From Neuroscience to American Express: How STEM Prepared This NYU Graduate for a Business Career

NYU alum Celine Shin.

What would you ask an NYU graduate if you had the chance? For instance, you’d probably want to know all about their time at NYU and how it prepared them for the future. I had the chance to do just that with NYU alumna, Celine Shin. Celine is a 2016 graduate of the College of Arts and Science (CAS). Although she graduated with a degree in Neuroscience, she currently works at American Express as a senior manager of strategy and planning. But how did she get from CAS to American Express? Celine shares her story below.

 

What initially drew you to NYU?

NYU has top programs in business, acting, science, and so many other disciplines. I have always had diverse interests. And I knew that NYU would allow me to explore them all at a high standard alongside ambitious classmates. I was also inspired by the alumni base. The community has leaders in every industry and I wanted to join them.

What are some of the experiences inside and outside of the classroom that prepared you for your current role?

Inside the classroom I learned to collaborate with students from different majors on group projects. Working with cross-functional partners is very important in business. And outside of the classroom, I completed a few financial services internships and gained useful knowledge.

How did living in New York City complement your studies?

A few of my courses included experiential aspects such as attending a New York City Ballet performance and visiting an exhibit at The Met. I also was able to complete internships all year round at New York City–based companies, rather than only during the summer.

Can you talk about the support you received from advisers/ faculty/administrators during your time at NYU?

When I had an idea to found a new student organization, I partnered with the Student Government Assembly, faculty, and administration to make it a reality. I won a President Service’s Award for my work and could not have done it without their support. In addition, my professors provided mentorship and support, from giving feedback on my career plans to writing recommendations for my graduate school applications.

What attracted you to business?

I am highly driven by impact and was fascinated by how capital allows businesses to innovate for change.

 

Some folks may look at your undergraduate major and your current role and say that they are completely unrelated. What inspired this shift?

Solving and structuring business challenges require a hypothesis-driven mindset. And this came naturally to me given my science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) background. My research experience and data analysis skills were also transferrable to business where forecasting, creating operational processes, and project management are key skills.

 

What advice do you have for high school students who are thinking about applying to NYU? Any advice for those pursuing a nontraditional path?

If you’re curious about anything, get creative! Ask a professor if you can sit in on a class. Reach out to a current student or NYU graduate on social media. Or send a note to an organization. Nontraditional paths are unintentional. So be open to growth and new experiences, especially ones that help you discover passions.

 

Although the journey from STEM to a career in business might seem like a stretch, Celine’s story is one that rings true for many NYU graduates. And more importantly, it’s a prime example of how NYU students are not limited by their major or concentration. One of the biggest draws of an NYU education is the access to plentiful resources and rich experiences. And as a result, you can leverage your skills and talents to secure the future of your dreams.