Student Brings Entrepreneurial Spirit to Whitman MBA Program

Sabina Seredneva ’21 MBA and her family bled orange even before she made the nearly 6,000 mile trip from her hometown of Baku, Azerbaijan to Syracuse, NY. Her sister attended Syracuse University and completed the Whitman MBA experience that Seredneva would later embark on. This connection is part of what drew Seredneva to the Whitman School of Management in the first place. “I heard a lot about the positive experiences at Syracuse University that my sister had, who is a Whitman MBA ’19 alum,” she explains. 

Other reasons for making the journey to Whitman included the boundless opportunities and interdisciplinary education the School offers, as well as the campus and community aspect of being at Syracuse. “I liked the variety of courses offered as well as extracurricular activities,” Seredneva explains. “I was also attracted by the opportunity to be a part of such a big community and be able to connect with an even larger alumni network. Additionally, I wanted to have an on-campus experience, while still being close to a big city, such as New York City.”

Even before coming to Whitman, Seredneva was an accomplished scholar. As an undergraduate, she attended The Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, majoring in international relations. She had also learned five languages, as well as spent five years running her own business, a travel agency based in Baku. “Having an entrepreneurial background before my MBA program, allowed me to better understand the content of courses at Whitman by applying newly learned concepts to my own experience,” Seredneva says of her language and business experience. “Additionally, I believe that these experiences made me a valuable speaker and team member for my peers, as I was able to share my business knowledge and contribute to teamwork by providing a diverse perspective.”

Seredneva decided to pursue a concentration in business analytics shortly after beginning her MBA studies. She explains, “Concentrating in business analytics was a sudden decision for me after realizing the power of proper data analysis on decisions made by companies during the Data Analysis and Decision Making course I took in my first semester.” As she took more classes in the concentration, she was reassured that business analytics would support her career going forward. “The more I learned about new programming languages and analysis techniques, the more I felt confident to start my career in this field, as any business in any industry nowadays relies heavily on its data,” she says.

During her time on campus, Seredneva focused on improving her skills both inside and outside of the classroom. “During my studies at Whitman I’ve gained valuable skills for my career, such as identifying and building corporate strategy, analyzing financial data, evaluating opportunities and bringing ideas to life in a short period,” she says. “Outside of the classroom, I have improved my networking and teamwork skills.”

Since graduating in May, Seredneva has already made strides toward beginning her post-graduate career—she will be working at Amazon as a business analyst. When asked if she was ready for the role, she says, “I believe Whitman prepared me for this role by providing experiential opportunities that I gained through my classes and access to alumni working in different fields.”

Learn more about the MBA experience at Whitman.

Mallory Carlson
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