Steven is a current Tech MBA student, specializing in Financial Instruments & Markets and Management of Technology & Operations. Prior to Stern, Steven was at Deloitte in tech consulting where he was implementing financial software to complete full cycle digital transformations. At Stern, he is involved in OutClass and enjoys connecting with classmates.
Club involvement has been a significant part of my experience at Stern. I am currently a Vice President for Careers and Conferences in OutClass, an Assistant Vice President for Resources in Cellar, an ally in Stern Women in Business, and a member of the Management Consulting Association, Private Equity and Venture Capital Cluband Stern Adventures. The first thing to note is that a lot of these clubs have lifetime membership. The professional clubs offer an abundant amount of important information including job opportunities, networking and trainings that can be leveraged in the future. I highly suggest joining any clubs that you have an interest in so that you can utilize these invaluable resources.
The club that I am most involved with is OutClass, our LGBTQIA+ affinity group. In my leadership position, I have been heavily involved with connecting employers that are recruiting for diversity and inclusion initiatives to queer MBA candidates, and have organized multiple firm-sponsored queer networking events including cross club collaborations. OutClass has been one of the most important clubs that I have been involved with and has significantly enhanced my experience at Stern. This club has allowed me to meet classmates from all the different MBA programs (EMBA, Part-Time Langone MBA and Full 2-Year MBA) outside of the focused MBAs. I have also built a community in OutClass that has been instrumental in some of my deepest connections at Stern. I have seen firsthand how within this community, everyone really strives to help each other out to achieve the utmost success. With this group we have attended professional conferences such as ROMBA in Washington, D.C. (Stern had the highest representation of queer students out of any graduate school!), happy hours, group workout sessions, dinners, mixers with other schools and alumni, marched in New York Pride and have so much more to come, including a trip to Miami.
As for professional clubs, these clubs help students with securing summer internships and full time offers. They offer bootcamps, casing prep and competitions and a wealth of learning opportunities. The goal of professional clubs is to help students prosper in whatever field they are recruiting for. In most of these clubs, MBA2s will lead sessions and help the other cohorts by sharing their experiences going through the same processes in the previous year, and giving advice on how to prepare for or learn about an industry. Overall, the interview preparation, job opportunities and connections that these clubs provide is outstanding.
A particularly special event that I went to recently was the kickoff for ‘Allyship in Stern Women In Business’ (SWIB). Coming from the tech sector, where women are disproportionately represented, it was incredible to see that my Tech MBA cohort was the largest representation. Everyone went around to state their various reasons of why they showed up as an ally, and it was impressive to see why everyone supported more women in leadership positions and how they would support these initiatives when they returned to the workforce.
Overall, I would recommend joining any and every club that you have any interest in. Both professional and social clubs offer a magnitude of knowledge, fun, connections and networks. These affiliations will last a lifetime and you never know when you will want to leverage any aspect from the membership. You will always be able to decide what events you will want to attend or how much you obtain from the relationship, but you will not have the opportunities unless you get involved.
Divya Mehta is a current Tech MBA student at Stern. Within Stern, she is part of the Graduate Marketing Association and Business Analytics Club boards. Before starting her MBA, Divya has held various supply chain roles at Johnson & Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, and Intel Corporation. She studied Industrial Engineering at Penn State University with minors in Product and Entrepreneurship. Post-MBA she is interested in pivoting from a cost-savings role to a revenue-generation role at a B2B company.
If you’re reading this post, you’re probably wondering how we effectively squeeze a traditional MBA curriculum in just one year. How is it structured? How does it feel?
One of the most unique aspects of the Tech MBA is that core classes start in the summer rather than the fall. This gave all 47 of us the unique opportunity to receive focused attention from renowned professors, early access to all of Stern’s resources, an accelerated bonding experience through 30-40 hours a week in class together, and elective flexibility for the subsequent semesters.
In order to help frame the first semester, I’ve broken it down into takeaways and two parts: The first 60 days and the last 30 days.
The first semester is difficult. By clearing your schedule for the first 60 days, you may save yourself from stress.
Knowledge is power. Students have opportunities to think about how each core class relates to one another and apply learnings to their experiential engagements.
Everyone has unique strengths. The professors are amazing, but classmates are also a great resource for learning and support!
Having fun is important! Electives are a chance to learn something you wouldn’t have learned otherwise. Don’t worry too much about specializations. Everyone’s journey is unique.
The first 60 days:
Our first 60 days consisted of seven core courses which were already scheduled for us and required as part of the Tech MBA curriculum:
Dealing with Data (Python, SQL)
Our days were long and fully packed with class from 9:00am to 4:20pm. Although the injection of mental and social stimulation was difficult to prepare for, this was also the portion of the summer that I had the least number of extracurricular distractions and the most amount of adrenaline to learn fast. I also was continuously re-energized by some of my favorite professors Professor Brian Hanssen (Communications) and Professor Nate Petit (Leadership) who consistently brought their passion to the classroom.
I was also impressed by the structure of the program, which strategically weaved complementary themes through multiple courses in our carefully crafted curriculum. For example, after learning about empathy in Leadership on a Monday, we immediately practiced delivering feedback in Communications the following Tuesday. In Marketing class, we learned about Customer Journey Maps and User Personas, which we incorporated into our Tech Immersion check-ins with our respective clients. The ability to apply fresh material to concurrent courses led to faster absorption, richer discussions, and a more holistic understanding of where different aspects of a business intersect.
The last 30 days:
Our last 30 days ended with four courses that gradually transitioned us from learning fundamentals to implementing strategy.
Tech Immersion (continued)
Just like the first 60 days, principles we learned in our morning Finance class (CAGR and ROIC) were being applied in our Strategy and Entrepreneurship classes. The classes had a balanced mix of hands-on experience, practical applications, and case studies. As an engineer, I initially found Finance challenging but luckily, I had a few classmates with lots of practical finance experience to help me study and succeed. After balancing seven classes in the first 60 days, and having the support of my classmates, this portion of the semester felt much lighter. We finally had a good groove and Friday classes were eventually replaced with free time for picnics, beach trips, and sightseeing!
After the first semester…
After the first semester, everything else felt very manageable. We entered the fall semester with grace. At this point I already had a rhythm, a strong group of friends, and a foundational understanding to take some stimulating electives with the rest of the 2-year MBA students. My favorite elective in the second semester was Blockchains & Cryptocurrency. The class started off with industry experts discussing current event topics (such as the fall of FTX). I was thankful that the structure of the Tech MBA curriculum equipped me with the perfect blend of technical and commercial acumen to conceptualize cryptocurrency strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities. In my last semester, I am most excited to take a course in Strategic Foresight and Predicting the Future of Technology with Amy Webb, a leading expert in future strategy and innovation, who has been featured in numerous media outlets such as CNN, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal!
Aside from electives, we also had more free time to join boards of clubs and participate in extracurriculars with the rest of the Stern community. With my newfound free-time, I led a committee in planning the first in-person conference for the Graduate Marketing Association in years. I also had an opportunity to attend an intimate Leadership Storytelling summit which expanded on some of the principles I learned in Leadership class. I was able to branch out and meet so many Sternies from all walks of life, with a lighter course load.
Overall, if you are looking for a fast, collaborative, hands-on approach to accelerating your career, the Tech MBA is the right choice for you!
Bárbara Argeri is a current Tech MBA student, specializing in Tech Product Management. Prior to Stern, Bárbara worked as a Product Strategy Manager at Mercado Libre in Brazil. Post-MBA, she plans to work as a Tech Product Manager. At Stern, she is involved in several student associations such as Stern Technology Association, Stern Women in Business, and Latin American Business Association. During her free time, she enjoys strolling around New York searching for new places, and spending time with her friends.
When I was learning more about different MBA programs, the content I liked the most was about the day in the life of an MBA student, since they provided me with a real sense of what life would be like. Because of this, I didn’t think twice when I was given the opportunity to write this blog!
7:30am: I wake up early for my classes. Since I live on the Upper East Side, I take a while longer to get to campus. I prepare some coffee, get something to eat, and head to the Q subway station on 72nd street. It is a 20-minute ride and I try to keep up with some of my favorite podcasts along the way.
8:45am: I arrive at Union Square. Although I could transfer to the R or W to arrive near Stern, I prefer to leave at Union Square and walk for 10 minutes to campus since the weather is nice. I pass by Washington Square Park and have one of those funny moments when I realize “Oh my God! I live in New York now.” I arrive just in time for my “Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies” class.
11:50am: Cryptocurrencies class was great. We talked about the regulations of crypto markets and possible impacts for the future. We had a speaker from one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrencies exchange platforms. It’s incredible to hear the perspective of someone who’s so actively inserted in the business.
12:00pm: Recruiting time! We have a corporate presentation of one of the companies I am most interested in working with. Time to better understand their culture, ask questions, and network with their employees. It’s so helpful to get to meet the recruiters in person and build relationships with them. And that’s much easier when they’re a few subway stops away. This allows me to meet so many different companies – and also visit their offices some times.
01:00pm: Time to grab a snack before meeting with one of my project groups. For this project, we are working as consultants for a color- analytics startup, which is very disrupting. We are helping them develop the wireframes of an app they are planning to launch. The pages are almost ready to be submitted to user testing. We’re excited to be working closely with the client on something that they are actually launching soon! This course is also a great opportunity to strengthen my Product Management skills since that’s the career I want to pursue after graduation.
03:00pm: Time to work on some homework and readings. As we approach the end of the semester, we have quite a few papers due. I like to go to the “Grad Lounge” for that, since my classmates usually hang out there, and you also get to meet different people. This time, one of the students associations left candy to support students during finals week. That has definitely given us a mood boost!
05:00pm: Done with the duties. Time to grab a coffee and something to eat and meet up with some friends that are around campus to chat and relax for a bit. We are discussing what the plans for this weekend we’ll be. A pot luck dinner maybe!?
06:00pm: Last stretch of the day – “Data Science for Business” class. Today, we learned about language models that are developed to identify and filter possible spam emails. It’s so interesting to learn about the methodology and discuss possible variables and impacts. This class is great to help you understand data mining concepts and prepare you to speak with data scientists.
09:00pm: Class is over! Time to meet with my husband and grab something to eat around campus before heading home. What a long day. Nothing better than watching an episode of my favorite series and going to bed.
Alina Vrsaljko is a current Tech MBA student at Stern. Within Stern, she is part of the Stern Women in Business Club‘s board. Before starting her MBA, Alina gained professional experience in Digital Strategy Consulting at McKinsey in Europe and in multiple roles at Hewlett Packard Enterprise in Germany and Singapore. She holds a BSc in Business Informatics and a MSc in Management.
In May 2022, the day finally arrived. I loaded my suitcases onto the luggage belt in Frankfurt, Germany and got on the plane to start a new chapter of my life – the Tech MBA at NYU Stern in my favourite place, New York City. 6179 kilometres away from my hometown in Germany.
Moving to New York for the Tech MBA can come with a few unique challenges especially for international students. But once those are overcome, it gives you the opportunity to have an amazing experience that you wouldn’t get at home! To make the transition a bit easier, I’ll give some insights on my personal experience during the last 7 months.
Finding a NYC family to celebrate holidays with is amazing
After you have found a place to live in New York, you obviously should make sure that you feel at home in the city. An especially lonely time for international students can be the holiday season, especially if you usually spend this time with your family at home.
Fortunately, your NYU community will have you covered. My most favourite experience during the last few weeks especially leading up to our Thanksgiving break was celebrating “Friendsgiving” with the Tech MBA class (see picture below). Even though your family might not be there for the holidays, you’ll be able to celebrate with your classmates and especially with your international classmates – more than half of the Tech MBA students are from abroad so you will have friends who are in the same boat as you and will be able to support you.
Early visa application is everything
Especially international students should ensure to start preparing early on as there are a few things to look out for. One of the major processes you’ll have to go through is the visa application process, which varies based on your home country. One amazing resource NYU provides is NYU’s Office of Global Services (OGS). Even before you’ve officially started your MBA, OGS is by your side and will provide you with step-by-step guidance for the visa application, and can even take 1:1 meetings for specific questions. The process can take up to several months, so it is highly recommended to start applying for your visa as early as possible after being admitted. Further things to read up on are US health insurance and work authorization – here again the OGS provides a lot of material to read up on and assists with personal advice.
Finding a home in the city from abroad might be challenging
Finding an apartment while living in New York can already be challenging – from abroad, with a potential time difference, it might be even harder. Thus, I can recommend two different but very effective strategies on how to pursue the apartment hunt for internationals.
1) Rent a sublet until the end of May to ensure you’re covered but have enough time to look at apartments in person. A lot of international students choose this way to find an apartment to make sure their new apartment is exactly as it’s advertised and to allow a stress-free move from their home country to the US. Since the full MBA experience anyways requires you to rent a place for 13 months (beginning of May Year 1 to end of May year 2), this can be a great way to rent an apartment with a regular NYC contract that runs for 12 months.
2) You can rent an apartment from abroad, but it’s helpful to have a friend go check out the apartment first. It’s important to do your due diligence and rely on the current MBA students to guide you through the process! Stern will send out a spreadsheet that can help you find a roommate in the program, and you can even rent apartments from graduating students.
Perks of having a large international community: International potlucks!
And last but not least – while it can be a bit more challenging to come to NYU as an international student, there are also amazing perks that come with it. The most important aspect for me is that you get to meet classmates from all over the world with different backgrounds. In our case, our full class benefited from all our differences, and we enjoy discussing different cultural backgrounds and learning from each other. One great way to learn about one another obviously is food! We regularly have international potlucks within our class, where everyone brings a dish from their home country and we have a delicious meal together. In the picture below you can see a few of the national dishes from our current Tech MBA class – Brazilian cheese bread, German cheese pasta, French apple pie, Austrian pancakes, Ukrainian pancakes & fish, Brazilian chocolate cake and of course Indian Samosas!
Alina is a current Tech MBA student at Stern. Within Stern, she is part of the Stern Women in Business Club‘s board. Before starting her MBA, Alina gained professional experience in Digital Strategy Consulting at McKinsey in Europe and in multiple roles at Hewlett Packard Enterprise in Germany and Singapore. She holds a BSc in Business Informatics and a MSc in Management.
How quickly can you bond with 54 other Tech MBAs? Well, apparently it only takes days after meeting them. The first time I got in touch with my classmates was even before the official start of the program. One bold classmate decided to invite all of us over to her building for a party which turned out to be one of the first nights we bonded as a class (see picture below).
Now, the community within our Tech MBA can be described as especially close. Our class profile is made up of 55 individuals with different backgrounds, from over 15 different countries, with between 1-15 years of work experience, different personality types from very introverted to especially extroverted, and with an age difference of more than 12 years between our youngest and oldest class members. Still, we have similar values – we truly embrace Stern’s emphasis on community which is one of the essential reasons why our class climate is especially welcoming and friendly.
To me, the community within the MBA class was an important factor in deciding on a grad school. I came to New York as an international student from Germany with only a very small network in the city. Especially when leaving family and friends behind on a different continent, the strong bond within a class was particularly critical for me. The Tech MBA at NYU Stern was the perfect choice as the MBA community was there for me from Day One. A few highlights have been finding roommates on our class Slack channel, apartment search hacks and personally curated restaurant / bar lists shared with the class from our NYC-based classmates (New Yorker’s equivalent to gold), and finally, that we got to know each other through our Slack channel even before the start of the program.
As we are a small cohort of 55 students, it is possible to get to know your classmates quickly. Additionally, as classes start in the summer semester, it is incredibly effortless to connect within the Stern buildings as it’s only Focused MBAs on campus. During the summer months, we had an intense syllabus with 19.5 credits – but this also allowed us to get to know each other through numerous group projects and more intimate MBA events. Of course, we also got to explore New York City after class and on the weekends.
Besides classes, the community within the Tech MBA offers tremendous support to help prepare for recruiting. As all of us already have strong backgrounds in different industries and roles, we regularly take the time to share our experiences within our classes, and there are even several interview practice groups where classmates help each other with interview prep.
The summer months created a strong bond within the Tech MBA. Besides connecting in class and during group projects, our incredible social committee organizes regular class events as well as a class trip to the Finger Lakes during the summer months.
In the fall, club activities pick up again which will allow us to connect with 2-year MBA students. We get to choose a range of electives and have more space in our syllabus, so this time can be used to connect within the wider Stern network.
For the spring semester, we already have the next class trip planned – this time we will explore the home country of one of our classmates, Colombia!
All those small but valuable things make up the strong community within the Tech MBA as part of the bigger, incredible NYU Stern network. This community made the first months of the program especially fun and helped me to create a home in the city.
Before I joined NYU Stern’s Tech MBA program, as an aspiring manager, I always wondered what opportunities would the school provide for me to grow as an impactful leader? How would these compare to the two-year MBA program? And, how do I prepare to arrive at school so I can best leverage these opportunities?
After completing almost a full year in the program, there are a number of opportunities I participated in that helped me strengthen my leadership & management skills while making the most of the program. I hope you consider participating in these as you choose to pursue your own Tech MBA!
Cohort Leader Opportunity: Early in the academic year, Stern gives a taste of what winning an election must feel like, haha! Jokes aside, students elect a cohort leader who serves as a liaison between the administration and your Tech MBA class.
MBA Admissions Graduate Assistantship: Into the second semester, Admissions Committee selects 3-4 candidates as the face of Stern’s Tech MBA program. These students regularly mentor, guide and serve as ambassadors for both the aspiring MBA students and the admitted students. *wink* they’re the best *wink* As a GA, I have loved talking with so many of you about your journey to business school!
Professional Club Opportunities: There are a number of professional clubs which provide important board positions for the Tech MBA students. Every year, 1-2 students get elected to executive positions within Stern Tech Association, Management Consulting Association, Data Analytics Club, and more. This serves as an excellent opportunity to shape the experience of Tech MBA students for next decade, especially given how the Tech MBA is still relatively new.
Fun Club Opportunities: In addition to professional clubs, Stern also has a lot of special interest and affinity clubs. I personally am closely involved with Stern Football Association, Stern Follies, South Asian Business Association at Stern and Stern Comedy Club. So, spread your wings and find where your affinity lies – most clubs reserve a leadership position for Tech MBA students, which is a great way to get even more involved.
Orientation Leader: Each year, the Office of Student Engagement recruits 4 Orientation Leaders who work to enable a smoother transition for the upcoming cohort. Personally, the Orientation Leaders were real gems when it came to guiding my initial exploration through the program after moving to New York from India last year. I am thankful for their wisdom, and the it seems like a really fun position!
Miscellaneous: Apart from the aforementioned formal opportunities, Stern’s diverse, EQ-centered community continually presents other platforms to rise up and shine as a community leader. Just last semester, when we were struggling with Finance, some knights in shining armor rose up to use their professional experience to guide us in our projects :). Additionally, students who went through the Fall recruiting process and have their job secured have been hosting casing practice and mock interviews for those of us doing just-in-time recruiting in Spring. Even in small groups, Stern students show their leadership and commitment to helping fellow students.
To summarize, not only are there a ton of opportunities available for students to explore, you will also be able to create your own opportunities as you navigate through this amazing journey at Stern.
A huge part of the Stern experience is getting to know your classmates, Stern alumni, and faculty, and building long-lasting relationships.
I have to admit I was a bit nervous about making strong connections in a one-year program, however I’ve been blown away by the professional and personal relationships I’ve formed during my time at Stern.
The one year Tech MBA program is unique because students take the full business “core” during an intensive summer semester. Tech MBA students dive head first into the curriculum and are in class together five days a week for 12 weeks. This summer semester creates the optimal environment to get to know the cohort very quickly. Not only are you paired with classmates during class projects, but students also get the opportunity to socialize during lunch and after class.
In the fall, Tech MBA students are fully integrated into the Stern community and join clubs and take elective classes with MBA 1s and 2s. I enjoyed participating in Stern Women in Business, Stern Technology Association, and Stern Adventures events to meet Sternies outside of my cohort. Additionally, clubs are a great resource to meet alumni and network with the broader Stern community. Through club engagements I’ve met alumni at top tech firms and formed relationships with them to help me through the recruiting process.
Outside of the classroom and formal Stern sponsored events, there are opportunities for students to gather socially and travel together. Our cohort organized a ski trip to Utah during winter break, which was a great way to bond while participating in a fun activity. My classmates have gone on hiking trips and a group recently traveled to Colombia for spring break. Throughout the semester, our class also holds a weekly happy hour on Wednesdays that anyone can attend. We’ve even taken food tours in various NYC neighborhoods and gone to karaoke! Spending time in and out of the classroom with my cohort has been so much fun.
I’ve made lifelong friends at Stern and am confident that the supportive network I’ve built will help me succeed in my career and beyond.
It’s popular knowledge that a big part of the MBA is networking. But that word sounds like work and isn’t well-suited to the reality of things. There is a more appropriate word: friendships! Over the next year or two of your MBA, you will share life with a group of amazing people coming from various backgrounds, yet all working towards similar goals. If you do things well, you’ll build deep, lasting friendships with a bunch of them because you spend time together. In this blog post, I want to share some ways that our cohort has bonded through student-led community events.
Bars and Restaurants These are classics. Don’t be shy to book a table somewhere and send a message in your “general” slack channel asking people if they want to join. I bet you that you’ll have to call back to increase your reservation to 20 seats.
Parks This is a go-to in NYC and a fun way to spend Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Our cohort always ends up in Central Park, but there are tons of other parks too. I recommend getting a Moolky, a wooden pin & skittles game, which you can play as a group. Last time, someone brought a portable cornhole game that was also fun to play 2 vs 2. Do not forget sunscreen, coolers, and hats! If you have a dog, there’s a specific patch of grass just north of the East 72nd Street entrance with lots of other dogs running around and playing together.
Workouts One of the highlights for me so far in the MBA has been running workouts for my classmates. We meet outside twice a week and sweat together for an hour. Then we usually go to brunch afterwards! Wednesdays are at the Houston st playground, and Saturdays are at Pier 46. Only one rule: you have to come to a workout to be added to the group chat! Don’t forget to take a group selfie post-workout! Open to all at any level, reach out to me if you want to join!
House/rooftop parties Rooftops are a huge commodity in NYC summers. Make yourself known if you have a rooftop or a bigger apartment than others!
Poker My classmates and I had a couple good games, both online and offline. I recommend keeping it inclusive to everyone and giving a chance to people who don’t know how to play to give it a try. If you want to play online you can use pokernow for free and have a simultaneous zoom session.
PPT night Our cohort has been running a powerpoint night every two months that has proven popular and a lot of fun. The premise is simple: 3 people volunteer to present to the group on a topic of their choice. The topics are completely up to the presenters and tend to be fun (or even ludicrous) in nature. Examples include origami, Whiteclaw, Australia’s Great Emu War, travelling to Chile, 90 Day Fiance, etc.
Escape the Zoom In this event attendees are separated into teams of ~4 and attempt to “escape the Zoom” by answering a series of ~8 riddles posted by the organizing team. Each team is sent to their own breakout room and given the first riddle. Once a team solves a riddle, one of the team members goes back to the main room and calls an organizer into their breakout room to deliver the answer. If correct, the team unlocks the next riddle. Hints are offered to teams after 10 minutes without a solution. The winning team is the first team to correctly solve all riddles!
Here’s a riddle to get you started:
Complete this logical sequence:
1 – E – 2 – O – 3 – E – 4 – R – 5 – E – 6 – …
a) S b) X c) Z
To see the answer, highlight this full line with your cursor: ANSWER is b) (SI)X
Trips Spending several days away together is usually an excellent way to get to know your classmates on a deeper level. And some may have the added benefit of discovering new parts of America. With everyone vaccinated and the slow easing of safety guidelines, trips might soon be part of the MBA experience again. There are as many destinations as you can think of. I’m recommending a local spot below:
Hunter Mountain In the winter, Hunter mountain is a must-do for skiing and snowboarding with slopes available for all level skiers. It’s just about 2.5 hours outside NYC. You’ll need to book your ski passes well in advance and book a chalet on Airbnb for the group. I recommend renting your gear on the way up to the station where the queue will be a lot smaller.
Thanks for the read, I hope this will be useful to brainstorm what to do after classes! Have fun and see you around the city!
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!
Ok, so you’ve got your Stern admission letter and your F1 visa and you’re finally ready to move to New York City! Since you’ve never met anyone from New York who didn’t think this was the best city on earth, you’re feeling pretty good about the move. But if you are still wondering what to expect, this post is for you. It covers what I’ve learned in my first 3 months here as a Frenchman, tips on how to successfully transition as a non-American, and odd things I’ve noticed.
A bit about me-
My name is Luc, I grew up near Paris, lived for a year in Houston before college, studied for 3 years in Montreal for my bachelor’s, and I had been working in Shanghai for 9 years prior to coming to Stern. My background is entrepreneurship: 8 years of early stage tech startups, 5 as founder/ceo, followed by some consulting. My experience with NYC was close to none before I moved here 4 months ago.
Units are usually available right away so you can find an apartment in the 2 weeks leading up to your move-in date (it took me 5 days). There are a few online platforms recommended by NYU when it comes to looking for an apartment. If you’re going to use Facebook housing groups, I recommend doing background checks before you sign anything (I dodged a scammer on a Facebook group by doing a reverse Google image search of the photos on the listing). It showed me that the NYC apartment I had selected was also listed in Paris … no wonder the “landlord” didn’t want to turn on her video when we talked!
In my case, StreetEasy got me there and I recommend using this instead. Word of caution if, like me, you are booking your apartment after a virtual visit: video tours are not the same as in person. You cannot control what is shown or get an accurate sense of the size, the view, the noise, etc. So ask if you can commit for only 3 months with the option to extend at the same rate for the rest of the year. The market has gone way down since COVID, so the landlord might agree. My apartment ended up having zero natural light and I was glad to have the option to move out after 3 months. Note that most listed apartments are not furnished, but if you message the agents on the website they might have other unlisted apartments available that are furnished, or have available furniture in storage to give you. In my case, the agent provided me with a bed and a sofa free of charge and I bought the other cheaper furniture on my own. Another option is to rent furniture: you can get a good bed and sofa for as low as $100/month if signing for 12 months (e.g. livefeather.com, cort.com, casaone.com and others).
Where to live-
There are a lot of differing opinions on the topic. A lot of my classmates live in the West Village and everyone loves it. It feels a bit more European and there are a lot of good spots, but it’s a bit pricey. The East Village and Lower East Side are great options as well (I live on the border of the two). The area is a bit more grungy in my opinion, but has lots of great bars and restaurants. If you don’t mind the commute I’m a big fan of Brooklyn (Fort Greene, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Prospect Heights, Greenpoint, Williamsburg): I like the smaller buildings, the sense of community I get walking its streets, and the welcoming and unpretentious vibe. I also have a classmate who lives in Jersey City right across the river with a beautiful view of the Hudson River, and it takes him just 20 minutes to get to campus.
Once you have your place you’re going to have to figure out a data plan, internet, utilities, and a bank.
Phone plan: Assuming you already have a phone, the best value I found is AT&T’s 12-month prepaid plan, at $25/month + tax for 8GB of data. There’s a catch though: it’s available only online and you need to already have a US phone number to order… your US number…. I was tricked into paying for a 1 month plan at a physical store just so I could order the prepaid 12-month plan online. If I were to do it again, I would get a temporary Skype US number and use that to order instead.
Internet: In theory there are two options, Verizon FiOS and Spectrum. But they cover different areas of NYC so you end up being forced to subscribe to the available supplier for your apartment. You can use your NYU email to get 2 months free with Spectrum, but then it’s $55/month for wifi for the first year and $70 after that. Although I’m told you can call back at the end of the year to get the ‘new customer’ discount again.
Utilities: Another monopoly. I hope your activation on ConEdison’s website goes smoothly as they’re difficult to reach via phone. Your landlord or agent should tell you what you need to do for utilities.
Bank: I pre-opened an HSBC account from abroad (not available in some countries like China so you’ll have to check) and then applied in-person for their credit card when I arrived. You’ll want to get a credit card because it allows you to build your credit history (without which it’ll be hard to finance anything in the US), and because it’s the only type of card that works in all situations, 100% of the time (for some reason my debit cards are a hit or miss). Until I had my credit card, I used Revolut, which offers free payments and free currency conversions. Note that if you’re using an international card and the POS machine or ATM asks for a zip code, enter 00000.
Most people I’ve met like to walk. If that‘s the case for you, you’ll have a great time here. I don’t like walking much, so I’ve explored different options:
Metro & buses: $2.75 a ride, but you can transfer for free (e.g. metro to bus). There’s no need to buy MetroCards as you can tap your credit card to enter the station. Public transportation will take you anywhere, but it will take time: I find that I tend to have to wait for the next train or bus, and there’s still walking to be done when you arrive at your destination.
Revel: $1 unlock fee + $0.49 per minute. I love Revel as I used to ride an electric moped every day in Shanghai. These are particularly fast and good. The downside is that it’s relatively expensive (my rides have been $8-10) and you might spend a few minutes looking for a legal spot to park. They accept international driving licenses. The mopeds have a phone holder built-in which is super convenient for using google map. I heard that Revel is starting to rent out electric bicycles for $100 a month as well.
Citi Bike: $3.50 a ride. Good if you can find an electric one, bad if you can’t: the bikes are super heavy and slow. You can book those directly from the Lyft app, too. I’m told that there are subscription plans available if you like City Bike.
Uber/Lyft: More comfortable and expensive. Good to get back home after a night out.
My personal recommendation: Buy an electric scooter or electric longboard for as low as $350 (or a bicycle). My longboard takes me to most places in 10 minutes. I can take it on the metro or on top of a Revel if I’m going far so it combines well with other forms of transportation. You can even ride across the bridges to Brooklyn. Getting a scooter is both safer and more comfortable than skateboarding because the roads in NYC are quite bad (rough pavement with bumps, iron railings, and holes), especially the bike lanes! Then use Revel when it’s nice out!
Odd things I’ve noticed- Dogs: (NYC) Americans love dogs. I mean LOVE dogs. I mean you’ll go to some dinners where people will spend a full hour talking about their dogs. If you’re taking a class on Zoom and someone’s dog enters the field of view, the class will stop until classmates and instructors are done commenting on how cute that dog is (and yes, all of the dogs are cute).
Prices: Don’t trust them. All the prices you’re given here are deflated. You’ll need to add taxes, and tips if it’s food or drinks. A typical restaurant bill is 30% higher than previously stated. You might need a calculator to figure out the tip, usually 18-20% of the pre-tax amount given.
Messaging apps:Not everyone uses the same messaging app. Most people have iPhones and use iMessage so they may not use WhatsApp. Regular SMS, Facebook messenger, Signal, and Discord might also be used to communicate with different people. This was odd to me given how everyone uses WeChat in China no matter what phone they have.
Cash: It’s still a thing here. Even coins. Actually, your laundry might not be inside your apartment, so you’ll need to go to your bank to get lots and lots of quarters to operate the machines in your building or at your nearest laundromat. Many smaller businesses refuse credit cards until you reach a certain $ minimum, and I haven’t seen mobile payments being used here yet.
Note that as a result, it takes a lot of time to pay at a restaurant. So instead everyone paying, what happens is 1) only 1 person at the table pays for everyone (yay, credit card points!). 2) Another person usually volunteers to divide up the amounts, goes back home and uses a spreadsheet to proportionally divide the tax and tip, and texts everyone how much they owe. Then 3) you’ll have to download Venmo and link it to your US bank account to pay that first person back. Teamwork.
I hope this was helpful to get you situated in NYC and that you’re excited; this is going to be a fun ride. Please reach out to me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.