Navigating the MBA Mind: A Journey to Mental Wellness at NYU Stern

Author: Nicolas is currently pursuing a Tech MBA at NYU Stern School of Business, specializing in Strategy and Product Management. He brings a robust background in strategy and operations from his experiences at consulting firms and tech companies such as Uber and Nubank in Latin America and the United States. At Stern, he has taken on leadership roles, serving as Co-President of the Fintech Association (FTA) and VP of Corporate Relations for the Latin America Business Association (LABA), where he has made significant contributions to both groups. After completing his MBA, Nicolas is keen to advance his career in product management, targeting roles that bridges his expertise in strategy in the tech industry. Outside of his professional life, he enjoys running, playing tennis, hiking, and socializing with friends.

Navigating the MBA Mind: A Journey to Mental Wellness at NYU Stern

Doing an MBA has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, but folks, it’s intense—so fasten your seat belts. Just picture this: You’re living in one of the most active and fast-paced cities in the world, studying with some of the smartest and most dynamic individuals you’ve ever met, and juggling 52 credits in a year, all while participating in multiple extracurricular activities. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? It certainly is, but it can also be overwhelming at times. This is why maintaining mental wellness is crucial during your MBA journey.

Is mental wellness really important? Yes, it is.

If you are reading this, you are probably contemplating starting your MBA journey, or perhaps you have already started and are encountering the considerable anxiety and stress that comes with tests, school applications, selection processes, financing, housing, and more. The MBA not only challenges your business acumen but also pushes you beyond your comfort zone, particularly if you’re relocating for the program, as I experienced as an international student.

I recall spending hours in front of my computer, answering numerous questions, starting with the perennial ‘Should I pursue an MBA?’ Conducting research, preparing for tests, and crafting compelling applications while balancing a full-time job and maintaining a semblance of a personal life can be mentally draining. Recognizing this exhaustion is crucial to avoid burnout. Mental wellness is essential not only because it impacts the quality of your endeavors but also because it inevitably affects your physical well-being. Together, these aspects have the power to either enhance or diminish your overall quality of life.

Once you’re in New York City and fully immersed in your MBA journey, you’ll quickly realize that the list of things to do is practically endless. The Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) will likely have you exploring more than you ever imagined. And you know what? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, I highly recommend soaking it all in because it’s a vital part of the MBA experience in the heart of Manhattan. Some of my fondest memories were made during those whirlwind days, where friendships solidified and the city became our playground.

That being said, don’t forget to carve out some ‘me time’ when you need it. It’s okay to say no once in a while and recharge your battery. Trust me, nothing beats a good night’s sleep when you’re feeling worn out.

Weekend trip to Catskills to see the fall foliage and empty a few bottles of wine

Find things you enjoy in the city, and do them more often

Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast or prefer indoor pursuits, rest assured, New York City has something for everyone. Personally, I love staying active, and engaging in sports and exercise is not only enjoyable but also a healthy way to do so. Tennis, for instance, is fantastic from summer through November. I highly recommend snagging an early NYC Parks Tennis Permit, granting you unlimited access to courts across the city. It’s not just about the game; it’s also a fantastic way to explore different neighborhoods.

Another activity I thoroughly enjoy is running. With its relatively flat topography and energizing parks and vistas, New York City is a runner’s paradise. It’s not just exercise; it’s an immersive way to experience the city and it is also an easy way to connect with people. I ran my first half-marathon with my classmates and it was epic! For those inclined towards art and design, the city boasts numerous galleries where you can lose yourself for hours, free of charge. It’s a perfect opportunity to wander, wonder, and relax amidst creative inspiration.

On the other hand, if you are an outdoor enthusiast, you can take advantage of hikes just an hour by train from Grand Central and visit the Cold Spring area. We did it with some classmates at Breakneck Ridge, and it’s so refreshing to escape the city and see some trees once in a while. These are just some of the things I have done to keep myself happy and motivated, so I can make the most of my MBA experience.

Music, coffee and friends

Here is my personal recipe for tackling the intensity of the city and the demands of the program. As a Colombian and self-professed coffee snob, there’s nothing quite like starting my day with a cup of coffee. It’s almost a ritual for me, providing a moment of relaxation and introspection amidst the hustle and bustle.

Music plays a huge role in my life, acting as a powerful influencer whenever I need a little boost. I rely on my playlists to lift my spirits, or I dive into the joy of discovering new music. There’s something truly special about stumbling upon a new favorite song that can’t be beat.

Being surrounded by friends is essential. Spending quality time together in environments where I can truly be myself and unwind is like recharging my batteries while having a blast. It’s these moments of camaraderie and connection that make the journey all the more enjoyable. My advice here is to look at Stern as a whole and not only get siloed in the Tech MBA program. Between all programs there are over a thousand interesting and friendly people who will give you the chance to deepen your tastes, an opportunity that could be limited in a smaller cohort.

Ultimately, keep in mind that prioritizing mental health isn’t just a luxury—it’s a necessity. It’s the cornerstone upon which a fulfilling and sustainable MBA journey is built. So, as you embark on this exhilarating adventure at NYU Stern, remember to fasten not only your seat belts but also your commitment to mental wellness, for it is the compass that will guide you through the highs and lows of this transformative experience making it unforgettable.

RecoBEERy after the Brooklyn Half Marathon with the West 4th Street Running Club (Yes, the Tech MBA Class 2024)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *