February 8, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 40°F


Senior Spotlights: School of Business

Gabrielle Bakkalapulo

Jackie Marusiak/The Ithacan

When cleaning out one of the classrooms in the Dorothy D. and Roy H. Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprises, senior Gabrielle Bakkalapulo, a business administration major with a concentration in finance, came up with an idea for an intercollegiate finance competition.

“My friend and I were cleaning out one of the rooms that Core Trading Consultants have access to, and we found these old clocks,” Bakkalapulo said. “We started talking, and we decided to form a timed competition around it where students pitch their own company and only have a few days to form their analysis.”

Bakkalapulo said she is developing the competition, which she is planning to hold in the coming weeks.

Bakkalapulo also said that her experience with the Core Trading Consultants, a student organization where students can analyze stocks and gain a better understanding of investment management, allowed her to gain the experience needed to get internships and expand the organization.

After graduation, Bakkalapulo will be moving to the Midwest to work within risk management in a finance conglomerate. Although she initially expected to work in New York City after college, she said she was surprised to see how this expectation changed over time while attending the college.

“I think the older you get, the more you start to realize that your job is important and you obviously want to be in a company where you can grow and continue to learn and be challenged all the time, but you want to be happy where you’re at too,” Bakkalapulo said. “I found that I wasn’t happy in New York, so this was a better option for me.”


Savanah Hughes

Jackie Marusiak/The Ithacan

Senior Savanah Hughes, a business administration major with a concentration in marketing, said she has always been interested in fashion. She said that studying business at the college has allowed her to grow an appreciation for the business strategies associated with the fashion industry.

During her sophomore year, she had the opportunity to study abroad in Paris where she was able to study fashion trends and history, along with studying luxury brand management. This helped her get internships within various fashion merchandising companies, like Marc Jacobs.

“Something that stood out to me was just how relevant my coursework here was to actually doing my everyday job,” Hughes said. “For the job, you had to be competent in Excel, and one of the courses in the business school is an analytics and technology course where we get certified in Excel. This definitely helped me a lot because I used it every day.”

Her experience in France also helped her discover her passion for the fashion industry. During her junior year, she participated in the Ithaca College-Cornell University Exchange Program in which she took two classes at Cornell about the history of different fashion movements in Europe and the U.S. and how businesses in the fashion industry are structured.

Hughes currently does not have a job lined up after graduation, but she said that her internships helped her confirm her love for the business side of fashion. She is currently interviewing for merchandising and sales positions within different fashion companies, including Marc Jacobs, where she previously interned.


Alexa Ubeda

Jackie Marusiak/The Ithacan

During her time at Ithaca College, senior Alexa Ubeda, a double major in applied psychology and business administration with a concentration in marketing, said she always struggled to find hair products that were specific to her hair type. This inspired her to create her company, VerseBox, a monthly subscription box that includes skincare, makeup and hair care products designed for women of color.

In Fall 2018, Ubeda presented her business idea to a panel of judges at the college’s annual Startup Idea Demo Day and was awarded $1,000 to establish VerseBox.

“After all the hard work I put into this company, I’m so happy to see it get off the ground and have my efforts pay off,” Ubeda said. “I’ve been working a lot on improving my business plan throughout the semester for the demo day happening soon, which is a lot more competitive, so I’m excited to see how that turns out.”

Along with building her business further, Ubeda plans to move to Florida to be closer to family after graduation and is currently looking for jobs within the marketing analytics field. Though Ubeda initially did not come to the college for the business program, she said she was thankful for where she has ended up because of the meaningful relationships that she formed with her professors throughout her academic career.

“Those connections have been really helpful because I didn’t think I was going to be a business student or connect business and psychology together,” Ubeda said. “If it weren’t for those resources, it probably would have been a lot harder to get to where I am now.”

Hannah Fitzpatrick can be reached at hfitzpatrick@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @HannahFitzpatr7