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.
|Entrepreneurship||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!