The summer at Stern as a Tech MBA was one of the most action-packed, wonderfully hectic, and fulfilling three months I’ve ever had. The Focused MBA experience includes an intense first semester academically, professionally, and socially. I thought I might share some insights on what my first 90 days were like both as a Sternie and as a New Yorker!
A quick snippet on my background for context…
I came to NYU by way of California – having spent the majority of my professional life working in strategy and general management for tech-centric companies in San Francisco (Silicon Valley) and Los Angeles (Silicon Beach). When it came time for me to research MBA options to further my career as a tech leader, it was clear that NYU was the perfect match. For me, part of what made Stern Tech MBA program so special was getting the chance to receive a world-class education in the heart of Manhattan with some of the most brilliant classmates I have ever met.
As you may imagine, starting a new chapter as an MBA Candidate — coupled with a cross-country move — comes with a lot of first-time experiences and learning moments. To that degree, here are a few things I learned during my summer semester that I hope helps others!
Finalize your living situation ASAP
As someone coming from out of state, I simply underestimated how wild the apartment and roommate search process was moving out to New York. I did not begin my apartment search until a month before the summer term was set to begin, and it was trial-by-fire for me when it came to securing a place to call home before the summer semester began. It all worked out well in the end, as I settled in Brooklyn and have fallen in love with the borough, but I could have saved lots of time and energy by using the resources at my disposal. NYU has a multitude of great resources to help connect you with housing options and roommates, and they were crucial in helping get settled. I also have a brand new network of Tech MBAs who are all moving to the city with me, so coordinating with them was critical.
Get to know your professors!
The Stern experience means being surrounded by high IQ/EQ individuals, and the professors are no different. I quickly realized that I was learning from world-class individuals both as professors and as professionals. I remember how surreal it felt taking a class with a professor in the morning, then seeing him that same day on MSNBC as a subject-matter expert on the future of ride-sharing services.
For me, Professor Pettit’s class on Leadership in Organizations and Professor Marciano’s class on Strategy were the highest-impact sessions, but the point is every professor is not only extremely accomplished, but ready/willing/excited to meet with you further to help you advance your career goals. Take them up on their offer to meet during office hours, it’s one of the best things I did.
Be proactive in your time management
A Tech MBA in the class before mine said about her Stern experience, “it’s the hardest you’re going to work, but the most fun you’re ever going to have.” I can officially say that her perspective and insight is valid. Moving from the working world to an MBA program means getting involved with academics, leadership opportunities, professional development, recruiting, and your new Stern family simultaneously. Every activity in and of itself is amazing, and I learned quickly that I needed to be thoughtful about mapping out my days and weeks so that I could make room for all of it.
It was also VERY helpful to, essentially, have the entire Stern campus to ourselves as the two-year MBA students were out for the summer. That time not only allowed me to get my bearings with all the various MBA activities, but also gave our Tech MBA cohort the time and space to get to know each other extremely well. I’ve met a whole new set of lifelong friends, and proactive time management really helped me make the most of the summer with my new family.