Top 5 Benefits of NYU Stern’s Location

Hi Everyone! It’s been awhile since my last post and I figured I would use this time to answer a common question that I get: “what are the benefits of NYU’s location?” I could write 10,000 words on this topic, but when you browse the web it seems like everything is now written in list form! I can take a hint internet, so here are my top 5 reasons why Stern’s location in New York City (NYC) gives Stern students a major advantage as they pursue a great MBA experience:

1) Finding a Job

When choosing where to apply I made a list of all the companies I thought I would want to work for. What I found was that the companies were either headquartered near NYC (Pepsi, ESPN, Johson & Johnson) or had huge offices in NYC (Google, Facebook, Unilever). My first semester I recruited heavily for internships and all these companies came to campus for corporate presentations. Additionally, many companies worked with clubs to have more social events like happy hours and “day in the life” events where students travel to their offices and shadow an employee. NYU Stern is a cab or train ride away from so many companies that a majority of my conversations were face to face interactions. Since cultural fit is crucial to most companies, these face to face interactions were far more meaningful than a phone call could have been. Establishing these relationships yielded several internship offers and allowed me to accept Unilever’s because it was the best fit, not because of a lack of alternatives.

2) Conferences

This is really an offshoot of finding a job, but I feel as if conferences warrant their own section. If you are thinking about a career in luxury, retail, entertainment, advertising, technology, non-profits, or early stage startups, a major resource for you to network will be industry conferences. New York City is home to many of the top conferences in these industries and as a student you get a special rate. On top of these industry sponsored events, every club on campus throws fantastic conferences as well with C-Suite executives from Fortune 500 companies.

3) Clinical Faculty

Professors at NYU Stern fall into 2 buckets: adjunct professors whose full-time jobs are as NYU professors and clinical professors who spend their days as leaders of business who teach at night or on weekends. I found that one of my favorite benefits of Stern’s location was our ability to draw top clinical faculty to the school. They have plenty of money from their business success, so the reason they teach is because the love interacting with students. For instance my brand strategy class was taught by Scott Galloway. He founded Prophet brand consulting, founded the gift-giving website Red Envelope, and currently runs L2, a digital marketing think tank. He is an excellent resource who not only helps you look at branding in unique ways, but he is able to weave in current market trends because he’s meeting with people every day discussing their companies’ brand strategies. There are countless examples of phenomenal clinical professors and without our location in New York we simply could not draw in such top tier talent.

4) Guest Speakers

Here is a real life conversation I had with an alumni at the NYU Stern Info Session in Los Angeles before I applied:

Alumni: “Do you know which CEOs come to New York during the year?”

Me: (trying to sound smart) “CEOs of publicly traded companies?”

Alumni: “ALL of them”

This is obviously an exaggeration, but not as big an exaggeration as you may think. CEOs always seem to find themselves in NYC whether it’s for conferences, meetings with top partners, or just to visit a friend. In my Strategy class, we prepared a case about whether Peter Lewis, the founder and CEO of Progressive Insurance should enter a specific market in the 1990s. In class we were surprised when Peter Lewis (at that time Chairman of the Board and sadly now deceased) surprised us in class to talk about his decisions and do 45 minutes of Q&A. My first semester this year I saw Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn), Larry Fink (Blackrock), Dick Costolo (Twitter), and Kevin Byrnes (US Army 4-Star General). These were just a handful of speakers that I saw over my 2 years at Stern. A speaking engagement at Stern was not the primary reason these CEOs were in New York, but we were able to benefit from their wisdom and years of experience because of our proximity to their other engagements.

5) Experiential Learning Opportunities

With so many companies surrounding Stern there are many opportunities to take what you learn in the classroom and apply it outside of school. As a career switcher it was important for me to have actual marketing experience BEFORE my summer internship at Unilever. I chose to get this experience in the Stern Consulting Core, a school-run program that allows students to work on 12 week projects starting their second semester at Stern. My particular project was to assist with the launch of an e-commerce site and at the end of the 12 weeks my team had developed a customer segmentation and digital marketing plan for the company to drive quality site traffic.

The Stern Consulting Core is for course credit and is run by the school, but students can leverage clubs for experiential opportunities as well. The Graduate Marketing Association, Luxury and Retail Club, and the Entrepreneurs Exchange are just three of the clubs on campus with their own consulting opportunities. Students interested in luxury brands often use the Luxury and Retail Clubs long-running partnership with the CFDA to partner with talented designers to build their businesses. Hands-on programs like these provide outstanding building blocks for personal growth and are also excellent bullet points on a resume.

Finally, the location in NYC is perfect for students that want to gain experience by interning throughout the year. Many students who want to dive into an industry (and make a bit of money!) during the school year are able to find internships through the Office of Career Development and through industry clubs. If there is one thing I learned at school it’s the principal of supply vs. demand and part-time internships are definitely skew higher towards supply. With so many options students are able to choose internships with fantastic job descriptions at top companies rather than settling for an internship that may not be exactly what they are looking for.


Although i can list many more reasons New York is fantastic (I could make a separate Top 10 list for social purposes) I will leave you with these five. Good luck with your applications and keep checking back for new posts!

Stern Follies

My best friends and I make fun of each other constantly. When strangers see me with my friends they probably wonder if we even like each other. That is one of the benefits of friendship – being able to poke fun, tease, and even torment someone without them taking it personally. The best part about this is that the better you know someone the better you can do it! When there is mutual love and respect for everyone involved this teasing leads to incredible laughter. That is why I love Stern Follies.

First I should mention that I am one of the co-chairs of Follies, so I am a bit (ok fine… VERY) biased. Second, I should mention what the heck Follies is! Stern Follies is an annual ritual where students put together a variety show of live skits, video submissions, and musical performances that celebrate and lampoon NYU Stern students and faculty. The theme this year, The Torchy Awards, was a faux awards show in which awards were handed out for the Best Reality Show, Best Music Video, and Best Drama. One great element of this years show was the participation of the audience. In true awards show style they all dressed in formal attire.

So who got made fun of this year? First year MBA’s, second year MBA’s, faculty, administrators, other business schools, House of Cards, Breaking Bad, Law & Order, Project Runway, Real Housewives, and me. If you want to see videos you can watch them on YouTube (warning: language can be explicit and there are A LOT of inside jokes). For a quick taste, this video was fantastic and also the only video in which nobody was made fun of:

Ultimately Follies this year was a huge success. People love poking fun of each other, but that is not the main reason Follies is such a hit each year. The best part is seeing your classmates perform and demonstrate creative talents outside of the classroom. The magic lies in rooting for your classmates. It’s a breath of fresh air to take them outside of the classroom and watch them excel in another way. Some people’s skills are known, but far more debut amazing hidden talents at Follies. A few of my best friends at Stern proved themselves to be masterful writers, actors, editors and directors.

A lot of people don’t consider themselves “theater people”. If you are one of these people then buying a ticket to an amateur performance run by business school students probably sounds like your version of hell. However, if there is one piece of advice I can give it’s that you should go to Follies. You will be reminded of all the amazing times you have had over the last year (or two) and are guaranteed to leave with a huge smile on your face.

Block Love

A question I commonly receive is whether being organized into blocks (a group of 70 students that you take core classes with) is a good or bad thing. Frankly I had questions about this as well because I was worried it would limit my ability to meet everyone that I could during my first semester on campus. If business school is about building a network, then why stop me from building that network in the classroom until I am already 25% finished with school?

Those are the questions, but this is the reality: the block system is the best thing that happened to my network.

The most valuable relationships I have at Stern are those with my block. By spending the entire first semester together, I was able to build bonds that were strong and lasted well after we left the core classes to take more specialized electives. Because of the block system I now have friends in Finance, Consulting, Luxury, Technology, Healthcare, etc. that I can safely refer to as my “go-to” people in those fields.

I also developed an especially strong network within my study group. Here is a list with the sex, hometown, job pre-Stern, and job post-Stern of the six members of my study group:

· Male, Los Angeles, sales background, Brand Management at Unilever
· Female, Hawaii, accounting background, Investment Banking at Wells Fargo
· Male, London, accounting background, consulting at Deloitte
· Male, Jamaica, insurance background, Sales & Trading at JP Morgan
· Female, Japan, artist, internal consulting at Samsung
· Male, Peru, corporate finance, investment banking in Peru

If I hadn’t been placed in a study group with these people the odds are that I would not have developed the bonds that I did because none of them take marketing classes with me. We did all our group work together first semester and got along so well that we are still doing group projects together today. This past spring break, four of us decided to go to Costa Rica and rent a house for the week. It was an amazing experience and let me know them even better.

In summation, I went back to school to get a job and build a network. With the strong bonds I have built between my block and my study group I am confident that I am leaving with both.

How a Marketing Student Can Learn Finance

“That was awesome.”

The clock struck noon and Investment Banking was done for the day. We had just spend 90 minutes walking through a series of powerpoint slides titled ‘Investment Grade Public and Private Debt’. Prior to business school just reading that title may have made my head explode. I had zero knowledge of finance and could not have told you the difference between Hedge Funds and Investment Banks. All I knew was that they worked a ton of hours and made a lot of money.

But here I was in my Investment Banking class with a couple of prospective students equally as oblivious to Finance as I had been before I came to NYU Stern. When the lecture was over I turned to one of them and asked her thoughts on the class:

“That was awesome.”

I would normally be skeptical because how could someone really be that enthusiastic about a topic so mundane. But here is the thing… it WAS awesome! The reason is very simple: the person teaching the class was Professor Charles Murphy. A former head of Investment Banking at Credit Suisse, Professor Murphy is funny, engaging, and an amazing teacher. I know he is a great teacher because throughout the first 6 weeks of class this semester I have gone from zero understanding of the financial services industry to a deep understanding of investment banking, private equity, hedge funds, asset management, and how they all work together.

The point of this post is not to pat myself on the back. It is also not to heap praise on Professor Murphy (even though I could spend 3000 words doing it without breaking a sweat). The real point I want to make is that we have phenomenal professors here at NYU Stern. I am a marketer who thought finance was beyond my level of comprehension. What I’ve found is that if you have great professors that you can learn anything.

I stand before the community now as a graduate who feels comfortable talking about finance. This is no small feat and I could not have done it without my professors leading the way. I had the pleasure of speaking with an NYU Board Member recently about NYU Stern. When I asked him why he thought we have had so much success he said “anywhere you go at the top MBA programs you will have great professors, but I think what we have at NYU is Seal Team 6.” They are the Navy’s top operational task force and are the best at what they do. I can’t think of a better comparison for our faculty here and am happy to say that I have grown significantly as a student learning from them.

Goodbye Polar Vortex, Hello SE Asia!

It is the second week back on campus after a 6 week break and all I can think about was what I did over our vacation. The great thing about being a student is that you have a winter break in the first place. While last year my entire break was consumed with preparing for internship interviews in January, this year I had the entire 6 weeks to myself.

I have had many people that I trust tell me about how incredible their vacations to Thailand were. After a long time of listening to them it was my turn to make the trip myself. I voiced my interest this fall and immediately 3 classmates said that they would travel with me. With 6 weeks to kill we decided to start in Thailand and then make our way to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Hong Kong. In total we would travel 23 days and get back to school the day before it starts.

I could go on about what we did in each city but I will focus on the highlights and what I learned on my trip.

  • A speedboat tour of Phan Nga Bay in Thailand had me thinking “this is the most beautiful place I have ever been” multiple times
  • Feeding and riding elephants in Chiang Mai, Thailand made me so happy that I now use it as my “happy place” whenever I am having a bad day.
  • Being in a cage with live tigers makes you appreciate the power of nature
  • You can buy things in Vietnam for cheap… like reaaallllyyyyy cheap
  • I will never forget seeing Angkor Wat temple at sunrise. It’s also mind blowing to realize something so grand was built 1000 years ago
  • Hong Kong feels like NYC but cleaner and more crowded. I don’t know how that’s possible
  • When I go to work as a brand manager I need to figure out how to secure ad space that brands have in Hong Kong. The side of a building ( or an entire subway station ( are options for enormous takeovers.

In conclusion I loved my trip. Even the ridiculous week of jetlag was worth it! Unfortunately playtime is over and I have to think about school once again… except for when I’m thinking about elephants.

My New Priority: Taking Advantage of Access to the C-Suite

Hello everyone!

My name is Jimmy Richardson and I am a second-year MBA student specializing in both marketing and finance. I interned last summer at Unilever as a Brand Management Intern and have officially accepted my offer to go back there next fall. Aside from manning my post as a Graduate Ambassador in the Admissions Office here at NYU Stern, I am also very involved in several clubs on campus. I am the VP of Corporate Relations for the GMA (Graduate Marketing Association) and one of the Co-Presidents of Stern Follies, a massive on-campus production that is part live variety show and part video submissions.

Needless to say I have a lot of interests, which is a problem when you come to Stern and realize just how much there is to do. Between clubs, recruiting, Treks, Stern Consulting Core, and a full course-load I filled my schedule quickly. This meant making sacrifices – specifically when it came to choosing between my numerous commitments and taking an opportunity to sit in on one of the many speaker series provided to students by classes, clubs, and faculty.

Given the location of Stern in New York City there are leaders of business constantly in town and coming to Stern to speak to students. Last year I saw Dick Costolo (CEO of Twitter) speak, but missed out on Larry Fink (CEO of Blackrock), Ann Moore (former CEO of Time Inc.), Millard Drexler (CEO of J. Crew), and Jim Dolan (CEO of Cablevision, Owner New York Rangers & New York Knicks).

As an NYU student I have constant access to business leaders of this caliber, but that window is closing fast. This year I have made seeing these speakers a priority and I am so glad that I did. I have seen Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn CEO), Kevin Byrnes (former 4-Star General), Fred Wilson (Co-Founder Union Square Ventures), Eric Schmidt (Google Executive Chairman, former CEO), and David Maddocks (CMO Cole Haan) speak. All 5 of these speakers were engaging, spoke on interesting subjects, and stayed after to answer questions from the audience.

So finally, a few common threads to come out of these discussions:
1. Culture matters. It’s important that everyone believes in what the organization wants to achieve. If employees stop believing and begin questioning the strategy or motivation of senior management all is lost
2. Innovate! People who take risks will be rewarded
3. One of the most important traits you can have as a leader is to be a good listener.

Thanks for reading and have a happy holiday season! I look forward to blogging again when I get back next year.