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MS in Business Management and Leadership
Class of 2020
What were some of the most defining aspects of your time at CUNY SPS?
When I decided to apply for my MS, I knew I wanted to stay in the CUNY system. As someone born and raised in the Bronx, staying within the city school system is morally and emotionally critical. All too often, great minds are judged on paper and are flooded out of the spotlight because of preconceived notions about the universities they attend. The CUNY system has brought into the light great minds, great people, and great opportunities. It was important to me to be able to continue to shine my CUNY education on my resume, to assist in ensuring the students within the community are given the proper opportunities for success. During my time at CUNY SPS, I worked alongside some of the most incredible minds I have come to know, all with intriguing inner-city constructed backgrounds. Watching these minds grow together with the strength of a community of similar backgrounds was the aspect of attending CUNY SPS that will stay with me for my lifetime.
What is the best piece of advice, or most important thing you learned at CUNY SPS?
I have always considered myself someone who worked best alone. Personally and professionally, I have always trusted my judgment and my abilities. Leaving responsibilities to others and trusting their work was never a strong characteristic of mine. However, this is essential to being a good leader. Every course I took in my master’s degree program at CUNY SPS involved a group project that encompassed a significant portion of my time and credit for the course. At first, this made me uncomfortable; I realized that the discomfort was an essential step in my leadership development. Instead of monopolizing the workload, I was able to trust the work of my peers. Even further, I found ways that I could make them stronger and that in turn, I could learn from their knowledge and from their strengths. That exchange of energy and trust has been a guiding force in my career since graduation.
Who influenced you the most? Please feel free to include anyone from the CUNY SPS community including faculty, staff, or fellow classmates.
I had an incredible advisor – Trevaugn Bynum-Ortiz. My last semester took place within the beginning phase of COVID, and her support never faded. The entire community at CUNY SPS did not fail, with every professor, advisor, and student making an attempt at smoothing the process. I felt supported and felt the ability to help comfort my fellow peers.
How has your CUNY SPS influenced your current job, and your career overall?
Having my master’s degree from such an easily identifiable institution has afforded me incredible opportunities. Serving as a financial controller for several years, my degree from CUNY SPS has propelled my career forward in a way that would have taken years more to have successfully done without my degree. The CUNY community has followed me for years after graduation, with connections from my studies and connections I have made from platforms like LinkedIn, my CUNY family continues to grow. As the first person to earn a degree in my family, I am exceeding my own career expectations with the knowledge I learned during my studies. The MS in Business Management and Leadership acknowledges its name within its teachings. My abilities as a leader were questioned, challenged, and improved during my time at CUNY SPS. The professors, students, and coursework all work in sync to ensure that my leadership capabilities will continue to be challenged long after my graduation.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
As the leader of the financial department in the companies I have worked for, I have always had a unique position to impact the organization and the lives of those who work within. I chose to study not just business management, but to grab a degree in leadership because it is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. Keeping the department running allows for room in the budget and for a strong voice to ensure that employees are compensated fairly and alongside a progressive moral understanding. Understanding that my team comprises unique and talented human beings that all depend on my leadership motivates me in ways I cannot simply word on paper.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I have continuously worked to improve my education and to jump to the next level in my career. After starting my first CFO role this fall, I am working on a goal of achieving the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation. After, I want to concentrate further on my management and leadership abilities, hopefully earning an SHRM certification. I will continue to work to help change the workplace, with the support of an amazing community at CUNY SPS.
Outside the Classroom
- What show/s are you currently watching? Empire. I am very late to watch, but it is great!
- What is your favorite meal? I grew up surrounded by the half of my family that was Italian, so any Italian dish put in front of me is appreciated.
- What is your favorite line in a movie? “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.” - Bronxtale
- Favorite or most recent book you read? I recently read "Good to Great" by Jim Collins.
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, none, all? LinkedIn: linkedin.com/mwlite/in/kristinsenior; Instagram: @kris.senior
- List 3 things you would bring to a deserted island. I grew up in the Bronx and never camped, so I wouldn’t really know what functional items to bring, but I would certainly bring my wife.