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Stern Singles Presents: Shaina Himelstein

Meet the incredible Shaina! I had the pleasure of meeting Shaina doing Leadership Fellows this last year and have been continuously impressed by the person she is and her humility. I remember the first session of LF and hearing that she worked at Burger King. This idiot (yours truly) thought that she worked AT a Burger King. But no, no, she was in senior management for the corporation of BK, not flipping burgers. She was just so humble about all her incredible life experiences. She is now an MBA2 graduating this month and heading off to work at Meta in Global Operations. While at Stern, she has been a leader both formally and informally. She was the Co-President of OutClass, VP of Knowledge Management for STA, and VP of Professional Networking for JSA. On top of that, she is one of the most fun and social people I’ve come across in the program. She can easily chat about any topic, has a killer sense of humor, and will let this Langoner hang out with her and her posse at Beer Blast. (But will not give into her requests for extra drink tickets…what a moral compass!) I’m not the only one who thinks Shaina is the bee’s knees. Just read these testimonials from MBA2s…

Sternie Testimonials (I asked her friends for a few, and next thing I knew, my inbox was inundated with rave reviews from countless MBA2s! You can stop sending them now, folks. Although, I will miss my morning “We love Shaina” digest.)

She’s already found her Burger King while building a successful career at RBI in Miami – but she needs a Queen for life here in NY following graduation. Shaina is thirty, flirty (?) and thriving. She’s also a good friend, Peruvian-food lover, hot sauce connoisseur, and a slow walker (due to a camel tripping her in the sand in Egypt). Her allegiance to the Mets is also strong, and Shaina is really pretty and witty and gay. DM her before this article blows up, and it’s too late.”

A ringing endorsement if I’ve ever heard one.

“Are you tired of awkward dates? Do you hate having to force conversation? Try dating Shaina Himelstein today! She’s wildly entertaining, can make anyone feel comfortable, and always speaks her mind — which is great because you won’t be left wondering how your date went! You’ll be able to easily tell by the pure joy or earth-shattering disappointment written all over her face.”

Shaina gives new meaning to the word resilient. For instance, she once sprained her ankle taking a jumping photo but didn’t let that stop her from riding a camel just twenty minutes later. Date Shaina if you enjoy adventure and physical therapy!”

No one has ever made a medical boot look so good…

“Shaina is determined, loyal, and authentic. Despite being one of the most involved students in our program, she always makes time for people. She doesn’t let things like global pandemics, freezing New York winters, or sprained ankles get between her and those close to her.”

“Pickle connoisseur, TikTok enthusiast, and all-around funny gal. Three terms that describe Shaina (aka the Burger Queen). Anyone good enough to date her should consider themselves lucky. She’s just at home at a Steelers bar as she is at a Shanghai cocktail lounge. She is inclusive as well as included in all social circles, so your life will never be dull with Shaina Himelstein.”

“Do you like burgers? Well Shaina is the lady for you! Incredibly smart, surprisingly sensitive, and forever loyal, Shaina will shake up your life for the better. She goes through life loving and supporting her friends, and she deserves to be showered in warmth and adoration (or worship) in return. She is my cactus (she needs more water and love than expected) and you would be lucky to go on a date with the burger queen!”

Maybe I wasn’t the only one who originally thought Shaina worked WITH the burgers?

“Shaina is one of the most thoughtful, caring, and loyal friends I know. I always feel incredibly comfortable sharing anything with her. Plus, I heard she pays for everything after one shot of tequila…”

“I have friends in my life that are good to vent about things to, and some that are great to have a beer with, and some that are going to tell me things honestly. Shaina is wonderful because she is all of these things, which I think is incredibly unique. If you’re the type of person that values dimensionality and depth in a person, and someone who can be many things for a friend or partner depending on the situation, Shaina would be an excellent person for you. Sure, she may skew a little hard on her love for The King, but we can forgive that given her ability to be such a supportive and selfless friend.”

Shaina, Shaina, Shaina! What glorious testimonials! How are you feeling after reading them?

I feel really touched to be honest – I couldn’t have ever imagined I’d meet such amazing people who understood me so well during my time at Stern. But I must also take this time to warn all of the readers to never ever jump in the sand – aside from the sprain that never heals, the live photo will now haunt me forever.

Please send me this live photo. I’ve given very limited insight into who you are. Tell the readers all the stuff I missed.

I’m originally from Long Island but haven’t lived in the tri-state area since graduating from high school…until finally coming back for business school a decade later! During my time in undergrad at Cornell, I studied abroad in Shanghai and then decided to move to Miami after graduation, even though I don’t really like the beach or clubbing and I love the winter (rare, I know). After six years in Miami working for RBI (the parent company of Burger King), I finally made it back home to NY. I may have worked at BK corporate but I can still make a mean burger – ask me about how to make a gold standard Whopper sometime!

I spent an entire Friday a month with you for the last year and you have never made me one! What brought you to Stern?

My application claims I wanted to pivot to entertainment, but the real reason I pursued an MBA is that I was afraid of being stuck in the QSR industry forever – I absolutely love restaurants and can see myself returning some day, but I was moving up so quickly and wanted the chance to try something new and work with different types of people before being typecast as the food expert.

As far as why I chose Stern, I loved how the school (and the application process) put so much emphasis on well-rounded, diverse candidates. I wanted to push myself to be more authentically myself and not just focus on school (or work) as I had done before. Plus, I really wanted to live in NYC.

How do you feel about graduating?

Such mixed emotions. On one hand I’m going to miss the flexibility of an MBA schedule, the constant socializing opportunities, and the time to explore anything and everything that interests me. But regular paychecks and a schedule that aligns better with that of my non-Stern family and friends will definitely have its perks.

What were some of the highs and lows of your MBA experience?

Honestly, the entire first semester was a low point – I contracted COVID in June of 2020 and had long hauler symptoms through November of my first semester, which made socializing and recruiting extremely difficult. But I think going through that and being forced to be vulnerable with my new classmates actually led to some of my highs – I truly did meet some of my best friends when I was forced to step out of my comfort zone and ask for help (something that I’m admittedly not great at). Other highs include traveling to some insane places (including planning a 25 person trip to Morocco), being featured on an episode of Stern Chats, meeting some amazing Sternies as an Orientation Leader, and throwing myself a huge 30th birthday party (early 2000s themed, of course) at The Jane Hotel. Reminiscing on the highs is really making me more sad than excited about my upcoming graduation.

What’s the part that surprised you the most?

How much more impactful getting to know my classmates was on my life both personally and professionally than any structured professional development or classes were. And also how much I really love living in NYC.

Nearly everyone mentioned your injury in Egypt. How is your ankle? How is the camel doing?

Thanks for asking! I’m out of the medical boot and doing physical therapy, so we’re thankfully seeing some slow progress. Pretty sure the camel I rode twenty minutes after the injury is living his best life, but I can’t say the same of the camels we rode a week later in Morocco. Fun fact: it was only after an hour of my friend’s camel drooling on my leg that I learned about half of camel drool is actually vomit. Spring Break was truly filled with so many great memories…

You are clearly a person of many talents. What are your favorite passions or hobbies?

When both ankles are working properly I love playing tennis and badminton and recently tried pickleball for the first time. I feel like everyone says they love to travel and try new restaurants but it really is true for me. I also love wine… and beer… and cocktails. I’m also passionate about helping small businesses and entrepreneurs so I’m on the board of a hot sauce start-up which has been a ton of fun. I’m also strangely good at rapping and will never say no to a karaoke night.

Okay, we’ve heard about your amazing qualities. What are you looking for in a partner?

I really value loyalty and kindness, but I’d say passion and wit are the two most important qualities I look for. I find it extremely attractive when someone talks confidently about something they’re really passionate about and it’s an added bonus if they can teach me something new in the process. I’m naturally a really sarcastic person (who also makes a lot of dad jokes) and I’d love to be with someone who can keep the witty banter going back and forth. I guess I also need someone who won’t roll their eyes at my humor – I often say my jokes are “pun in a million.”

Oh, wow. Yeah. That sense of humor is, um, something. What are some deal breakers for you?

Jumping photo enthusiasts need not apply. Okay, but seriously I’d say people who are judgmental or disrespectful – when someone is rude to a waiter it’s hard to come back from that. Also someone who can’t make fun of herself or takes herself too seriously.

Any gnarly dates you want to share with us?

Are my parents going to read this?! I’ll keep it vague – the first and last man I ever went on a date with misrepresented himself in his photos, asked me if I was a Zionist immediately after I mentioned Passover, and then kept trying to get me to go back to his place to watch 50 Shades of Grey together. It was after this date that I decided if I’m going to go on horrible dates they might as well be with the gender I’m attracted to – and now the rest is history!

Oh my, I could see how that experience would put you off the male gender. Since we are very much in the circle of trust, any crushes that you would like to disclose? I mean, we graduate in a week. You’ve nothing to lose! *leans in, ready to hear some groundbreaking secret*

I like a woman who takes charge, so let’s just say my door and DMs are always open. Nice try though, Deirdre!

As a wise man once said, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. What are some of your professional goals?

In the near-term I want to learn more about how the tech world works since every company will eventually be a tech company. Down the road I’d love to be the COO of a medium-sized food-related start-up or could see myself leading turnarounds at portfolio companies at a PE firm. I love solving problems and managing people, so as long as I get to do those two things I’ll be happy.

How do you want to make the world a better place?

On a macro level, I hope that one day I have the status or financial means to make a really big impact whether it be leading a company that does good or backing other companies that are invested in making the world a better place. On a more micro level, I truly believe that if everyone was kind and supportive to a few people in their lives, the entire world would be better off. I personally take advocacy and mentorship in the workplace very seriously and even during my time at Stern have made sure to keep up with mentees at my prior jobs.

Tell me a big bucket list item you have.

Go to all four Grand Slam tennis tournaments at least once.

Time for a sprint to the finish! Give me the first answer that comes to mind.

Favorite book?

Favorite fiction is 7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid; favorite non-fiction is Range by David Epstein.

Go-to drink?

Hendricks martini, dry with olives. Bonus points if they have bleu cheese stuffed olives.

Weirdest quirk?

I can’t fall asleep unless I put on lip balm first.

What are you watching right now?

The Ultimatum – but I promise I just watch, I would never give a marriage ultimatum myself!!

Brittany or Bucky?

Brittany – because if I didn’t choose her she’d haunt me for life.

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Favorite Stern event?

I love a good Beer Blast but I thought MBA Prom was amazing! It was the first time so many of us got dressed up since the pandemic started which was such a strange and special feeling. Plus ending the night dancing in floor length gowns with you and a bunch of confused 22 year olds in jeans at Phebes was perfect in such a hilarious way.

From what I can remember, it was a great night. Favorite place you’ve traveled to?

The Galapagos!

Best class?

Foundations of Entrepreneurship with Glenn Okun

Bad breath or BO?

Neither? But if I must pick, I guess bad breath. There’s no winning with you, Deirdre!

There’s only hard hitting questions here at The Oppy, Shaina! Dogs or cats?

Dogs – my mom will never forgive me for my cat allergies, and I am currently in the process of researching allergy shots.

Instagram or LinkedIn?

I love both, but given my post-grad employment plans I’m going to confidently say Instagram.

Speaking of social media, give us all your handles!

Instagram: @shaina_himel

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shainahimelstein/

Shameless hot sauce plug: @wackysauce

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