous part of China before moving to Hong Kong for college. Since graduating she has worked in finance with a focus on real estate, most recently at Goldman Sachs in Shanghai.
42:48
September 10, 2021
Adetola Olatunji
In the second episode of "Before the Come Up," we talk to Adetola Olatunji. She was born to Nigerian parents and raised in Boston, MA. She previously worked at New Profit, a venture philanthropy fund headquartered in Boston, where she leveraged her talents and unique experience to invest in mission-driven entrepreneurs and positively impact communities that have been historically underrepresented in some of the nation's largest systems. She hopes to pursue a career in VC / impact investing post MBA. Adetola is the daughter of two serial entrepreneurs and faith leaders who moved from Nigeria to North America to ensure a better life for their children. Listen to learn how Adetola cultivated a passion for and commitment to the social sector, drawing from her family's experiences and example. She is an excellent orator and shares about her passion for performing as well. You don't want to miss this one! To learn more about the inspiring people in my MBA class at Columbia Business School, I started "Before the Come Up," a weekly podcast focused on bringing to light the remarkable stories and life experiences that make up the historic CBS class of 2023. Each week the podcast will feature a different member of the class to learn about their background and journey to CBS and explore their passions and motivations and any fun stories they'd like to share.  Intro and outro music is by my amazing sister Sofie, and the song is her latest single, "If You Don't Stop." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOoTwQIskgk
01:04:24
September 03, 2021
Leon Galhardo
In the first episode, we talk to Leon Galhardo, who was born and raised in Brazil. He previously worked in finance and real estate and is targeting a career in real estate investment banking after his MBA.  Leon has been practicing martial arts since the age of 4 and has had incredible experiences, from being a professional MMA fighter to representing his state and country in Karate. Listen to learn how he used martial arts as a vehicle to meet people, experience different cultures, and explore the world! Whatever you do, DO NOT MISS the last 30 minutes of this one!  As a way to learn more about the inspiring people in my MBA class at Columbia Business School, I started “Before the Come Up,” a weekly podcast focused on bringing to light the remarkable stories and life experiences that make up the historic CBS class of 2023. Each week the podcast will feature a different member of the class to learn about their background and journey to CBS and explore their passions and motivations and any fun stories they’d like to share.  Intro and outro music is by my amazing sister Sofie, and the song is her latest single, “If You Don’t Stop.”
01:06:06
August 25, 2021