WHM 2018 Student spotlight: Samantha Sarkis

Samantha Sarkis
MBA Class of 2018
NYU Military Veterans Club

Can you tell us a little bit about the path that lead you to Stern?

Growing up I played competitive tennis which led to me being recruited by a number of colleges, including the United States Air Force Academy.  The prospect of being able to serve my country, receive a great education, and play tennis all at the same time attracted me to pursue a provisional appointment.  After graduating I was assigned to Boston, MA and served as an Acquisition Program Manager and later as a Recruiting Officer.  I knew that I eventually wanted to transition into the civilian business sector and felt that Stern would provide me with the best opportunity to do so.

Can you tell us a little bit about being your experience being a woman in the military?  

Females make up less than 20% of the active duty force across all military branches. Throughout my time at the Air Force Academy and time in Boston, I definitely noticed a lack of representation of women.  For my first 4 years I was 1 of 2 female military personnel in an office of 30.  Furthermore, there were very few higher-ranking female officers that I could look to as role models or mentors.  I definitely felt pressure since I knew that the work I produced and the way I conformed to standards was a representation of the other women in the military.

Did that entail any specific challenges?  Were you able to find/build a community of women?  

One of the larger challenges I faced was the inability to find a community of women while on Active duty. There were no events or organizations on my military base that brought females together to exchange ideas and support one another. It wasn’t until I separated from the Air Force that I found a small close-knit group of female service academy graduates that helped me realize the power of community. These female veterans were graduates of top business schools and all were doing incredible things in the city. This network helped me to find my first roommate, apartment and job in the city. Most importantly, this network has been my sounding board for professional and personal advice and has helped me find those role models and mentors I was looking for.

How did it help to shape you into the women you are today?

Being surrounded by such a successful group of female veterans has encouraged me to be the best version of myself. There are truly endless professional opportunities in the city and for once in my life, I have examples of women with similar backgrounds I can look up to.  The friendships that I have built over the past few years have led me to reach back to younger female officers to pay it forward and try and give them a community as well.  I hope that we can continue to foster this community and help younger females in the military to navigate their career or their transition into the civilian world.

Leave a Reply

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