During lunch today, marketer and entrepreneur Seth Godin challenged me to be a genius and to lead with my ideas. Well, not me personally, but a room of 150+ Stern students including me. While I certainly don't purport to be a genius, hopefully, I can share some relevant and insightful ideas about the MBA experience.
As an MBA2, I'm now in the position of starting to reflect back on the past 1.5 years and think about the stops I've made along the way. And the one thing that I simply can't get over is how quickly it's all gone by. Apologies for being prematurely nostalgic, but I've just registered for my final semester of classes and already, I'm having a mild panic about all of the courses and professors I won't be able to take. I am, however, pretty pleased with the courses I will be taking in my last semester. At NYU Stern, we choose up to 3 specialization areas and mine are Marketing, Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Corporate Finance. In my last semester at Stern, I'll be taking Valuation, New Venture Financing, New Media in Marketing (I've heard this class is taught by an HBO executive, so I'm excited to get the practitioners' expertise!), Business Plan Practicum, Negotiations and Professional Responsibility. Because I have a background in advertising/marketing, I've tried to round out my skill set by taking classes that are a little past my comfort realm. Let's see how it goes for me with two finance electives next semester!
Last fall, as an MBA1, I dedicated a lot of my time to recruiting and luckily, I was able to land a summer internship in the interactive marketing group at American Express (AXPi). Thankfully, I had a wonderful summer and I know that I will be returning there after graduation. So, this fall, I can dedicate more time to clubs and other activities, like serving as Co-President of Stern Women in Business (SWIB) and as a Graduate Ambassador in Stern's Office of Admissions. These two worlds came together for me last Sunday when we hosted our annual Opening Doors for Women admissions event. I remember attending as a prospective student two years ago, so it was gratifying to be able to stand in front of the room and address 250+ prospective females on how SWIB aims to provide a diverse and collaborative network of opportunity for the women of Stern.
I also remember feeling very nervous and uncertain about the application process and what my next two years could potentially hold for me, so I'd like to offer a humble piece of advice for those of you who are currently in the process of applying to business school or thinking about it. The two years in business school go by so fast, faster than anything I have ever experienced before, and there are so many different opportunities to take advantage of. Some of you have already submitted your application in the first round, while others of you are working to polish your application for the second round. Regardless of whether you are now in waiting mode or are still actively trying to define why an MBA is important to you, I would recommend that you continue to search and explore, whether it's what your professional goals are or what your casual interests may be. Most business school applications ask you to define what your short and long term goals are - I thought I had a pretty good idea of both when I was a prospective and while I am actively pursuing my short term goal, I'm also thinking more about my long-term goals. I think the process of figuring out what you want to be when you grow up is an iterative one and should be approached with curiosity. Business school is the perfect opportunity to explore all facets that interest you, but because we are all mutli-faceted, it's a very fast process! As much as you can, take the time now to continue to explore what you want to get out of your MBA experience so that when the time comes, you will be best prepared to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible.