How Sternies Helped Me Prepare for Virtual Recruiting

Rizwana Iqbal is a current MBA2 at Stern. Prior to Stern, she was woring with the Government of India to develop the national healthcare innovation commercialization ecosystem. She is a technology enthusiast by profession and singer by heart. Bookworm, fitness freak, self-confessed foodie (and cook!). An explorer and incurable dreamer!

 

 

In my previous blog post, I had written about securing my summer internship through SternWorks. I knew I would have to recruit for a full-time job in the summer, through the pandemic. A lot of companies had stopped recruiting and many outright refused to hire international students. So, I knew I would have to bring my A-game for every coffee chat and interview. There was no place for the second best. However, most of the networking for consulting opportunities actually happens when applying for an internship. I did not know that. So, I was stumped. I had to re-energize my skeleton network and reach out to a few people with whom I had connected quite well during the internship process last fall. I knew this was not going to be enough. I had to hustle. I reconnected, expressed my interests, but most importantly, I did not pressure myself to impress anyone.

To keep my sanity while dealing with the stress of recruiting during the pandemic and being an older candidate, I promised myself that every day I just would keep one foot in front of the other, (ie, network, apply and give my best when called for interviews) but be detached from results. I chose to believe that the job where I would be happy would find me in due time. So, in the meantime, I just had to keep my head down and do what I needed to do, without worrying about the outcome.

Then, one fine day, I got an interview invite for a team, a role and an office that was my top priority. Sternies rallied behind me. Five of my fellow Sternies would take 2-3 hours out of their schedules per week for 4-5 weeks continuously to coach me, so I could succeed. They prepped and prepared me while constantly reminding me that I had a strong personality and should bring forth my humorous side. They gave me the confidence that when I interviewed with the firm, I was not afraid of showing my true self and it also allowed me to be confident. Consequently, when I received the final offer from the firm, I realized that my success was not the mere culmination of my efforts, but so much more. There is no alternative to hard work, but hard work alone is not enough for achieving your goals. Having the right people around you, who support you and to bring out your best self, is critical to one achieving his/her goals. Recruiting through the pandemic made me feel eternally grateful for being a part of the Stern community.

Launching the Stern Venture Thesis

Sam Greene is an MBA2 specializing in finance, business analytics and strategy.  At Stern, he serves as a VP of Mentorship with the Private Equity & Venture Capital Club and VP of Communications with the Entrepreneurship & Start-Up Association in addition to other leadership roles on campus. Sam graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015 with a Bachelor’s in Molecular and Cell Biology.

In my previous blog post, I wrote about failing to secure a summer internship in the fall recruiting process in the first-year of the MBA. I was devastated, but judging a process by an outcome destroys meaning in the process itself.  Failing to secure an internship pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to learn a valuable lesson: while Stern provides structure and access to opportunities, our own individual successes are our own personal responsibilities. 

One of the single most important skills I practiced throughout the MBA is how to network effectively. I think the old adage that you never get what you do not ask for rings particularly true for me. It was only through networking and asking for help that I won the opportunity that made the rest of my internship experience possible. Hustle matters, it is alive and well, and go-getters who spend time learning about others’ careers are better positioned to keep growing in their own careers. It’s this desire to continuously learn and keep growing that informs my goals as a Vice President (VP) on the board of the Private Equity and Venture Capital (PEVC).

In my role as a VP I manage the day-to-day execution of the venture capital recruiting track at NYU Stern. In only its second year, the VC recruiting track seeks to prepare students for careers in venture capital.  In years past, the person in my role was tasked with running a mentorship program that pairs MBA students with VC alumni to help and students network there way into internships. In theory, the program should have helped drive performance in recruiting statistics but in practice, this did not happen. Very few, if any students, converted their mentor-mentee relationships into summer internships in venture capital. If we are measuring the program’s success by the number of students that participated in the program and subsequently interned in venture capital the following summer, the program was a failure. But at least it failed fast and the experience taught us how to build something better!

In the spring, while transitioning into the VP role, I hopped on calls to distill feedback from the ten VCs and the ten students that participated in the mentorship program. I learned something very interesting. Almost all the VCs and students independently identified the same problem with the program: there was not a clear ‘ask’ for either the mentors or the mentees. VC mentors, while excited to help, were not clear on the purpose of the program. MBA students, while eager to learn, did not know where to start in their recruiting process. In a way, the relationship was a non-starter; there was no value-creating deliverable driving the process forward. In order to build a successful VC career track we needed to be clear on the mission and purpose of the program: to best prepare students to recruit, interview and secure Venture Capital internships.

I went back to the drawing board after my summer internship and started chatting with classmates to understand the DNA of the VC recruiting process better. I learned that one of the drivers for a successful recruiting process is delivering a well-researched investment thesis to funds. Chain, my classmate and a first-year MBA, coincidentally, had developed a program to help him and some classmates recruit for VC the previous fall. His program paired four MBA students with four VCs to develop investment theses over the course of an academic year. In the end, two students secured internships in VC, one already signed for an internship in Investment Banking and the other recruited for start-ups. A 50% success rate among the students participating in the program.

In partnership with Chain, we launched the Stern Venture Thesis program four months ago. Stern Venture Thesis was a synthesis of the legacy mentorship program inherited by PEVC and the thesis program that Chain created from 0 to 1. Chain’s thesis program succeeds in defining a clear ‘ask,’ an investment thesis produced in April at the end of the first-year of the MBA program. The mentorship program brings size and scope, with over a hundred alumni in the network and over fifty actively engaging with the club. I spent the end of the summer and beginning of the fall growing the supply by marketing the program to the alumni in the mentorship network. Our marketing effort yielded fourteen interested VCs by the time applications for the program launched in early October. On the demand side, word-of-mouth and digital marketing on CampusGroups drove over 50 students to attend our kick-off event in October. From the 50 students who attended, 17 applied to the program and 7 were selected to participate based on their interviews and interest in recruiting for venture capital. As of now, the MBAs are paired with thesis advisors at leading funds including Greylock, Company and 500startups based on mutual interests in topics. Our topics this year range from IoT, cybersecurity and developer tools to e-commerce enabled gen-z market-places.

I’m super excited to continue networking with alumni to grow my own network but even more excited about deepening Stern’s connection with its alumni through mutually-beneficial programs that give ownership to students and value to VCs

Looking forward, me and my team will be building out a website to host the final deliverables and clearly lay out a timeline for the program in 2021 – 2022. Aleksija and Alec are transitioning from their roles as AVPs to VPs and beginning to make introductions to alumni in the network. In an effort to strengthen our partnership with the undergraduate program, we are having conversations with the Stern Venture Society, essentially the undergraduate equivalent of the PEVC club, to plan a venture capital competition in the spring and provide more educational programming to both clubs. Lastly, in partnership with ESA, we are planning some VC panels in February to bring back alumni to Stern and partner with affinity clubs such as JSA, AHBBS and SWIB. Exciting things are happening at Stern in VC and I’m excited to be helping shape the future of the club and Stern presence in the venture capital community.

How the Leadership Fellows Program Helped Me Grow

Ketriel Mendy is an MBA2 at NYU Stern, specializing in Finance and Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Prior to Stern, he worked as a Senior Business Analyst at Chewy.com. In Addition, he served in the United States Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer across the Pacific. As a first-generation immigrant, Ketriel is President of the Stern in Africa club. In the summer of 2020, Ketriel worked in the Product Strategy and Merchandising group at Allbirds. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Tulane University. 

The first time that I heard that I should do Leadership Fellows was in a conversation with MBA2 who was my teaching fellow as talked through an issue with my peers. She told me that Leadership Fellows was the sort of opportunity that I “might be into”. She was absolutely right. Leadership Fellows has been the forum I was looking for in terms of how to dig in deep with people in terms of how to cultivate ourselves as individuals, members of society, and ultimately, leaders. I can say without reservation that this is the most consequential thing that I believe that I’m doing in my second year. 

Over the course of 2020, uncertainty, ambiguity, and leadership are weighing on us daily as we navigate a global pandemic, social turmoil, shifting economic and political fortunes, and a myriad of personal challenges. Leadership Fellows has helped my formulate my values into a plan of attack and a means to have impact beyond the balance sheet.

This is especially meaningful for me because you’re not doing it alone. My cohort, Tribeca, is filled with another dozen humans that this process is just as important to. What’s been fascinating for me is reflecting on my own journey and contrasting that with others and seeing the universal themes that appear. We all have worries. We all have concerns about our impact in the future of the world. Even in the domains where we are judged as excellent by others, we still have our own doubts. Being able to speak openly and candidly about the things that we are unsure about allows you to examine yourself an entirely new light. In this year where we cannot responsibly see the world as we might in a traditional times, focusing on personal development has provided a rich vein of inquiry to mine. 

When I was making my decisions about what I wanted to be exposed to in order to evolve as a leader, I couldn’t have designed a better programming in a lab. Together with my cohort, I’m excited about the journey of development through the next of the year and what we’ll be able to learn about ourselves and each other.  I can’t wait to get to work.

My Experience in the Leadership Fellows Program

Emily Glaser is an MBA2 at NYU Stern. Prior to Stern, she spent four years at Restaurant Brands International in communications and marketing for the Burger King brand. At Stern, Emily serves on Student Government and the Graduate Marketing Association. She loves dogs, musical theater, and hiking.

 

 

 

One of the things that drew me to Stern for my MBA was the school’s focus on EQ + IQ. Stern looks to not only educate intellectually exceptional students, but to also challenge your thinking and develop you personally. Stern is looking to produce leaders who are not only smart, but able to adapt to and understand change. I loved the idea of a school that focused on the whole person and their impact on others, rather than solely their achievements on paper.

A great example of this focus is the Leadership Fellows program. Leadership Fellows is a selective yearlong mentorship program, which aims to develop both personal and professional skills through reflection and storytelling activities, one-on-one coaching sessions, and small-cohort roundtable discussions. We meet as a group monthly to go over our most recent reflections and share our life stories – we share experiences of loss, hardship, achievement and growth. We share where we want to go and who we want to be in the future, as well as how we plan to get there. Through the Leadership Fellows program, we work to improve our self-awareness and active listening skills, and to develop actionable plans for achieving our personal goals. It’s an extremely vulnerable but enriching environment where we can both challenge and encourage each other constantly.

One of the best aspects of the program is the small cohorts we’re assigned to for the duration of the year – each is comprised of individuals from highly diverse personal and professional backgrounds, so we benefit from the wisdom of others with vastly different experiences from our own. My cohort of 12 students consists of a former teacher, a future lawyer, a first-generation college student, several international students, a part-time Langone student, marketers, consultants, and of course others. Because we’re all so different, we’re able to ask each other questions and offer perspectives we may not have otherwise considered. We develop deep relationships and foster incredible trust through our activities, an ultimately learn and grow together. 

Another key benefit of the Leadership Fellows program is our monthly meetings with current and former changemakers across many different industries; we have intimate access to business leaders who have seen it all and can now tell us about what they’ve learned along the way. This fall, we’ve had the pleasure to meet with the interim CEO of Patagonia as well as the former CEO of Chase Card Services, both of whom led their organizations through times of immense change and needed to inspire others to achieve big goals. Our speakers talk to us about risks they’ve taken, decisions they’ve had to make, and how they’ve dealt with both successes and failures throughout their careers. No question is off the table when we meet with these amazing individuals. 

Through these deep conversations and ongoing discussions of goals and growth my cohort has become not just a random group of students, but a family of leaders who can call on each other throughout our careers as we continue to learn and grow. Participating in Leadership Fellows has given me the ability to share my past, illustrate my future, and develop the leadership tools and skills to make it a reality.

Course Spotlight: Tech Innovation Strategy

Michael Graf is an MBA2 who spent his summer internship at Facebook. Prior to Stern, he worked at J.P. Morgan Chase as a Reputation Risk Associate. He serves as Co-President of OutClass, an Orientation Leader, a Leadership Fellow, and a Graduate Ambassador. Michael is working towards specializations in Strategy and Leadership & Change Management. He enjoys crossword puzzles, snowboarding, and reading historical fiction.

This fall, I finally had the opportunity to take one of my favorite classes at Stern, Technology Innovation Strategy. I had been looking forward to learning from Professor Melissa Schilling since I made the bold decision to pursue my post-MBA career in Big Tech. As a career switcher from the financial services industry, I wanted to add new skills to my toolkit to better understand and contribute to the fast-paced changes in the tech sector. I was specifically interested in Professor Schilling’s lectures after I heard her speak on NPR about lessons we can learn from the world’s most famous innovators, from Elon Musk to Albert Einstein and Marie Curie. 

Technology Innovation Strategy is a half-semester class that flies by in six short weeks, so I knew I had to make the most of each three-hour session. Our first class focused on sources of innovation, where we explored some of the serial innovators that Professor Schilling spoke about on NPR. I was excited and surprised to learn that while we aren’t all born with genius, we can make use of certain techniques and management practices to cultivate innovation. Teams that can lower the price of failure when brainstorming ideas and providing autonomy to independent contributors – and even a dose of caffeine – can facilitate creativity and allow us to engage in unstructured thinking. I was inspired to make some small changes in my routine, like setting aside a half hour before tackling a group project to go for a walk to set the stage for associative thinking, and jotted down the big takeaways to carry with me when I return to work full time. 

A later class on technology platforms and dominant designs helped me think critically about decisions made by Facebook’s Gaming team, who I had the opportunity to work with during my summer internship. I learned that certain industries – especially in the technology space, like video games – benefit from a dominant design, a standard that defines the majority of the products in the marketplace. Dominant designs exist because they exhibit increasing returns to adoption, meaning the more a technology is adopted, the more valuable it becomes. In the video game industry, the more users who adopt a certain system, like Nintendo or Xbox, the more likely it is the other users will also adopt that platform. I began to understand why the team spent so much time trying to attract the best and most popular streamers to the platform and investing time in designing tools to incentivize streaming on Facebook, rather than a competitor. The value of Facebook Gaming to users increases with the number of streamers and ultimately the number of other viewers as well. Facebook’s Gaming team thoughtfully went to great lengths to advertise, through headline placement on its website, when a new high-profile streamer had agreed to use the platform. This way, users perceived growth in others adopting the platform, which actually led to increases in adoption.

Not only do I now feel well equipped to understand the strategies behind technology development, but I also feel confident in my ability to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of tech collaboration, deployment and innovation when I return to Facebook as a full-time employee. Professor Schilling’s class equipped me with an academic framework for thoughtfully dissecting the short- and long-term consequences of choosing innovation projects, working quickly or methodically towards a new technology with a partner organization, and even how best to license or trademark advancements. These skills have set me up for success for a career in Big Tech and I can’t wait to put them to use!

What It’s Like to Experience Virtual Recruitment for Consulting

Lanesha Williams is an MBA2 specializing in digital strategy and marketing. Prior to Stern, she worked within Accenture’s federal practice as a technology consulting analyst, helping different government agencies implement and maintain technology systems. At Stern, she serves as the VP of Treks for the Association of Hispanic and Black Business Students. Lanesha graduated from Howard University in 2015 with a B.B.A. in Supply Chain Management.

2020 has been quite an interesting year to be a business school student.  During the spring semester of my first year, things began to take a turn.  We moved to online classes, social events were canceled, and some companies decided to scale back their internship programs.  I was fortunate to have a full internship experience this summer.  Although my experience was completely virtual, I was able to be placed on a retail project at a digital consulting firm.  I thoroughly enjoyed my summer but decided I wanted to explore other job opportunities that were available.  I knew that the recruiting process would be different in the age of COVID-19, but I was willing to adjust and cast my net to see what I could catch.  

As most people interested in consulting are aware, case interviews are a pivotal part of the recruiting process.  Before the pandemic, we had the opportunity to practice casing in person with our classmates.  We had teams and groups that would practice drills together and participate in mock interviews.  The pandemic didn’t stop the collaborative recruiting environment that Stern fosters.  My classmates and I organized virtual meetups where we could practice casing and run through math problems.  Through the Management Consulting Association, I also received exclusive access and discounts to prep websites.  I was even able to take a Consulting Interview Readiness Assessment, which highlighted my strengths and weaknesses when walking through case interviews.  My classmates and MCA club members extended themselves to ensure that I was prepared for the interview season that was quickly approaching.

The second-year recruiting process is much more expedited when compared to the first-year student process.  Companies were not able to come on campus to host events, but they did host multiple information sessions via Zoom.  Stern alumni were also happy to talk to me about their experiences at various companies I was interested in applying to.  This isn’t behavior that was unique to the pandemic; Sternies are always willing to connect if you reach out to them with questions. 

Once I was done attending virtual info sessions, I applied to the companies that were on my shortlist.  Within a few days, employees from each company reached out to me to set up individual calls to chat about the company as well as help me prep for interviews.  These representatives walked me through how their company would be conducting interviews and made sure I was comfortable with the new set up.  They also answered any outstanding questions I had.  These pre-interview touchpoints really made me feel comfortable and confident going in to interview day.

On interview day, I got up and prepared myself as I would for any other interview, minus putting on real pants.  I did some meditation, put on a dress shirt and blazer, set up my ring light, and reviewed my notes one final time.  Each company I interviewed for included some form of online analysis before moving to one-on-one interviews.  Since I had passed those, I was able to move on to the zoom interview rounds.  The interviews were a lot less stressful than I had anticipated.  Interviewers were forgiving of technical glitches.  Some even fielded distractions from kids or pets.  I did have to talk through my cases a bit more since my interviewer couldn’t see my paperwork, but I had no problem doing so.  I ended the day feeling confident and reassured about the entire process.

Recruiting remotely isn’t ideal, but it’s the world we live in right now.  Both Stern and corporations have done a tremendous job adapting to the changing times.  I’m thankful that I was able to go through the process successful and appreciative of all of the resources I had along the way.

Club Activities and Involvement During COVID-19

Asad Farooqi is an MBA2 and spent the summer as a Product Manager at Amazon and will be returning there full-time after graduation. He serves as Co-President of the South Asian Business Association at Stern (SABAS), and holds leadership positions in the Arts, Culture, Cuisine (ACC) and CannaBusiness clubs. He is specializing in Strategy and Product Management.

 

It would be an understatement to say that this fall semester has followed any traditional or expected path. As the new class of MBAs started rolling it, we realized early on that even with a hybrid approach to school-life, we would be making a lot of adjustments not just to how we approached classes and group work, but also in terms of maintaining a bustling roster of club events. Student-run clubs are one of the most rewarding and engaging aspects of the Stern community and preserving their inherent awesomeness and ability to bring people together through shared interests was top-of-mind as the semester began. Being personally involved with a few of the boards (including the South Asian Business Association, CannaBusiness, Arts, Culture, and Cuisine Club), I got a firsthand view into the planning process during this tumultuous time.

There were a couple of significant challenges that popped up as planning continued. The first was our inability to host in-person events given that the city and university guidelines led to limited options. The second factor was the inevitable Zoom-fatigue that has been all-too-common as the semester progressed, which makes participation and engagement less likely. Our respective boards, in conjecture with Student Government and the Office of Student Affairs, formulated several experimental social and professional club-organized events. Some examples of the type of events that we’ve never had before at Stern include virtual speed networking, online cocktail and food preparation courses, and even a digitally-hosted Stern Speaks (where a handful of amazing MBA students share their life stories). As the situation in NYC started getting better in terms of COVID-19, the school administration eased up on certain restrictions that allowed us to plan socially-distant, in-person events to try to bring back a semblance of normalcy to our city routines. That led to hiking trips upstate, food treks in the city, and the occasional picnic in the park. All with masks and ample precautions.

Given the unorthodox start to the semester, especially for the incoming class, the entire administration and second-year class wanted to ensure that the students in the city, and attending classes virtually from all across the world, could still partake in all of the rich business school experiences. While we are all dearly missing out international trips and large gatherings, the spirit of NYU Stern and its sense of community has been strong throughout the past few months. As we wind down the first fully online semester at Stern, our ability to persevere and maintain a bustling social events calendar has been very rewarding. We hope that the next few months allow us to expand on these activities, but the essence of our experiences is still being captured, albeit in a very different fashion.

Maintaining a Strong Community in a Virtual Setting

Kathleen Dillon is an MBA2 at Stern. Prior to business school, she spent six years as an officer in the Coast Guard and two years working for the New York Mets. At Stern, she serves on the board of the Military Veterans Club and the Management Consulting Association. Her academic specializations are Global Business and Business Analytics.

 

 

As I entered my first year at Stern last fall, I knew that business school would be filled with unique experiences and unexpected surprises.  But one thing I definitely did not anticipate was encountering a pandemic during my time in school.

            As the cases of COVID-19 increased in New York City last spring, Stern made the decision in mid-March to move all of our classes online for the remainder of the semester. During spring break, I was also scheduled to take part in Stern’s Doing Business In program in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Unfortunately, the trip was cancelled. Definitely a disappointing turn of events but I certainly understood why Stern had to take these actions.

            Toward the end of the summer, my classmates and I were notified that classes would be conducted in a hybrid environment. Essentially, this meant that some of our classes would be completely in person, some completely online, and others a mix of both. I’m honestly not the best online learner so I’m grateful that Stern was able to allow for some classes to be conducted in person. Out of the five classes I’m taking this fall, two are in person and three are remote. Being inside the business school building for my in-person classes feel very safe as Stern has taken multiple precautions to ensure the safety of the NYU community including biweekly COVID-19 testing of students and faculty as well as mask wearing and social distancing procedures.

            Outside the classroom, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how much I’ve been able to continue building relationships with my classmates! I’ve met with friends in parks and outdoor spaces throughout New York. A few weeks ago, one of our classmates was participating in an endurance run in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. A few of us got together to cheer him on and we even ran a lap of the park with him. Many restaurants and bars in New York have also created outdoor dining spaces and I’ve enjoyed getting to take advantage of outdoor dining before it gets too cold.

            When we began LAUNCH last fall, this certainly wasn’t the business school experience that my classmates and I envisioned for ourselves. And yet I can’t help but be left with a feeling of deep gratitude. So many people’s lives have been completely upended by COVID-19. I’m incredibly grateful that my family and I have remained in good health and that I’ve had the opportunity to continue my education at Stern even if the day-to-day looks a little different than I thought it would when I entered business school last fall.

Summer Internship Series: Stifel

Sam is an MBA2 specializing in finance, business analytics and strategy.  At Stern, he serves as a VP of Mentorship with the Private Equity & Venture Capital Club and VP of Communications with the Entrepreneurship & Start-Up Association in addition to other leadership roles on campus. Sam graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015 with a Bachelor’s in Molecular and Cell Biology.

NYU Stern’s “Summer Internship Series” sheds lights into Sternies’ internships. Posts are written by rising MBA2s who are currently working at their summer internship.

I recruited in the fall with a class of nearly a hundred Stern students for Investment Banking. Unlike most of my classmates, I did not secure my internship offer in the second week of January. After on-campus interviews and final round interviews had finished, I was without an offer and faced with the difficult task of recruiting in the Spring recruiting cycle. Instead of perceiving my process as failed and broken, I stayed positive, doubled down on my interview preparation, invested time in networking and moved forward. In the subsequent weeks, I went through a series of first round and Super Day interviews and in the second week of February was relieved to receive an internship offer at Stifel. 

I started my internship in June and was fortunate to be placed with the group with which I had the most interactions during the recruiting process, the Global Technology Group. The Global Technology Group at Stifel had recently acquired a boutique middle-market technology, Mooreland Partners, that specialized in middle-market technology M&A deals. As a result, the Global Technology Group grew to over 100 investment bankers around the world and significantly enhanced its senior experience across sub-verticals. I sat  (virtually) in New York City, the global headquarters, and worked with colleagues in San Francisco, London, China, Japan, Germany, Brasil and Israel among many other nations. Over the course of the summer, my staffers exposed me to each of the four verticals in the Global Technology Group: Software, Electronics & Industrial Technologies, Tech-Enabled Services and Internet & Digital Media while maximizing my interactions with as many bankers in the group as possible.

One of the amazing parts of my internship was working with over thirty investment bankers in New York City from all levels: first year Analysts through seasoned Managing Directors. I gained exposure to senior leadership across the firm in Consumer Retail, Healthcare, Gaming and Technology through programmed virtual, yet intimate, fireside chats. In these small group settings, the other Summer Associates and I gleaned valuable insights into how many of the senior bankers built their careers – some of them had transitioned from MBAs into Investment Banking themselves. It was a nice way to learn more about the future of the career path and how the responsibilities will increase at each level in Investment Banking.

Overall, I got to see two live sell-side processes, a buy-side process, an endless number of pitches and multiple cross-collaborations between different coverage groups across through firm. It was interesting to observe different stages of the deal process through different deals. For example, one deal showed me how a deal is initiated through an exclusive advisory agreement and management call with the C-suite team while another deal exposed me to a more advanced staged of a deal after a confidential information memorandum (CIM) had been completed and the deal team was going to market. In all, the experience helped me see how deals progress through managing day-to-day transaction execution.  In addition to working on live deals, I worked on client facing marketing material that the group uses to garner interest from investors, sponsors and strategics. I had the opportunity to dig into some interesting sub-verticals in the group including Cyber Security and Enterprise Software to update the materials with the latest market research and competitive analyses. It was an incredibly stimulating and educational experience that showed me the role of Investment Bankers in advising companies on strategic and financial decisions.

While my process was atypical compared with many of my peers and classmates, it taught me a few valuable lessons that I will take with me into the future of my career. For one, struggling to secure an offer instilled in me the importance of perseverance in approaching adversity. It is important to stay positive when working toward a goal and to control what is in one’s control: attitude, preparation and execution. The experience also inculcated in me a deep appreciation for the power of the Stern community and brand. I owe a lifetime of thanks to the alumni, office of career development, MBA2s and my MBA1 peers who provided moral support and constructive feedback throughout the process. I’m thankful to the Stern network, in particular Serena Lu, an ex-Stifel investment banker and Stern graduate who helped me navigate the recruiting process on-campus for Stifel. Lastly, I’m grateful for my friends and family who made the hard work, late nights, early mornings and everything in between worth the challenge and effort.

Summer Internship Series: Kalypso

Lanesha is an MBA2 specializing in digital strategy and marketing.  Prior to Stern, she worked within Accenture’s federal practice as a technology consulting analyst, helping different government agencies implement and maintain technology systems.  At Stern, she serves as the VP of Treks for the Association of Hispanic and Black Business Students. Lanesha graduated from Howard University in 2015 with a B.B.A. in Supply Chain Management.

NYU Stern’s “Summer Internship Series” sheds lights into Sternies’ internships. Posts are written by rising MBA2s who are currently working at their summer internship.

This summer I’m interning at Kalypso, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in digital projects.  I had a unique recruiting experience; I recruited at the Consortium conference last summer and received a couple of offers before starting school.  Prior to signing for my internship, I made it crystal clear what type of work I did and did not want to do.  Pre-Stern I worked for Accenture in their federal practice as a software implementation analyst.  My roles were very tech-heavy and I was intent on trying something different for my internship.  I expressed to the recruiter that I wanted to work on a strategy focused project within the retail sector and they delivered exactly what I asked for.

My client for the summer is a 60-billion-dollar department store and we are helping them launch their digital product creation program.  Instead of having physical clothing samples that are shipped around the world, everything will be created digitally.  It’s actually pretty cool to see a designer’s sketch of a hoodie turned into a 3D creation that looks realistic.

The hardest part of my summer has been to integrate with teams that I haven’t met in person.  My team is close knit and they have built strong relationships with our clients.  It took me a little bit of time to figure out how to best communicate with my team and what unspoken standards existed for deliverables.  I looked at these obstacles as a learning opportunity.  I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to speak up when I was confused, set up virtual one-on-ones to ask questions, and attend zoom happy hours to network with my colleagues.

I’ve been given several different parts of our project to own and have had considerable face to face time with our clients.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the amount of trust my team has in me to execute different tasks – I feel like a full-time employee on our team.  I’ve also been able to be involved in different internal initiatives such as the launch of a new Employee Resource Group and the creation of a recruiting strategy for diverse candidates.

Working remotely was not the vision I had for my summer, but I consider myself blessed to have still had a full 12-week internship experience.  Since I am at home all day long, I’ve had to develop new routines to keep myself focused such as having a dedicated workout schedule, an organized workspace, and a planned-out to-do list for the day.  Although I was looking forward to traveling this summer and racking up the loyalty points, working virtually gives me a glimpse into potential post-COVID changes in the consulting industry.  I think the future consultant lifestyle will still include a significant amount of travel, but there will definitely be more opportunities to work virtually.

I am excited to get back to Stern this fall and hear about the experiences my classmates have had at other consulting firms.  This summer is not what we were expecting, but I know my fellow Sternies have done their best to make lemonade out of lemons.  This summer has given me more perspective as to what I want to do post-MBA and I plan to spend my last year at Stern taking advantage of every opportunity that comes my way.