I have been in the NYC Tech MBA inaugural class for almost a month, and it has been a tremendous and intense discovery.
However going back to school turned out to be harder than expected. When I envisioned my MBA experience, I anticipated the classes but not the homework, and the time constraints. It is not my first time experiencing the “going back to school effect” as, in between my 2 Masters Degrees in France, I worked for a year, and I decided to go back to school to obtain an academic degree in the area I am passionate about, International Business.
However, it is the first time in 10 years that I have left the work environment altogether, and it is a massive switch in my life. The first, and obvious consequence, is that I do not have a paycheck waiting for me at the end of the month. It is changing the way I organize my life, and I cut back a huge part of not highly necessary activities …. like eating out every day of the week. We actually have an essential portion of the students that are making their lunch every day!
Second, I knew that going back to school would be a shock in term of work schedule and theoretical learning, and I have to say that the shock is stronger than expected. I am very excited to learn and go to school every day, but the capacity to be focused without any screen in front of me for 3 hours is a new and challenging experience. I also used to travel a lot in my job, so I sometimes miss the feeling of being in hundreds of places at the same time.
But the most important point is that I forgot what means to learn every day about subjects in which I am not always familiar. In our first month, the entire class had to take five classes as part of our business core curriculum. Among other courses we had:
- 18 hours of leadership where we learned seemingly simple but in reality very difficult things like how to be an effective listener
- 18 hours of economics where we studied the structures of supply and demand as well as offer and price setting
- 24 hours of Dealing with Data where we mastered SQL, Python, as well as had an introduction to API and data visualization.
It is dense and intense, it makes us think, and it forces us to change the way we used to work. We need to adapt to different people, from different backgrounds in a short period. It is a compelling experience that will change the way I work, and change the way I see the world.
Moreover, I can reflect on several situations I went through when I worked, and I can always think about the actual use I could use for every class.
It makes it more comfortable that we are a small class (32), and it feels that Stern is only for us this summer. The buildings are almost empty, so we feel a sense of ownership, and it allows us to take time to discover the place. And everyone in the academic offices and administration are highly supportive to help us navigate this new chapter in our life!