Explore. Expand. Experiment.

These three words were the theme for LAUNCH, Stern’s one-week orientation program for new full-time MBA students that happens every August. I was drawn to it, in part because I have been fond of alliterative phrases since middle school, but also because of what they represent. LAUNCH marked the beginning of a two-year period where I had permission to do all three of these. When else in life would I have the time, resources, and lack of constraints to explore, expand, and experiment like this?

Before Stern, I worked in the education sector, both at a university and a nonprofit. I enjoyed working with other educators, building youth programs, and contributing to teenagers’ personal development. But, like many of you, I knew that I wanted to build new skill sets that would take me even further in my career. I had spent a number of years watching other young people improve themselves through school, so returning to earn an MBA seemed like a great idea.

Stern’s message of educating for business and society resonated deeply with me, and I’m positive I found the right fit. Since coming to Stern, I have:

Explored. Having built my perspective on social impact within the education sector, I was excited to learn more about other social sector careers. Through Stern’s Social Enterprise Association, I have learned from alumni and industry experts about impact investing, corporate social responsibility, nonprofit consulting, and many other areas I hadn’t previously explored. In just a few weeks, I will have the chance to explore doing business in another part of the globe as I embark on my first DBi to Singapore (stay tuned for more on that). I can’t wait!

Expanded. We’ve all heard about the importance of networking to advance our careers. I knew business school might fast track this process, but I could not have anticipated just how my network would grow at Stern. I entered thinking I would gravitate towards peers with similar backgrounds. It only took a few weeks to form strong and genuine connections with peers pursuing finance, marketing, strategy, luxury retail, entrepreneurship, entertainment, and every other industry under the sun. Stern has expanded both the depth and breadth of my lifelong network.

Experimented. With a two-year time out from the working world, I knew this was the perfect time to try new things. At Stern, I have tried out consulting through experiential learning courses like Strategy with a Social Purpose and Stern’s Board Fellows Program. I have performed an original song in front of audience of my peers and attended my first fashion show. I visited companies like Jet Blue and the Metropolitan Opera House, and spent a day interviewing waffle truck operators, as I learned operations in the real world through Ops in NYC.

Stern has been transformative for me, and I hope these snapshots have given you a sense of my time here thus far. With just six months until graduation, I look forward to sharing more details about the rest of my time exploring, expanding, and experimenting while I still can.

Until next time,