Moore’s Law & the Tech MBA

Nicholas Imbriglia is a Tech MBA candidate specializing in Tech Product Management and Sustainable Business & Innovation. Prior to Stern, Nicholas worked as an engineer and engineering manager at companies such as Siemens, athenahealth, and Intel. He is passionate about technology’s ability to improve lives and, upon graduation, plans to return to the tech workforce to help deliver novel solutions with a positive impact for society.

Moore’s Law (admittedly, more of an observation than a law of nature…) states that the number of transistors that can be fit onto a microprocessor doubles about every two years. Every 18 months, if we’re being technical. And we ARE being technical. This is the Tech MBA, after all! But nitpicking aside, Mr. Gordon Moore’s famous doctrine is meant to illustrate just how fast technology can progress in a short period of time.

I didn’t want to play catch up

It was this thought that was going through my head as I considered my options for business school. After over 10 years of working in technical roles, ranging from semiconductor development to healthcare SAAS products, the prospect of going back to school for two years seemed excessive… extravagant, even. Especially for someone old enough to remember using floppy disks and playing with tamagotchis (look them up). And with the way things move in tech, I wondered if I wouldn’t be falling behind while getting my MBA. Could I afford to be out of the tech scene, not to mention without a salary, for such a length of time? Would I be playing catch up when I returned? As someone who planned on going straight back to the tech industry after business school, there were parts of me that wondered if it was worth it, both from a financial and a developmental point of view. 

Beyond the standard

That’s where the Stern Tech MBA really shone through for me. I’ll admit, when I first started researching NYU Stern, I didn’t even know they had a focused, one year MBA program. When I found information about it on the Stern website, I recall thinking “huh, that’s interesting,” and quickly brushing it aside. At first blush, it seemed too different. It deviated too much from what I considered the “standard business school” experience. But as I went through the application process (at Stern and elsewhere) and the reality of two years out of the workforce hit me, I realized I didn’t want the standard. In fact, I wanted a program catered more towards the tech industry, with an immersive curriculum, a quicker turnaround, and a superior ROI. And that’s exactly what Stern’s Tech MBA offered. When the moment of truth came on my Stern application, I selected the one year program and never looked back.

Staying in the game

And, in many ways, it’s not just the shorter program length that ensures you are “back in the industry” quicker. If anything, the Tech MBA curriculum ensures you are at the cutting edge of it. Regular visits to tech offices (Google, Uber, and Pfizer to name a few) and guest speakers from a range of tech fields (fintech, healthcare, smart cities, Web3, etc.) guarantee you have your finger firmly on the pulse of the tech scene in New York. NYU also has a history of offering classes that focus on the newest trends in technology and business. Many of my classmates are taking electives on blockchain and extended reality. I myself am enrolled in a renewable energy markets course.

So, with all that in mind, I was able to rest easy with my decision to enroll in the Stern Tech MBA. The focused experience has been an enlightening one so far and our cohort has been having a truly wonderful time. The irony of it all may be that, come graduation in May, we won’t want it to end. But when we wrap up our one year and enter back out into the wider working world, we will do so armed with new tools and insights, ready to supercharge our careers after a fraction of the time of a traditional business school offering. After all, Moore’s Law waits for no one.

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. 

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!

Leadership Opportunities at Stern

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!

  1. 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.  
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.

Why is it Important to Understand Innovation?

Joseph Schumpeter, one of the most important economists of last century, related growth with the capacity to innovate. He coined the term “creative destruction” to describe the process of disrupting old habits (products, services, practices, etc.) for new ones. He saw capitalism as the most useful system to incentivize the impactful power of entrepreneurs to create and deliver value for improving quality of life for people.

In the last decades we have witnessed new technologies maturing in parallel, and due to the pandemic, many trends have accelerated. A lot of capital has moved from traditional industries to nontraditional, and new technologies and startups are disrupting old and long-lasting industries. This is supported by based technologies like cloud, IoT, 5G, blockchain, among others, that have been granting more innovation.

So why is it important to understand this? Innovation is uncertain and nobody can predict the future, but it does have patterns. Understanding how disruption has behaved in the past can allow us to understand in what part of its development each technology is located. Sometimes, technologies are received with a lot of echoes by the market, and we may think that they won’t stop until they have been generalized and used in many fields. Many times, this is only hype, fueled by a trend that won’t last. In order to improve, they may need more time, more capital, or perhaps the technology is not disruptive or useful enough.

Innovation normally coexists between three edges: technology, business, and regulation. Therefore, a Tech MBA is incredibly relevant. The program uses technology as a toolkit for facing business challenges in a way that creates and delivers value. There are cases in which is the problem involves more than simple business, like health tech, and understanding these concepts helps us drive impactful change.

We are living in a time in which most industries are trying to transform into tech. This transformation could be in how they reach their clients, in the experience that their customers have, in production, or in how they use data (among MANY others). Stern’s Tech MBA combines resources and knowledge to be able to connect the dots, lead teams, create capabilities to build a stronger vision for facing the future.

Why I Chose Stern’s Tech MBA Program

I always hoped I might go to business school, but five years into working, that goal felt more and more overwhelming. I didn’t see a world in which I would be willing to take two years away from my career trajectory and feel like the ends justifies the means. Working in the tech industry where new programs, technologies, and companies are launched daily, taking two years away from the hustle felt impossible.

Once I started to look into different programs, knowing I wanted to stay in New York City, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the Tech MBA program at Stern. At first I thought this must be too good to be true – how could one complete a full MBA program in just one year? Upon speaking to current students in the program, I grew more and more excited about the opportunity to complete an MBA in a year, within my specialized industry, and to join a cohort of students who share the same passion and commitment to the tech industry. 

I’d like to tell you about a few components of the program that make it special, and that have benefited me throughout the experience. First, spending one consolidated year in school felt like the right choice, because I would need to be very intentional about the classes I took and how I spent my time with clubs and social activities. I have really learned in to the experience – it flies by so quickly! 

Next, I wanted the option to take very technical courses and strengthen my product management acumen. I had always told myself I would learn how to code in my free time, but having the access to a blended business and technology core has helped me realize this goal. Taking classes like Dealing with Data, Data Science for Business, and Foundations of Mobile Networks have allowed me to learn how to code in Python, run data models in Weka, and understand the basics of network connectivity. We even had a session about UX design and a workshop on Figma, which I had always been too intimidated to learn in the past!

Finally, I was also attracted to the small class size of the cohort for the Tech MBA. While a typical MBA class might have up to one thousand students, I am really pleased that my Tech MBA cohort has fifty diverse, smart, and emotionally intelligent students. Over the summer, we were one of the only student groups on campus, and took all of our core classes together. This helped foster an amazing bond between the small cohort, and created strong, genuine friendships. We have taken East River boat cruises, planned Friendsgiving dinners, attended concerts, and hosted holiday dinner parties. I felt like I already had a community after living in New York for many years, but can say definitively that the cohort students from across the country and the world have become lifelong friends and future business partners. 

I can’t recommend the Tech MBA program enough – please get in touch if you’d like to hear about my experience further!

5 Ways for Tech MBAs to Meet Other MBAs at Stern

If you’re admitted and decide to join Stern’s Tech MBA cohort, you should be careful not to only focus on mingling with your close classmates. Instead, find ways to reach out to the broader MBA community. While I’m not disregarding the importance of developing sustainable relationships within the Tech MBA class, the nature of the program will offer plenty of opportunities to do so by default. That being the case, here are five ways that I’ve made the most out of the Stern community by networking with other students in the various MBA programs. Remember, Stern has several other MBA programs including but not limited to the full-time program, fashion and luxury specialized program, part-time evening classes, and dual degree students.

1. General Interest Clubs

Most clubs are open to any MBA students and if there is a common interest, you can bet there is a club created for it. There are even a few leadership opportunities for Tech MBA students specifically in some of the technology-oriented clubs. Here is a list of all of the clubs that Stern has to offer.

2. Case Competitions

Several case competitions will float through your email inbox throughout your year at Stern. Case competitions are a great way to put your new business school knowledge to work while collaborating with other students at Stern. Most competitions even have a pretty substantial monetary reward! If you’re not familiar with case competitions, check out this Poets & Quants article on them.

3. Alumni Networking Events

Before mentioning alumni events, I feel as though I should mention is this first: don’t target recruiting events strictly as a way to network with your classmates. Recruiting events are designed to help students learn about companies, not students. Similarly, the pressure and competitive mindset of certain industries may make recruiting events high-stakes and stressful for attendees. On the contrary, alumni events are set up specifically for networking and meeting current and former students. Most alumni who come to these events have open arms and ears and are looking forward to meeting you. You can see a list of upcoming alumni events here.

4. Elective Classes

When the fall semester rolls around, Tech MBA students are viewed as second-year MBA students from a registration perspective. That means your classmates in electives will be composed of students from the full-time program who have known each other for at least a year. Make an effort to form class groups with students outside of your Tech MBA cohort and sit next to people you haven’t met yet. Here is a full list of elective classes.

5. Happy Hours & Social Events

Finally, the obvious one. Happy hours and social outings are often held at the end of the week, which happens to be Thursday in business school. Even if you don’t drink alcohol, your classmates will happily welcome you to these events. One of the most notable events is Beer Blast, which takes place every Thursday night, often following another great event called Stern Speaks. These events attract students from every program and are a great way to connect after a long week of classes.

I hope these five ideas help you make the most out of your year at Stern. It will fly by, so make sure to take advantage of as much as you can while you’re here!

Learning beyond the walls of an MBA classroom!

One of the biggest advantages of pursuing an MBA in New York City is to get the opportunity to attend events and meet industry professionals from a variety of fields. One of the technology entrepreneurship events that I attended was a cross between a TED Talk and an open mic night. The event provided an excellent networking opportunity within NYC healthcare tech industry, differing opinions about tech in healthcare from the two featured speakers, and the chance to learn from the audience members. I was drawn to this event because speakers were encouraged to share learnings from their entrepreneurial journey rather than pitching about their company.

Go early to events.

I arrived about 30 mins early and interacted with the CEO of the company that organized the event. I learned that the company hosts such events every quarter where they attract health-tech entrepreneurs. I met an MBA student who also works as a Pharmacist.  He shared that pharmacies use machine learning tools to predict and fill prescriptions in the pharmacy. I also met with a founder of a health tech marketing organization who works with other healthcare companies to market their products.

After initial networking conversations, it was time to hear from the two featured speakers. The first speaker kicked off the session and focused on the importance of new tech advances to provide health care using online platforms. This contrasted with the second speaker who did not fully embrace the importance of tech in healthcare and instead highlighted that best healthcare means providing better care and not the tech tools that aid in providing that care.

During early stages of a new product idea, surround yourself with optimistic people.

Some of the learnings from this talk were – it is difficult to find and convince a co-founder to team up with, rally people around your idea especially in the early days. Your idea won’t be stolen so start socializing it now! He also emphasized that ideas are fragile at the start, so it is better to surround yourself with optimistic people first; make your idea look real by creating wireframes even if you don’t have a real product yet; use that as your Minimal Viable Product (MVP) and this will make your idea look real. Additionally, it will trick others and yourself into believing it. He further noted that even if you’re launching in a few months, start signing up people early and start putting thoughts into writing to help streamline your thought process. He shared that the MVP for his company was just 3 slides with rendered website images to make it look real. His key takeaway was your idea should have a big finish and easy start while making your idea appeal to diverse stakeholders such as in engineering, marketing, and finance, because, then more people would have fine-tuned the idea using their professional expertise.

Attending a tech entrepreneurship event!

Listen and appreciate differing viewpoints.

The second speaker was a physician and a founder of a modern sports medicine clinic. Throughout the talk, he strongly emphasized that in the healthcare industry clinical care and customer experience are more relevant than the technology behind it. During his talk, I also learned about new Apple medical record API. He equated learning about machine learning and AI in healthcare to learning about rocket science by villagers – which in his opinion is not that useful. I did not completely agree with his opinion, but I appreciated listening to his viewpoint. It was good to hear a different perspective which was not in line with every other opinion I hear around me.

After the two featured speakers, there was an open mic session where audience members could share their entrepreneurial learnings.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed this event especially meeting and hearing from the entrepreneurs in the healthcare industry. Differing opinions about the use of tech by two featured speakers made the event really stand out for me. It also gave me the opportunity to learn about a completely different industry.