International experience prepares student for MS program

Ari Gerber, MS '17

Ari Gerber, MS ’17

Ari Gerber’s international background has taken him in some interesting directions.

Born in Toronto, Canada, to a South African father and a British mother, he has studied religion on two continents, worked as a rabbi in South Africa, and launched a business career, which has led him back to North America and his graduate studies at Fordham University.

While rabbinical studies to business may seem like a large leap, Gerber, 26, believes his time at the Central Yeshiva in Toronto and Brooklyn has prepared him well for the Gabelli School.

“It involved a lot of analytical studies, analyzing Jewish law, philosophy, things like that—very mind-opening,” Gerber, an ordained rabbi, said of his religious studies. “It was really enjoyable to go through that.”

Gerber, MS ’17, said that his training taught him to not just accept facts for what they are, but to look at the source of the information as well. That ability to drill down to the basics assisted him when he shifted his focus of study to accounting, which he began pursuing while working for a cosmetics firm in South Africa.

“A couple of months into my work [at the cosmetics company], I started getting more involved with the financial and accounting side of the business,” Gerber said. “I didn’t have that much prior experience. I was slowly learning on the job, and I realized there was a lack of information based on my not having studied anything in that particular field.

That led him to a managerial accounting program, which he enjoyed so much that he decided to attend full-time in the second year. After completing that program, he returned to North America and worked in the travel industry.

That decision led to a desire for a graduate degree in accounting.

While he was researching schools, Gerber met with a number of students at Fordham who talked about the Gabelli School’s small class size, personal interaction with professors, networking and career development.

“That’s when I decided to apply for Fordham,” he said.

Recently, he met again with administrators and staff and left the meeting “highly impressed,” describing a balance between friendliness and professionalism. The school’s new building also was a bonus.

Believing he has made the right decision, Gerber is ready to immerse himself in the Fordham community, getting to know his fellow students, “learning about people coming in from different cultures and different parts of the world and seeing how everyone integrates.”

He is also ready to explore New York.

“I find that there’s a vibrant spirit that permeates the air in New York,” Gerber said. “Everyone is driven and working toward something.”

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