Netting Big Goals
As a tennis player in France, Melanie Benyadi (B.F.A. ’17) knew that if she wanted to continue her athletic career in college, she would need to look at American universities. When the assistant coach of NYIT’s women’s tennis team (also a French athlete) reached out to Benyadi, she decided to visit the school. “I really liked the fact that NYIT was close to New York City and also I felt very welcomed,” she says about her first visit to the Long Island campus.
While completing her bachelor’s in communication arts, she realized that she loved problem-solving and figuring out how to approach challenging projects. “I believe that the keys to every project are strong management, budgeting, operating, financing, and accounting skills,” she says.
Benyadi decided she wanted to pursue her education further and began looking into the M.B.A. program at NYIT. “I met with Constance Canning [in the dean’s office in the School of Management] who was wonderful and very helpful,” she says. “Then I met with Professor Diamando Afxintiou, Ph.D., and talked about what the program was like. I was so grateful to them for taking the time with me and patiently answering all of my questions.”
Benyadi admits she didn’t know much about the finance world before she started the program, but it wasn’t the first time she started something from scratch. When she came to the United States for the first time, she spoke very little English. “I actually had to use Google translate to study!” she says.
At NYIT, she’s gained the confidence to take on any project. “I have always believed that the best way to learn and improve my work is by doing it,” she explains. Not only did she learn the basics of management, accounting, and finance in the classroom, she’s also found ways to get experience outside the classroom. This past spring, she participated in the International Emory Global Health Case Competition at Emory University in Atlanta as well as NYIT’s own Corporate Challenge, which asked the management students to solve significant challenges that face today’s hotel industry. Benyadi’s team won.
“In a regular class project, we focus mostly on the class subject,” Benyadi said at the time. “During a company-based project like this, you need to focus on every aspect of the company—marketing, management, process, accounting, finance, engineering, etc.”
The experience left a lasting impact on her. So much so, that she has encouraged her classmates to participate in the program. “I think that every student should participate in at least one [competition] in addition to doing an internship in order to learn how to apply their knowledge to the real world.”