Community within the Tech MBA

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.

How to Pick an Apartment in NYC

Moving to New York City for the first time is not easy, it is a whole adventure. It is even harder when the decision of coming to the city has been made quickly. Through this brief post, I want to give some advice on how to do it, so the experience can be smooth and efficient.

There are three things that you should consider before moving: budget, area and building requirements.

The first thing that must be decided is the budget. Once you have a clear range defined, you can look which areas of the city have places in which you are comfortable with the prices. To do this, use apps like StreetEasy and Naked Apartments. Both apps will show you basic information about each building and prices. Beyond this, I recommend looking for ratings of the buildings for previous experiences, which is a good way to know if the buildings are in good shape or if the landlords & property managers behave in a professional manner when faced with difficult situations. This will save you many problems.

Most upcoming Stern students try to look at areas close to the NYU, often in West Village or East Village. Nevertheless, the school has a bus that can take you all around the city, so it is good to map out your location against that route and the subways.

After knowing budget and area, it is important to analyze building requirements. There are buildings that ask for proof of income for one year, or a guarantor. These requirements could be difficult to meet as you are going to be studying for at least a year, and even harder if you are an international student. Therefore, it will be more efficient to know which buildings can adjust to your situation.

This city moves very fast, so if you see an available apartment one day, it could be gone as quickly as the next day. I recommend you have four or five buildings/ units in mind. I also recommend visiting the city for four or five days and conducting apartment visits. Once you see any apartment that you like, ask for an application and move forward (if possible, on the spot). You don’t want to lose your chance!

With this approach you will have an apartment in your budget, in an area that you like, avoiding stress in the process. It is a whirlwind of an experience, but it’s all worth it to live in such an amazing city!

And So It Begins

I can’t believe the summer semester has already ended and we’ve begun fall classes! These past few months have definitely been a blur and so much has been going on. While we’ve had many challenging classes, we have also had so many opportunities to explore New York, get to know our classmates better (and create lifelong friendships), and explore the tech space throughout the summer.

One of my favorite parts about our summer classes was the tech immersion. This class was more practical than our other classes and included company visits, workshops and presentations from industry experts, and our immersion project (which this year was in partnership with Verizon). In the tech immersion, we had the opportunity to visit and network with companies such as Union Square Ventures, Deloitte Digital, Uber, JPMorgan, and Nestio, and to learn from and connect with experts on topics such as cyber security, data visualization, UX/UI and many more. I am so thankful to have had these incredible opportunities to learn and connect with experts and professionals in these spaces and learn from each of them.

I learned more about topics I hadn’t had much exposure to before Stern, and that helped me discover different companies and potential opportunities that I perhaps wouldn’t have considered before. These company visits and workshops with experts were invaluable resources to better understand the industry, an incredible opportunity to connect with industry leaders and to connect what we learn in the classroom to the real world and to see what the broader NYC tech sector was like, and each company’s role or position within it.

It was amazing to have the opportunity to explore how these companies are leading innovation and creating value, and understand how companies such as Deloitte, Uber, and Verizon are leveraging AI, 5G, machine learning, big data and more to create business value, provide better products and services, automate processes, and generate valuable insights to generate efficiencies, increase productivity, and contribute to an organization and the tech ecosystem in general.

The workshops and presentations by experts were also tremendously valuable, because even if you weren’t particularly interested in the topic beforehand, the sessions were so compelling and insightful that everyone certainly got a lot of use from each of them. Furthermore, they were on varied topics from UX/UI and data visualization, to cybersecurity and ethics in tech. While you may not specifically work in any of these areas upon graduating, they are all extremely relevant and important areas in tech that will undoubtedly affect each one of us personally and professionally, no matter what industry or role you end up in.

This is just a glimpse of what the summer was like for Tech MBAs, there’s so much more to it! I learned more than I ever thought I even could during the summer, and am excited to see what the fall semester will bring!