It’s been a remarkably busy summer and it’s continuing to fly by. Summer in New York is certainly toasty, but we were lucky enough to get a 4-day weekend to cool off. A colleague in the Tech MBA program recently posted the following update on LinkedIn that really put things in perspective:
As of today, we have completed 6 weeks of Stern’s 1-year Tech MBA. During this time, we completed 5 courses, 30 assignments, 5 group projects, 5 immersions, 5 presentations and countless readings.
The volume of work that we’re completing over the summer semester is not trivial. We’re cruising through 18 credits and learning about several subjects including finance, leadership, strategy, big data, and economics. While we’re only scratching the surface of some of these subjects, the fall and spring semesters offer the opportunity to dive deeper into disciplines and specializations that we’re passionate about. I’m really enjoying this high-speed approach to learning. The classes are long, and the homework stream is constant, but it’s amazing what Stern professors can compress into six or twelve 3-hour classes when they are asked to.
We’ll be switching to a more “normal” grad school schedule once the fall semester begins. This means that classes will be taught through the entire semester and the pace of each class will be less accelerated. That being the case, other on- and off-campus activities will start gaining steam. The 2-year students will be back on campus from their internships (or just starting school at Stern) so the social outings are set to increase tenfold. Clubs will be packed with new members and the student government will be back together coordinating events. In addition to this, recruiting for specific industries begins in the fall and I’ll be seeing more of my classmates in their best interview attire between classes.
A large part of business school at Stern is spent meeting and networking with the NYU community including other students, alumni, and professors. While I was searching for the perfect MBA program, a constant theme was the quality of the network that I would have access to. I knew Stern had a large network, but I didn’t understand just how welcoming it would be. Connecting with the NYU community is encouraged regardless of who you’re reaching out to. From the first day of orientation it’s embedded into the culture that we are a strong community that supports each other during our time at Stern and long after we graduate. Apart from forming friendly connections within our cohort, we’re encouraged to reach out to Sternies who may be able to help us learn more about where we want to be or what we want to do, whether they are students in the other programs or recent alumni at our target companies.
Before I started at Stern, I was reluctant to actively network. I did what was required to thrive in my career, but rarely stepped out of my comfort zone. I felt somewhat awkward reaching out to people in a strictly professional manner, sometimes secretly hoping they could help me further my career. I assumed that if done incorrectly that it would come off as desperate, inauthentic, or self-promoting. My assumptions were quickly challenged – everyone I’ve reached out to has been thrilled to help me navigate the next year and upcoming recruiting season.
What I have learned is that networking is ultimately a two-way street. When I put myself in the shoes of a prospective mentor or if I were called upon to help a student, I would happily do so. Many working professionals enjoy sharing their experiences and relish helping students avoid making mistakes that they may have made. Often times, the advice they have to offer can only be given by someone who has lived through a specific unique experience. They will likely also be curious about what we are learning at Stern and how the landscape of MBAs is changing in real time.
Networking is a major piece of the business school experience and a large network offers opportunity. However, filtering through a large list of contacts to find the right mentors is up to you. Once you have identified who you would like to meet, whether it be through a school’s database or LinkedIn, reaching out to them in a clear and professional manner to ensure that you can create a mutually beneficial relationship is the next step. I’ve already made several connections through NYU and plan to continue to do so until graduation and beyond.