Photo Credit: @NYUSternLSG
Winter terms at Stern offer much-needed respites from the longer, sometimes more strenuous, Fall and Spring semesters. Even though many Sternies still enroll in intensive courses during this time in order to speed up their coursework, many also take time off to relax, travel, and tend to other areas of their busy lives. Personally, I have taken this winter off and have been out of school since the week before Christmas, not to return until mid-February, and am using this time to travel for pleasure. But regardless of what you do during winter, I’ve come to learn over my past three winter sessions at Stern (this being my final one), that there are steps you can take to stay on track and enter the new year strong at Stern. Here are some of my recommendations:
- Take time to enroll in the right classes (for you) for Spring. Read the Course Faculty Evaluations, get recommendations from classmates, meet with an advisor, check out specialization course lists and requirements, read course syllabi, plan your schedule, and take this time to optimize your course load for Spring. I’ve made the mistake in the past of not doing some of these things and ended up missing out on courses that I wish I had taken at the time.
- Go on a DBi. The Office of Student Engagement offers an array of flexible, time- and course load varying international programs for Sternies, and the Doing Business In… (DBi) Program enables students to explore how business is conducted in another country and develop a deeper understanding of the issues, opportunities, and challenges faced by businesses operating there. These one or two-week intensive programs include classes, corporate visits, speakers, and cultural visits. Currently, DBi programs bring Stern students to countries in Central America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. I haven’t attended a DBi course yet but am enrolled in DBi Morocco and North Africa, which takes place over Spring Break in March, and can’t wait! Many Sternies go on Winter DBi’s and it’s the perfect time to get in a 1.5 or 3 credit course while gaining the experience of a lifetime.
- Take time to work on your career. While not all Sternies are looking for a career change while enrolled in the Langone program, many are, or are at least looking for career advancement as a result of their MBA degree. The Langone program offers an array of opportunities for you to develop your career through the Career Center for Working Professionals (CCWP), which offers lifelong career support for Langone and Executive MBA students and all Stern alumni. Through CCWP, you can take your downtime between semesters to meet with career coaches who can help guide you in your career ambitions for both the short- and long-term. It’s sometimes difficult to find the time to work on your career development while taking a full MBA course load, so winter is the perfect time to focus on this part of your MBA program.
- Take Winter Intensives. If you would rather not take any time off from the program, you absolutely can, and the Winter Intensive course format offers a quick, intense (as the name implies) way to do this. Intensive Module Courses were created to enable Langone Part-time MBA students to complete their program at an accelerated pace. The intensive module schedule and its associated workload are challenging and rigorous for students and instructors alike. In order to provide for the academic integrity of the learning in intensive courses and to safeguard against student failure in the classroom, the Stern faculty has mandated that only one course be taken at a time and course schedules may not overlap. I took a full Winter Intensive course load one Winter (4.5 credits), and while this meant classes multiple times a week (including weekends), it allowed me to take a lighter course load in Spring, when I needed to focus on other things.
- Relax and enjoy your time off! While there are always things you can do to accelerate and leverage your Langone MBA, maybe what you need most is a break! Winter term offers the perfect opportunity to take some much-needed time off to focus on the other areas of your life: personal relationships, health and fitness, hobbies and interests, and rest! While I have, at different times, done all of the above during Winter, I also have taken time off to rest, reflect, and rejuvenate for Spring, and it’s perfectly acceptable to do just that if you need to. There will always be more work waiting for you when you return in Spring!
Ultimately, whatever you decide to do during the winter, there are many ways to set yourself up for a great Spring semester!