Allow Me to Introduce … Part 3

Hey readers! Have you heard of CORE Leader? Did you know a current Sternie amongst us is the CEO and founder of this company?

62% of the Stern student body come to school to work in finance, management consulting, or marketing (official Stern statistics here). The remaining 38% pursue non-traditional industries such as non-profit, entertainment, or technology. But there are the special and very talented few that become entrepreneurs during their time at Stern. I am lucky and honored to not only know one of them, but also to call him a dear friend: Chris Shaw.

Chris Shaw Core Leader

Chris is a current full-time MBA2 and a US Army veteran. During his time in the Army, he was stationed with the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina (just like me!) and is now CEO and founder of his own company.

Evelyn: Hi Chris! Thanks for sharing your story. Can you tell the readers a little about yourself and what you did before Stern?
Chris: I am from Old Chatham, NY, a small town near Albany and went to Cornell University for undergrad. Before Stern, I flew Kiowa Warrior Armed Reconnaissance helicopters in the US Army for eight years. I deployed to Afghanistan twice, where I mostly flew at night, staring into two round, green TV screens one inch from my eyes (AKA night vision) for about 1,000 hours of my life.

E: Wow! You’ve had an amazing military career. When did you realize you had the “entrepreneur bug”?
C: I actually wanted to start my own company before even applying to Stern. In fact, I didn’t know exactly what my business would be, but I knew that the skills from an MBA degree would help me reach that goal.

E: Can you tell the readers a little about your company, CORE Leader?
C: CORE Leader is a team building business. However, unlike most businesses in this category, we do not do “trust falls” or scavenger hunts. Instead, we teach a battle-tested form of dynamic problem solving and reinforce it with a mobile, military-style challenge course. Think “Tough Mudder” meets “Escape the Room”.

E: What are some of your favorite parts about being a CEO, founder, and entrepreneur?
C: I like that I can set my own priorities and focus entirely on what is important to me. I enjoy not only coming up with features of the brand and the product experience, but also testing out new ideas without seeking approval. Finally, I like the feeling of making a sale and knowing that I just made my business more valuable and financially stable.

E: I can only imagine how tough an entrepreneur’s journey is at the beginning. How has Stern supported you as an entrepreneur?
C: Stern has been instrumental to CORE’s success. Besides the knowledge I’ve gained through their classes, the Berkeley Center awarded me a $10,000 fellowship grant to support my work this summer. I couldn’t have asked for better support from the school.

E: What classes at Stern best prepared you for CORE Leader success?
C: I used lessons from every class I took at Stern while starting CORE. A few examples really stand out though. A combination of Accounting and Corporate Finance allowed me to put numbers to the business plan. Brand Strategy helped me understand my personal brand and how I could turn it into a highly differentiated business. Social Problem Based Entrepreneurship walked me through the development of a business plan, which resulted in a solid foundation for the getting the company off the ground.

E: If you had advice for an entrepreneur pursuing an MBA, what would you tell them?
C: Getting an MBA will definitely make you a better entrepreneur, no matter how deep your prior subject matter expertise in your venture’s industry. Every class you take will give you tools to make smarter business decisions as a founder.

E: Okay, time for my favorite part. Evelyn’s Quickfire Attack: KMC elevator or stairs?
C: Oh man. I’m the worst and I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but… sometimes I take the elevator to the 2nd floor!

E: If you want to catch up with a friend: Sosnoff or 4th Floor Starbucks Lounge? (if neither – list where)
C: I like to hang out in the lobby after classes to catch up with people.

E: Finally, what does being an entrepreneur mean to you?
C: Taking on all the risk and reaping the potential reward (or enduring the failure) of a new business. It is a hard path. It can be uncertain and lonely. If it is your calling – if, as Prof. Galloway says “you feel like you just have to do it” in spite of the inevitably bleak risk-adjusted reward possibility – then commit to it and go at it, full force. If you hesitate at all, you will find it very hard to do what it takes to really succeed.

Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Chris! Learn more about CORE Leader here.

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Allow Me to Introduce … Part 2

In honor of Veterans Day this November, I am proud to announce that the Military Veterans Club at Stern will be holding the first ever “NYU Stern Veterans Week” this year. We will have a variety of events for the Stern community such as an MBA veterans Q&A panel where Sternies can ask us about our military experiences, a bootcamp workout session, and a guest speaker event featuring a retired two-star general officer.

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It was an easy decision that my second coffee chat in this blog should be with a fellow MBA veteran here at Stern. To give a fresh perspective to the Stern experience, I sat down with Todd Gardner from Lexington, North Carolina, US Army veteran, and full-time MBA1 student. Todd is currently recruiting for finance after spending the past seven years with the 3rd Special Forces Group out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina (Airborne!).

Evelyn: Hi Todd! Can you tell the readers how you and I first met?
Todd: We initially met at Stern’s Veterans Summit Day for prospective students in 2014. It was a fantastic event!

E: As military vets, our backgrounds are usually quite different than some of our classmates’. What did you do before Stern?
T: Prior to coming to Stern, I was working in the Army as a Special Forces Engineer, also known as a Green Beret. Some highlights of my job were going on three deployments to Afghanistan, becoming the team expert on everything related to explosives, working with some of the most talented and driven individuals I’ve ever met, and frequently jumping out of airplanes and helicopters. Okay, I’m lying about that last one – I always mildly hated it. But other than that, it was truly a dream job.

E: Like many of the blog readers, you were probably considering a few different MBA programs when applying. When did you realize that Stern was the right choice for you?
T: I first visited Stern through the previously mentioned Veteran Summit Day, “A Day in the Life” at Stern organized by the current MBA veterans. The more that I interacted with everyone in the Stern community, the more I realized that Stern really believed in admitting well-rounded students. Stern checked all of the boxes for things I really valued in a business school experience.

E: I know you’re only into your first semester, but what is your favorite class at Stern so far?
T: Foundations of Finance, with Professor Silber, has been my most enjoyable (and probably toughest) class so far. It’s challenging, but interesting, and I think that he’s an outstanding and extremely engaging professor.

E: Now on to the really important questions … Where is your favorite place to grab lunch around Stern?
T: Coming from the South, I was extremely hesitant to move to NYC because of the depressing lack of Chick-fil-A’s in the city. As it turns out, the only one in the entire city is only two blocks away. So yeah, I guess that’s my favorite. (Editor’s note: As of Oct 3, the Chick-fil-A flagship in NYC opened in Midtown. See you in line, Todd!)

E: Complete this sentence “When I have 30 minutes free on campus I like to …”
T: You can usually find me in the school lobby, where it’s nice to run into friends and catch up for a bit between classes.

E: Quick fire question time! KMC elevator or stairs?
T: Stairs, but my cutoff is the 5th floor. If I’m going to the 6th floor or higher, I’m definitely riding the elevator.

E: If you want to catch up with a friend: Sosnoff or 4th Floor Starbucks Lounge? (if neither – list where)
T: Neither. Other people like grabbing coffee, I prefer to grab a beer. Luckily there are a few solid watering holes around Stern that have been great to catch up with friends as well as get some studying done.

E: With Veterans Day coming up, what does being a veteran at Stern mean to you?
T: It means two things to me. First, it’s being a part of a very tight-knit community that is extremely supportive and very diverse. The Stern veterans have such varied background and are some of the most well-rounded people I’ve met. It’s an honor to be a part of the Stern vets community. Second, many of my classmates had never personally known any military veterans, so it has been fun getting to share my military stories and experiences with them. 

Thanks for sharing your story, Todd! And Happy Veterans Day, everyone!

Allow Me to Introduce … Part 1

Hello everyone! September at NYU Stern means … navigating classes, corporate presentations, coffee chats, informational interviews all within the first few weeks of school. What is an MBA student to do during these exhausting and overwhelming times?

Everyone in business is familiar with the concept of a Board of Directors – a body of elected officials who oversee any major decisions of an organization. During my time at Stern, I’m a firm believer in the concept of nurturing a Personal Board of Directors – a group of friends that you can lean on during stressful times, share your excitement with when you get that first interview call-back, and someone to split that Lyft Line carpool fee with when going home after Beer Blast on Thursday nights.

I’d like to introduce everyone to Martin Lynch, a full-time MBA2 student at NYU Stern and one of my dear friends. Go grab a snack and join us in our coffee chat below!

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Above: A picture that perfectly captures my friendship with Martin

Evelyn: Hi Martin! So can you tell the readers how you and I first met?
Martin: We met on the first day of LAUNCH orientation last year. Gosh, it’s hard to picture a time when we didn’t know each other! I knew we had to be friends after seeing your masterpiece crayon drawings during one of the more creative team-building exercises on the second day of school.

E: You were such a great help during some of our group projects together last year. Can you tell me what has been your favorite class at Stern so far?
M: This is a toughie, but if I had to pick one, I’d go with Foundations of Finance with Professor William Silber. On the first day, I was so intimidated by the subject matter and some of his classroom policies. For example, if you’re one minute late, you won’t be allowed in! But by the end of the course, I was totally hypnotized by him, and, surprisingly, also by the theories of finance. He has the most expressive voice of any professor I’ve studied under and he is so dedicated to making sure his students are able to grasp even the most complex financial theories.

E: You’re always walking around the halls with a smile on your face. What’s been your favorite memory at Stern?
M: My favorite memory at Stern so far happened last year when I heard from the Stern administration that they would be installing eleven gender neutral restrooms in KMC. Rachel Hurnyak (Class of 2015) and I approached Neil Rader, NYU Stern Chief Operations Officer, and Janet Lyden, NYU Stern Associate Director, to see if installing one gender neutral bathroom was a possibility. Neil said, “If we’re going to do one, why don’t we do one on every floor?” The turnaround time on this project was remarkable. This experience reaffirmed all the reasons why I chose to come to Stern.

E: As a friend, I know better than to talk to you before you’ve had your coffee. Where is your favorite local coffee spot around Stern?
M: Box Kite Coffee on Avenue A and St. Marks Place. Coming straight from the mouth of a total coffee snob: the coffee there is just ridiculous…ridiculously good!

E: Complete this sentence “When I have 30 minutes free on campus I like to …”
M: Find my friends and shadow them! It’s very exciting how each individual at Stern has so many cool things going on. Whenever I have a free moment, I love to walk around campus and catch up with them. It usually ends up being 30 minutes of me saying, “Oh my gosh” “Whoa” “No way!”

E: Quickfire question time! Getting to class, do you take the school elevator or the stairs?
M: I will never understand how the elevators at KMC work, so I stick to the stairs. My glutes and quads are so thankful for the confusing elevators.

E: If you want to catch up with a friend: Sosnoff or 4th Floor Starbucks Lounge?
M: Neither! I love the alcove in the lobby. It is so much fun to catch up there and also squeeze in some high quality people watching.

E: If you need to study: Stern Quiet Room or Bobst Library?
M: Quiet room for sure. Bobst feels far too overwhelming!

E: Where did you intern this past summer? What did you like the most about it?
M: I interned at a food tech startup, Freshly (www.freshly.com). Prior to Stern, I had worked in larger-sized companies and it was so neat to be able to get exposure to a smaller, more entrepreneurial environment. Also, working at a food company meant a lot of food tastings! I’m now a budding food critic.

Hope everyone enjoyed meeting another fresh voice at Stern! Who will I pick next? What cool story will they have? Stay tuned for my next coffee chat series!

That’s a Wrap! Reflections From My Summer Internship

Happy summer, everyone! Wow, I can’t believe that it has been a year since I moved to New York City to attend NYU Stern. For those of you who have been following my blog posts, you know exactly how much my life has changed since then.

I just wrapped up my summer internship with Showtime Networks a few weeks ago. The company launched their first direct-to-consumer mobile app this summer, which I got to help with. What an incredible moment!

Showtime

Many companies have established summer internship programs for MBA interns and Showtime was no different. We had organized events such as a weekly speaker series, networking breakfasts, and intern summer projects on top of our daily work loads.

For my summer internship project, part of my final recommendation included making revenue projections which were calculated using frameworks that I had learned in my Stern classes. Professor Damodaran from Corporate Finance would be so proud!

Overall, the summer internship is a great way for MBA students to confirm whether or not they can picture themselves at a particular new company or industry. For some, it justifies their career decision and solidifies what they want to do after graduation. For others, their summer internships may have fallen short of expectations.  But NYU Stern and the trusty Office of Career Development will help students recruit again in the fall.

Unfortunately, the entertainment industry does not extend full-time job offers immediately following a summer internship like some of the traditional industries, so I will have to re-recruit in the spring prior to graduation. However, Showtime asked me to return for a part-time internship this fall. I was honored and happy to accept. Wish me luck this fall semester – it will be a busy one!

That Non-Traditional Recruiting Life

Hey everyone!

Today I wanted to share my unique recruiting experience at Stern. For those who haven’t read my past blog posts, I am a career-switcher who has chosen to recruit in a non-traditional industry (entertainment to be exact). “Non-traditional” at Stern is a very broad category that is generously labeled as anything that is not banking, management consulting, or marketing.

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My early adult life in one sentence = I went to high school, went to West Point, and went straight into the military for five years. I had 60 days of freedom between my last day in the Army and my first day at Stern. I knew before LAUNCH that I had a big challenge ahead of me: with zero entertainment experience on my résumé, how could I possibly prove to the entertainment industry that not only was I passionate about the industry, but also qualified to work in it?

Some criteria I gave myself:

1. Leave no stone unturned: Knowing my target industry helped me focus my time and energy. I researched into every area of entertainment in order to whittle down where I found the best fit. When I applied to Stern, I had two companies that I could picture myself working for. 6 months later, when I actually started applying for summer internships, I ended up applying to over 12 different companies.

2. Listen to those that have come before you: Coffee chats with the MBA2s are an amazing way to get an honest and thorough first impression on the industry you want to recruit for. I found that not only do the second-year Sternies offer great advice on how they succeeded, but also gave helpful advice on what they would have done differently if they were in my shoes again.

3. Build a diverse network: I realized early on that my network should not only be comprised of MBA2s (re: #2), but also a variety of Stern alumni and non-Stern connections. There are a number of opportunities to meet Stern alumni in your industry thanks to events and panels hosted by OCD or the school clubs. Networking outside of Stern took more time and effort, but it was a great way for me to get a second-opinion on areas I was doing well in or areas I could improve in.

4. Think outside the box: Besides declaring my academic specialization in Entertainment, Media, and Technology, I found that immersing myself in entertainment during my free time helped me understand the industry better. I attended entertainment conferences around New York City throughout the year (the Stern Entertainment Media and Technology Association is a great resource for these events). Also, in addition to being a full-time MBA1 student, I am a part-time intern this spring at an entertainment media company in order to build some more experience before the summer.

5. Be patient:  By end of January, almost all of the MBA1s recruiting for traditional industries knew where they will be going that upcoming summer. The entertainment industry doesn’t even begin interviewing until February-March. Just because a company had not contacted me by February did not mean that they were not interested. Even with interviews, the recruiting process is not standardized, which can be frustrating because it is hard to compare opportunities. I was getting asked to come in for first-round interviews at Company A the same week that I was going in for final-round interviews at Company B.

And now …  I am excited to share with everyone that I have accepted an offer with Showtime Networks for a summer internship! I am thrilled and so humbled with how everything turned out this spring. I firmly believe that being at NYU Stern was pivotal in successfully landing my summer internship.

Three Months in the Blink of an Eye

Hey everyone! I am going to pull a big blogger faux pas so please don’t hate me. I am consolidating some of my most memorable social and cultural experiences (thus far) from second semester into one post. How easy! How efficient! How “b-school” of me!

– Think Social Drink Local: A student fashion show organized by Stern’s Luxury & Retail Club and Social Enterprise Association. All of the proceeds go to the Stern Social Impact Internship Fund. The fund is a stipend that supports full-time first year MBA students going into summer internships for non-profit organizations who don’t always have the budget to pay their interns. It was a great excuse to get dressed up with my fellow Sternies and see some of our classmates (and our Dean!) walk the runway.

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– Spring Break, India Trek: With our trusty South Asian Business Society trek leaders at the helm (thanks Sameer and Abhay!), I and 30 other classmates traveled to India this March to explore five cities in 10 days. We visited the cities of Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Goa, and Mumbai. The country was just as beautiful as I imagined and the food was even better. We had our fair share of cultural sightseeing (had to get that perfect Taj Mahal Instagram shot), local marketplace shopping, and even got to squeeze in some relaxing beach time. I miss the naan!

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– Passport Day: The Stern Student Government organizes this annual even as a way for the student body to share their country’s diverse background and heritage through serving local cuisines, music, and dance. The girls and guys who performed in the India dance routine stayed up till 11pm practicing one night! It was an impressive event and reminded me of why I love being at Stern, a place that is brimming with culture and collaboration.

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I cannot believe we only have 5 weeks left in the school year! Where has the time gone? Stay tuned for some exciting updates in my next post!

Ellen DeGeneres, is that you?

IMG_3170Happy 2015 everyone! Second semester classes started last week and the winter break seems like a far off memory. However, before my life gets taken over by Corporate Finance, I wanted to share with you guys a cool trip that I participated in last month. I traveled to Los Angeles with the Stern Entertainment Media and Technology Association (EMTA) to check out some of the top media companies and movie studios. It was a great chance to visit these companies in person and receive their corporate presentations. We also got to submit our resume to every company that we visited, so it was a fun and productive trip for those of us interested in pursuing the entertainment business. A snapshot of our trek:

Day 1: Visited NBCUniversal, Netflix, Dreamworks
Day 2: Warner Brothers, BMG Chrysalis, Lionsgate
Day 3: Walt Disney Company, Paramount Pictures

10885230_10100136969678580_5060116032023621507_nSome of these corporate presentations were multi-school events, so we saw a lot of other business school students there (from Wharton to Kellogg to UCLA Anderson). Some of the events were Stern only (Netflix, Dreamworks, Paramount). The Stern-only events were my favorite because they were an amazing opportunity to hear about the company in a more intimate setting. During the corporate presentations, the companies introduced their MBA Summer Internship opportunities and how their application process works.

As I mentioned in my earlier posts, I chose to attend NYU Stern for their world-famous entertainment business program. Going on this Los Angeles trek did not disappoint. If anything, the exposure Stern gives its students to the entertainment industry has exceeded my expectations. Cross your fingers for me as I progress on my summer internship recruiting journey!

Here is the official video of our trip: NYU Stern LA Trek Jan 2015

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Above: The Stern group at Paramount Pictures!

 

What’s In My Bag?

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Hey everyone! For today’s blog post, I will be taking a cue from some of my favorite YouTube stars and their ever-popular “What’s in My Bag?” series.

For those unfamiliar with this concept, I will be going over what exactly I keep in my bag during school and why.

 

 

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  • Backpack (displayed above): Some students prefer purses, tote bags, briefcases, or messenger bags, but I have 4 classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I have to carry around a lot of books that only a backpack could handle
  • Student ID: Badge to enter school and to access some of the graduate student quiet study lounges
  • Nameplate: Stern will issue these to you on the first day of LAUNCH (orientation) and you should display these in front of you in all of your classes so your professors can call on you by name if they need to
  • Financial calculator: My TI-83 graphing calculator from high school wasn’t cutting it in my Foundations of Finance class when I had to solve for IRR (Internal Rate of Return), so I had to get a financial calculator. Very useful for any type of finance class
  • Pencil case: Self-explanatory (you will rarely use your computer in class)
  • Agenda book: I enjoy keeping a hard copy of my calendar because I’m able to quickly jot down notes or ideas during class
  • Phone charger: a MUST in business school. Your phone will always be on WiFi (roaming in no man’s land between the 2nd and 3rd floor), you’ll be checking your email more times than you’d like to admit, and, before you know it, your battery level will be at 43% and it’s only 9:45am!
  • Quick touch-up bag: A few basic makeup items because you forgot you have a corporate presentation that day and don’t have time to go home to freshen up
  • Wallet: For running down to Sosnoff for a quick coffee between classes, for grabbing lunch with classmates, for paying a club trip fee, etc.
  • Water bottle: What better way to stay hydrated than with your nifty Stern water bottle? (also given out during LAUNCH)
  • Not pictured: Laptop – for all of those networking emails, group projects, and research you’ll be squeezing in between classes.

Fall finals are currently underway for all of us at Stern (where did the semester go??) … Wish me luck!

Hello, My Name is …

Hey everyone! Evelyn here, reporting from East Village, NYC! The weather is a brisk 30*F, with wind chills of — oh, sorry, not that kind of report!

This is my first post for the Stern Blog and I am so excited to “meet” everyone! I hope that my point of view may help some of you as you progress in your MBA journey.

Since this is my first post, I wanted to introduce myself properly, share my background, and explain why I came to Stern.

I grew up right outside of Boston, MA. After high school, I decided to attend West Point, which is a 4-year service academy where graduates go straight into the military as Army officers. I spent 5 years in the Army as a communications technology officer. In layman’s terms, my soldiers and I were responsible for making sure everyone we worked with had stable internet and phone connections whether training in the backwoods of North Carolina (Airborne!) or at war in Afghanistan.

When I wasn’t dealing with servers, routers, and parachutes, I was always keeping up with pop culture. Movies, TV shows, celebrity he said/she said headlines, and more. As my military contract was coming to an end, I did some major self-reflection on what I’m truly passionate about in life, what I spend my free time pursuing, and trying to see if there was a business function tied to that industry. Here was the following criteria that I gave myself when selecting an MBA program:

 – Does this MBA program have a strong entertainment-friendly curriculum? (Check! Stern has one of the top Entertainment MBA programs in the country)

  – After 5 years between Texas, Afghanistan, and North Carolina, is this MBA program closer to my family? (Check! NYC – Boston is just a 4 hour bus ride)

 – Is the location somewhere I can see myself having a healthy lively social life? (Check! New York City … Need I explain further?)

 – Do I like the Stern culture? (Check! I visited the campus a few months before my application deadline and fell in love with the friendly study body)

This is not and should not be a universal check list for every MBA applicant. I encourage all of you to make your own personal checklist of priorities and how each and every MBA program measures up against it.

I do not believe in blindly applying to MBA programs just because they top the US News & World Report rankings that year. There is no shoo-in pre-MBA career field, no magic GPA or GMAT score, and no perfect answer to what you want to do after your MBA. Once you figure out what inspires you, then and only then, should you research what schools are a good fit for those goals (and hopefully Stern ends up on that list!)

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! Stern gives us the entire week off for Thanksgiving (+10 points for NYU) so I will be home in Boston enjoying my mom’s Chinese food. Have a great break!