Finance, Marketing and Taylor Swift

Not many students can start a sentence with, “When I met Arianna Huffington last week,” or “I chatted with Katie Couric yesterday,” nor can they say that they hung around on a rooftop with Taylor Swift to celebrate the launch of the singer’s album release.

In some ways, Zainub Amir ’17 is a typical student. She takes classes, belongs to clubs and jockeys for table space in the Standish living room. She works hard and looks for opportunities. Like many UAlbany students, she was not born with connections. Amir has been uncommonly successful at making connections.

The 21 year old advises, “If you're passionate about something, don't wait for a clear-cut path to be made for you. Make the path yourself."

Amir has done that. Her marketing career began with a twitter account she created when she was 14, @SimplySFans, to highlight the life and music of Taylor Swift. She posted regularly. Two years later, Amir had 20,000 followers when Swift asked her to be an official “fan-bassador.” She was 16.

Since then Amir has parlayed that experience into blogging for the Huffington Post and MTV Voices, the latter focusing on being a Muslim woman in America, and work on the American Music Awards for Dick Clark Productions. Last summer she worked in crisis management public relations for Weber Shadwick. She has interned for Nashville Gab and for the UAlbany marketing department, and appeared on the Today Show for receiving the New York Women in Communications scholarship, an organization she serves on various committees for. She continues her work in the music industry as she live-tweets from the red carpet at music awards nationwide.

Her own path indeed.

Surprisingly, Amir is not a journalism major, nor is she majoring in communications, though she began her college career in that field. She will graduate this spring with a business degree and a dual concentration in finance and marketing.

Though she has a strong social media presence and connections that others would die for, Amir has not limited her career prospects to entertainment. After graduation, she will start work in financial analytics for Bloomberg Media.

This decision came as a result of her interactions with three School of Business alumnae.
Roanne Kulakoff ’81, a retired managing director and partner at Kekst & Co. and director of the UAlbany Foundation, introduced her to colleagues in the communication world and provided Amir, who lives with her parents and commutes to school, with advice on living in New York City.

Richelle Konian ’95, member of the Dean’s Advisory Board and CEO of Careers On The Move, provided her with an internship and for whom Amir continues to consults for on social media.
Amir was awarded the Solotar Family Scholarship, created by Joan Solotar ’86, senior managing director at Blackstone Group, who then mentored her, connected her with Blackstone colleagues and ultimately counseled accept the position at Bloomberg.

Amir said, “It’s like being cross-athlete – it will allow me to grow.”

For now she continues her social media work and like many School of Business students, maintains a side job. Though working a as a head teller for Pioneer Bank does not strictly fit her career goals, she learned something from the opportunity. Amir said that without her teller experience, “I wouldn’t know how to talk to people and understand that you have to be ready for anything. You gain from broader opportunities.”

Connections and opportunities are why Amir is happy she chose UAlbany. Her younger sister will be a freshman at UAlbany this fall. Amir has encouraged her to join the School of Business, telling her, “The world is limitless with career opportunity.”

Amir’s work is highlighted in a UAlbany story and video.

She was interviewed by Elaine Houston for the WNYT Today's Woman series.