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.