Going to School in New York City

Growing up in Shanghai, I have always viewed the city as my second classroom, a place that constantly sparked my curiosity, exposed me to different people and surprised me with new ideas. After living in rural and suburban California for the past 15 years, I was ecstatic when I received my acceptance letter from Stern’s new Fashion & Luxury program. The months leading up to orientation were filled with anticipation. Though I was extremely nervous about moving across the country, I was excited to begin my long-awaited MBA journey and meet my new classmates. After a month of being in school, I’m happy to report that New York City and Stern sure didn’t disappoint! Whether it is spotting the latest fashion trends inside a crowded subway or speaking to a C-suite retail executive about the current market trends, the past month at Stern has been filled with endless opportunities to immerse myself in real-world business and connect ideas outside of textbooks.

As one of the fashion capitals in the worlds, New York City is filled with industry veterans. Every Friday, my classmates and I attend the Fashion & Luxury NYC Immersion, an experiential introduction course that provides a broad context for specific business functions in which we are interested in. This course not only opens doors to experiential learning opportunities but also creates a pathway into various networks, including retail executives in different stages of their careers. Thus far, we have met a number of members on the Fashion & Luxury Council, who will be our mentors for the next year. The hands-on learning is one of the many reasons why I chose to come back to business school. Because the retail industry is rapidly changing, it is critical that we gain real-world experiences while in school. As a recent career switcher from investment management to retail, I arrived at Stern with very limited knowledge of the luxury sector. Through on-site visits to Ferragamo and weekly speaker panels, I have learned so much in the past weeks that is only possible in a city such as New York.

At first, I was worried that going to school in a city like New York would hinder my experience bonding with different classmates. Turns out to be the complete opposite! Whether it’s visiting the latest Heavenly Bodies exhibit at the MET (pictured below) or getting together every Friday for happy hours, I have had so many opportunities to connect with classmates outside of the Stern building.