The second year of Tech MBAs is currently being recruited and if you are one of the lucky candidates that got admitted, first of all, congratulations! I have received quite a few questions from admitted students who are planning for the year ahead. Below I will try to answer the most commonly asked questions:
How do I best prepare myself for the year ahead?
If you have the opportunity, I would try to take some time off in between resigning from your job and starting the program. Not only is there plenty to organize if you are moving to New York, but also mentally I think it is beneficial to take some time to switch from employee to student mode. Finally, make sure to make time now for your friends and family!
How do I find a place to live in New York?
There are two options: student housing or the regular housing market. While the student housing is very close to campus, the Stern graduate housing has similar pricing as regular housing while being shared, so most students decide to find something on their own. Students from our class live all over the city: in Manhattan, Brooklyn and also New Jersey. Where you want to live depends mostly on your personal preferences and budget. The rental market cycle in New York is later than most other cities and typically viewings are two to four weeks before the rental start period. If you prefer to share, some of my classmates met at one of the admitted student events and decided to live together!
How do I make the most out of the year?
It is a bit cliché, but I personally believe that if you don’t know where you are going, you will never get there. Therefore, before the start of the program, take a moment to sit down and write out your goals. These can be academic, social, career and personal. An optional way to do it is to imagine yourself at graduation and write what you will have achieved. As the year progresses, look back at this document from time to time. This will allow you to stay focused on your goals, as the year will go by so fast.
I’m an international student, what should I do in preparation?
Besides the visa process, moving internationally is a bit more challenging. Firstly, finances: Open an American bank account as quickly as possible as this is often required for housing (often this needs to be done from within the US, with the exception of HSBC). I found TransferWise very useful to transfer foreign currency to my US bank account with low fees. Set up Venmo with your US bank account, which you will use it often to transfer small amounts to classmates etc. Secondly, phone plan: I remember that I received a SIM card from Mint mobile in my international student packet from Stern, which provides good value. Third, housing: You most likely need an US co-signer for renting an apartment. If you don’t have one, there are companies that will be a co-signer for you (for a fee) such as TheGuarantors. I also find that larger real estate companies like Two Trees are easier in the process of renting out to international students than individual land lords. These companies don’t require international students to pay a couple months of rent upfront which many individual landlords do.
Can I work during the year?
As an international student on an F1 visa you can only work on campus. There are several job possibilities, although all require an application process: teaching assistant (supporting professors) graduate ambassador for the admissions office, or support on an undergraduate trek. If you are eligible to work in the US you can of course also do internships during the semester. Whether the workload is manageable is a personal question. I have classmates who work 5-10 hours a week with no problem and classmates who say they would not manage that. Typically, the first summer semester is very intense, but the fall and spring semesters have a bit more flexibility as those semesters you will not have class on Fridays.
If you have any more questions that are not answered above, don’t hesitate to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org!