Meet our Student Ambassador Bloggers

Each academic year we welcome full-time students, faculty, and staff to contribute to our blog. Read more about our bloggers, connect with student ambassadors through our chat platform and check out their blog posts.

Shashank Shivananda, MS MIS '24
Shashank Shivananda, MS in MIS ’24

Shashank is originally from Bengaluru, India. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering and a master’s degree in Information Technology. His professional journey includes working as a developer at Philips R&D. In his early years, he actively volunteered as a Student Placement Coordinator, collaborating closely with hiring HR professionals and the CRC department. He also took on the role of an event coordinator, organizing efforts to provide mid-day meals for school children. Shashank’s passion lies in technology, and he is committed to continuous learning, engaging in new knowledge daily. His decision to pursue the MIS program at UB is fueled by his desire to transition from a technical role to a managerial one. The program’s unique blend of management and technology aligns perfectly with his goals.

Chat with Shashank on Unibuddy
Read Shashank’s recent post: How a Summer Start Set Me Up for Success in the MS in MIS Program

Alisa Franasiak, BS/MBA '24
Alisa Franasiak, BS/MBA ’24

Alisa Franasiak is a current MBA student at the University at Buffalo School of Management. She works as an intern at the UB Center for Advanced Technology in Big Data and Health Sciences. She also is the Founder of VentureGigs, a freelance and gig economy platform that connects college students with startups.

Chat with Alisa on Unibuddy
Read Alisa’s recent post: Panasci Competition: Entrepreneurship in Action for UB Students

Kalvin Yeung, MBA '24
Kalvin Yeung, MBA ’24

Kalvin is a Buffalo native and earned his Bachelor’s degree from University at Buffalo concentrating in marketing and international business. He decided to pursue his MBA degree to focus on the analytical side of marketing to further prepare himself for a full-time position. During his undergrad, Kalvin worked as a part-time server, which led to his passion for creating memorable experiences with food. This passion led to an internship with Rich Products.

In his free time, Kalvin spends a lot of time at the gym. He believes that physical health is essential to one’s success, not just professionally but personally as well. He also enjoys spending time with his friends and family, trying out new places to eat, and traveling.

Chat with Kalvin on Unibuddy
Read Kalvin’s recent post: My Summer Internship Experience with Rich Products

Shruti Gupta, MS MIS '24
Shruti Gupta, MS in MIS ’24

Shruti was born into a middle-class family in the Indian copper mining town of Khetri, Rajasthan. Her mother worked as a teacher in a public school, and father worked for the central government and served in KV. Shruti majored in Information Technology while obtaining her bachelor’s degree from Rajasthan Technical University in Kota. She has 7.5 years of extensive IT expertise working for a number of businesses like HP, Wipro, NIIT, Accenture, Giesecke And Devrient, and Fujitsu in a variety of tech stacks. This experience motivated her to pursue a career in a more technical and managerial area, which ultimately persuaded her to enroll in UB’s MS in MIS program in order to further her talents and secure a Product Management position in the United States. Shruti enjoys working out in her spare time. Whether it be through painting, travel, Netflix, etc., her ability to succeed in her work and academic life has greatly benefited from taking the time to do these things.

Chat with Shruti on Unibuddy
Read Shruti’s recent post: Unveiling the Unknown: A Voyage to the Venerable UB School of Management

Henry Okaro, MS in Finance '24
Henry Okaro, MS in Finance ’24

Henry was born and raised in Nigeria. He was a science major and earned an undergraduate degree in Geological Sciences at Nnamdi Azikiwe University. He worked in a tech consulting firm, Dragnet Solutions Limited, for 10+ years where he managed solutions geared towards screening and selection of candidates for different educational and corporate services. He became more interested in business development and entrepreneurship, and this inspired him to get an MBA degree at the University of Lagos where he majored in Marketing. He co-founded and worked on few startups that bordered around business advisory, talent sourcing, tech-based solutions, travels and tours, social event management, games creation, and logistics. With a deeper understanding of the limitations of some of the ventures he worked with in the past, he was motivated to seek out the Master’s in Finance at UB. He intend to major in Financial Risk Management & Fintech Track. Henry loves to socialize, go on trips, meet new people and learn about different backgrounds. It helps him to focus and channel his energy properly into his career and academic pursuit.

Chat with Henry on Unibuddy
Read Henry’s recent post: How to Find the Right Living Space as a Graduate Student

Sarah Jiva, JD/MBA '26
Sarah Jiva, JD/MBA ’26

Sarah Jiva is a current JD/MBA student at the University at Buffalo School of Management. She works as an intern at Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit organization, and the U.S. Small Business Administration. She also is a teaching assistant for Introduction to Management Information Systems (MGS351).

Chat with Sarah on Unibuddy
Read Sarah’s recent post: Study Break! Must-Dos During the Fall Semester in Buffalo

Eden Fekadu, MS in Finance '24
Eden Fekadu, MS in Finance ’24

Eden was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her outstanding performance in high school opened the doors to a remarkable opportunity—a merit-based scholarship granted by the Indian government to pursue a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering. During her undergraduate years, Eden’s academic journey took an unexpected yet enriching turn. While studying aeronautical engineering, she found herself drawn to the financial markets, particularly the dynamic and ever-evolving forex market. Her curiosity was piqued by the statistical and mathematical techniques that underpinned this industry. Her interest grew rapidly, and she found herself spending over 10 hours a day exploring this newfound passion on her computer. Her intense fascination convinced her to pursue it both academically and professionally. Thus, Eden decided to pursue a master’s degree in finance at UB to strengthen her skills and expand her professional network in the finance industry.  

Beyond her academic commitments, Eden finds immense joy in sports, particularly football, basketball, and ground tennis. Soccer, in particular, played a pivotal role in shaping her identity during high school. It not only made her more social and cooperative but also instilled a strong work ethic. It also served as a valuable stress-relief mechanism and significantly enhanced her ability to concentrate. Throughout her undergraduate journey, Eden embraced her love for sports by actively participating as a midfielder on her university’s football team. Despite language barriers, sports became a universal language, enabling her to connect with people from diverse backgrounds. This experience not only led to the formation of enduring friendships but also provided her with invaluable insights into different cultures. Undoubtedly, her involvement in sports ranks among the most cherished and memorable experiences in her life.

Chat with Eden on Unibuddy
Read Eden’s recent post: Transitioning to Finance: Top 3 Bridge-Building Resources

Matthew Cohen, MS in Business Analytics '24
Matthew Cohen, MS in Business Analytics ’24

Matt was born and raised here in Buffalo, NY. He graduated with his associate’s degree from SUNY Erie in 2020 with a concentration in General Studies. In 2023, he graduated magna cum laude with his bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo with a major in Communications. In his free time, Matt enjoys filling up his days and keeping busy. He loves to play hockey, ice and inline, and often can be found taking his 2 Cavapoos, Nash and Harper, to the dog park. When not doing these two activities, he is probably either at work or at home building a LEGO masterpiece.

Chat with Matthew on Unibuddy
Read Matthew’s recent post: My Unconventional Path to Grad School: How Maturity and Athletics Gave Me a Second Chance

Rupsha Roy Choudhury, MBA '25
Rupsha Roy Choudhury, MBA ’25

Rupsha completed an undergraduate degree in Accounting and a Masters of Commerce in Finance. She was working at Fidelity for 6 years prior to joining UB as a full-time STEM MBA with Finance and Management Consulting as concentrations to enhance her leadership skills and expand her horizon. She works as student assistant in the Graduate Management Office in the UB School of Management.  

Rupsha was born in the City of Joy, Kolkata, India and was raised by beautiful parents, her father being a famous doctor in the city and mother is an amazing homemaker. Her joint family in India and has 30 members who stay together in her house back in her native city. Her father always supported her in every step of the way. Unfortunately, he passed away on her birthday 6 years ago. Rupsha is a bibliophile and is fascinated by the smell of new and old books. She is a national-level cricket player. Rupsha loves to drive and spend time with babies, as she finds being with them the best way to relax. Creating a balance between work life and personal life is what she believes in and wants to make sure that her work leaves impact in the values of the organization.

Chat with Rupsha on Unibuddy
Read Rupsha’s recent post: Why I Chose the UB MBA Program after Six Years in the Corporate World

Abinash Jena, MS MIS '24
Abinash Jena, MS in MIS ’24

Abinash Jena was born in Bhubaneswar, a town 50 km from the Bay of Bengal, the east coast of India. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and joined Infosys as a Cyber Security consultant. Cyber had always been his area of interest. He worked with companies like TransUnion and KPMG, dealing with clients like Amex and T-Mobile. He has spent a good amount of time in different cities of India such Mysore, Pune and Bangalore due to his work commitments, which has helped him to experience the diverse culture and varied outlooks on life. Abinash chose UB after doing his fair share of research. He believes UB has one of the best MIS programs, which provides a perfect amalgamation of subjects in cyber security and management. This will help him gain the necessary cyber skills from a business point of view and help him grow in his career. He loves playing cricket and football. He watches a lot of sports like tennis, football, cricket, Formula1, etc., and has always loved cooking and trying different cuisine.

Chat with Abinash on Unibuddy
Read Abinash’s recent post: Why I Chose the UB MS in MIS Program for Opportunities in Cybersecurity

Tori Schlosser, MBA '24
Tori Schlosser, MBA ’24

Tori was born and raised in Buffalo, New York with her three younger siblings. She is the first in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree and pursue a master’s degree. Her bachelor’s degree is from the University at Buffalo majoring in business administration with a concentration in marketing. Her undergraduate experience convinced her to continue her professional development and pursue her MBA at UB.  

In her free time, Tori loves to read, do arts and crafts, and traveling. Tori loves spending time with her friends outside the classroom to keep a work-life balance. Finding time to relax and enjoy quality time with friends has been immensely beneficial to her success in the MBA program.

Chat with Tori on Unibuddy
Read Tori’s recent post: Funding Your Future: How to Find the Right Financial Aid For You

Prateek Sharma, MS in Business Analytics '24
Prateek Sharma, MS in Business Analytics ’24

Prateek, originally hailing from Kurukshetra, a city near New Delhi, India, is a versatile individual with a unique blend of experiences and skills. With a background in Information Technology and eight years of expertise in the field of digital marketing, his last professional role was as a Digital Marketing Manager for a software company based in India. In this role, he successfully crafted online strategies, optimized user experiences, and drove growth through digital platforms.  

Currently pursuing a Master’s in Business Analytics at UB, Prateek is an enthusiastic explorer, constantly seeking new adventures and embracing challenges. Beyond his professional journey, Prateek is a true lover of books, art, and meaningful conversations. He strongly believes in the power of kindness and the magic of a smile to bridge cultural gaps. As an international student himself, he understands the excitement and challenges that newcomers may face and is dedicated to assisting prospective students in navigating their academic and campus life choices at UB.

Chat with Prateek on Unibuddy
Read Prateek’s recent post: Summer Start = Success

Sarah Sauer, MBA '25
Sarah Sauer, MBA ’25

Sarah is a Buffalo native who graduated from UB with a BS in Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and International Business. During her undergraduate program, Sarah worked with UB’s Blackstone LaunchPad and had the opportunity to design and lead a student elevator pitch competition that promoted female entrepreneurs on campus. This internship fueled a passion for involvement with Buffalo’s startup community which led Sarah to intern with 43 North, a startup accelerator. Sarah also worked as New Era Cap’s Treasury Intern where she created and implemented a global cash forecasting mechanism using Tableau. Sarah is a TA for Corporation Finance and Fundamentals of Strategic Management for undergraduate students. She hopes to build her leadership skills and continue to gain the expertise related to a successful career in business while pursuing her MBA.  

Sarah loves traveling and is passionate about integrating travel with meaningful learning. She sailed on Semester at Sea’s Spring 2022 Voyage where she lived on a cruise ship for four months with 400 college students from around the world and traveled to 12 countries over the course of a semester. She also participated in UB’s International Business in Singapore program, which involved collaboration with students at the Singapore Institute of Management on various consulting projects for both US-based and Singapore-based companies founded by UB alumni. In her free time, Sarah loves to spin at Revolution Buffalo.

Chat with Sarah on Unibuddy
Read Sarah’s recent post: Course Review: International Business in Singapore

Graciana Truesdale, MS in Accounting '24
Graciana Truesdale, MS in Accounting ’24

Grace was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. She grew up as the youngest of five siblings with an older brother and triplet sisters all over a decade older than her. As she grew up, she was surrounded by animals ranging from dogs and snakes to birds and fish. She was also surrounded by art and creative influences. With this upbringing, it was expected that she earned a bachelor’s degree in studio art from the University at Buffalo. What was unexpected was that she also earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting. During her undergraduate program, Grace also worked part-time at Wegmans Food Markets. Not only did she get to improve her customer service skills, but she also had the opportunity to try working in different departments. These opportunities led to her developing a love for accounting. Immediately after this discovery, Grace decided to take on a bachelor’s degree in accounting and has plans to work in the accounting field for the foreseeable future. When she intends to relax, Grace can often be found reading. If she’s not reading, then she’s playing with her dog, Shadow. These activities alongside photography and spending time with her friends allow her to put in her best efforts in her work and academic endeavors.

Chat with Grace on Unibuddy
Read Grace’s recent post: Time Management Tips to Reduce Stress

Joseph Doona, BS/MBA '25
Joseph Doona, BS/MBA ’25

Joseph was born in Franklin Square, New York. He grew up with seven brothers and his parents. He is a 3/2 MBA at the University at Buffalo. During this time, he concentrated in Finance and International Business. During his undergrad, Joseph worked as an accounting and data analytics peer tutor at the Learning, Leadership, and Community Center. This time as a peer tutor inspired him to want to help and mentor younger students at UB. He is now a Teaching Assistant for the undergraduate course, MGS 351. During the summers in Long Island, Joseph worked as a Corporate Finance and Financial Reporting Intern at Omnicom Group. He is now pursing an MBA at UB because he wants to grow his network and build upon his skills in business.

In his free time, Joseph loves to be outdoors. Some of his favorite outdoor activities are hiking, kayaking, going to the beach, and playing sports with friends. He loves to travel and eat food from different countries around the world. Another one of his hobbies is to meet new people. He loves to learn about different people, cultures and backgrounds. Joseph’s goal is to be a strong asset to the UB School of Management and Buffalo as a whole. Feel free to reach out for any advice!

Chat with Joseph on Unibuddy
Read Joseph’s recent post: Why I Chose the 3/2 MBA Program at UB

Yashwanth Raj Penugonda, MS in MIS '24
Yashwanth Raj Penugonda, MS in MIS ’24

Yashwanth was born in the southern region of India, where he spent his early years immersed in the rich cultural traditions of his community. He later moved to the technology hub of Hyderabad, where he completed his schooling and cultivated his interest in engineering. Driven by a lifelong passion for technology, he pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering. This built a strong foundation for his future career ambitions. After graduating, Yashwanth gained valuable experience at leading technology companies such as Tech Mahindra, HCL, and Robert Bosch. Working on critical projects helped him understand the nuances of delivering robust enterprise solutions. However, he soon realized his true calling was in solving ambiguous problems and shaping early-stage products. He pivoted into Product Management, joining an early-stage startup.  

At the startup, Yashwanth played a pivotal role in building both the product and the company from the ground up. He relished the thrill of launching innovative solutions and testing creative ideas. The scrappy environment unleashed his entrepreneurial spirit. He is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science in Management Information Systems at the University at Buffalo. This advanced education is helping him gain valuable skills in data analytics, information systems, and business strategy. Upon graduation, Yashwanth aims to leverage his multifaceted experience and education to continue driving innovation at technology companies. Outside of his academic and professional pursuits, Yashwanth enjoys practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and playing table tennis. These hobbies provide a physical and mental balance to his demanding work. The competitive spirit and camaraderie keep him engaged and energized.

Chat with Yashwanth on Unibuddy
Read Yashwanth’s recent post: Why MIS is Your Product Management Power Move

Kaitlyn He, MBA '24
Kaitlyn He, MBA ’24

Kaitlyn was born in New York City and grew up in Puerto Rico, Hong Kong, and New York. She is the oldest in her family. In 2022, she graduated from the University at Buffalo School of Management with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, making her a first-generation college graduate. She joined the School of Management MBA program shortly afterward to develop her leadership skills. Currently, Kaitlyn is a second-year MBA student, on track to graduate in the Spring of 2024. In her free time, Kaitlyn loves to travel, cook, and exercise. Doing the things that she loves allows her to decompress from school and work.

Chat with Kaitlyn on Unibuddy
Read Kaitlyn’s recent post: MBA Stereotypes: True or False?

Peter Bouris, MBA '24
Peter Bouris, MBA ’24

Peter was born to Greek immigrants in Buffalo and grew up with his parents and much of his extended family. Peter earned his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, majoring in Industrial and Labor Relations. Having ten years’ experience in the workforce, Peter returned for his MBA to improve his skills. He decided to attend UB’ to build his leadership skills and technical abilities. He is also an avid ice hockey fan and former player. He enjoys writing as well as cooking, consistently working to outperform his mother’s culinary feats.

Chat with Peter on Unibuddy
Read Peter’s recent post: Networking at UB as a First-Year MBA Student

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *