Navigating the MBA Mind: A Journey to Mental Wellness at NYU Stern

Author: Nicolas is currently pursuing a Tech MBA at NYU Stern School of Business, specializing in Strategy and Product Management. He brings a robust background in strategy and operations from his experiences at consulting firms and tech companies such as Uber and Nubank in Latin America and the United States. At Stern, he has taken on leadership roles, serving as Co-President of the Fintech Association (FTA) and VP of Corporate Relations for the Latin America Business Association (LABA), where he has made significant contributions to both groups. After completing his MBA, Nicolas is keen to advance his career in product management, targeting roles that bridges his expertise in strategy in the tech industry. Outside of his professional life, he enjoys running, playing tennis, hiking, and socializing with friends.

Navigating the MBA Mind: A Journey to Mental Wellness at NYU Stern

Doing an MBA has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, but folks, it’s intense—so fasten your seat belts. Just picture this: You’re living in one of the most active and fast-paced cities in the world, studying with some of the smartest and most dynamic individuals you’ve ever met, and juggling 52 credits in a year, all while participating in multiple extracurricular activities. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? It certainly is, but it can also be overwhelming at times. This is why maintaining mental wellness is crucial during your MBA journey.

Is mental wellness really important? Yes, it is.

If you are reading this, you are probably contemplating starting your MBA journey, or perhaps you have already started and are encountering the considerable anxiety and stress that comes with tests, school applications, selection processes, financing, housing, and more. The MBA not only challenges your business acumen but also pushes you beyond your comfort zone, particularly if you’re relocating for the program, as I experienced as an international student.

I recall spending hours in front of my computer, answering numerous questions, starting with the perennial ‘Should I pursue an MBA?’ Conducting research, preparing for tests, and crafting compelling applications while balancing a full-time job and maintaining a semblance of a personal life can be mentally draining. Recognizing this exhaustion is crucial to avoid burnout. Mental wellness is essential not only because it impacts the quality of your endeavors but also because it inevitably affects your physical well-being. Together, these aspects have the power to either enhance or diminish your overall quality of life.

Once you’re in New York City and fully immersed in your MBA journey, you’ll quickly realize that the list of things to do is practically endless. The Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) will likely have you exploring more than you ever imagined. And you know what? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, I highly recommend soaking it all in because it’s a vital part of the MBA experience in the heart of Manhattan. Some of my fondest memories were made during those whirlwind days, where friendships solidified and the city became our playground.

That being said, don’t forget to carve out some ‘me time’ when you need it. It’s okay to say no once in a while and recharge your battery. Trust me, nothing beats a good night’s sleep when you’re feeling worn out.

Weekend trip to Catskills to see the fall foliage and empty a few bottles of wine

Find things you enjoy in the city, and do them more often

Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast or prefer indoor pursuits, rest assured, New York City has something for everyone. Personally, I love staying active, and engaging in sports and exercise is not only enjoyable but also a healthy way to do so. Tennis, for instance, is fantastic from summer through November. I highly recommend snagging an early NYC Parks Tennis Permit, granting you unlimited access to courts across the city. It’s not just about the game; it’s also a fantastic way to explore different neighborhoods.

Another activity I thoroughly enjoy is running. With its relatively flat topography and energizing parks and vistas, New York City is a runner’s paradise. It’s not just exercise; it’s an immersive way to experience the city and it is also an easy way to connect with people. I ran my first half-marathon with my classmates and it was epic! For those inclined towards art and design, the city boasts numerous galleries where you can lose yourself for hours, free of charge. It’s a perfect opportunity to wander, wonder, and relax amidst creative inspiration.

On the other hand, if you are an outdoor enthusiast, you can take advantage of hikes just an hour by train from Grand Central and visit the Cold Spring area. We did it with some classmates at Breakneck Ridge, and it’s so refreshing to escape the city and see some trees once in a while. These are just some of the things I have done to keep myself happy and motivated, so I can make the most of my MBA experience.

Music, coffee and friends

Here is my personal recipe for tackling the intensity of the city and the demands of the program. As a Colombian and self-professed coffee snob, there’s nothing quite like starting my day with a cup of coffee. It’s almost a ritual for me, providing a moment of relaxation and introspection amidst the hustle and bustle.

Music plays a huge role in my life, acting as a powerful influencer whenever I need a little boost. I rely on my playlists to lift my spirits, or I dive into the joy of discovering new music. There’s something truly special about stumbling upon a new favorite song that can’t be beat.

Being surrounded by friends is essential. Spending quality time together in environments where I can truly be myself and unwind is like recharging my batteries while having a blast. It’s these moments of camaraderie and connection that make the journey all the more enjoyable. My advice here is to look at Stern as a whole and not only get siloed in the Tech MBA program. Between all programs there are over a thousand interesting and friendly people who will give you the chance to deepen your tastes, an opportunity that could be limited in a smaller cohort.

Ultimately, keep in mind that prioritizing mental health isn’t just a luxury—it’s a necessity. It’s the cornerstone upon which a fulfilling and sustainable MBA journey is built. So, as you embark on this exhilarating adventure at NYU Stern, remember to fasten not only your seat belts but also your commitment to mental wellness, for it is the compass that will guide you through the highs and lows of this transformative experience making it unforgettable.

RecoBEERy after the Brooklyn Half Marathon with the West 4th Street Running Club (Yes, the Tech MBA Class 2024)

Stern Life Balance as a Tech MBA Student in New York

Author: Sofia is originally from Chile. Before Stern, she worked for companies in the Tech industry such as Microsoft and Samsung. During Stern, she is a Graduate Ambassador and part of the EFL program. Her highlight of the Tech MBA program was the West Coast Immersion, where she visited Tech companies from Seattle and the Bay Area.

 Sofia Aliste Paez

Stern Life Balance as a Tech MBA Student

Embarking on a Tech MBA at Stern, students typically fall into one of three categories:

  1. Those already living in NYC with local friends and family.
  2. U.S. residents from cities other than New York.
  3. International students moving to New York for the first time.

Having experienced both the third and the first scenarios over the past two years, I have a unique perspective on the transition. Before enrolling at Stern, I had already settled into New York life, as my husband was studying for his MBA at another university uptown. My initial year was a deep dive into the city’s fast-paced lifestyle, its diverse cultures, and indirectly, the MBA life through various social activities like club parties and ski trips. Even though my own MBA didn’t start until 2023, I felt like I was already part of it.

Embracing the City

For those already familiar with NYC, the Tech MBA at Stern can be an opportunity to delve deeper into specific neighborhoods or hidden gems you may have missed before. Explore restaurant pop-ups in trendy areas like Soho or Williamsburg, or take advantage of free museum nights offered by institutions like the MoMA or the Whitney.

NYC boasts a vibrant fitness scene, from boutique yoga studios to outdoor running groups that traverse iconic landmarks like Central Park or the Brooklyn Bridge. Joining a group not only keeps you active but also allows you to connect with like-minded individuals who share your passion for health and wellness.

Making the Most of Your International Experience

As an international student from Chile, New York initially felt very distant. However, Stern quickly became a familiar place, and the friendships I’ve formed are integral to my MBA success. The program’s demanding schedule, filled with group projects, quizzes, presentations, and recruiting events, is balanced by the support and camaraderie of classmates who are in the same boat. Even alumni emphasize this shared journey—though it might be hard to believe at first, their reassurances often prove true. Connecting with peers from similar backgrounds can offer additional comfort and practical advice, enhancing your own experience.

Beyond Stern: Building a Well-Rounded Life

Balancing personal relationships outside of Stern is also crucial. Prioritizing and organizing your week is essential, and tools like Google Calendar are indispensable for keeping track of commitments. I treat my MBA schedule as a regular workday, which frees up evenings and sometimes entire days for personal time or relaxation. Everyone’s approach will differ depending on their lifestyle preferences—some may choose to also study on weekends.

Exploring NYC advice from a non-New Yorker (for the Time-Crunched Student)

New York City offers a vast array of options for unwinding and exploring your personal interests, even on a busy student schedule. Here are a few ideas to make the most of your free time:

Catch a Stand-Up Show:  Forget the big-ticket Broadway productions for a night. Head to the iconic Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village for an intimate and hilarious experience. Witness up-and-coming comedians and seasoned stars test out their new material – you might just discover your next favorite comic.

Cherry Blossom Bliss in Central Park:  Springtime in New York is magical, and there’s no better place to experience it than amidst the iconic cherry blossoms in Central Park. Pack a picnic basket, grab a friend, and head north to bask in the beautiful pink blooms (typically around mid-April) – a perfect Instagram-worthy moment and a breath of fresh air amidst the city buzz.

Weekend Brunch in Greenwich Village:  Fuel up for a day of exploration with a delicious brunch at a charming Greenwich Village cafe. From cozy Parisian-inspired bistros to trendy brunch spots, the Village offers endless options to satisfy every taste bud.

Brooklyn Bridge Bike Adventure:  If you spend most of your time in Manhattan, try to experience the city from a different perspective with a bike ride across the Brooklyn Bridge. Once you reach Williamsburg, explore the neighborhood’s trendy shops, art galleries, and vibrant street art scene. 

Become a MET Weekend Regular: You can get free entry to The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) with your student ID. Take advantage of this incredible opportunity and explore the vast collections – from ancient Egyptian artifacts to masterpieces by European giants. 

Prioritizing Well-Being: A Student’s Essential

Ultimately, what matters most is recognizing your priorities, including your well-being. Never hesitate to seek support from fellow students, professors, or academic advisors when challenges arise. Assistance is often just a question away, and sometimes, it comes with the opportunity for a pleasant coffee break at one of the many cozy cafés near Stern. Remember, a successful MBA experience goes beyond just academics – it’s about embracing the city, building a strong network, and prioritizing your overall well-being.

Navigating My Tech MBA with Generative AI: A Game Changer in Modern Business Education

Author: Alvaro is a current Tech MBA specializing in Product Management and Strategy. Before Stern, Alvaro was a Technology Consultant and Product Manager at PwC,  supporting clients through various cloud transformations and product strategy initiatives. Post-MBA, he plans to pursue product and strategy roles in the tech industry. Outside of work, Alvaro enjoys going on long (some very long) runs, hiking, and hanging out at the nearest NYC park with friends from all walks of life.

Starting my MBA just a few months after Chat GPT was released, I knew it was going to be transformative in every possible way. As a savvy tech person, I was already leveraging GenAI in my daily life before joining the MBA and was curious to what extent I would be able to use it and even dive deeper into it during my one-year tech-focused MBA at Stern. Below are three ways in which most of my colleagues and I have been able to take advantage of this general-purpose technology.

Enhancing classwork through real-world application

From our first “Dealing with Data” class, we were taught how to connect to OpenAI API to analyze the sentiment and topics from product reviews and news articles of companies of our choice. One of my teams later leveraged this in a product that we designed, built, and launched for our “Foundations of Networks and Mobile Systems” class, where we established an API connection to ChatGPT to provide recommendations on the top 3 most mentioned dishes for restaurants in the city. Lastly, classes like “Data Science – Technical” have been instrumental in providing the theory and the practice on how to train Machine Learning models such as LLMs that power these chatbots.

From a less technical and more strategic standpoint, GenAI has been a topic of discussion in most of my classes. Through the different curricula, we have covered how GenAI can be used to enhance customer engagement initiatives, drive product innovation, and craft compelling brand narratives and messaging. We have also explored how to proactively shape a company’s or product’s positioning to adapt to potential future trajectories of this rapidly evolving technology.

Market Analysis and Research:

GenAI has been incredibly helpful for many MBA classes, where we are often tasked with mastering the ins and outs of industries and sub-industries overnight. It also comes in handy during lectures when providing additional explanations, context, or clarifications on topics being discussed, making it easier to understand complex concepts and encouraging curiosity and personalized learning.

While serving as a Venture Associate at Endless Frontier Labs, I supported a startup’s goal of breaking into the US market from abroad. Creating a market analysis and go-to-market strategy with the level of detail that was delivered and in the timeframe requested would have been nearly impossible without GenAI’s aid for research purposes. Two examples of data points GenAI was able to provide (with sources to reputable agencies) within seconds are the average km of aqueducts owned by the top 10 aqueduct operators and the number of hydropower generators in the US whose water source comes from snowpack.

Your personal recruiter:

For recruiting purposes, GenAI can be used in many helpful ways throughout the whole cycle. Here are some ways I have used it:

  1. Gather information on company culture, mission, and values, as well as recent news that might be relevant to the position.
  2. Analyze job descriptions and match them with your resume to identify areas that align with the specified qualifications and areas that do not.
  3. Hold mock interview sessions, inputting job descriptions and asking for a mock interview session with detailed feedback after every answer in return  (using ChatGPT mobile app voice chat feature).

LinkedIn Premium has also added AI-powered insights, job fit assessments, and tips, all in the form of an AI chatbot. With this chatbot, you can ask questions like “How can I best position myself for this job?” or “Can you review my profile and suggest specific experiences I should highlight?”

As this technology continues to advance, there’s no doubt that GenAI will become increasingly integrated into business education and business as a whole. My experience at Stern has shown how transformative it can be when embraced and leveraged effectively.

Disclaimer: No, this blog post was not written using Generative AI.

The ROI of the Andre Koo Technology and Entrepreneurship MBA Program: My Personal Experience

Popin Bose Roy

Popin Bose Roy is a Senior Product Manager at Amazon with expertise in AI, machine learning, and SaaS. An alum of NYU Stern’s Tech MBA program, Popin has led high-impact projects at Amazon that leverage technology to drive business efficiency and growth. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and staying updated on emerging technologies.

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As someone with a solid foundation in AI, machine learning, and SaaS, I was always captivated by technology’s potential to solve real-world problems. However, I found myself yearning for a deeper understanding of business strategy and leadership to propel my career to new heights. This led me to the Andre Koo Tech MBA program at NYU Stern School of Business, a decision that has paid dividends in numerous ways.

Why I Chose the Tech MBA at NYU Stern

First and foremost, my aim was to blend my technical background with a robust business skill set, equipping myself to drive innovation in an increasingly complex tech landscape. The Andre Koo Tech MBA program offered just that—imparting invaluable business acumen while enabling me to keep my finger on the pulse of evolving tech trends.

Key Takeaways

Business Acumen

I’ve always been a technically minded person. While that has its perks, the Tech MBA showed me the equally compelling universe of business strategy, financial modeling, and corporate leadership. For example, my courses in supply chain management gave me the tools to renegotiate a contract with a supplier at Amazon, saving the company $1 million annually—a direct impact that I could quantify.

Staying Ahead of Tech Trends

Staying relevant in the tech industry is no small feat. The Andre Koo Tech MBA program ensured I was up-to-date with the latest technologies and methodologies, which directly fed into my current role. Case in point: my understanding of machine learning models enabled me to lead a team that improved Amazon’s product recommendation algorithm, resulting in a 10% increase in sales.

Networking and Career Advancements

The opportunity to rub shoulders with leading tech executives and participate in case competitions was priceless. These connections played a pivotal role in landing my current role at Amazon, where I’m spearheading projects with high financial impact. I also owe some of these connections to the program’s strong focus on leadership and communication skills, which have been equally crucial in my professional journey.

Real-World ROI

Since graduating, I’ve assumed a role as a Senior Product Manager at Amazon, where I’ve overseen projects estimated to save the company around $400 million in annual operational costs. These outcomes weren’t just luck or timing—they were the result of applying the rigorous business and tech training I received during my MBA. That’s an ROI that’s easy to measure, and it has been gratifying to witness the direct impact of my education on my job performance.

Conclusion: A Worthwhile Investment

For those contemplating the Andre Koo Tech MBA at NYU Stern, I can unreservedly say that the program has been a transformative force in my career. It has empowered me to think more strategically, act more decisively, and engage more meaningfully with both the tech and business communities. I’m a better professional because of it, and I have no doubt that the dividends will continue to accrue in the years to come.

In today’s fiercely competitive job market, the Tech MBA isn’t just a feather in your cap—it’s an arsenal of knowledge and skills that can propel your career to uncharted territories. I’m incredibly grateful for my time at NYU Stern, and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me next.

Application Tips: The Andre Koo Technology and Entrepreneurship MBA

Vidisha is a current Tech MBA student, specializing in Tech Product Management. Prior to Stern, Vidisha was a Senior Consultant at West Monroe, leading digital transformation efforts for health and dental payers across the country. Post-MBA, she plans to pursue product management in the Health Tech space. At Stern, she is a Makhoul Family Leadership Fellow, involved in Stern Technology Association and Stern Women in Business, and enjoys taking dance classes and reading a good book in her free time.

Navigating the MBA application process can feel like a daunting task. There’s a million different things to keep track of: soliciting recommendation letters, crafting genuine and compelling essays, fine-tuning your resume, securing your undergraduate transcripts – the checklist feels endless. Balancing all of these demands alongside your daily life can be quite the challenge, but staying organized and proactive can make things a lot less stressful.

Read on for some strategies for effectively managing the MBA application journey and some advice on how to tackle the Stern essay questions.

Be Your Own Project Manager

One of my first steps as I kicked off my application journey was organizing everything into an Excel spreadsheet. I logged each task along with its deadline, estimated time commitment, and current status. It’s crucial to have a handle on all the pieces required for your applications and allocate sufficient time for each. 

Reaching out early to your recommenders is important to give them ample time to compose their letters. And essays usually require several revisions before they are polished. Even seemingly minor tasks like obtaining your undergraduate transcript can eat up a couple of business days. 

Do Your Research

It is essential to have a clear understanding of why you are drawn to a specific school and how it aligns with your professional and personal aspirations. As someone who is interested in pursuing a product management role post-graduation, I thoroughly researched the various opportunities Stern provided to help me achieve my goals.

I looked into courses such as Technical Product Management and DevOps and Software Engineering, learned more about the Tech Product Management Specialization, and spoke with current members of the Stern Technology Association. I was also keen on gaining hands-on experience building and launching a product so Stern’s experiential learning courses such as Tech Solutions and West Coast Immersion really caught my eye. Furthermore, I was interested in exploring my entrepreneurial interests during my MBA, so NYU’s start-up accelerator, Endless Frontier Labs, was also something I dug into.

While there are ample resources online, the most valuable advice often comes from engaging with current students and alumni who share similar interests and career goals. I highly recommend reaching out to these individuals, as they are always willing to provide invaluable insights and guidance to prospective students.

Craft Your Story

Developing an engaging narrative, your “why” for pursuing an MBA at this point in your career, is a key part of the application process. The best stories are the most authentic, so don’t hesitate to let your genuine passions shine through!

I found it helpful to identify a couple of anecdotes or themes from my life that have really shaped who I am. I then explored how these personal experiences connected with my professional aspirations. I actually really enjoyed the reflective nature of this process and felt like I gained valuable insight into what I truly seek in the next phase of my professional journey and personal growth.

Revise, Revise, Revise

Your first draft is never going to be your best draft. Once I had a solid foundation for what I wanted to say in my essays, I invested a significant amount of time seeking input from trusted friends, especially those that had gone through the MBA application process before, and refining my writing. Often, something that sounded perfect in my mind didn’t convey the precise message I intended, so it was helpful to get another set(s) of eyes on my work so I could gauge how the admissions committee would perceive my words. 

Specific Advice for the Stern Application

Stern’s MBA application stood out compared to many others, as it offered more of an opportunity to express my creativity. Here’s some guidance on approaching the essay questions:

  • Essay Question #1: Change: _____ it.

For this question, I really tried to reflect on what change meant to me. I aimed to select a tagline that not only resonated with an experience I had lived but also one I could plan to continue embodying through active involvement in Stern’s academic and extracurricular offerings.

Change: Chase it.

I chose “chase” for my verb to highlight my belief that you must proactively seek opportunities to build the life of your dreams. I described how I had previously demonstrated my commitment to actively seeking new ways to challenge myself and grow as a leader and how I plan to continue doing so during my time at Stern. I even mentioned specific courses and extracurriculars I was interested in participating in that aligned with my growth goals.

More than the actual verb you choose, what matters most is the “why” behind that choice and how effectively you can convey that rationale through your past experiences and future aspirations. 

  • Essay Question #2: Personal Expression (a.k.a. “Pick Six”)

This question quickly became my favorite to put together! It can seem very broad at first, so I started off by making a list of things that were important to me. This can be anything from influential people in your life, your favorite hobby, your life philosophy, to things you are passionate about personally and/or professionally. From there, I narrowed my list down to 6 and tried to find a photo or image that best captured each of those concepts. Personally, I drew from my camera roll, but you have a wide array of options, including photos, infographics, drawings, collages, or any visual medium that resonates with you. 

I chose to highlight (1) the importance of family in my life, (2) my obsession with books, (3) my passion for learning and performing new dance styles, (4) a creative venture I started with my sisters, (5) my love for adventure and travel, and lastly, (6) my aspirations to develop innovative solutions to address healthcare challenges.

Keep in mind that your caption can only be a sentence long and this is another good opportunity to gut check with a friend that the image you chose does indeed convey the meaning you intend it to. Have fun with this one! It’s a great way to add some more color to your application (literally) and highlight what makes you, you!

As you embark on this journey, remember that it’s not solely about perfecting your professional persona; it’s also about showcasing your individuality and what sets you apart. Don’t underestimate the significance of introspection and creativity in this process; they can be your most powerful allies.

And enjoy the ride! It’s a chance to not only gain admission to a prestigious institution but also to embark on a transformational experience that will shape your future in profound ways. Best of luck as you take the next steps towards your MBA dreams!

The Summer Semester in the Tech MBA

Barak is a current Tech MBA student, specializing in Tech Product Management, Leadership, and Change Management. Before Stern, Barak led a team of Product Managers at a FinTech firm in Tel Aviv, Israel where he helped the top financial institutions around the world to provide custom financial insights to their customers. At Stern, he is involved in the FinTech Club as the VP of Alumni Relationships and enjoys organizing pickup basketball games and swimming activities with his classmates.

As a new student in NYU Stern’s Tech MBA program, I recently relocated from Israel to New York in May, accompanied by my wife, our 2-year-old son, and our beloved dog. As I approach the end of my summer semester, I find myself eager to share valuable insights and tips that I’ve gathered throughout this semester. The goal of this post is to help future students and prospects make the most out of their time in the program.

A One-Year Tech-Focused MBA Program

The NYU Tech MBA program is exciting and innovative, lasting from May to May. In just half the time of a traditional two-year program, we achieve a full MBA degree through a unique approach. During the summer semester, we complete the core courses of the first year of the general MBA and seamlessly transition to the second year in the fall. 

Design Sprint Workshop at Google

 

The Summer Semester: A Sprint to Success

The summer semester is divided into three intensive sprints, each lasting four weeks. Picture this: Monday to Friday, from 9 AM to 4:30 PM (with a refreshing lunch break from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM),  dedicated to immersive learning experiences. With 3-4 courses per sprint, we efficiently cover an expansive range of crucial business concepts, successfully completing the 11 core courses within a single semester.

Tailored courses for Tech leaders

As someone who thrives in high-pressure environments, this program has impressed me thoroughly so far. The opportunity to immerse ourselves in numerous fascinating courses in one semester, while also mastering the foundational principles of each subject, is simply extraordinary. The university’s creation of dedicated courses tailored for tech-enthusiastic business leaders ensures we receive precisely what we need. Additionally, the incorporation of pre-work, in-class practices, and post-class assignments and quizzes enriches our learning experience.

Communication Course Final Presentation

A Cohort of Family

The people in this program are its greatest asset. With an intimate group of approximately 50 students in the Tech MBA and 25 students in Fashion and Luxury, ​​the quiet summer campus provides the ideal setting for us to come together and form strong bonds. Collaborating on group projects and rotating through different groups for each class allows us to truly know our classmates on a personal level. We don’t just feel like classmates; we’ve become one big family.

Google Office Visit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A short pencil is better than a long memory

The summer semester can be intense and overwhelming with multiple deadlines, but it’s manageable with the right tools. Stay on top of your game by utilizing effective tools like calendars, to-do lists, and time-blocking techniques. These organizational aids will keep you on track and ensure you never miss a deadline.

Entrepreneurship Course Final Pitch

Prioritize one task at a time

Concentrate on the present importance and avoid getting overwhelmed with future concerns. Trying to handle everything simultaneously leads to accomplishing nothing. Identify high-priority tasks and tackle them first, maintaining control over essential assignments and preventing last-minute rushes.

Embrace the academic opportunities 

Take full advantage of the academic opportunities that the program offers. With captivating classes, experienced industry-proficient professors, and motivated teaching fellows, make the most of these opportunities to learn from some of the best educators in the world. 

Engage in Active Learning 

Take an active role in class discussions, team projects, and case studies, as this will not only enhance your understanding but also enlighten your classmates. The class comprises a diverse group of individuals from various backgrounds, and the beauty lies in how we enrich one another’s learning journey through shared experiences.

Uber Office Visit

Avoid lagging in the material

As classes build upon previous concepts, make it a priority to keep up, and don’t hesitate to seek assistance if needed. Like a snowball effect, staying ahead ensures a smooth progression without overwhelming yourself

Your friends are your best resource

This is always true, but particularly during learning sessions. Embrace the diversity within your cohort to leverage each other’s prior experiences and enhance your understanding of the material. Never hesitate to seek assistance when needed, as everyone is eager to support one another. It’s also a wonderful chance to deepen your connections and get to know each other better.

Multiple Support Options are available

Bear in mind that you have access to various forms of assistance to aid you along the way. If you require help, don’t hesitate to contact the faculty for support. The university offers a range of resources, such as extra office hours with professors or teaching fellows, additional practice sessions, and personalized accommodations, all designed to ensure your academic success.

Sternies Play Basketball in the John A. Paulson Center

If you only get A’s, it means that you’re doing something wrong

This is the thought-provoking statement that one of our professors began his lecture with. While academic excellence is important, a fulfilling graduate degree encompasses more. Invest time in networking, coffee chats, socializing, sports, and other activities that contribute to your overall growth and enriching experience.

Enjoy!

This year is too short to do anything other than enjoy the opportunity to live in one of the best cities in the world and embrace every aspect and moment of it!

The NYU Stern Orientation Experience

AJ AlbaneseAJ Albanese is a current Tech MBA student, specializing in Strategy and Technology. Prior to Stern, AJ held sales and fundraising roles at for-profit and non-profit companies. Post-MBA, he plans to pursue consulting to help businesses achieve technological transformations. At Stern, he is a Tech MBA Cohort leader and enjoys playing ice hockey and cooking when not in class.

This week, MBA Admissions sat down with new Tech MBA student, AJ Albanese, to chat about the NYU Stern Tech MBA Orientation!

Tell us a little about the experience at Orientation. What did it include, and what was the best part?

Orientation was a great way to get introduced to Stern, my classmates and the community at NYU. It included keynote speakers from Estee Lauder and Microsoft, introductions to our program leads, and provided a lot of time to connect with our cohort. It was really focused on getting to know the MBA program and how the year would be structured for us, as well as answering any questions we had. The best part were the two social events we had after the on-campus sessions. It was amazing to get to talk with so many of my classmates and learn more about their backgrounds. Everyone comes from different backgrounds, so it was really cool to connect with everyone!

What did Orientation teach you about the Stern community?

Orientation taught me about how supportive and welcoming the Stern community is. The staff/faculty members and previous students were all so nice and were willing to help in any way. It felt like I got turned around and lost in the building when I would have to move rooms, and I could always find someone to kindly point me in the right direction! Dean Grennan talked a lot about the strength of the community at Stern – this became more apparent than ever as I got to know my new classmates and students in the graduating class. 

What was it like making new friends at Orientation?

Like any first day of school, I was definitely nervous about meeting so many new people and worried about fitting in. Within minutes of getting to Orientation, I had been introduced to people and was immersed in easy conversation – everyone was so open and happy to be there. The social events after the on-campus sessions really helped as well. We went down to One World Trade for an event and were able to get to know my new friends on the train ride down there. Having already lived in the NYC area for 4 years, I found myself giving so many suggestions for things to do, restaurants to try and places to visit around here to the people that had just moved here. I’m excited to take my new friends to some of my favorite spots in the city!

What did Orientation make you most excited for in the coming year?

Orientation made me excited for the experiential learning opportunities at Stern and in our Tech MBA program. I am most looking forward to the experiential course known as “Stern Solutions,” where student teams get to partner with real companies to work on solving real business & technology challenges. I am also really excited to get to know my classmates even more. Everyone is awesome and this year is going to be great! 

Beyond Borders, Beyond Expectations: Reflections of an International MBA Student

Omotoke is a recent Tech MBA graduate with specializations in Strategy & Business Analytics. Prior to Stern, Omotoke worked with KPMG as a Technology Assurance Consultant and is now looking to pursue Technology Risk & Strategy Consulting. At Stern, she was on the Board of the Association of Hispanic & Black Business Students and a member of the Management Consulting Association. Omotoke enjoys listening to good music and attending dance classes.

It’s graduation week as I write this, and nostalgia has begun to creep up on me. I have really enjoyed a great time since I arrived in New York from Nigeria a year ago to start my MBA. As I think back on the year-long experience that now feels like only a few weeks, these are tips I would give a prospective or newly admitted student.

1. Start your visa application immediately 

Backstory– I got my admission offer in January 2022, but as of May 2022, one week from orientation, I was yet to secure a visa interview appointment – let alone a visa. Even though I already resigned from my job for school, it didn’t seem like I was going anywhere 😅.

By divine providence, in that final week, I was called to interview. I finally received the visa, one day behind the official resumption for International Students. I hurriedly packed and made the 20+ hour trip within the next two days. You can imagine the rollercoaster this was, yet the saddest part was having no time to say goodbye to all my loved ones in person.

There are not many things I could have done differently in my case; however, securing my admission in round 1 instead of round 2 probably may have saved me the headache. So, if that is what it will take for you to get your visa ahead of time, by all means apply in round 1.  

Along the same lines, if you want your family or other guests present at graduation, start their visa applications very well ahead if they are from countries with long wait times. I started  making arrangements for my parents’ graduation trip 3 months ahead and by then it was too late.

2. Ensure you’re capturing all the important expenses in your budget planning

No one forgets rent, food, entertainment, utilities etc. but two expenses I find can be easily omitted are: loan interest repayments and co-curricular/leisure travel expenses.

Private loans are often very helpful for international students to cover some of their cost of attendance; however, a common oversight is to not plan interest repayments into estimated monthly budgets. Some forget this expense and some assume that it would be trivial.

Depending on your loan amount and terms, it may not be trivial, and you may need to start making payments early on. Get your estimates and factor it into your monthly budget and estimated cost of living.

Next, travel! You need to have a budget for travel. There will be lots of travel opportunities for coursework and for leisure with your classmates; planning ahead for this will allow you to take on these great experiences without much pressure.

On a road trip to Stamford with class friends

Additional tip: Request and review the school calendar for the year before starting the program to note the school holidays and make your own holiday plans.

3. Pack the right outfits

I wish someone whispered to me in the middle of my frantic packing, “Toke, you’re packing all the wrong clothes.”

I remember being unsure about how formal I would need to dress for classes and eventually settling for business based on my quick Google search. I brought in work clothes and a number of pumps…haha, but it only took a day or two to know the pumps were going back into the box. 

There’s a lot of flexibility around the dress code for classes. You can be as formal as you would like but you’ll find most people dressed in smart casuals. There will be company visits, corporate presentations and interviews, for which you could be required to be more formally dressed. 

Pack accordingly and whatever you do, make sure your shoes are “subway and walking friendly” because you can’t miss those. 

4. Start preparing for recruiting from Day 1

Depending on your target, recruiting activities may kick off really early in the programme, with applications opening in June/July and interviews rolling in by August.

As part of your early preparation, my recommendation is to make a long list of companies (not three or five) within your target industry that do not have a permanent work authorization hiring requirement (if you are an International student within this category) and get the timing of their recruitment. 

While many companies hire on a rolling basis, some have specific times of the year when they do MBA recruitment and missing that window could mean waiting another 6-12 months. 

Making this list upfront helps you identify many prospects and pace your interview preparation. Stern has very helpful databases for this research on the Careers Portal gathered from previous  years. The Careers team will be ready to help you when you arrive, but it’s nice to begin planning ahead anyway.

5. The communities really want to be helpful, ask for all the help you need

You’ve heard how fantastic the NYU clubs are 99 times already so I’ll try not to make it a hundred. The recommendation I have here is to join at least one, very early, before you travel down, if possible. You would be unable to register as an “official” member until the clubs open up for admissions in Fall but you could join the Whatsapp groups of some affinity clubs anytime after you accept your admission offer. Joining before you travel down will allow you leverage the community for the help you need with onboarding, settling in, temporary accommodation, renting, finding housemates, choosing courses and all the initial hard stuff. 

So find a community, join, and ask for whatever help you need. Sternies are always willing.

As a final note, immerse yourself and enjoy the diversity of NYU and New York. You will do great.

 

 

 

 

 

Embracing the MBA Decision Process

 

Mariana Ruiz Allende is a current Tech MBA student, specializing in Product Management, FinTech and Strategy. Prior to Stern, Mariana worked in the FinTech industry for more than 4 years in Mexico City. Post-MBA, she plans to continue her professional development as a Product Manager. At Stern, she is involved in the Stern Adventures Club, the Latin American Business Association and the Stern Softball team. She is currently working on a personal project that will use Machine learning Sentiment Analysis to provide help through a mental health approach.

Deciding where to go for your MBA is not an easy decision. In my case, the decision affected not only me, but also my husband. 

Before the pandemic started, I knew I wanted an MBA. However, being all settled in Mexico, with my husband and me each thriving in our professional careers, having my family and friends close, and traveling a lot, it seemed like there was no real need for me to go through the MBA application process, which we all know is a lot of work. Everything seemed so well planned in my life, and I was happy living it that way; why would I consider changing it? Unfortunately – or fortunately- I am very ambitious and really wanted to have the experience of an MBA. 

I talked to my husband about going for it, considering I wanted to have my experience abroad, and he was very supportive from the beginning. Honestly, we both knew it was a long shot to be accepted into a top school, but I knew I had to go for it. However, there were two considerations I needed to make this work. First, he would have to come with me, which was non-negotiable for me, and second, it would have to be in a place where he could continue to work, and as a barred lawyer, New York was the only option. 

So yes, in my decision, there were more variables to consider. Nevertheless, those variables quickly reduced the scope of my options, and fortunately, the narrowed option was the best city in the world. 

After narrowing it to New York, I researched all possible programs in the city, which were many more than I imagined; considering each School has multiple MBA programs, my options by then were between 6 and 10 different programs. To narrow this further, I reduced my scope to only 1 year programs – working in tech, I knew being out of the “being employed game” for a long time wouldn’t have worked for me, so this filter narrowed my options to 3. Although applying to three programs might seem like a good number, I soon fell in love with the tech-focused programs.  I really liked the syllabus each one had, and coming from another business school, adding the technical courses made a lot more sense to my profile. Although there were some other one-year programs in the city, the tech focus for me was the cherry on top, which narrowed my number to two.

I reached out to people from both business schools. I spoke with at least ten people to get a sense of what their experience was, what they would recommend during the process, and to verify I clicked with their culture. I was shocked to see people actually answered my messages on LinkedIn without even knowing me.

When applying to Stern, I immediately stumbled upon the first challenge, which was a “change” in the application style the school has compared to the rest. The application had a twist since it was basically a mini-essay and a photo collage. The saying “less is more” is very applicable in this case. Less was more work since you need to be yourself, show what you bring to the table, show you are different and delightful, and show you can embrace change, all in two or three short deliverables. 

My two cents to anyone in the application process are:

1) Talk to people from the school you are applying to. The insights you get with quick chats not only fuel your motivation but also help you show the qualities you share with the people you talk to. 

2) Review your essays after clearing your head for a few days. After having more than 30 drafts on one of my essays, I can assure you the Mariana that started the process was not the same once I finished it. Yes, my last essay was a killer one compared to the classic cliché one I started with. 

Lastly, embrace learning through this application and school selection process, be humble and not too harsh with yourself, and reach out to people to mentor you or cheer for you throughout this process. And in case you doubt yourself, I can tell you all the effort is worth it. 

Things I’m Happiest I Did in my Year at Stern

Steven is a recent Tech MBA graduate, specializing in Financial Instruments & Markets and Management of Technology & Operations. Prior to Stern, Steven was at Deloitte in tech consulting where he was implementing financial software to complete full-cycle digital transformations. At Stern, he was involved in OutClass and enjoys traveling with classmates.

Bringing My Authentic Self

Coming to the end of what I consider the most fulfilling year of my life, there are countless experiences that I am grateful for, and they all fall under the category of “Things I’m happiest I did in my year at Stern.” To begin, I have to give credit to bringing my authentic self to NYU. The community at NYU is exceptionally lively, and it thrives on intelligence and emotional intelligence (IQ/EQ). This was ultimately the reason I chose Stern. One of the defining characteristics of the Stern community is its embrace of diversity. Sternies recognize the value of different perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds, and it is this openness to diverse ideas and opinions that makes the community so special. For me, it was clear that showing others who I truly was would only enhance my experience at Stern, and this proved to be true. By being authentic and true to myself, I was able to connect with others on a deeper level and build meaningful relationships that will last beyond my time at Stern. Moreover, this experience allowed me to learn from my peers and gain a broader understanding of the world, which has been invaluable. I was able to immerse myself fully in everything that Stern has to offer by being open, honest, and having an open-mind to whatever came my way. By doing so, I have grown both professionally and personally and feel more confident in my abilities.

Worldwide Travel & Relationship Building

In addition to bringing my authentic self to NYU, one of the most enjoyable experiences I had during my time at Stern was taking part in numerous trips. Not only did they offer a welcome break from the rigors of academic life, but they also provided me with an opportunity to connect with my classmates on a more personal level. As a result, I have forged strong bonds with these individuals, and they have become my closest friends, whom I can count on without hesitation. Given my desire to build my network and establish relationships with like-minded individuals, I have made a concerted effort to cultivate and nurture these friendships, recognizing that they are a valuable asset both personally and professionally. By surrounding myself with individuals who share my goals, aspirations, and outlook on life, I have gained invaluable insights and perspectives that have helped me grow as a person and a business professional.

Summer break in Aruba
Spring break in Colombia

Club Involvement

Another experience that brought me immense joy during my time at Stern was getting involved in professional and affinity clubs. As a VP in OutClass, AVP in Cellar, ally in Stern Women in Business (SWIB), and member of the Management Consulting Association (MCA), Private Equity & Venture Capital Club and Stern Adventures, I had the opportunity to connect with students from all programs, including the Two-year Full-time, Executive, and Part-time programs. This allowed me to broaden my network and make friends with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Among these clubs, my most fulfilling position was as VP of Careers and Conferences for OutClass, where I had the chance to contribute to the queer community and build a network of queer professionals who will be future leaders in the workforce. Through this role, I organized professional events for networking and connected classmates with employers who prioritized diversity, equity, and inclusion. This experience not only allowed me to make a positive impact on the community but also sharpened my leadership and organizational skills, making it an integral part of my time at Stern.

OutClass at ROMBA in Washington, D.C.
Stern Adventures at Ski Week in Steamboat, Colorado

Connecting with You!

Last, becoming a Graduate Ambassador was one of the most rewarding experiences during my time at Stern. Sharing my personal experiences with future Stern students has been particularly gratifying, and being a trusted source of advice for prospective students has been incredibly fulfilling. Witnessing students who I have mentored successfully gain admission to the program has been the ultimate reward, and knowing that I played a role in their decision to pursue a similar transformative experience as mine was truly exhilarating.