Transitioning to NYC and Stern from Chicago

When I found out in late March that I was accepted to Stern’s 1 year Fashion and Luxury MBA program, I was absolutely ecstatic. And then it sunk in that I had about one month to move myself (and my boyfriend) from Chicago to New York City, find an apartment, and get settled in before classes started.

The first step in my transition was attending Stern’s MBA Preview Weekend in early April, and I cannot recommend that experience highly enough to all prospective or committed students. It was a wonderful way to meet a majority of my classmates ahead of the first day of school, and I was also able to make connections with students in both the 1 year Tech MBA and 2 year MBA programs. Though it was an intense two days of activities, I can’t stress how nice it was arriving to Stern on the first day of school in May and recognizing friendly faces that I met during Preview Weekend. Secondly, Stern’s Women in Business club (SWiB) hosts their annual conference on the Friday of Preview Weekend, so it was a great opportunity to be part of a club’s signature event and see some really fantastic speakers at the same time.

The third advantage to attending Preview Weekend was being able to apartment hunt without having to buy a second plane ticket for a separate trip. I would definitely recommend using one (or a couple) of the different apartment-search apps available and the resources Stern provides online and doing some research before arriving in New York to set up appointments. Another tip a resident New Yorker gave me was, “Come prepared with all of your application documents and a check book in hand.” Everyone says the New York apartment market moves quickly, and it is certainly true. Good apartments are in high demand, especially in the more attractive neighborhoods, so if you find one that works for you—apply on the spot! It was incredibly helpful to have scanned copies of important documents like my passport and driver’s license ready to hand over to the real estate agent. Also, if your apartment requires a guarantor because you’ll be a full-time student, it’s helpful to give that person a head’s up beforehand  and to have their documents ready to go as well.

After securing an apartment, the next step was preparing to move from Chicago. Though I’m no moving expert, the biggest advice I can give is to not pack more than can fit in your apartment. There is a good chance that wherever you’re moving from, your current apartment is bigger than your future NYC apartment will be — and you don’t want to end up paying to move items you’ll just need to get rid of once you arrive, so enjoy the purge!

Lastly, once I was getting settled in, it was time to start exploring the city. Sign up for all of the free newsletters that detail events happening across the city, and you’ll soon find that there is something happening every day and there is no shortage of unique events to attend. Use these events as excuses to go out with your classmates, to find people with common interests, and to go to events you wouldn’t otherwise attend. It’s a great way to do a lot of cool stuff and bond with your classmates at the same time.

Looking back, I can’t believe that just a few months ago I was furiously searching for an apartment in a completely new city because now it feels like I’ve been here for years. The summer itself went by so quickly, and I believe it’s because I was maximizing every minute by taking advantage of all that New York City has to offer. I certainly enjoyed filling up every day/night with something meaningful, even if that is a quiet run by myself, and I encourage everyone to do the same.