Taking Care of Yourself: Applications Through Graduation

One of the most important things you can do throughout the entire business school journey, truly start to finish, is developing skills to take care of yourself and reflect on the process.  No matter where you are, whether you are just starting to research schools or you are starting with us in May here are some things you can try out.

Reflect, Reflect, Reflect

This year at NYU has truly flown by, it seems like just yesterday I was excited and nervous about moving to NYC.  Now I am on apartment number 2 and graduating in just two months. One of the best things I have done is keeping a gratitude list.  Every night I write down at least 5 things I am grateful for from the day. School goes by quickly and can get stressful and hard, this list kept my mind on what was going right and reminded me why I loved the program.  Doing this every night set a habit of reflecting that served me well in prioritizing my time and energy in this whirlwind. If something was consistently making the gratitude list, like seeing my friends at school, I knew I should make sure I was setting aside time to hang out with people every single day even when I was busy.  If something was never on the list, I knew it was time to drop that commitment. Time is precious, especially in a short program like this, keep track of what is meaningful and what isn’t serving you and adjust accordingly.

No More Zero Days

During this program I have had weeks that were so busy I didn’t think I would see my apartment, a book for fun or the gym ever again.  I realized these always threw me out of whack, which made my work less efficient which in turn just increased the likelihood of this cycle happening again.  I started making the commitment to No More Zero Days of what I need to take care of myself and my body. Yoga is my workout of choice, so on days when a full class isn’t in the cards, I make sure I do just 1 vinyasa at home.  The first step is the hardest so this usually turned into a longer workout, but sometimes it didn’t! I grew this list as I could, I love reading and it calms me down much faster and more effectively than watching TV..  Again, I decided to read just one page a day, which some days turns into multiple chapters, but sometimes is just one page. I encourage you to find 1-3 things that make you feel happy and at peace and aim for just 1 every day. Some days I still hit 0, but on the days I hit just 1 page and 1 vinyasa even if that is all I do, I go to bed much happier and calm.

Professors Who Have Made a Difference: Jack Hanlon

Jack Hanlon

It is easy to only write about the applications and social things going on around at school, My Pick 6, travels with friends.  But I wanted to take the time to talk about part of what makes being on campus amazing, the professors and the classes they teach.

Bio: My first spotlight is on Jack Hanlon, an adjunct professor who spends his days heading up retail analytics at Jet.com.  Professor Hanlon taught Retail Strategy & Analytics, a required course for the Fashion & Luxury Program, during the Fall semester. One look through Professor Hanlon’s Bio (Forbes 30 Under 30, Cofounder Kinetic Social) will tell you he is more than qualified to be spending his Tuesday nights with the FLUX crew.


The Class: More than anything, Retail Strategy & Analytics taught me how to think differently about retail.  Obviously, I am a shopper, and an avid one, so it is easy to view every problem and case study through the view of how I shop.  I made this mistake almost every class and every class Professor Hanlon showed me a new way to examine it. Should a Midwestern supermarket keep dollar deals? Yes, things will fly off the shelf… right into a deficit that will close them down.  (Don’t you dare separate finance and strategy). Does Best Buy have a chance of surviving Amazon? No way. “You could not pay me to shop at Best Buy” said by me just weeks before I started ordering pick up in store items at Best Buy. He proved me wrong time and time again and it felt good to twist my thinking around in circles until I saw what he was trying to show us.


The Difference: Every week we had to write a reflection about the class and our biggest takeaways.  I usually sat after class to write so I wouldn’t forget to turn them in. Without fail Professor Hanlon would check in after class with anyone still sitting to see how we were doing outside of the classroom and how we were learning inside of it.  He was always readily available and giving with his time before and after class to talk through any thoughts we had on a topic. And those reflections I stayed after to write never went unread or unresponded to. Rather, Professor Hanlon wrote a full paragraph back each week to each of us about our reflections.  I never felt like I was doing work just for the sake of work, each item we handed in was read and examined fully.


Professor Hanlon pushed us as a class to learn more but always made sure we were sticking with him in and out of class.

Join a conference committee!

During business school there are a million different things pulling you in all different directions, it is up to you where you put your energy, time and dedication.  One of the most common questions I get from perspectives is what club do I join and in what capacity. Don’t get me wrong, I joined everything I could and dove headfirst into being a Graduate Ambassador (GA), a VP of Knowledge Management for LuxRet and an AVP in SISA, and loved all of them.  However if you could only join one activity, it should be a conference committee and let me tell you why.

1. Concrete Deliverable

Everything I am involved in has different rewards, as a GA watching someone I have talked to through all aspects of application finally get accepted makes my heart soar! But with a conference committee, I get to spend a whole day celebrating and showing off the work I did all year.  I worked on the NYU Social Innovation Symposium, mostly on sponsorship and had the chance to plan and host a panel. I have never felt more pride in a snack room than the one I got to fill with my hard work. (Even if I did accidentally drop and smash a carton of glass bottles at the beginning of the day).  Watching a panel I spent months coordinating go off without a hitch made me giddy. Working on a conference team you get to watch all of your efforts unfold in front of you.

2. Close Friends

A conference team is usually a group of 5-10 that plans together for months to make the conference day happen.  That means you have 5-10 people you are spending a crazy amount of time with, usually once a week for months. We became a team quickly, things go wrong during planning, it is inevitable and working together to fix problems under pressure makes you close quickly.  I can’t tell you how happy we all were after the conference closed. It was a great way to meet people and develop close connections naturally.

3. Explore Your Interests

As part of a conference committee, you are planning panels, workshops, keynotes etc.  Each conference is hosted by a club, for me it was SISA, and you can get more specific with panels. This usually means you get to choose a panel, workshop or keynote to take responsibility for and plan.  I hosted a panel on the circular economy in consumer goods which included fashion brands like VICENZI and Eileen Fischer, as well as Toast Ale and Mobley. Planning this panel gave me the opportunity to meet new people and dive deeper into something I was interested in.  I know more about the circular economy and sustainable initiatives after planning than I would have otherwise.


If you have to be super selective of where you put your time and how you get involved (which you will in a 1-year program) I highly suggest spending that time on a conference planning committee!

What Classes Should You Take?

There is limited space for electives in the Fashion & Luxury program so make sure you use it wisely.  For some that might look like focusing on a specific specialization like Sustainability or Finance. For others, it might be taking as many different classes as possible to gain a wide net of knowledge.  I like to keep my classes organized under three categories, one where I struggle, one where I know I’ll succeed, and one to expand my horizons.


Over the summer we took the courses business courses like strategy, communications, accounting, and finance. For me, and I am sure for many, it was very clear which classes I struggled with and which classes came easily to me.  It would have been the easy choice to spend the rest of the year picking classes that came easily to me and avoiding the classes I didn’t do well in like the plague. However, I came to business school to learn. Finance was a struggle for me and my lowest grade over the summer.  NYU has grade non-disclosure which prevents students from putting their GPA on their resume or companies from asking for it. Grade non-disclosure means I get to learn more and take the classes that I struggle with without worrying about lowering my GPA. I am taking Valuation right now with a beloved finance professor because I know it will be a challenge that pushes me to learn more in an area I struggle with.  I encourage you to pick just one elective for a subject matter you find difficult. Challenge yourself to get better, or at the very least to learn. I am not going to leave Valuation ready to go into finance, but I will leave it with a more in-depth understanding of what seemed daunting before.

Image result for dolly chugh
Professor Dolly Chugh


For many people, the classes you do best in are also the classes that feel the easiest to you.  This does not mean the course is easy or that you are guaranteed an A, but it does usually mean you will be swimming with the current while doing the homework.  For me, Communications and Leadership were my favorite courses over the summer, I loved public speaking and understanding interpersonal interactions in an organization.  So this semester I am taking Developing Managerial Skills with Dolly Chugh. This has easily been one of my favorite classes during my time at Stern, Dolly is a phenomenal teacher and the course work is fun and engaging to me.  I look forward to doing the reading and am usually a few weeks ahead on work in the syllabus because I love it! Make sure you are taking an elective that you love and plays to your strengths.


The last category for selecting classes is expanding your knowledge field.  Stern offers full semester courses and half-semester courses. I like to expand with half-semester courses. For me this looks like taking classes on topics I don’t know a ton about and may never use but want to learn more about.  Right now I am taking Digital Disruption and New Media Marketing, each as half-semester courses to expand my field of understanding. Use these credits to expand on something you have always wanted to learn about but may not be directly relevant to you, maybe it is a class in Business & Law, entrepreneurship, or social issues.  


Spring Break in Israel

The one year program is too short to do a full semester studying abroad, but that hasn’t stopped me from traveling every semester to a new country.  Over the summer break, I went to Croatia with other one year Tech and Fashion MBAs. I spent part of winter break in Mustique and Italy, and just finished my spring break in Israel.  Some of my trips were student organized, Stern offers both “Doing Business In” and “Trek” options for organized travel. DBi’s are more business focused and usually involved class time and a professor.  Treks are organized by different student organizations and meant to allow people to explore a different culture. For my spring break, I chose to go on the Jewish Student Association’s Trek to Israel.

Day 1 – Jerusalem

This first day we did a walking tour of Jerusalem including visiting the Western Wall and the Stations of the Cross. Watching thousands of years of history and worship overlap in a city and holy sites was moving beyond belief.

Day 4 – Masada & Camel Rides

One day we woke before sunrise and hiked to the top of Masada to watch the sunrise, we played the Circle of Life as the sun broke over the mountains.  After the hike, we did a short camel ride in the desert before our next stop. I did not know I was both terrified and allergic to camels until I was on the camel we named Monte Carlo.  

Day 5 – Sea of Galiee

For many Christians, Capernaum is the holiest site, where Jesus’ preaching was first received and he completed miracles.  We got to dip our toes into this holy water after touring the area. It was hard not to feel a deep connection to the water in such a peaceful setting.

Day 8 – Tel-Aviv

After spending the week traveling all around the country from South to North we ended the trip in Tel-Aviv.  We spent time exploring the city, sitting on the beach, and partying for Purim.

Reflecting on Milan

The new semester is already in full swing but before we came back to NYC we got to spend a week in Milan learning about Italian Luxury.  The DBI in Milan was a two-week excursion with the first week on NYU’s campus learning about the basis of Luxury from Thomai Serdari. For the second week, we flew to Milan to learn from a mix of site visits to companies like Montero and Lamborghini and classroom time at Bocconi.  We spent a ton of time learning and the rest of the time exploring and celebrating how far our class has come.


Even though I am in the Fashion and Luxury program, most of my attention had always been in fashion or beauty retail.  I had never really appreciated or understood luxury until learning from Thomai during those two weeks. We started by covering what exactly luxury is; the perfect intersection of philosophy, science, engineering, and design. Followed by how the luxury industry has evolved from open-air markets to our current market.  There is no one who can make the luxury retail space sound more like an enchanting, mystical and beautiful than Thomai. After her lectures, I could fully see the beauty of luxury goods for the first time.


The following week in Italy made these lectures on craftsmanship come to life.  We watched silk printing happen in real time at Montero and took a tour of the Lamborghini factory that made me interested in cars for the first time.  These visits truly encapsulated what craftsmanship means in the modern day.

For me, the visit to Milan was especially meaningful since the first night was my 26th birthday. The FLUX class is small at 27 but large enough that getting a dinner reservation for all of us seemed difficult.  Luckily, our class is full of people with different skills who are willing to help out. A classmate took the lead for me and planned a birthday dinner, found the restaurant, took care of gathering information on who would or wouldn’t make it, found a place to go dancing after, and kept a google calendar invite in check for me. Thanks to her my birthday was perfect, almost all 27 people gathered for dinner and then went dancing with me to American top 40s (which was my one goal for my birthday celebration). I am so grateful that I got to spend my birthday in Milan celebrating with classmates. They even sang Happy Birthday to me in Italian at a site visit earlier that day!

Prepping to Apply to Business School

Everyone has a different process for prepping to apply for business school.  I often get asked how much time should be set aside to prepare for everything from GMATs to essays and full applications, what should I write about, am I connected to fashion enough?  It is easy to feel a little lost and overwhelmed looking at the whole application process so I am going to break it down a little.

First, the process is about you, so don’t feel like you need to stick to any prescribed timeline.  

For me, I found out about the Stern Fashion & Luxury program in August and applied for the November deadline.  I studied for the GMAT every weekend and only took it once before applying. My turnaround time between looking at the application and submitting was only a few months because I knew the moment I saw the program I wanted to join.  One classmate spent a full year talking to people at Stern, from students to administrators, before applying. She spaced out her time for the GMAT, took a class to prepare and took it a few times. That year allowed her to take her time and work through everything as slowly as she wanted.  Both of us got accepted and both of us are thriving here at Stern. Your application is your own process, you know yourself best so don’t get too caught up in what everyone around you is doing.

Second, let some fun seep into the process, it doesn’t have to feel like work.

Applying for business school can be nerve-wracking and stressful, but it doesn’t always have to be.  This is a big step, but it is a fun step too that gives you some space to think about your future. Maybe writing the goals essay was easy as pie for you because you’ve always had a 5-year plan, or maybe it can be your space to think through what you want from a career.  The Pick 6 can be your time to reflect on what you value. While there is a goal to this application, enjoy the journey and wade around the in the self-discovery aspects of your application process.


Third, let your passion shine through!

The Fashion & Luxury Program is a focused program for a reason, everyone is passionate about something under that retail umbrella.  You are going to be surrounded by people who are as enthusiastic about retail and fashion as you are! If you are looking at this program there is probably a reason for it and you should let that excitement come through in your application.  I was a Gender Studies major during my undergraduate degree where I researched makeup and gender presentation. I then worked as a makeup artist before coming to Business School. These aren’t aspects that immediately come to mind when putting together an application, but they do represent what I am passionate about and I wanted that to come through.  Make sure you include what made you excited about this program in the first place!


Choosing Stern

For me, and a few others in my program, the NYU Stern Fashion & Luxury Program was the only program we applied to because we knew it was the only program for us.  For the majority of the class, there were a number of options to pick from for Business School. When you are looking for which program is right for you it is easy to determine the normal strengths like academic rigor, reputation etc, but I didn’t realize the main benefits I got from Stern until I was on campus.  

We all gathered together for Stern Gala

1) Community

Over the summer just the Tech and Fashion & Luxury program are on campus, which for us was a total of about 60 people.  That means for three months you are spending everyday Mon-Thu 9-4:30 with the same 60 people. Within a short period of time, I had a network of people I felt incredibly close with who were all experiencing the same thing as me. My favorite day of the week was Sunday when many of us gathered in the cafe, which come Fall would be full, but over the summer was just us.  We would work on homework together and laugh about what we did over the weekend. It was easy to feel comfortable and at ease with my classmates. The community didn’t end when the Fall started and the cafe filled with other students. Many of us all still sit together to work on homework and giggle and outside of school we still got together for things like Beer Olympics and Friendsgiving.

2) One on One Attention

I’ll admit it, moving to a brand new city, with a new roommate, and starting a new program where I knew no one was a little scary! I came from a non-traditional background and was worried about getting lost during classes or through my career search.  How would anyone on campus even know me when it is always full of people?! What I quickly learned is that at Stern everyone gets special attention. Over the summer we had a number of Office of Career Development (OCD) programming that left me on a first name basis with a number of OCD members.  Another time, we had a special lunch where 3-4 students were paired with two leaders of the Office of Student Engagement (OSE) where we just talked about our life outside of our resume. I learned more about my classmates than I had known before and I felt close with two key people in OSE. When I felt lost about where to go with a problem I reached out to the same OSE members who got back to me within the hour.  I feel known as an individual by almost every office at Stern.

3) Connections

One thing that continues to amaze me is how integrated into the city and industry Stern is.  Our immersions had us talking to C-Suite level employees asking us what we thought of their current business landscape.  The fashion board gave each of us a mentor and an amazing and interesting project for Stern Solutions. The industry is tight-knit and even if Stern didn’t have a connection to a particular company, which is rare, one of my classmates who came from the industry did.  It felt like all the companies that felt so fancy and far away from outside NYC were suddenly all at my fingertips.

Traveling with Sternies

After an intense summer filled with classes, happy hours, and company visits, six other classmates and I decided to go on a REAL vacation to Spain. Prior to coming to business school, I’ve heard from old coworkers and friends that one of the greatest aspects of Stern is the opportunity to travel with classmates.

Step 1: Location

Being in New York City, we had many options to choose from. Some initial ideas ranged from driving down Pacific Coast Highway in California to exploring the Sahara Desert. After a couple days of thinking, we decided on Spain – a place with beautiful beaches, delicious food, and great shopping.

Step 2: Planning

A detailed google spreadsheet was created. We all met up after class one day and planned the itinerary within hours. After identifying the schedule with corresponding dates, we delegated a large but exciting to-do list.

The Fun Part! 


A real football game, shopping, delicious food, long walks on the beach


Sightseeing in 100-degree weather, siesta hours, more food, salsa dancing


Boat cruise, lots of dancing and napping by the beach


Tomato Festival


More sightseeing and exploring this beautiful city

NYC Baby!

I’ve lived in a number of cities in my life: London, Salt Lake City, Chicago, and DC.  No matter where I ended up I was always drawn back home to New York. I grew up in Upstate New York in the Albany area, but my love has always been The Adirondacks, only a short drive away from my parents home.  My heart settles into its place whenever I am surrounded by the peaks and valleys of The Adirondack scenery. So it seemed logical that the next city I dip my toes into should be New York City, close enough to home I can still make it to the Adirondacks but far enough that I felt like I was in a new world.  

Part of choosing Stern was choosing NYC.  Stern directly benefits from the city it is located in, from unparalleled faculty to access to industry leaders. This is especially evident in the Fashion & Luxury program. Where else could you study the business of fashion in the epicenter of where fashion is happening?  I can take a night class with a retail analytics industry leader spending his “spare” time teaching at Stern. I spend my Friday’s with my Stern Solutions fashion client in their downtown headquarters talking about strategy and watching people walk through their store. When this is done I can go shop in midtown at the same Ferragamo store location where I had an immersion session with the CEO and leadership team.  The possibilities are literally endless in NYC when it comes to Fashion & Luxury. Where else could you do site visits with any major store you can think of, usually all in one NYC neighborhood?

The benefits of NYC don’t end with Stern possibilities. It is also a huge part of the Stern culture.  Whenever we want to spend time together as a class we have an enormous number of restaurants, and bars to explore.  If we want to take it easy and enjoy the weather we can meet in Central Park to people watch. When it’s colder we can explore any of the 100 museums in NYC. If for some reason we want something outside of NYC, we are also close to 3 major airports and have taken trips to Spain, Croatia, Mexico, and soon Miami for a change of scenery during the program.  Best of all, our classmates are at most a 30-minute train ride away, while most are walking distance from school.  If we need each other at a moment’s notice, we can be there for each other ASAP.  I can speak from personal experience that I have texted our F&L cohort asking for help carrying something up my 5 story walk up and have immediately gotten responses.  When I need comfort I have friends who bring me a sweater and sit for brunch within a moments notice. Stern Fashion & Luxury provides us with a tight-knit community and big city benefits.


NYC may not have the peaks and valleys I am used to. They aren’t green and changing with the season.  But they are still stunning enough to take my breath away and settle my mind.