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Real Humans of Stanford GSB’s MSx Class of 2020

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Liza Mash Levin, Stanford GSB MSx Class of 2020

Liza Mash Levin, Stanford GSB’s MSx Class of 2020

Age: 31
Hometown: Tel Aviv, Israel
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Tel Aviv University

Pre-MSx Work Experience (years, industry): Senior Product Manager Lead at Microsoft; 12 years of experience in both product and engineering roles, focused on cybersecurity and cloud.

Why business school? Why now?
I believe that we must always be in a state in which we are learning. I love learning and felt that this would be an incredible opportunity to learn about areas I felt I lack knowledge, to get exposure to new industries and to enhance my management and personal skills. In addition, Stanford is known for its focus on entrepreneurship and personal skills – both are areas I’m highly interested in developing and taking to the next step.

Why Stanford MSx? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
There two key factors why I chose Stanford MSx:

  1. Stanford is located in the midst of Silicon Valley. Coming from the tech industry, I know that Stanford’s location would be a great base for me to learn and make meaningful connections.
  2. I loved the idea of a condensed year of classes. I loved the fact that the program offered a combination of highlight of the core classes in business school, which I wanted to learn, and a lot of electives, which gave me the opportunity to focus on entrepreneurship, management, and personal growth.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2020?
I think I bring different perspectives to the class based on my experience and background. I served as an officer in the Israeli Intelligence Unit and I bring years of experience in cybersecurity and emerging technologies.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I’m a big foodie. I love everything about food and love exploring different type of cuisines. My husband and I have so many restaurant recommendations and locations, and we often plan our trips based on the culinary experiences the country has to offer. We often have dinners at home where we cook for our friends.

Post-MSx career interests?
I’m very focused on entrepreneurship as my next career. Post start my own venture or join an early stage startup.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Honesty and authenticity. I wrote what I really felt and believed in, and didn’t think What would the school want to hear?

–One thing you would change or do differently?
I didn’t correctly estimate the volume and intensity as part of the application process. Working on the application along with a high-paced full-time job. In retrospect, I would have started the application process earlier.

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The online application process is so long; I would love to have a shorter version of it. What helped me go through it is that I document everything, so it was fairly easy to trace back my entire employment timeline.

What is your initial impression of Stanford’s students/culture/community?
I’m amazed by the amount of diversity at Stanford. I think that especially in the MSx program with 60% international students. It’s amazing that I’m able to meet different people and cultures around the world. It is fascinating to learn about different countries—both in culture and business perspective.

One thing you have learned about Stanford that has surprised you?
The approachability and openness of the professors. The ability to have coffee or even do a research with such highly accomplished professors who are world leaders in their research is an incredible experience to learn and develop in the areas you want.

In addition, I love the sense of community that has quickly formed. People are open, welcoming and kind, which makes the relocation process much easier.

Thing you are most anxious about this year?
I’m most anxious of how I should spend my time here in terms of focus and balance between classes, business meetings, and social activities. There are so many opportunities out here.

Thing you are most excited about this year?
I’m excited to create meaningful personal and professional relationships. In addition, I’m excited from the variety of courses GSB has to offer to open my mind and gain knowledge—focused on entrepreneurship and personal skills, which I believe the latter is key for any business relationship. 

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.