As my time at Stern speeds closer to the finish line, I wanted to write about two offbeat but immensely thought-provoking courses I took this semester. Each one showcases the strengths of the Stern MBA program in delivering a unique educational experience based on a student’s particular interests.
The first was “Developing Country Growth,” taught by a highly accomplished faculty triumvirate of Michael Spence, a Nobel Prize Winner, Dean Peter Henry of NYU Stern, and David Brady, a renowned political scientist and Associate Dean at Stanford University. Each of these influential academicians brought their personal expertise and research background to take a high level perspective of the global economy and business environment. A significant amount of time was spent discussing China; how it became an economic superpower and what its future holds. Professor Spence is one of the most knowledgeable economists about the inner workings of the Chinese government so the conversation was particularly insightful. Other notable topics included the features that drive economic growth in developing countries, political leadership, policy choices, and global financial sector development. The variety of issues and perspectives discussed helped develop a strong economic foundation and global assessment strategy among MBA students, as future business leaders evaluating potential opportunities in the international marketplace. Many of the classes at Stern, especially the core courses, take a functional view of business. Towards the end of my MBA, I tremendously enjoyed exploring the immense ecosystem that businesses operate within.
The second course, that will take place in January, is called “Operations in Entertainment: Las Vegas.” My fellow Blue Core colleague, Victoria Fabiano, discussed the course in detail in an earlier blog. So much of our time is spent inside classrooms, that the experiential learning opportunities should be embraced as an occasion to see our lessons in action. Stern has an array of offerings to do this, even for time-starved Langone students like myself. Whether it is a 1 or 2 week DBI or a Stern Consulting Corps project, I was never at a loss to find opportunities to fit a once-in-a-lifetime experience into my schedule. The Vegas course is one of those classes that allows students to see how megaresorts and entertainment venues are run operationally, meet billionaire CEOs in an informational setting, visit the headquarters of Zappos, a major online retailer, and even study Professor Chernoff’s own real estate investment venture. In short, I expect this course to allow me to combine skills and knowledge acquired from a variety of Stern classes, from Finance to Marketing to Operations, to better understand how a multitude of businesses are successfully managed.
The reason to do an MBA varies from student to student. Whether it is for career advancement, exploring investment opportunities, building one’s professional and personal network, or self-satisfaction, one truth always holds: always think one step beyond the obvious. Whether it is understanding where the sources of global growth will come from in the 21st century and beyond, or what allows massive operational entities like MGM Resorts to hum along efficiently 24/7/365, Stern is asking you to step outside the shoes of managing your own company day-to-day and understand what is happening in the world that will eventually become a part of your own career and life. My time at Stern truly was an education in possible.