Advantages of a One Year MBA

Carlos Rincon is a full-time MBA candidate in NYU Stern’s Andre Koo Tech MBA program. Before Stern, Carlos worked in management consulting at Bain in Colombia, Brazil, and Chile. Upon graduation, he plans to work in strategy at a tech company. 

 

 

 

 

Why an accelerated tech MBA program at Stern? 

For me, there were several elements for why an accelerated program focused on tech was the best decision. The two foremost are: (1) Having a clear vision that I want to focus my future career in tech and (2) being an international student, I was eager to gain experience in the New York City and US tech scene. Some of the advantages I see include: 

Tech is a fast-moving industry: To be ahead in tech, you need to be building permanently.

  • New opportunities generated by Internet penetration: This creates an environment where technology developers can create and change things anywhere at any time. This “coding offer increase” is a complete market shift from the past, where one of the main constraints to develop was to have more coders. 
  • The duration of the program not only means you will return to the market faster, but the program design allows you to be constantly updated on what the New York tech ecosystem is doing.

More interaction with the tech cohort: The tech cohort is not only small (just ~50 people) which allows deep bonding, but also has more experience and general interest in the current tech trends such as the metaverse, blockchain, decentralization, intelligent cities, crypto, etc.

  • The Tech MBA class profile also attracts people with more experience (6.2 years against 5.0 years of the regular MBA), leading to more knowledge on how to approach and leverage classes.
  • The experience of the class concentrates on tech trends that will address the future of the world, creating compelling environments in the classroom conversations on these topics.

Return On Investment: As an international student, I was very focused on the program’s ROI. Although there isn’t time for an internship, the recruiting season begins in the fall, when Tech MBA and second-year MBA students are ready to be back in the market upon graduation in May. 

  • This results in a great recruiting season with second-year MBA students returning to the workforce in only one year 

Entrepreneurial spirit: A significant group of students in our tech cohort have experience in startups or entrepreneurship, or are interested in pursuing this in the future. If you are interested in looking for co-founders, having exciting conversations, or understanding how startups work, you will find a group of people with experience in this field.

  • Joining the entrepreneurship groups is also a great way to acquire some experience and gain exposure to how the VC world works.

Things to keep in mind:

Networking

  • Not having a summer internship requires more focus on the type of industry you want to pursue during the recruiting season. Define the industries and companies you want and begin to build relationships to be updated on job offers and recommendations. Spend energy generating authentic relationships with the companies you target. 
  • My advice – leverage ALL of the Stern network. After defining the companies where you want to work, contact the Stern alums at that company doing relevant roles to the ones you target. The sense of community of Stern is such that most of the time, you will receive an answer and indeed some availability to have a coffee chat and understand better how the company works and if it indeed adjusts to what you want to do. (They have been incredibly helpful to me)

Summer is intense, but don’t stress out!

  • Don’t miss the opportunity to know more of your classmates and do fun things. The program is fast and busy, but putting in the extra time to explore the city with your cohort and get to know one another is beneficial both personally and professionally! 
    • Advice: If you need help with the summer classes, don’t hesitate to ask. One of your classmates will be familiar with the subject, and everybody is receptive to help. You are all in this together!
  • If you’re interested in pursuing consulting or banking, spend time refining your skills over the summer so that you are prepared when the club activities start in the Fall and full-time recruiting ramps up. Don’t miss any opportunity to travel with your cohort! 
  • Unfortunately, time goes rapidly, so understand when your breaks take place and organize all the trips you can with your cohort!

Tips for Prospective Tech MBA Candidates

Carina is a full-time MBA candidate in NYU Stern’s Andre Koo Tech MBA program, specializing in Product Management and Strategy. Prior to Stern, Carina lived in Boca Raton, FL and has 6 years of experience in account management at a hospitality tech company. Upon graduation, she wants to utilize her passion for great UX and years of customer-facing experience within the technology space to pursue a product management role. 

Applying to business school can be daunting. There’s a lot to do between preparing for the GMAT/GRE, keeping track of the various application components, and juggling everyday life! You spend a lot of time in self-reflection: What are your goals? What have you accomplished professionally? What direction do you want your career to take? To help you kick off this journey, here are my top 10 tips for prospective candidates when applying to business school:  

 

  1.     Do Your Research

An MBA is an investment in your future self, it’s important that you take the time to do research about the program you are applying for to ensure that it’s the right fit for you. What electives interest you? What clubs would you be interested in joining? Does the program curriculum align with helping you achieve your post-MBA goals? 

Take your time to walk through the Stern Tech MBA website to read about the specific components of the program, watch videos and check out resources like this blog to read about student experiences.

When doing my own research, the Tech MBA program stood out to me because it provided exactly what I was looking for: a one-year program in a city, a strong tech-focused curriculum, and resources that would help me develop the skills to transition into product management. For me, the reading about the tech-focused curriculum with classes like Tech Product Management and Dealing with Data combined with several experiential learning opportunities helped solidify that the Tech MBA made the most sense for me.

  1.     Attend Admissions events

The Admissions team hosts a variety of events throughout the application season. One of my favorite events I attended was the mock application session. It helped me tremendously as I worked through the application and set a clear expectation as to what the AdCom was looking for! Another favorite was an event organized by the Stern Women In Business club – hearing the passion and excitement from the students about their time at Stern really helped solidify my decision to apply. Keep an eye out for Stern club-hosted events that align with your interests to get a feel for the student body at Stern.

Coffee Chats are another student-hosted event that provides you with the opportunity to hear about their experience and ask questions!

  1.     Reflect on Your Why

Research and attending events helps you craft your “why” behind why you’re applying to NYU. But it’s also important to know why you want an MBA, why Stern, and why, specifically, a focused one-year program. This will not only help you with your essays, but your interview as well!

  1.     Ask Questions

Based on your goals, your research and your why for business school – ask any dire questions you may have! Utilize Coffee Chats, Admissions events or even reach out to a current student. Clubs are also a great resource to learn more about the student experience. This all works towards helping you make an informed decision and crafting your message throughout your application.

I leveraged the Coffee Chats I attended to ask questions about students pursuing product management roles to see how they shaped their Stern experience. The students I talked to not only gave me ideas about clubs to join and electives to consider but also explained how specific required courses supported the building skills key to pursuing product management.

  1.     Be Authentically You

You’ll see throughout Stern admissions events and the websites the mention of “EQ” – how you represent your emotional intelligence is so important and the best way to demonstrate that is to authentically represent yourself. The best essays and answers are the ones that truly represent who you are as a person – your passions, your goals, your experience, your personality. This is seen throughout your application components, but nothing can duplicate the uniqueness you demonstrated in your Pick 6 essay! Take the time to brainstorm how you can best represent this throughout your application and do not stress about what you think the admissions team wants to see!

  1.     Your contribution to Stern

What clubs do you want to join and how do you see yourself getting involved? How can you leverage your previous experience and contribute to your class? The Stern community? What resources do you strive to utilize while at Stern? Community is such a large part of Stern, I can say with certainty that it is the greatest part of my experience so far. 

The summer semester of the Tech MBA dives into the business core and technology core classes, it is intense, but it was also a time where the Tech MBA community leaned on each other to succeed. There was always a fellow Sternie willing to spend extra time talking through a topic if that meant their knowledge could help you develop a better understanding – I saw this throughout the summer as we jumped from classes like Dealing with Data to Finance. Outside of class, we are always arranging social gatherings. Moving to New York and starting business school was certainly a transition, but this community has tremendously impacted my experience so far! 

  1.     How will you benefit from your time at Stern?

Beyond an MBA degree in hand, how will the Tech MBA at Stern help you achieve your goals? 

In the short time I have been at Stern, I’m already working toward goals I have set for myself: continue to build technical skills, explore areas of tech I’m unfamiliar with and prepare for recruiting for a product manager role. This summer, I continued developing SQL and Python skills during Dealing with Data, and I’m excited to take Data Visualization this fall to continue developing data-related skills. While the Fall semester has just started, the Stern Tech Association has already begun hosting helpful sessions like a knowledge management session about full-time recruiting for tech roles and highlighting job postings in their weekly newsletter. 

  1.     Organization is Key

Create a plan to ensure you have all required paperwork, letters of recommendation, essays and your application completed and submitted by or before the deadline you are aiming for! Choose a deadline and use that as your guide as you work to complete all application requirements. I personally found maintaining a Google Sheet and calendar alerts helped keep me on track! Make sure to ask your recommenders with plenty of time before the deadline so that they’re not rushed, and allow yourself plenty of time to write the best version of your essays.

  1.     Ask for a second set of eyes

As I finalized my essays, one of the most helpful things I did was ask friends I trusted to read through them. This helped me catch anything I may have missed, and they provided good insight as well! As you work through this process, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and a fresh perspective is so helpful! Whenever I got stuck, I found brainstorming with someone and talking it out helped as well. Lean on your community!

  1. Brag about yourself

This is your time to show everything that’s great about you! Show it off with pride and confidence. 

What to Expect From Your Tech MBA Summer

One of the most unique parts of the Tech MBA is the summer semester – there are no other students on campus, you get to bond with your cohort, and start your journey as an MBA. If you’re wondering what a typical day in the life of a Tech MBA student in the summer looks like, it’s a very busy but exciting time! It’s also a great transition from working into school, since your schedule is more like a 9-5 working day. Here’s an example of what a typical day might look like:

  • 8am – 9am: Commute from Brooklyn to campus
  • 9am – 11:50am: Class 1: Economics
  • 11:50am – 12:30pm: Lunch in the park with friends
  • 12:30pm – 1:30pm: Catch up on reading in the student lounge
  • 1:30pm – 4:20pm: Class 2: Leadership
  • 4:20-6:00pm: Work on assignments
  • 6:00pm: Head home or grab dinner/drinks with Stern friends

Classes you will take: The summer is all about Core classes, and they’re in a special format to accommodate for taking everything over the summer. You’ll take Economics, Leadership, Accounting, Marketing, Communications, and many more courses, but in essence are taking most of the core curriculum that MBA1s take in their first year. The benefits of this are that professors distill down their content to the most important information, and you get a ‘greatest hits’ experience. The challenge can be time management because you need to make time for homework in the evenings and on the weekend. One great part is that everyone is in the same courses, so it’s easy to lean on each other for support.

How to take advantage of the summer in NYC: Since everyone is more or less on the same schedule, it means you’ll get to spend many of your days together during the week! It’s a great time to get outside in Washington Square Park to study or hang out, and check out all of the amazing lunch spots near campus. My personal favorite is Court Street Grocers. Our cohort did lots of fun summer activities, including a lobster boat cruise in Manhattan and outdoor rock climbing in Brooklyn.

What I wish I had done looking back: Time management can be difficult during the summer, because there are so many classes packed into a short period. The best way to manage for me was to block off certain nights or weekends where I would dedicate myself to getting work for the week done. I also used a program called Trello to make a board with tickets for every assignment that I could group by deadline or priority, which helped me make sure I knew what was coming up. Our cohort also made a #homework channel on Slack, and someone volunteered to post assignments each Monday. Like I said – lean on one another!

The summer is a really amazing time, and was my favorite part of the whole program! For those of you about to start the program, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Why I Chose the Andre Koo Tech MBA at NYU Stern

As a Graduate Ambassador at Stern, I speak to a ton of prospective students. Multiple times per week, I’m asked about my experience and why I chose to pursue NYU Stern’s Andre Koo Tech MBA program. Although there are many reasons someone might pursue an MBA at Stern, here is why I chose the Andre Koo Tech MBA program:

One year program: The Andre Koo Tech MBA program at Stern is a one year accelerated MBA program. Students begin their MBA journey in May, take classes for one full year and graduate the following May. While students do not participate in a summer internship like a traditional two-year MBA student, the Tech MBA curriculum is designed to give students ample experiential learning opportunities to apply the skills they learn in the classroom in a business setting.

The one year program attracts students who are focused on learning the material so that they can directly apply learnings to their work. I wanted to pursue an MBA degree, but was worried about being out of the workforce for two years because in the tech industry everything is constantly evolving. The Tech MBA program provided a path to earning an MBA degree in a timeframe that met my needs.

Opportunity to learn technical skills: Prior to Stern I worked as a product manager at New York Road Runners. While I had experience working with technical teams and engineers, I did not have a background in computer science or engineering. Technology is changing the way business gets done and having a basic understanding of technological concepts and tools will be key in any business role in the future. I was eager to come to Stern to learn technical skills so that I can work more effectively as a product manager. The Tech MBA curriculum does not require prior coding knowledge, rather it is designed for students who are open to learning technical skills in a meaningful way. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my Python and data science classes. While I do not intend to pivot into software engineering, I feel confident in my ability to understand technical complexities and communicate effectively with technical teammates.

Access to the Stern network and community: When evaluating business schools, I was looking for a strong network. I was drawn to the Tech MBA program at Stern because of the resources, alumni, and community that the school offers. As a focused MBA student, I have access to the same career center coaching, club resources, and alumni network as the two-year students. Part of business school is investing in relationships, and I felt confident that at Stern I would be able to thrive and meet intelligent, hard-working, passionate students and alumni.

Live in the greatest city in the world: I’ve lived in New York City for over five years and I’m still excited by the hustle and bustle and all New York has to offer. Each neighborhood is unique and there is always something new to explore. New York is a business powerhouse and as a student at NYU Stern you have so many opportunities to explore everything from the startup scene to the financial services industry.

What To Expect of the Stern Tech MBA

As a Graduate Ambassador of the Tech MBA at Stern, some of the most common questions I receive are related to who should apply to the program. Potential MBA candidates want to know what characteristics are the best fit for a focused MBA. They want to understand if it is too technical, if it requires a deep understanding of coding and data science, or the expected job for a graduate of the program. I will try to answer these questions throughout this short article.

The program is an MBA (Master in Business Administration), so it goes without saying that the focus is business and value creation. Nevertheless, it has another core: technology. The Tech MBA seeks to prepare its students to be set up for a rapidly changing world by using technology as a tool to innovate and solve big problems. The mandatory courses mix business fundamentals such as Finance, Marketing or Founding a Startup, with tech courses, such as Dealing with Data or Foundations of Mobile Networks. Additionally, the Experiential Learning approach is a group of activities and courses focused in finding solutions for real-world business problems. As a student, you can be part of the EFL (Endless Frontier Labs), which is an acceleration program for massively scalable startups; or the West Coast Immersion, in which we travel to visit and analyze several companies.

One of the things I value is how diverse the program is. Students come from varied careers such as consulting, software development, product management, entrepreneurship, or even banking. To be ready for the program, it is ideal to take a fast introductory course in coding, and another in financial math. Both are just a recommendation; all things you will need will be taught during the MBA.

Nowadays, most companies want to transform into tech firms and this trend will change the way of doing business in the following years. This makes the Tech MBA a powerful program for being ready to work in big companies, growing startups or developing new ventures. There are no restrictions to where a Tech MBA graduate can work, but the main focus is around Product Manager roles, Strategic roles or Consulting roles.

This is a very current program that is constantly updating to the technological changes that the world is facing. It is a dynamic and fun program to pursue big goals and grow professionally and personally.

Advice for Incoming Tech MBA students

So, you are finally about to start your MBA experience at Stern – it is exciting and a bit intimidating, but I am sure you are looking forward to beginning this life-changing journey! Last January, I was in the same situation as I was approaching the first classes; now after a few months, I want to share with you some advice that hopefully will help you best prepare and  making the most out the Tech MBA experience at NYU Stern:

1. Take time off if you can 

Before starting my focused MBA, I had heard many times that the Tech MBA was intense, but I wouldn’t have imagined it was going to be this intense! Classes are really fast paced and there is a fair amount of pre-work and group-work required for each class, so if you have the opportunity take a couple of weeks off, it’s worth it to arrive well-rested for the beginning of the first semester. 

2. Adjust to NYC life 

From finding and furnishing your apartment, to sorting out your finances (if you are an international student), there are many things to figure out when moving to NYC. 

Here are a bunch useful links and apps that I found useful when I first moved here:

NYU recommended resources for apartment search. I personally used Loftey, and they helped me find the apartment I wanted without paying any broker or extra fees.
– Sometimes Ikea and other furniture shops have long delivery times, in this case I found
second-hand furniture app quite useful.
– The NYC restaurants scene is one of the most exciting – use Resy to discover new places and to search restaurants by availability for up to 20 people (quite useful to organize gatherings with your classmates!).
– Last but not least, take advantage of being a student again: use Unidays to get discounts on restaurants and shops.

3. Map out your goals
Between clubs, networking events, workshops, course electives, conferences, and entrepreneurial competitions, there are so many exciting opportunities at Stern that you might want to take part in – however, it’s really impossible to do everything! So lay out your plans and goals to help identify critical opportunities and stick with your priorities. Of course, your plan can change during this year, but having a set of goals you want to achieve will help you navigate among all the exciting activities happening around you. 

4. Start socializing from day 1 

You will be surrounded by an extraordinary cohort of students, all with different experiences and perspectives, so getting to know each other is not only fun, but it can help you better understand what you want to do post-MBA. Building meaningful connections with your cohort is one of  the most valuable aspects of this experience. So don’t hesitate to organize after-class drinks, dinners and trips together from day one – time goes really fast!

Outside of your cohort, make sure you leverage clubs as a way to connect with the wider Stern community – CampusGroup will be your go-to resource to join clubs and discover events!

Advice for Admitted Students

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 mbaga@stern.nyu.edu!