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Stern Somebody: Kristin Tablang

The Oppy staff is proud to continue a feature called “Stern Somebody,” telling the stories of remarkable classmates and how they became the exceptional people they are today.

Kristin Tablang is a 2nd-year part-time Langone student specializing in tech product management and marketing. She comes from a background in publishing and spent six years working at Forbes as an assistant editor in the Lifestyle department. She currently works at Hearst at House Beautiful as a Senior Editor. Throughout her career, she’s written for a handful of publications including Forbes, New York Family, AVENUE, Four Seasons Magazine, Urbanette, SmartAsset, What Should We Do, Haute Living, and more.

I met Kristin last fall amidst the weird outdoor situations of starting an MBA during a pandemic and was curious to see how someone with a publishing and editorial background came to attend business school. We met over bowls of vermicelli, outdoors again, just to formally get to know her story.

So, will you write me a poem right here, right now? 

I might need a little bit more time, but you can follow up with me after this interview.

Why are you getting an MBA? 

I knew I wanted to get a Masters degree, and you might think with my background that I would’ve gone to journalism school, but it didn’t make sense to me since it can pigeon-hole you in the journalism industry. An MBA opens up more doors to other industries and to me it was the most versatile degree you can get. I want to bring a creative and artistic element to the business world, whatever I end up doing. You know the whole left brain/right brain thing? Growing up I always considered myself more of a creative right brain, which makes sense given I became a writer/editor, but being in this program has forced me to exercise my more analytical left brain.

I definitely get that. Why Stern in particular?

Stern was the only part-time program that allowed me to stay in New York, where I was actually born and raised. I grew up in Manhattan and still live here today. 

Do you think growing up in New York gives you a different perspective than others in the program?

Definitely, I think I may see things from a different lens.

I won’t stress you out with future plans for now. What got you into journalism? 

Writing has always been my strong suit, and you could call me pedantic about grammar. I’m a huge reader and, growing up, I would edit stories for my peers. So in that regard it’s not surprising I ended up working in publishing. 

Big life goal of yours? 

I want to publish a book someday.

What would it be about?

It’d definitely be fiction, probably a young adult mystery adventure. 

Any cool skills? 

I really enjoy making greeting cards and doing crafts. I also love photography, and am uncannily good at editing food photos. I’ve also played the flute since 3rd grade. Luckily, every school I attended (from elementary through high school) had a great music program, so I never had to take private lessons!

Do you still play today?

Yes, from time to time. I even considered trying out for NYU’s ensemble. 

I can attest to Kristin being an amazing food photographer, as I watch her photograph our bowls of Vietnamese food during this interview.

What’s your favorite story you’ve written and why? 

This article about an American Ballet Theatre ballerina named Stella Abrera — Stella was one of my favorite people to interview — she was super sweet, and her story is incredibly inspiring. I love ballet, and she’s the first Filipino-American principal dancer — being Filipino myself, I’m a huge fan! I also enjoyed writing this piece about a 21-year old CEO of a luxury air travel company

What is your most memorable interview or encounter in your career?

I met Neil Patrick Harris and his husband, David Burtka, at a Capital One event where they led a homemade pasta demonstration. I got a chance to interview them on their favorite spots to dine in New York and tips for entertaining. Funnily enough I ran into them a few weeks later at a press dinner — they ended up sitting at the table right next to mine at the Lambs Club!

Lastly, what do you want to do with your MBA given your background? 

I’m looking to pivot into marketing or product management, but we’ll see where the wind takes me. My best friend and I have talked about starting our own event planning business, so hopefully I can use the skills and knowledge I gain from my MBA experience to help realize that dream one day!

You can find Kristin’s work at House Beautiful or her former work at Forbes.

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