Company Visits & Beyond

Christy Kim is a MBA candidate at NYU Stern’s Andre Koo Tech MBA program, specializing in Business Analytics and Product Management. Prior to Stern, she worked at Deloitte Consulting, driving large-scale data and analytics transformations for clients across various industries. She additionally brings a background in product marketing, alliances, and tech sales and graduated from Duke University.

As a prospective candidate, you have two options:

  1. MBA experience with a summer internship (traditional 2-year program)
  2. MBA experience with multiple in-semester projects for top companies (welcome to our world!)

If I were presented today with the same options above, I would still choose option B in a heartbeat. Here are the 5 reasons why I believe our experiential learning curriculum provides above and beyond what can be gained through a summer internship alone:

1. GUARANTEED ‘INTERNSHIPS’ WITH TOP COMPANIES – and no recruiting or interviews required! Our 2-year MBA counterparts spend their first year recruiting for their summer internships; however, we fortunately had the following in-semester project opportunities land in our laps as part of our experiential learning courses:

A Dream Team: Pfizer Group A!
  • ‘Tech Immersion’ (Summer): Pfizer, KPMG
  • ‘Tech Solutions’ (Fall): 13 companies across various industries and of all sizes – including Waze, IKEA, PayPal, and Roku
  • [Optional] ‘Endless Frontier Labs’ (Fall & Spring): In place of ‘Tech Solutions’, you have the opportunity to take this course for hands-on work with Life Sciences, Digital Tech and Deep Tech startups

Through the above, some students have even found full-time employment opportunities with their respective companies!

2. BOOST YOUR LINKEDIN/RESUME. Through our experiential learning projects we act as consultants to the companies listed above. This is outstanding real world work experience which helps build our skills and our resume. We can also share our success during the recruiting process.

3. LEARN, APPLY, MAXIMIZE. The beauty of our experiential learning curriculum is that the course lessons are directly aligned to our project expectations and deliverables. For example, we had the following interactive sessions over the summer to help with our client deliverable preparations: 

In addition, we also had the opportunity to apply our learnings from our core courses (e.g. Entrepreneurship, Strategy) to our projects as well. This chronological, methodological yet practical approach to learning is one that I have yet to experience in my undergraduate years or professional life.

4. FAIL SAFE, LEARN FAST – a key, unique benefit of the experiential learning experience. With formal summer internships, there may be less opportunity for interns to ‘fail safe’ as their individual return offers are on the line. Through the Tech MBA program, our experiential learning curriculum allows us to:

  • Consult for top companies with a focus on innovation, experimentation, and learning (shoutout to our professor, J.P. Eggers, for always ensuring that our client project direction stayed on course for learning maximization!)
  • Receive continuous direction and feedback from our clients and project leadership (e.g. we had review/feedback sessions every 3-4 weeks)
  • Collaborate and lead in a small group setting with our classmates (e.g. my group maintained rotating leaders on a weekly basis)

    On-site visit and guest speaker session at Google!
Myself and Divya Mehta’s mock pitch for Goldman Sachs Accelerate!

5. TIME TO EXPLORE (& CONFIRM). The summer ‘Tech Immersion’ course served to be a great kickoff to the exploration of my post-MBA career path. I had planned to use this time in the MBA to confirm my continued career in tech consulting or explore other paths (specifically product management) that may be a good fit with my long-term career goals. The course not only  helped re-confirm my continued passion for client services (i.e. Pfizer project), but also provided a great introduction/sneak peek into the world of product management. I plan to build on these experiences and continue the exploration through the rest of the program; I am excited to see what the future holds for not only myself, but also for our entire cohort!

 

Immersion Programming in the Tech MBA

Kaitlyn Murdock is a Tech MBA candidate, specializing in Healthcare & Strategy. Prior to Stern, she worked at Deloitte, supporting strategy and analytics engagements for Life Sciences & Health Care clients. Kaitlyn is passionate about improving care outcomes for patients with technology and data. 

 

 

 

The Tech MBA is an incredible opportunity that packs all the classes a traditional 2-year student would take into 12 months. When evaluating MBA programs, one major reservation I had about the Tech MBA is the lack of a summer internship. However, the curriculum and programming is designed in a way that exposes students to many companies around New York City, setting us up to build our network and transition into a post MBA role. One of the hallmark classes of the program is the NYC Tech Immersion course, an all-day, once a week class during the summer. The NYC Tech Immersion consists of two main parts: 

  1. A real-life consulting project for a New York-based company, and
  2. Guest speakers and company site visits 

In today’s post, I’ll focus on the latter. Over the summer, our class heard from product managers and professionals in Digital Health, FinTech, EduTech, and more, and had the opportunity to visit the offices of Google and Uber. 

NYC Tech Landscape

In our very first session, professor J.P. Eggers gave an overview of the New York tech scene. He explained how a successful startup ecosystem requires strong talent (universities), desirable employers (to retain that talent), and sources of funding. Over the last decade, New York’s tech and start-up scene has boomed. It’s a very exciting time to attend school in such an active ecosystem. Hearing from guest speakers like Andrew Chang and Christophe Gillet helped me better understand what New York has to offer and how to break into the start-up scene.

Understanding Tech Trends

By speaking with experts in the industry, we got a glimpse into which emerging technologies businesses really care about. Given the technology landscape changes daily, it’s important to stay current and be able to speak to technology trends in interviews. Joshua Ness from Verizon’s 5G Labs explained the history and importance of 5G-enabled distributed computing and its relation to Web3 technologies. As technology progresses, public policy does too; in another session we had Mike Posner and Paul Barrett from the Center for Business and Human Rights speak about ethics and the responsibilities of a tech company to protect its users.

Networking & Company Culture

Each guest speaker offered a valuable chance to connect with someone in the industry. In addition to visiting Google and Uber, we had guests from Amazon, Goldman Sachs, Facebook, Pinterest, Skillshare, and BCG to name a few. Each guest was willing to chat with students to offer advice and be a resource in the future. These sessions also provided a ‘peek behind the curtain’, giving our class a better understanding of the operations and culture of each business. 

Drawing Connections 

In hindsight, perhaps the most valuable part of our Tech Immersion programming was the ability to draw connections with our other summer classes. We went through a real-life marketing case for Skillshare’s rebranding, and applied what we learned in Entrepreneurship to give a mock pitch to a speaker from Goldman Sachs’ incubator, GS Accelerate. Fitz Maro, a specialist in Design Technology at Amazon, taught us how to make better decisions as a leader, reinforcing what we learned in our Leadership course. We also had the opportunity to utilize the skills we developed in our Strategy course to a case on Uber’s product expansion. Making these connections across courses enriches the MBA experience and helps us appreciate the value of what we learn.

I LOVED our NYC Tech Immersion class. Many of my peers connected with our speakers on a personal and professional level. For me personally, our session with Dr. Sarah Zweifach, AliveCor product manager, illuminated that joining a mid-size digital health startup could be an exciting career path. I’m currently pursuing part-time internships in this space. 

This class was a fantastic way to get to know New York’s tech landscape and is just one of many reasons to pursue the Tech MBA at Stern!

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!

My favorite course this semester: Emerging Technologies and Business Innovation

I started a Tech MBA so I could “speak and understand” technology, but mainly to use it as a tool to face business challenges and scale solutions. I am enjoying the program as the mix of courses is accurate for this goal. There are incredible courses related to business and others to technology. There are many special courses, but my favorite one has been “Emerging Technologies and Business Innovation,” dictated by the professor Alex Tuzhilin.

This course wraps up what every person who wants to develop a career around innovation would need to know. It starts explaining innovation as the interaction between business, technology, and regulation. With this in mind, we discussed a framework that was present all over the course: the can-do/ should-do. This is a useful perspective to understand how and when to use certain technologies considering their feasibility, context, ethics, and business sense.

We reviewed the history of innovation and technology, watching how certain technologies faced a phase of hype due to an excitement of the market (many times overreaction), but then they lose its attention (and its capital) because they are not useful. Sometimes they just die, or sometimes they come more solid and disrupt markets. Getting to see this in a conceptual analysis, with a big picture perspective, is useful to be able to understand the nature of innovation and use it.

After this framework, we analyzed technologies that passed through the phase of gloom and now are succeeding. These technologies have the potential to shape many fields in business and human activities. We saw virtual reality, big data, knowledge management, and artificial intelligence. In each case we reviewed what industries are impacted and the challenges around them for the present and the future. We saw industries like healthcare, education, work, among others.

During the course we not only studied these conceptual topics, but also reviewed cases around each topic and received guest speakers to put what has been learned in perspective. I really enjoyed the course because it was totally conceptual – now I feel more prepared to analyze our fast-moving world. I feel I have the tools to feed my curiosity looking to the future with a more structured framework.

My Favorite Class This Semester

One of the best parts about Stern is getting to learn from incredible professors who are experts in their fields. While many of my classes are engaging, there is one class that stands out above the rest: “Strategic Foresight and Predicting the Future of Technology” with professor Amy Webb. The objective of the class is to introduce students to the methods, concepts, frameworks, tools and techniques of strategic foresight, a multidisciplinary approach to deriving new insights about the future. To deliver on this promise, the class is organized into three sections each week 1. Introduction to methodology and a foresight tool 2. A deep dive into an emerging area of technology and 3. Practicing what we learned and applying concepts and tools to our final group project. Not only is the topic of strategic foresight extremely interesting, but the structure of the class also ensures that discussions are relevant and concepts can be applied to any business sector. We learn to identify signals in the world and make connections to form potential trends. We are challenged to imagine what the future of meat consumption will look like in 10 years, what the future of work will be in 15 years, and what the future of media will look like in 20 years. We learn to address assumptions and state uncertainties and back up our scenarios with quantitative and qualitative evidence. To give you a sense of the breadth of what I’ve learned so far, here are some of my favorite things we’ve discussed in class…

1. Why is Nintendo the most innovative company? When we think about Nintendo, we might think about Mario Party or Pokemon, but Nintendo was founded in the 1880s. Nintendo originally sold hand-painted playing cards. As the world evolved and technologies developed, Nintendo paid attention to the signals on the “fringe” and made bets to ensure they could stay in business. Nintendo transitioned from selling playing cards to developing games for malls, handheld gameboys, commercially available video game consoles, the motion sensor Wii, and many more innovations. This example clearly highlighted how companies can use strategic foresight to prepare for the future and remain ahead of their competition.

2. How will a refrigerator be used in 2031? At the start of class we are asked to do a re-perception exercise in which we imagine how everyday objects might be used in the future. Recently we discussed how refrigerators might be used to grow our own food at home, store essential pharmaceuticals, or in new areas of the supply chain as the world becomes warmer. This led to a discussion about when an object is still considered the original object…

3. What are the implications of synthetic influencers? We’ve learned about synthetic influencers like Lil Miquela and K-pop group “Eternity” in class. Prior to this class, I was not familiar with synthetic influencers and their potential impact on not only the entertainment and media industries, but also on society at large.

Throughout the semester, we work on a final group project. This is a great opportunity to apply the theoretical concepts and frameworks we learned step by step.

If you are interested in technology, want to challenge yourself to think differently about companies, societies, and governments, like to imagine what our futures look like, or just love learning new things, then this class is for you. Every week I look forward to rich discussions that develop because this class is a safe space for learning and taking risks. Each week the class time flies by as I absorb information from the professor and her guests lecturers/ class coaches. If you have the chance, definitely take this class!

My Favorite Course This Semester: Brand Strategy

There are so many wonderful courses at Stern that it can feel overwhelming to select elective classes each semester. Because the Tech MBA has put together a robust curriculum that focuses on both business and technical core classes, my hope for elective courses has been that they will be fun, interesting, and help sharpen on specific skill or knowledge area that I have not previously had experience with. For example, I am interested in sustainability and “foodtech,” so I am taking Social Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Food Business with Professor Hans Taparia.

When I was thinking about my prior role as a Product Manager, and some of the skills that I wanted to develop, I realized that I have not had much exposure to marketing. Specifically, I was interested in branding, and the way in which graphic design, strategy and positioning can come together to change the way a brand is perceived in the market, and the emotional impact it has on consumers. I decided to take Brand Strategy with Professor Gormley, and it has turned out to be my favorite course this semester. When I read the first line of her syllabus, I knew I had made the right choice. “Who says you can’t get real world experience in the classroom? Fran Gormley has worked in the Branding business for three decades and can teach you how to create Branding ideas that can propel a business forward.”

Before beginning at Stern, I was advised to take evening electives whenever possible because it would mean that the course was taught by a “practitioner,” or a professor who is currently working for another organization in the field, as opposed to professors who are lifelong academics. I think this is so important when looking to a subject like branding, because learning from a professor who is currently running her own branding agency ensures you are learning the latest and greatest standards from the industry.

Professor Gormley is a great lecturer, and she structures the class so that she delivers course content for half of the session, and then a guest speaker comes in to talk with the class for the latter half of the class. We have heard from executives across many different industries and branding agencies, specifically at PayPal, Fekkai, Edelman, Wolff Olins, and Interbrand. My favorite speaker so far was Frédéric Fekkai, a legendary hair stylist turned businessman, who spoke about his company Fekkai, and the various transitions it has made over the years. Frédéric spoke about the opportunity he had to sell his company, and eventually buy it back, and it was crazy to hear the story of the shampoo I had in my very own shower at home in Brooklyn! Professor Gormley also gives various case study lectures about the projects she has worked on across her career, making it very applicable to see the before and after of the branding work she has done. This class takes place on Tuesday evenings, but the time flies by, and I look forward to hearing from Professor Gormley and whoever she has in store for us each week. We even are working on a semester long project to rebrand a company of our choosing. I can’t recommend this class enough!

Learning to Lead: An Overview of My Favourite Spring Class

Only three months into the Tech MBA program at NYU Stern, my classes have already played a large role in impacting my future career as a professional and leader. 

Our Spring semester was packed with many business core classes such as Accounting, Economics, Business Communication, and Leadership. Among all of these great classes, Leadership in Organization (LiO) – the opening class of the MBA, taught by Professor Petitt – specifically stood out. Not only because it was a very engaging class, but also because it’s centered on a topic that all of us can relate to. No matter what point of your career you are at, no matter if you are in a tech, creative or strategy team, Leadership will be the key to unlock your success at its maximum potential as well as the success of your organization. And, a bit more surprisingly, this course also taught me that strong leadership skills are critical to helping your personal relationships flourish. 

But first, let me start by addressing the most common question that people ask themselves (including me) when approaching a Leadership class: “Can I really learn Leadership in a classroom?”
The answer is rooted in the notion of leadership itself. Leadership is the ability to create change in a given environment; this could be your organization, your team or your family/friends.
We are all naturally capable of creating change by making decisions; if you think about it, you make hundreds of decisions everyday, with various degrees of risk. This course provided me with the right tools to analyze difficult situations and opportunities to act and to make difficult decisions to achieve the best outcomes for a set goal. And when I say making difficult decisions, I literally mean decisions that impact your actual life – not a business case, not a simulation. So yes, you can learn Leadership in a this classroom! 

So what was so good about this course? 

– Content: human, social and organizational aspects of leadership
Throughout our six intensive sessions, we have explored all the different dimensions and aspects of leadership, from individual motivations to group dynamics inside and outside the organization, touching on cultural differences in business interactions and ethical dilemmas. We covered a wide range of interesting topics, yet went deep enough to be able to embed these learnings into our professional lives. 

– Methodology: pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone
The greatest aspect of this course was the “experiential” component that enabled us to test our leadership skills in many different situations – I won’t spoil anything here, but get ready to push your limits and face some challenging situations! And – bonus point – while doing so, you will get to know your classmates better and also have fun!

– Outcome: increased self-knowledge
Because of the way the course was structured, through each session and each assignment we had the opportunity to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to leadership and take actions to improve some of the key areas that are critical to become a good leader. I learnt about the theory and the frameworks, but most importantly I learnt more about myself, how to recognize my biases and how to overcome them, as well as how to leverage my current skills to improve my leadership style.

Mix all the above points with the enthusiasm and humor of Professor Petitt, and you will get all the ingredients for a memorable, game-changing class!