I came to Stern exactly 14 months ago. Stern in many respects was a great next step for me – a chance to explore new careers, a chance to explore new subjects and learn about things I never imagined I would learn (aka Behavioral Finance). But most importantly, it was a chance to explore a completely different culture than mine.
I am from Delhi, India. I have never ventured far from home. My high school and undergrad school were 15 mins away from my home. Even my work was a manageable 40 minutes away so I never had a compulsion to move away. Coming to Stern, and by extension New York, was a giant next step in my life. It was the first time I have ever lived away from home. When I stepped off the plane and wandered around New York on my first day here, I was swept with two feelings – that of awe and a sweeping reservation about fitting in.
One fact that a cursory research will show you is that Stern has a very diverse student body. In fact, international students make up 30 – 37% of the class in any given year. Knowing that gave me assurance that I might be able to experience a new culture while still staying around people I am most familiar with.
In my first month here, I held a small dinner gathering for all the Indian students at my apartment. Fun fact: The smoke alarm went off seven times while I was cooking! NY apartments are not built for Indian cooking! Barring that mishap, that evening, I made new friends and started developing a sense of community here.
The most amazing thing about Stern is how every culture is embraced with open arms here. We had Passport Day in which students from 47 countries around the world participated! There was great joy, laughter and dance. A lot of people showed up and shared each other’s food and culture. It was just one of those many things that show Stern’s emphasis on diversity and inclusiveness.
Last semester, SABAS (South Asian Business Association of Stern) hosted a Diwali party. Over a 100 people attended that event, dancing, laughing, and sharing my culture. Last Diwali, I felt incredibly home sick and regretted missing out on all the festivities back home. This time around, as I was leaving the party at the end and walking towards the subway, I discovered a new feeling. A feeling of being right at home.
One of the greatest aspects of Stern is the opportunity to travel with classmates on weekends, over the summer and during school breaks. Over winter break I had the opportunity to travel to Steamboat Springs on the Stern Ski Trip and to Las Vegas as part of the Operations in Vegas class. The ski trip was a fun vacation with friends to lay fresh tracks, eat good food and explore all Steamboat has to offer, but Ops in Vegas was really a once in a lifetime experience.
(View from the gondola headed up the mountain in Steamboat)
I arrived in Las Vegas on Saturday one day before the class officially started with a few other MBA2s so that we could watch the first round of the NFL playoffs in a sportsbook and hike in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The class kicked off on Sunday night with a nice welcome dinner and the warning that the next few days would be very intense. On Monday morning we had the opportunity to meet with a number of executives from Station Casinos including top executives in charge of the hotels, analytics, and marketing as well as the new COO of Ultimate Fighting Championship Lawrence Epstein. Most importantly, we had a lengthy conversation with Lorenzo Fertitta, a Stern alumni (1993) who recently sold the UFC to William Morris Endeavor, served as Commissioner on the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and also is the principal shareholder of Station Casinos with his brother Frank. To hear directly from Lorenzo about how he turned the UFC from a bankrupt company he purchased for $2 million into the massive media empire he just sold for $4.3 billion was an eye opening business lesson. Our day finished up with a cocktail party in one of the suites at Green Valley Ranch while Clemson stunned Alabama in the national championship game.
(Hiking Red Rock with fellow classmates Phil Bowman, Steve Seidel and Eric Goodman)
Tuesday continued with lectures including from the head of security for Station Casinos, and former Las Vegas Chief of Police, Bill Young at Green Valley Ranch before heading over to Light Nightclub at the Manadaly Bay hotel for a behind the scenes tour of what makes the club run. Our day finished with a bowling event in one of the private bowling rooms at Red Rock Casino.
(Massive video screen at Light welcoming us)
On Wednesday we went to downtown Las Vegas where we learned about the downtown revitalization project, got an inside look at Zappos, and toured the D Hotel. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos from Zappos because they’re very secretive, but there were many pieces of amazing art downtown to try and draw more tourists to come off of the strip. Our night concluded with a trip to Light Nightclub to gather firsthand “research” and see Pusha T perform with Baauer.
(Some of the awesome art downtown)
Thursday was the coolest day of the whole trip for me as we got to go behind the scenes at the Bellagio where we saw everything from the inside of the security room (no pictures allowed), to underneath the famous fountain, to the high-roller suites where the only way to get a room is to gamble millions of dollars in a weekend. We visited the employee level on the 2nd floor of the hotel where 8,000 employees visit every single day to get laundry, eat in the cafeterias, relax, go to the bank, and do so much more inside their mini-city. Our class saw how the Cirque du Soleil show O is performed as we went backstage, underneath the floor to the pool area, and finally to great seats in the audience to watch the performance.
Friday focused on real estate as we saw Professor Chernoff’s commercial real estate development in Spanish Trails industrial park before heading back to the hotel for an afternoon lesson on poker from world-renowned poker professional Mike Sexton. For those who really love poker, it was truly a priceless experience to hear the keys to successful poker strategy from someone who has won millions of dollars and World Series of Poker titles. Our Friday finished with a goodbye dinner and drinks before everyone headed out.
In addition to the amazing speakers, behind the scenes look at some of Vegas’s most iconic landmarks, and company visits, we had a great time playing poker together, exploring everything Vegas has to offer and most importantly…. getting three credits closer to graduation!
While studying up on Put-Call Parity or networking away during recruiting season, we tend to forget the beauty that is around us and one of the key reasons most of us chose to come to NYU Stern. The infamous Frank Sinatra lyrics say it all “I want to be a part of it, New York, New York.”
There is always something going on. For those of you applying to NYU Stern from outside of New York, I am excited for you to experience the city I’ve called home for the past ten years. Here are a few of my favorite things about New York:
As an NYU student, you have access to Ticket Central, which provides discounted tickets for many broadway and off-broadway shows. In addition to Ticket Central, an additional resource for buying tickets for shows is TKTS located in Times Square or South Street Seaport. TKTS provides tickets for day of shows, where you can line up for tickets at 2PM daily.
While on a student budget, it’s very important to take advantage of Restaurant Week in New York City. It’s the greatest time of the year (actually happens twice a year now) both in the winter and in the summer when restaurants around the city provide fixed prices menus for lunch and dinner. That means you get an appetizer, main course and dessert for $29 (lunch) or $42 (dinner). As a foodie this is my favorite time of the year!
I love shopping, and I love getting great deals. Being in New York, you often here about the infamous sample sales – people rushing around grabbing what they can and getting deals you wouldn’t even imagine about. It isn’t always extremely crowded, but there will be lines and it will be worth it. Think about it this way – recently, I got an $800 Helmut Lang blazer for $25. If you’re interested in sample sales, make sure to follow Clothing Line and 260 Fifth for upcoming sales in New York.
My favorite time of the year is right after Thanksgiving in New York. The infamous Rockefeller Tree goes up and the Holiday Markets open up across Union Square, Lincoln Center and Bryant Park. There are food stalls, little trinkets, ornaments and great gifts for the holidays. A lot of small vendors set up shop and the atmosphere and holiday spirit is a sight to see. Grab a hot chocolate or hot cider while you’re at it!
Just Taking a Stroll
Walking around campus or walking around New York City, I recommend just taking a look around. Look up at the buildings, look at what people are wearing, even look at what the dogs are wearing. This is New York City. Each part of the city has it’s own charm, it’s own personality.
When you come to NYU Stern, remember that you’re not just choosing the school, you’re choosing an amazing place to live for the next two years.
“And if I can make it there, I’m gonna make it anywhere! It’s up to you, New York, New York!”
Around this time last year, I was preparing essays for business school applications. I applied to three schools through the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management and ranked NYU Stern as my top choice. There are clear benefits to applying through the Consortium such as the possibility of a full tuition scholarship and lower applications fees, but there are also less obvious benefits. Applying through the Consortium allowed me to earn an internship early and build strong relationships with some of my classmates prior to arriving on campus and also allowed me to extend my network to business schools beyond Stern.
The Obvious Benefits
Applying through the Consortium was the perfect opportunity for me. As a black woman, I have always served as an advocate for increasing diversity. The Consortium has a mission to increase the number of Black, Hispanic, and Native Americans in business schools and subsequently corporate management. Anyone who supports this mission can apply to NYU Stern through the Consortium. As mentioned earlier, benefits include a lower application fee and a chance to earn a full tuition fellowship. Additionally, the essays are typically shorter for the application (which admittedly could be an advantage or disadvantage).
Early Access to Recruiters and Job Opportunities
It is a requirement for everyone who applies through the Consortium to attend the Orientation Program. This 6-day event features students from all of the Consortium schools and recruiters from the companies who partner with the Consortium. The agenda is jammed pack with speaker events, panel discussions, interviews and happy hours.
During the Orientation Program, I interviewed with 7 companies (I don’t recommend this. Focus on 3 or 4 companies) and eventually accepted an Offer with Amazon in Seattle, WA. Accepting an offer before seeing all of the available opportunities may seem daunting to some people but for me it was a huge relief. Juggling recruiting, classes, and clubs is not an easy task. Accepting an offer allowed me to allocate more time towards clubs and classwork.
On Campus Family
During the required Orientation Program, I was able to meet a few of my future classmates. We helped each other prepare for interviews by conducting mock interviews and doing company research together. Attending the Orientation Program together allowed us to build a close relationship with each other before arriving on campus.
Now that we are on campus, we still spend a lot of time together. For example, this year, one of the Consortium fellows held a barbecue at her home in Harlem and another fellow hosted a game night in Brooklyn. The week before Thanksgiving, we met up for a mini Thanksgiving dinner.
The best example of our comradery occurred after the killing of Terence Crutcher. We all came together to figure out what we could do in response to the death of another unarmed black man. A simple text message turned into a schoolwide event after we invited the entire Stern community to come together to show solidarity for black lives. It was amazing to see our classmates come out and support an issue that is so important to so many of us.
The Consortium allowed me to connect with students from other business schools who I otherwise may have never met. Attending the Orientation Program allowed me to not only build relationships with other Sternies, but also fellows from other schools. It’s good to know students from other schools when you go to recruiting or networking events. These events can be awkward if you don’t know anyone so seeing a familiar face is always nice. I also already know two other consortium fellows who will be interning with me this summer in Seattle, WA.
At the end of my spring semester as an MBA 1, I had the opportunity to travel to Milan, Italy with thirty other classmates. We were in the heart of the fashion capital of Europe for our one-week DBi course on Luxury Retail. I had been hearing about this DBi since I first applied to Stern, but the actual experience far exceeded all of my expectations.
The course was a mix of classroom lectures and experiential learning. I would say that the split was about 30/70, with the majority of our time spent visiting flagship retail stores, clothing factories, professional tailors, and other similar venues. You think you’ve shopped luxury before but 5th Avenue is nothing like Milan. In my opinion, comparing the two experiences could not have been more like day and night.
The attention to detail and level of service at the Milan stores was unparalleled to anything I had ever previously encountered. Store employees strived to build a genuine long-term relationship with every customer that walked into the store; at Dolce & Gabbana, we were told this was because shoppers may stroll in and out on multiple occasions before committing to a purchase, and they wanted these customers to feel just as attended to as the regulars.
Aside from the experiential aspect of the DBi though, the lectures were equally as engaging. In spite of our long days walking around the city, each morning I was excited to hear what the professors at Bocconi University would be sharing with us that day. Their firsthand experiences in the industry, as well as their anecdotes about customer shopping habits, trends, and the economic status in Italy, kept us all hooked throughout our time in the classroom.
While the course itself was certainly fascinating and educational for me, I also really enjoyed the fact that I was traveling with so many classmates, many of whom I had not previously known prior to the trip. What’s interesting about the DBi is that since it’s an actual course, students lottery for it just as they do for all other courses at Stern. That said, it’s a great opportunity to meet both full-time and part-time students. I don’t have too many opportunities to interact with the latter so this was a unique situation in which we were able to get to know one another while exploring a new country together.
Whether you are an experienced jet setter or alternatively, just eager to get that first stamp on your passport, a DBi has something for everyone. In Milan in particular, I felt I received the perfect mix of academic, cultural, and social experiences that truly made it an enriching and unforgettable experience for me. Especially given my interest in the Luxury Retail industry, it has been by far my favorite course I’ve taken at Stern, and one I would highly recommend to other MBAs with similar professional interests.
It seems like just a few days ago that I was finishing up my summer internship at McKinsey and getting ready for classes to begin but here we are now almost done with the first semester… It is truly amazing how quickly time flies during business school.
Some of the most common questions I receive from prospective students considering Stern are about how to prepare for recruiting. One of my favorite aspects of Stern is that everyone in the Stern community works incredibly hard to make sure you are prepared for interviews. As someone heavily involved with the recruiting process for consulting, I thought it would be helpful to share a taste of what I am currently working on to give back to first year students.
In my official capacity as a career mentor with the Office of Career Development, I host many helpful events for students. Before school was really underway I worked with students during the IGNITE workshops to write, practice and perfect their 30 second elevator pitch to employers. I reviewed the resumes of 12 students who are recruiting for consulting, then met with them one-on-one to help them wordsmith their points to make the strongest skills stand out. Right now I am working with other MBA2’s to host sessions on recruiting topics like how to navigate the corporate presentations and what to do during informational interviews. Before interviews start in January I’ll work with another group of students one-on-one to do practice interviews so they will be completely ready when on-campus interviews begin.
As a board member of the Management Consulting Association, I co-lead MCA’s weekly casing bootcamp session with another MBA2 student Michelle. Bootcamp happens every Wednesday afternoon and we teach how to do the technical part of a consulting interview, the case, from start-to-finish. From the framework, to the conclusion, with all the brainstorming, charts, and math you will ever need in-between, the eight interactive weekly sessions will get anyone ready to crush their case interview. If the promise of succeeding in the interview isn’t enough, we also provide awesome snacks like empanadas, cookies, and cannolis, to get your brain moving.
Over 20 MBA2’s, including myself, help prepare first year students interested in consulting through MCA’s mentorship program. Every Tuesday morning I meet with five first years to help work through the topics from bootcamp in a smaller group setting as well as answer any questions about the recruiting process. It is an opportunity for first years to get an honest perspective on tough questions like how to request an informational interview as well as a chance to get to know their classmates better. As the application deadline approaches I’ll review their cover letters, help fine tune resumes, and give one-on-one case coaching so they’ll be as prepared as possible for their interviews.
There are many more examples of peer-led preparation I work on including the two for one casing initiative, corporate case competitions, informal coffee chats, and much more. Stern is really an amazing community where everyone invests in the success of their peers; feel free to reach out if you have any questions!
One year ago today, I was where you are. I was writing essays, studying for the GMAT in my spare time and avoided every single person that I knew. I get it – no social life, but it was time I wanted to focus on myself. After 4 years of working, I always knew that I wanted to go back to business school and I was going to do whatever it took. As the year went by, the stress levels only got higher as I received waitlist after waitlist, but I’ll tell you, my persistence and determination to come back to school helped me. I received acceptances up until July, hearing from NYU Stern last. Dropping everything to stay in New York was the best decision I could have made, and getting the acceptance letter with the digital confetti was probably one of the happiest moments of my life. I didn’t have to say goodbye to the place I call home and was getting the opportunity to pursue a career in Luxury Marketing, something that Stern especially is known for and something I would have had to give up going somewhere else.
Starting at Stern at the end of August was truly a dream come true. From LAUNCH to today, there have been countless occasions where I’ve stopped to think about how lucky I am to be here, and how truly proud I am to be a Sternie. One of my personal goals coming to business school, in addition to pursuing a career in Luxury Marketing, was to break out of my shell and be able to command a room. Granted, I’m a social person, but I’m not a loud person, and in a career going forward, I want my voice to be heard, literally. As you know, Stern divides the class into sections of ~65 that you take all of your core classes with. These people become your first network, and your closest friends over the next two years. In the first few weeks of class, I was making a speech in front of these 65 new classmates, explaining to them why I wanted to be their “Block Leader.” I was elected to represent Block 6, a great way to know everyone in my block and a chance for me to pursue my own personal goal.
Another reason why I came to NYU was for the various experiential opportunities that the program allows. I applied to and was accepted to the Luxury Retail Immersion, a chance to work on a consulting project for a small boutique retailer. The project started about a week ago and goes up until December (only a few weeks). I’ve had one meeting so far, but it was definitely the “aha!” moment I was looking for in business school. This hands on learning is one of the reasons why I chose to come back to business school, and it’s definitely great to have that opportunity to follow your passion.
I’m a firm believer that it all works out in the end. Regardless of the stress that you are going through now, there’s no doubt that you will also have the opportunity to make your dreams come true. With NYU, the opportunities are endless. With Stern, your network is endless. No matter what you’re looking to do, there’s a person somewhere that is doing exactly that. The network, the brand will help take you places, and I am grateful for this experience.
When I first made the decision to apply to business school, I considered several factors—reputation, location, faculty, and level of focus on my profession of choice. The quality of the student body was certainly a consideration, but a slightly lesser one, as I generally felt that no matter where I ended up going, I would meet like-minded driven individuals, form relationships, and grow to call them my good friends. Now just over a year into the NYU Stern MBA program, I realize this last factor has the greatest impact on one’s experience in business school, and feel I personally could not have made a better choice.
Beginning with the first day of the LAUNCH orientation program, I have continually been blown away by my peers. Each of them comes from such a fascinating and diverse background, both professionally and personally, and challenges me in a way I never thought possible. I find myself working to be more knowledgeable and educated on an array of topics, so as to contribute to our discussions and their experience in a valuable way.
Aside from their intellect though, my peers here are truly warm and generous individuals. Throughout the business school research process, I often heard at each program I visited, that its students regularly put others before themselves, and that they go to great lengths to help one another to be successful. Though at the time I assumed this was something quite generic all schools simply say, I have now had the opportunity to see this actually manifest itself here at Stern.
About a week into the start of my first semester, I was casually chatting with a new friend about plans for recruiting. Immediately upon expressing my interest, he stopped me to tell me he knew someone at a company I might want to learn more about and asked if I wanted him to make a connection. I was floored in that moment that someone I had met so recently was already so eager to help me.
More recently, I was working on a job application for my top choice company. I must have drafted my cover letter five separate times, but my nerves continued to get the best of me. I frantically texted another friend, who promptly calmed me down and instructed me to send my completed cover letter her way for a final once-over. This is something we all frequently do for one another of course, but to have a friend say she could drop everything she was doing on a couple hours notice meant so much in that moment of stress and panic.
These are just a few of the countless instances when I have felt supported by my friends in the Stern community. Being within the walls that make up NYU Stern has frequently pushed me outside of my comfort zone. However, I am finding that this is a place I now quite enjoy being, as I know I can count on the inspiring individuals I have met here to be right there with me.
Last Spring, Sarada Anne, one of my best friends at Stern, had the opportunity to take part in what she lauds as her favorite class to date. Sarada is originally from Hyderabad, India. She received her degree in industrial engineering and has a background in consulting and real estate. This summer she interned in investment banking at Barclays, and she will be returning there for full-time.
Sarada and four other Sternies participated in one of the Stern Signature Projects (SSP) that have a specific focus on urbanization. SSPs are organized around specific interests like human rights and film distribution. They cover diverse topics, and the projects themselves tend to vary semester-to-semester.
This urbanization SSP took Sarada and her team to Ethiopia to help the city of Hawassa plan for a more sustainable future. Though the NYU Stern Urbanization Project has worked with Hawassa on a number of urbanization initiatives before, Sarada and her SSP team were tasked with formulating a conservation plan for the lake amid rapid urban expansion and industrialization. They worked closely with Patrick Lamson-Hall, an urban planner and research scholar at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project. The Urbanization Project itself was founded by Professor Paul Romer, who recently went on leave from Stern to take on the role of Chief Economist at the World Bank.
Here’s what Sarada had to say:
What attracted you to this project?
So I come from a real estate background, which is why the urbanization project was very interesting to me, because I was a private real estate developer. In India at least, the residential projects that people are doing are far outpacing the initiatives that the government is taking to plan for infrastructure. So that was one of the things that attracted me to the project. The problem was very interesting. I also wanted to take a class that let me work on a real world initiative and was unlike any school experience I’ve had before. The team was also fantastic. I didn’t know who my team would be going in, but the other students who the Office of Student Engagement (OSE) brought together were the most highly functional team I’ve worked with. We all had very diverse backgrounds and skills, but maybe because of that it was smooth from day one, and they really helped make the project enjoyable.
What was your impression of the issue at hand?
The national government is trying to build up the city, as it’s one of the cities identified for their development plan. So it’s a small city now, but they have big growth plans. That’s basically the problem for the urbanization project. They do believe urbanization is a good thing—urban density, population density, brings a lot of amenities and all that good stuff—but at the same time, there’s a lake in the middle of the city, and they’re setting up industries like textiles, which has already affected the lake. So if there’s more industrialization, the lake could suffer. So that was the project. Hawassa has to grow, so how can we do that and save the lake?
How much of your project was new compared to what was already being done?
Patrick has already been working with Hawassa. He’s been there. He knows the city. So with his help, we didn’t have a lot of issues. But this was a new prompt. In the past, the Urbanization Project worked with the city government on multiple projects. This [SSP project] was going to be the new big pitch that we were going to give the mayor of the city. So we did a lot of research, and most of it was done here [at Stern] since we only had a week there [in Hawassa]. We had a basic idea in mind. We knew what the lake was, what the issues were, so a lot of the brainstorming, a lot of the research, and the solution generation happened here. That was maybe 70% of it. Then it evolved when we were actually there. We talked to the government officials and continued to learn more about what they wanted. Then Patrick really helped us out with designing the boulevards, the lanes, the road systems, things like that. Ultimately we were able to create a modern urban infrastructure plan that also incorporated elements of conservation.
Your proposal was for “Adare Park,” a linear park around the circumference of the lake that provided “ample urban greenspace for the city” and was “complete with a wide boulevard to facilitate future urbanization,” as well as buffer zones to “prevent erosion and help the lake’s ecology recuperate.” What was it like presenting this to the mayor?
I was a little nervous. We actually presented it to him in his office. He was really quiet and was taking notes, and he had a lot of questions for us, but at the end he was very receptive. His attitude was, “Yes, we want to do something for the city. This is very important to us.” Mind you, this is a small city in a developing country, and sustainability is one of their main issues. So this was a very mature way of thinking. I think that’s one of the reasons why we were working with a city like Hawassa, because they’re more aware of their path going forward, and the mayor started talking about how he wanted to work with us to do that. So there wasn’t even a question of “I don’t know, let me think about it,” because the conversation immediately went on about funds, how we’re going to raise them, if we can form a public-private partnership, how Stern can help. I was very surprised because there’s the difference in position between public officials and students, but he was very, very nice. I also credit the Urbanization Project with building up that relationship and trust.
What did you like best about this experience?
I’ve never felt as invested in a project or course as I did with this project. We went to this place where the lake—it gives its name to the city. People chill there, people gather by it, there’s a lively fish market on the shore and an airport being built on the other side [of the lake]—the whole city revolves around the lake, and you get to impact it in a positive way. On a project like this, you feel more ownership. You can see that something you’re doing can actually be nice for someone. It sounds cliché, but because of this, all of us were really invested, especially the week that we were there. It was also just a very different experience. On one day we went up to the mountain in the city, where you can get a 360-degree view, and Patrick was showing us the roads that were being laid, and the roads were the result of what Patrick and his team have done in the past.
What other resources at Stern did you use to help you accomplish this project?
OSE really helped us out, and not only in terms of getting the project done. We decided a week before [we left] that we were going to go there the week after. The five of us then had to coordinate, and OSE just hustled through everything, and we got everything booked in less than a week, from deciding to go to actually going. So I think that they really helped us out. It wasn’t necessary for us to visit, but we knew we wanted to go at some point, and we didn’t know at what point. Should we go at the end to present [our plan]? We were having troubles initially because we couldn’t really get in touch with the city government officials. They were in touch for work, but on a day-to-day basis it was more difficult to reach them, so we actually had the most interaction with them once we went there. This was an issue, but Patrick knew the lay of the land, so we were still able to get things moving. Anyway, we knew we had to go there before the project was over, so we really had to hustle and get it done, and OSE really helped us out there.
How do you think this experience influences what you do moving forward?
I have a takeaway for students, which is that they should try to be part of things that may not necessarily fall in line with their immediate career goals—I’m going into finance, so I would have never done this if I had thought about that. It’s too early to tell what influence it’s had in my life, but it’s definitely changed the way I look at the world. It’s the best course that I’ve had at Stern, and when I think about my MBA and look back at my top experience this is what I’ll think about.
Sternspective is a new series of interviews with Sternies about the diverse paths they are taking in the classroom and beyond. Check out our previous post about marketing here.
As a Graduate Ambassador, I also have the privilege of fielding many of the questions and concerns applicants have while applying. Because I’ve begun to notice some trends, here’s a new series of blog posts to help answer your questions.
This time I have with me Nevena Georgieva. Nev and I met at LAUNCH, where we discovered that we were in the same block (Block 2!) and bonded over our liberal arts backgrounds. Ever since then we’ve taken a handful of classes together, gone to many Beer Blasts together, and traveled as far as South Africa together. Nev is originally from Bulgaria before she moved to the U.S. to get her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English. Prior to Stern, Nev was Associate Digital Marketing Manager at Penguin Random House here in New York, where she worked on digital advertising and promotional content for the books of many celebrated authors, including Margaret Atwood and Haruki Murakami. She interned at Bayer in brand management over the summer and will be returning there full-time after graduation. Here’s what she had to say:
Thanks for joining me, Nev! Let’s jump right in. What do you think makes Stern a great place for marketing?
For me, it was all the great companies that recruit on campus. As someone who recruited for CPG marketing, I was able to take advantage of all the companies that came for corporate presentations and interviewed us right here on campus. A lot of these companies are sponsors of the Graduate Marketing Association (GMA)—Bayer, Colgate, Dannon, AmEx, Mars, J&J, and RB—and there are other awesome companies that recruit here, such as Phillips, Verizon, Hasbro, Pfizer, and more. A lot of them are also in the tri-state area, so if you want to stick around post-Stern, this is a great place to be.
Can you elaborate on the opportunities available for non-CPG marketing?
At Stern we have the advantage of being at the center of New York City, so you can really easily recruit on campus but also on your own time. There have been classmates of mine who have landed internships at places like ESPN, Spotify, Salesforce, and Interbrand. Usually those opportunities are available in the Spring, so they come after the CPG marketing recruiting season in the Fall. Through LinkedIn and the Office of Career Development (OCD) you can also get in touch with alumni and learn more about non-CPG marketing and other opportunities in NYC that interest you.
How else does being at Stern and in NYC work to one’s advantage?
As I mentioned, a lot of the CPG companies that are our sponsors come to multiple events on campus, but they also often have “Days in the Life” that are held at the companies’ offices. So students get the opportunity to have an immersive day at the company and meet with alumni and senior marketing executives, learn about what CPG marketing is like at the company, and gauge whether the company would be a great fit for them. And so the proximity to these companies is a great advantage because students can easily fit that into their schedules, instead of flying to different companies around the country. The people at Stern have also been a great resource. First-year MBAs can take advantage of the GMA’s mentorship program, which pairs first-years with second-years who have been through the process, and over the winter break in January I participated in what we call Mock Madness, which is a week of marathon-like interview prep [between classmates] that I highly recommend.
On that note, what has been your personal experience with these opportunities?
Last year, my mentor was instrumental in helping me translate the work experience on my resume into terms that CPG marketers would best understand. Bayer also had a Day in the Life, and that’s one of the ways I knew that I really wanted to work there. I was able to see the offices. I was able to learn about specific marketing campaigns, what it’s like to work with advertising agencies, and I had a really excellent experience that led me to my internship with them. Their Day in the Life was also a really great representation of my internship, so I really think it’s important that students have the opportunity to engage with companies as much as possible and attend as many events as possible to really get a sense of what the best fit for them would be.
How about the marketing classes at Stern? Any that stand out to you?
Of course. We have one of the best marketing professors in the country, Professor [Scott] Galloway, and he has a class [Brand Strategy] in which, as a group, you create and present a brand strategy for an existing company. It was a really interactive experience, and a lot of groups went above and beyond in his class to engage with the rest of us during their presentations. Some groups brought in their company’s products like yogurt and beer, and a group came in dressed in Athleta clothing provided by the company. Also, I would say that this class was really great preparation for what I experienced during my summer. It really helped me build these important strategic and analytical skills, and taught me how to think like a marketer, so I recommend the class. Professor Galloway is also a really incredible speaker, which you might be able to experience by visiting the class.
And have you found other classes at Stern helpful to your interests?
Absolutely. CPG marketing is not really your traditional marketing job. It’s very much about general management, so I would really recommend for students who are interested in marketing to take a number of classes in different areas, including finance, strategy, and management. I really recommend classes like Leadership in Organizations taught by Professor [Dolly] Chugh, Strategy by Professor [Sonia] Marciano, Corporate Finance by Professor [Aswath] Damodaran, and Managing Growing Companies by Professor [Glenn] Okun. Being in CPG marketing is really about being the CEO of a brand. As a brand manager, you make decisions about your brand every day—pricing, advertising, retail decisions—and so you need to be well-rounded in your knowledge. Stern helps with that.
I want to remind our prospectives that you can actually visit some of these classes by signing up for them on our Visit Stern page. Meanwhile, I hear you have a conference coming up.
Yes! So actually the GMA Conference [on November 11] is one of the best events that a prospective student can attend to learn about marketing at Stern and in general. This year, I’m the Co-VP of Conference, so I’m in charge of organizing it. If prospective students would like to attend, they can reach out to our VP of Admissions Megan Sirras (firstname.lastname@example.org) and attend the conference for free. There will be two amazing keynotes, so students can hear from VP of Strategy at Squarespace Andrew Bartholomew, who will be conversing with one of our amazing professors here at Stern, Luke Williams, Executive Director of the W.R. Berkley Innovation Lab. There’s also going to be a recruiting event for MBA1s, but running concurrently will be a “Beyond CPG Marketing” panel, where prospective students can learn about what the marketing function is like in industries outside of consumer packaged goods. Prospective students can then participate in a networking lunch and talk to current students and alumni, so it’s a great networking opportunity for them. In the afternoon, there will be multiple panels, where students can learn about topics like “The Rise of Visual Marketing” and “Digital Natives of Generation Z,” and there will be brand representation from companies such as GrubHub, Google, Uber, Facebook, POPSUGAR, Estee Lauder, and others. This year we’re launching a new segment called “3×15,” where we really want to give attendees a sense of what it’s like to put together a marketing campaign, so we’ll have different case studies from different speakers: a Creative Director at Razorfish (a digital advertising agency), the founder of Baked by Melissa, and we’ll hear about multicultural marketing from Shabnam Rezeai, who’s the Co-Founder and President of Big Bad Boo Studios and Oznoz.com. And then we’ll end with our afternoon keynote and networking reception where prospective students can continue to meet sponsors, alumni, and current students.
Thanks, Nev! As a parting note, can you tell prospective students what to do if they wish to learn more about marketing at Stern?
I really encourage them to engage with the GMA in general. So look for the GMA website, and you can contact Admissions VP Megan Sirras and schedule a phone call with her. She can answer many of your questions about marketing at Stern and even connect you with other students who can talk to you about specific companies and their experiences at Stern.