A Designer at Business School – Why Stern? Why FLUX?

There are many posts here on this blog about why students chose Stern and this specific MBA program. Many of these stories have a few things in common about how Stern is great and the opportunities of being in New York and that is all still true even today. What these stories also have are key but subtle differences on why this was important to them. As much as a professional decision it becomes an equally personal one and, here I go adding another statistic to this long list of “Why Stern, Why FLUX.”

As a designer, in what now seems like a past life, I wasn’t thinking of applying to business school. I always knew I wanted to be in New York so my entire research was structured around being in New York. I came to New York on a holiday in 2016 years ago and was visiting design schools to look for a master’s in museum design. Through my many conversations with different schools, one thing everyone asked me was to find patterns in my background and see if there was a central anchor. When I did that self-reflection, I found that Fashion and the very concept of Luxury was something that kept coming up; in my desire to go to design school (instead of engineering or law or medicine), in my choice of studying Exhibition Design (I wanted to design Fashion Show sets and Broadway Stages), in my first job (a Set Designer for fashion events), in my choice to switch teams at Amazon (from selling books to Fashion to Luxury). It now seems obvious to look at when you write it in this sentence, but it took me a while to notice it. This is what brought me to exploring studies in Fashion & Luxury since it was evident that that is what my anchor was. I was speaking to a faculty member at FIT and she recommended I look at Stern.

“But Stern is a Business school,” I thought to myself. “Can I, as a designer really study business? Do I even have the capability to do this?” I spoke to many people, read a few blogs, and stalked LinkedIn profiles. I realized that the whole point of going to a business school is to learn how to study and apply business concepts. If you already know how to manage businesses, why would you come to business school? So, I did open up to the idea of a business school education, and what that would mean for my career. I do feel that something about getting an MBA puts people at an accelerated path on their careers, with more transferable skills, more access to opportunities, and more options. In my experience, MBAs somehow know how to navigate corporations and business structures better than those who don’t. To be honest, it meant I could be a CEO one day and I wasn’t going to let my self-doubt get in the way of that.

So, I booked an appointment at Stern with the Campus Tour group and the Admissions Ambassador took me and a group of other prospective applicants around campus. It sounds cheeky, but I do believe spaces have energies that just sometimes click for certain people. I’m as pragmatic as the next person but this is something I have come to believe. And Stern did that for me. I had been visiting so many schools in the past week but walking into the Stern building, I could see myself studying there. And when you get such a feeling, you try to not ignore it. The campus, the resources, the academic environment all of it was comforting and inspiring in a way I hadn’t expected. Which is what dropped me down a rabbit hole of New York X Stern X MBA X Fashion. I spent the next 2-3 years working on my career, building up skills, and figuring out who I needed to be then to be at Stern later. (More about my application process in a later blog post.)



This was my Why Stern, Why FLUX story. If you’ve read this far (or scrolled down) I’ll reward you with a few bullet points that convinced me that this was the right thing to do:

Why a Focused MBA? Why FLUX?

  1. Shorter – It’s a 1 Year program. You get basically the same education in 1 year instead of 2. After 8 years of working, I did not want to be a student for more than 1 year. The duration of the program was a big pull. Also, 1-year programs are cost effective! Less tuition, only 1 year of living expense, and only 1 year of not getting a salary.
  2. Specialized – It’s very focused like the name suggests. I knew I wanted to be in the Fashion or the Luxury industry and I did not want to be in a classroom studying about, for instance, petrochemical companies and their balance sheets. If I’m going to be studying accounting, it better be for Hermes. And that is exactly what the Focused MBA gives you. You are in a class of 20 other students who all have a similar interest and the professors tailor the course accordingly. If you want to be immersed in the industry you want to work in, do a focused MBA. If you are open to different industries and still exploring what you want to do, go for the 2-Year MBA.
  3. Specific – It’s all about Fashion, Luxury, and related industries. Yes, it is a business program, but it is about business in the context of Fashion and Luxury. If that’s something you want to study and do eventually, you will not find any other program in the western hemisphere like this, I guarantee it.

Why Stern?

  1. IQ + EQ – There is a general notion in the industry that Stern has the nicest, kindest, most helpful, and most collaborative geniuses you will ever come across. It seems statistically impossible, but I am experiencing it first-hand.
  2. Expertise – There is a reason Stern is consistently one of the top-ranked MBAs in the world. It’s not PR or paid advertising. It’s true. A brand name like Stern can open doors and give you access to alumni and opportunities globally and I don’t mean to say that lightly.
  3. Location – Being at the proverbial center of the world has many advantages. Stern is in the middle of the madness of New York and I say that in the best possible way. It puts you in the heart of the industry you want to be in and what more could you ask for from a school.

Why New York?

  1. Because it is the center of fashion and luxury in the Americas.
  2. Because most headquarters of most fashion/luxury brands are in New York. If you want to speak to someone from a certain organization, chances are you will find them in New York.
  3. Because it is New York

This was my story. I hope it helps you write yours!