As our two years have come to an end, our fearless leaders Brittany Bui and Bucky Aronoff are stepping down and passing the torch on to their successors. Going to school amid a global pandemic was an MBA experience like no other, and through it all Brittany’s and Bucky’s leadership was inspiring and unparalleled.
If you don’t believe me, here are some testimonials from fellow Sternies who have had the privilege of working with this dynamic duo:
“I didn’t think I would like living under an authoritarian state and I was right. I loved it. Brittany and Bucky ruled with an iron fist. I heard they even appointed a head of propaganda to disseminate rumors about those who threatened the administration. Brittany and Bucky stepped up when times were tough and took on responsibilities that no one would expect to fall on student government. They were compassionate, easily bribable, and opened so many doors for their constituents.”- Jessica Hayt, MBA 2
“Thanks to Bricky for doing the job that we all needed but nobody wanted – both your candidacy and our appreciation were uncontested” – Shaina Himelstein, MBA 2
“Clinton-esque in their efficient leadership, topical scandals, and lack of sexual chemistry, Obama-esque in their popularity, demeanor, and disappearance post-presidency, Bucky and Brittany were everything I could’ve asked for and more.” – Bryan Pfeffer, MBA 1
“When I was growing up, all I wanted was a leader and role model who was strong, capable, and dependable – Brittany and Bucky were none of these things.” – Jon Seaman, MBA 2
“Thank you both for making the most uncertain two years of our lives the best two years of our lives. We could not have asked for a more contrasting duo both physically and emotionally.” – Andy Yang, MBA 2
“Where JFK had the moon, Brit & Bucky had Beer Blast (which was honestly probably harder). Some said it could never be done. Cheers to their tireless leadership in a grueling and mostly thankless job – our class and Stern is better for it.” – Henry Mumford, MBA 2
“Wait, Bucky was president too?”- Qurat Khan, MBA 2
The following interview has been edited for clarity.
So, what made you guys want to become Student government presidents?
Brittany: Our first semester was during COVID. So obviously we wanted to be able to create the community that we expected when we came to business school. And I think that being SGov presidents gave us a lot of ability to do that with planning things like Beer Blast and also alternative events that we had to be flexible with and kind of pivot to because we still dealt with COVID during our first and second year.
Bucky, what about you? How did Brit convince you to run?
Bucky: I was a good friend and wanted to support my OG study group member.
Brittany: I knew that Bucky is the kind of person, even in the first six months of meeting him, that once he commits to something, he would have to do it 100%. No matter how much he hated it. That’s just who he is.
Was this leadership experience better or worse than you expected?
Bucky: I’ll say for me, I had no student government experience prior. I had no idea what to expect and the previous outgoing presidents didn’t really give us the information of what to expect because they didn’t really know since they were in the same environment. So there was all kinds of learning on the fly for me. So yeah, it wasn’t what I expected because I didn’t really know what to expect.
Brittany: I agree. And I think this kind of answers the first question better but I’ve also never had student government experience. So I think this is the first time that I felt like for both of us we could try something without serious real world consequences. This is probably the last time that we could take on a leadership position where we could take risks and try new things. But I think because I had no expectations going in it was definitely a lot harder at times than I thought it would be.
So we talked about how you guys oversaw a very unique term. Obviously with COVID there was no precedent, things were constantly changing. What was the biggest learning curve for you guys?
Bucky: I would say what we had in terms of wiggle room as far as what OSE and the administration would allow within the restrictions we had to operate in. We knew what the legacy events were but given all the restrictions we couldn’t do exactly what was done prior. So figuring out how to push the envelope and still stay within those restrictions and have the best events we possibly could.
Was there something you guys wish you had known sooner?
Brittany: I think for me, I just didn’t know how much administrative and politics was behind everything. Obviously, we’ve both worked in corporations so we’ve had experience but even for something like student government, I don’t think I realized how removed we were from the greater NYU and how much control Stern had versus how much control we had, which at the end of the day was a lot less than what I came in thinking we would have.
Bucky: We only have such a short amount of time as the co-presidents that it’s easy to push things and say okay, like we don’t have time anymore to do this. So prioritizing what we actually wanted to do versus a vague concept of rebuilding the community and actually coming in with specific priorities definitely would have made it a little easier.
So with all those limitations and constantly changing rules, did you feel like you accomplished the goals that you set out in the beginning of the term?
Brittany: We laid out all of our original goals for the two years and I think a lot of them, like he said, we just frankly didn’t have time or the resources to do, especially under COVID restrictions. We wanted to work with like other schools like Columbia and schools actually reached out to us, but we never got to it because our number one goal was building a community for our class. And even with COVID we do honestly have a pretty close community given everything that has happened to our class.
Looking back, what were some highs and lows?
Brittany: I think the high is getting a Beer Blast back.
Bucky: Fall Ball was a high and a low. It was just so much to plan.
Brittany: I think a low was the constantly competing priorities. Like the clubs want something, the administration wants something else and the student government wants something else. We were constantly having to think about how to prioritize. But I feel like all the positives are probably all the social events that we were able to do.
Bucky: Another high for me was knowing that our peers felt comfortable coming to us with personal matters and trusted us to help, given our positions. That’s kind of a good feeling.
Brittany: Yeah I agree. Another one is just getting to know people you probably wouldn’t have the chance to meet. Working with so many different classmates and people in the administration.
What’s next for you guys after Stern?
Bucky: Career politician.
Brittany: I’ll be his Chief of Staff.
Great. What about in this reality?
Brittany: Bucky is going to Citibank in investment banking, and I’m doing brand management at Mondelez.
Any parting words for our class? Reflecting back on not just your term, but also the two years that we just had at Stern?
Bucky: I hope everyone had fun. And if you didn’t, it’s not our fault.
Brittany: I would say that despite the obstacles we were thrown, I feel like we had a really great two years. Probably a better two years than most of the world could say. I think that it was the people who made it that way, our community, and so we thank you.