The Journey So Far

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.
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Photo credit: Farah Karim
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.
Until next time!
Photo credit: Farah Karim
Photo credit: Farah Karim

Block 2, I Love You

When you first start business school, you can’t necessarily comprehend the extent to which you will bond with your classmates and your blockmates in particular. It has now been five months since I first met this astonishingly diverse group of people, and I am reluctant to imagine what my life would have been like had Stern not brought us together in this one place at this one time.

Before school started, there were some self-organized gatherings. The air was warm, the days were still long, and the trees in nearby Washington Square Park were lush and green. Around the corner from Stern, 10 to 20 of us would meet up for Happy Hour and talk about what had become our pasts—where we grew up, where we last lived, what job we just quit (or still needed to quit).

I’m a born-and-raised New Yorker but was returning home from a three-year stint in Los Angeles, where I worked as a script reader, screenwriter, and director’s assistant. Many people had been living and working in the city in various occupations. Some grew up in the States, yet others were from places as far away as Taiwan and New Delhi—one had gotten off the plane just a day before, and his wife had yet to join him!

It wasn’t until LAUNCH when I met my block (Block 2!) in its entirety, all 67 of us. I was pleasantly surprised at how genuinely kind and down-to-earth everyone was (Stern definitely has the IQ+EQ thing down pat), but at that point, I still had no idea to what lengths we would go to befriend and support one another.

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On an average night.

Fast forward past midterms, during which my blockmates and I took over the Starbucks Lounge even more so than we usually do (see above) to study together. Fast forward past a brutal recruiting season, during which we’d check in on each other and post silly things in the group messenger app to keep morale up. Fast forward to “Blocksgiving,” when a random bunch of us (and a few partners) came together before the weekend was over, on the eve of dozens of summer internship application deadlines, to share a homemade meal with each other.

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At Stern no less.

Skip ahead to the last day of classes, when half of us celebrated by running down the street from Stern to our unofficial block watering hole and catching up with each other into the night. Then jump ahead one day, when we rallied together the next morning in a last-minute push to donate to Stern’s Toys for Tots Drive. I’m proud to say the effort was especially rewarding, for in addition to doing good, as the block with the highest participation we were awarded enough block points to clinch the Block Points Championship for the semester.

At this point I’m bragging, but how could I not? And don’t get me wrong—there are amazing people in the other five blocks too. But as I recall from Blocksgiving, sitting in a room at Stern with good company, laughing and trying not to choke on apple crumble and coconut cream pie, I thought to myself what I was thankful for, and my current situation came to mind.

I am thankful for Stern, for giving me the chance to challenge myself and to be among people who are brilliant in both heart and mind. I am thankful for my block for being the best block so thoughtful, supportive, fun, and hilarious, truly (I could go on about our beer receivables and sock puppies but I don’t think you’d get it, sorry!). And I am thankful for these moments, now memories, shared by the lot of us, a wonderful group that would have had little reason to ever come together had we not been given the opportunity that we have now.

And as we come back from break, we hope you had the:

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