Stern Life Balance as a Tech MBA Student in New York

Author: Sofia is originally from Chile. Before Stern, she worked for companies in the Tech industry such as Microsoft and Samsung. During Stern, she is a Graduate Ambassador and part of the EFL program. Her highlight of the Tech MBA program was the West Coast Immersion, where she visited Tech companies from Seattle and the Bay Area.

 Sofia Aliste Paez

Stern Life Balance as a Tech MBA Student

Embarking on a Tech MBA at Stern, students typically fall into one of three categories:

  1. Those already living in NYC with local friends and family.
  2. U.S. residents from cities other than New York.
  3. International students moving to New York for the first time.

Having experienced both the third and the first scenarios over the past two years, I have a unique perspective on the transition. Before enrolling at Stern, I had already settled into New York life, as my husband was studying for his MBA at another university uptown. My initial year was a deep dive into the city’s fast-paced lifestyle, its diverse cultures, and indirectly, the MBA life through various social activities like club parties and ski trips. Even though my own MBA didn’t start until 2023, I felt like I was already part of it.

Embracing the City

For those already familiar with NYC, the Tech MBA at Stern can be an opportunity to delve deeper into specific neighborhoods or hidden gems you may have missed before. Explore restaurant pop-ups in trendy areas like Soho or Williamsburg, or take advantage of free museum nights offered by institutions like the MoMA or the Whitney.

NYC boasts a vibrant fitness scene, from boutique yoga studios to outdoor running groups that traverse iconic landmarks like Central Park or the Brooklyn Bridge. Joining a group not only keeps you active but also allows you to connect with like-minded individuals who share your passion for health and wellness.

Making the Most of Your International Experience

As an international student from Chile, New York initially felt very distant. However, Stern quickly became a familiar place, and the friendships I’ve formed are integral to my MBA success. The program’s demanding schedule, filled with group projects, quizzes, presentations, and recruiting events, is balanced by the support and camaraderie of classmates who are in the same boat. Even alumni emphasize this shared journey—though it might be hard to believe at first, their reassurances often prove true. Connecting with peers from similar backgrounds can offer additional comfort and practical advice, enhancing your own experience.

Beyond Stern: Building a Well-Rounded Life

Balancing personal relationships outside of Stern is also crucial. Prioritizing and organizing your week is essential, and tools like Google Calendar are indispensable for keeping track of commitments. I treat my MBA schedule as a regular workday, which frees up evenings and sometimes entire days for personal time or relaxation. Everyone’s approach will differ depending on their lifestyle preferences—some may choose to also study on weekends.

Exploring NYC advice from a non-New Yorker (for the Time-Crunched Student)

New York City offers a vast array of options for unwinding and exploring your personal interests, even on a busy student schedule. Here are a few ideas to make the most of your free time:

Catch a Stand-Up Show:  Forget the big-ticket Broadway productions for a night. Head to the iconic Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village for an intimate and hilarious experience. Witness up-and-coming comedians and seasoned stars test out their new material – you might just discover your next favorite comic.

Cherry Blossom Bliss in Central Park:  Springtime in New York is magical, and there’s no better place to experience it than amidst the iconic cherry blossoms in Central Park. Pack a picnic basket, grab a friend, and head north to bask in the beautiful pink blooms (typically around mid-April) – a perfect Instagram-worthy moment and a breath of fresh air amidst the city buzz.

Weekend Brunch in Greenwich Village:  Fuel up for a day of exploration with a delicious brunch at a charming Greenwich Village cafe. From cozy Parisian-inspired bistros to trendy brunch spots, the Village offers endless options to satisfy every taste bud.

Brooklyn Bridge Bike Adventure:  If you spend most of your time in Manhattan, try to experience the city from a different perspective with a bike ride across the Brooklyn Bridge. Once you reach Williamsburg, explore the neighborhood’s trendy shops, art galleries, and vibrant street art scene. 

Become a MET Weekend Regular: You can get free entry to The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) with your student ID. Take advantage of this incredible opportunity and explore the vast collections – from ancient Egyptian artifacts to masterpieces by European giants. 

Prioritizing Well-Being: A Student’s Essential

Ultimately, what matters most is recognizing your priorities, including your well-being. Never hesitate to seek support from fellow students, professors, or academic advisors when challenges arise. Assistance is often just a question away, and sometimes, it comes with the opportunity for a pleasant coffee break at one of the many cozy cafés near Stern. Remember, a successful MBA experience goes beyond just academics – it’s about embracing the city, building a strong network, and prioritizing your overall well-being.

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