I had a wild realization this morning on my subway ride to school: I only have two full weeks of classes remaining here at NYU Stern. Wow…..
As I sit here beginning to type my latest, and probably last, blog post, I thought I would use this opportunity to reflect back on quite possibly the best two years of my life. Business school has been a whirlwind of a journey, filled with a mixed bag of intellectual exploration, professional development, career advancement, network building, and yes, even the occasional academic stress. My time at Stern has truly opened my eyes to so many different possibilities, and knowing everything I know about the school and the experience now, I undoubtedly would do it all over again!
Furthermore, now that I have gone through this process, below is my Top 5 words of wisdom to potential b-school students and Sternie-hopefuls:
- It’s ok to not be 100% clear on what exactly you want do with your life post-business school before you hit submit on your application or fork over your enrollment deposit. You will not be alone! However, come the first day of orientation (or even the summer before) the onus is on you to place some serious thought, due diligence, and effort into learning how to transfer your passion into a career opportunity. The resources are out there for you – current students, alumni, professors, industry professionals, career services – but it is up to you to leverage them in finding the perfect opportunity.
- Don’t discount the intangibles of this experience. Obviously, your top priority should be on securing an opportunity that advances your career, but building close friendships and a strong network along the way is equally important. As you explore different schools, try to imagine yourself fitting in with the particular culture of that school. You will be surprised by how much time you spend at school, and amongst your peers, so the fit truly has to be there.
- Location, location, location! Choose a school that gives you increased networking opportunities because of its specific location. There are a number of fantastic business schools out there, but because of their location, students are limited more to the employers who come to them, as opposed to students being able to go to the employers. Specifically at Stern, for example, it is so easy for a student to take a 10 min cab ride or subway for three stops to visit a connection at a New York office during a lunch break. However, students in more remote locations either have to pay considerable amounts of money consistently to travel for networking, or rely on the standard on-campus corporate presentation and interview routine.
- Challenge yourself in areas where you are weak. See my previous post about my hesitations with taking finance courses!
- Have fun! A lot of business school students refer to these two years as “fun-cation”, myself included! Yes, times will get stressful with recruiting; yes, you will have to pull a late (or all)-nighter every now and then; yes, you may even question your decision once or twice. But at the end of the day, this will hopefully be an opportunity to expand your network with awesome people, get some traveling in, and attend a happy hour or two with new lifelong friends!
Best of luck!