Junior Finds Her Passion in Music and Marketing


Keeping an open mind to new experiences can help create great memories. (Courtesy of Instagram)

Nikki Estelami, GSB ’24, did not start her college career at Fordham University. Before coming to Fordham for her second semester freshman year, she was in jazz school at McGill University playing the upright bass.

Estelami traded in her bass for a very different route of study at Fordham, a degree in business administration with a  marketing concentration. Estelami explained that she chose to leave McGill for a variety of reasons. During 2020, when she started the program, it was all online. That, coupled with the competitiveness for jobs in the music industry and jazz not being her favorite type of music, Estelami made the choice to leave after one semester.

“The program at McGill was living, breathing and eating jazz. And it was too much. At Fordham I can play the music I want to, which is funny because I’m not in music school anymore,” said Estelami.

However, leaving a highly creative path of study for a more traditional one has posed its challenges for Estelami. As a creative person, she tries as hard as possible to find places in her studies that she is able to express herself. That is actually part of what brought her to marketing in the first place.

“I picked marketing in Gabelli because I felt like out of all the studies in Gabelli, that was the one with the most flexibility and the most room for creativity,” said Estelami. “I’m a visual arts minor as well, and that helps because it plays into marketing as well as my creativity.”

Estelami plans to try to find her own path in the business world, one that can fulfill her creative and musical side as well as her business side.

What I’ve found, especially now that I’m a junior, there’s a lot of job openings for business degrees in creative companies, like publishing houses and music agencies. With business, the plan is just to kind of carve out my own career,” said Estelami.

Since leaving music school, Estelami has not stopped making music. According to Estelami, playing music as a pastime as opposed to playing it for a degree has allowed her to expand her musical abilities. Estelami plays in three bands at Fordham: Just Email, Ed Pines and Room de Dark. And according to Estelami, the bands and getting to know other musicians came about naturally. Just Email was created through a “Battle of the Bands” competition hosted by Fordham, and Ed Pines came about through meeting other bands after Just Email was created last summer.

For Estelami, this music community was important, and it was something that she sought out after transferring.

“I was worried. I remember when I was a freshman, I was like ‘I need to find people who I can play music with, I just came from this institution where I was playing music 24/7 and all of a sudden I’m not playing it all,’” said Estelami.

Estelami and her bands play all around the Fordham area, as well as in Queens and Brooklyn. In addition to off-campus locations, Estelami is no stranger to playing Fordham events on campus. In fact one of her fondest memories with Just Email was playing last year’s Under the Tent dance hosted by the Resident’s Hall Association (RHA).

“Under the Tent was for sure my favorite memory of playing at Fordham. I remember we played ‘Mr. Brightside’ and one other song, and people were singing along to both songs,” said Estelami. “It was awesome to see people that I’ve had classes with or was in RHA with, just singing along. That was the most gratifying experience of my life.”

In addition to seeing all of her peers sing and dance along to their performance, Estelami also felt that Just Email’s performance was one of their best.

Ed Pines also played [at Under the Tent] but for Just Email I left thinking ‘that was our best gig ever,’” said Estelami.

According to Estelami, the community that Fordham music has brought her has been unmatched. It has been a way to keep her musical side alive after leaving music school and has helped her expand her boundaries socially.

“The music community is so supportive. There’s a lot of overlap, but it’s not super competitive or cliquey. I’ve found the more I meet people, the more everyone just wants to jam together,” said Estelami.