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.

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!

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!