A) My personal experience with Stern started about a year ago. While researching one of my most exciting interests, the investment world, I stumbled upon the great webcasts of an NYU professor named Aswath Damodaran, who was speaking about company valuations. I was fascinated by Prof. Damodaran’s thorough understanding of the finance world and the way he delivered such complex content in a clear and understandable manner. So when I decided to pursue an MBA degree, NYU was the first school that came to my mind.
I then spoke with a current Stern student who told me about Stern’s great community, the endless opportunities the school opens to enhance its students’ careers, and the exceptional and flexible curriculum that allows students to customize coursework to meet each individual’s goals.
B) Besides being excited naturally to take Prof. Damodaran’s Corporate Finance class, I am looking forward to taking on the NYC Case Studies initiative program that includes a unique experiential learning process in real-life businesses at the heart of the world’s business center – New York. Applying theoretical material learned in the classroom to practical real-life business problems will prepare me to handle the complex business situations that I will surely face in my post-MBA positions.
NYU Stern’s Consulting Corps program is another program I would like to take part in. Analyzing a business and giving consultation along with helping the community seems very exciting and enriching. Also, engaging with mentoring consultants who will help me to understand how to improve a business can prepare me for it.
In exploring the extracurricular activities that Stern offers, I was amazed by the number that attracted me personally. One example is The Association of Investment Management (AIMR), where I can enhance my knowledge in the field of Investment, share my thoughts from my own past experience, and learn from others what makes them prefer one company over the other. I definitely plan on participating in the Stock Pitch Competition and company visit events the AIMR arranges. Seven years ago, after listening to an uninformed bank investment advisor, I decided to take control of my own portfolio, and have never looked back. During this time I read several books in the field of investment, daily finance newspapers, and opinion columns of famous investors. Today I have developed a high enough level of expertise to help family and friends to compose and mitigate risk in their own personal portfolios, and I would be happy to share my knowledge with fellow members.
Another club I’m keen to take part in is the Soccer Club. As a former referee and an amateur player for the last 15 years, soccer is one of my favorite pastimes. I will be happy to offer the Soccer Club members the benefit of my knowledge about game rules and would be thrilled to take part in the club’s tournaments.
During undergraduate school, while focusing on finance, I also took a special interest in studying management. Constant interaction with people makes any type of management an ever-changing, thus interesting, occupation.
Towards the end of my first college year, I started working in my country's largest mortgage bank. One of the first questions I asked during the job interview was whether the bank offers management training programs. Almost two years later, the organization's training center publicized a tender for a new "Future Management Course". The requirements included, among others, having commercial-banking experience, as well as a college degree – two demands I did not meet at the time. I did not let this stop me, however. Knowing that I wanted to become a manager, I was determined to apply for the program. My supervisor supported this and gave me a recommendation for the tender, yet, he claimed that in such a large organization, applying without fulfilling all requirements was pointless. I had to persuade the admissions committee that I could handle participating in the program while completing my college education, and overcoming gaps in professional knowledge. The effort paid off. I was accepted into the program, thus creating two precedents: I became the first person to be accepted into this program before completing a college degree, and the first to do so without any previous experience. The program required that I move from the Mortgage Department to the Commercial Division, where I am currently employed as a Private Accounts Manager.
During college, I decided that when the time was right, I would acquire an MBA education. Now is the perfect time for me to do so. On the one hand, I have gained several years of work experience. On the other hand, I am still at the beginning of my career and believe that an MBA degree from a world-class business school such as Stern will help me mold an effective managerial style.
In addition to these considerations, I would like to make a career change. In my current, position I recruit new clients and market financial products. In the future, I hope to engage more with the essence of finance, rather than the marketing of it.
Upon completing my MBA, I hope to work as a financial consultant in a leading investment bank such as Goldman-Sachs or JPMorgan. More specifically, I would like to help companies develop their equity structure and financial strategy in order to maximize their financial utility. As a consultant, I will gain experience developing economic strategies by doing financial analysis, profit-cost considerations, and research regarding competing firms.
I hope to grow within my organization and become involved in the financial management of the firm, eventually reaching the position of CFO. In this role, I will be called upon to set the financial agenda of the bank, determine policy, and decide which industries to get involved in. I will be required to successfully manage dozens of people, having to motivate and guide them toward executing our strategy. Yet my aspirations do not stop there.
After gaining expertise in capital and equity finance, and acquiring leadership experience, my dream is to man senior positions in the public financial sector. I was raised on values such as actively contributing to my country's security and future, therefore I would like to build up its financial strength by developing its capital markets. I hope to assume leadership roles in such bodies as the Ministry of Treasury or the Securities Authority. The path of gaining experience and expertise in international financial institutions, and then taking positions in the public sector, has been followed by a number of key figures.
About a year ago, during a trip to New Zealand, I decided I want to pursue an MBA, preferably in New York. When the trip was over I visited my neighbor, who was considering the school, to borrow a brochure of the school. In the following weeks, I took some time to read the brochure and search for specific courses and activities on the school’s website. It was then when my interest in Stern grew considerably.
Several months later, I decided to visit Stern, in order to learn more about the school, its students, and community life. I made contacts with 3 first-year students and they agreed to accompany me on my visit. Visiting Stern last month was a great experience for me. I joined a class in “Foundation of Finance”, where I learned about optimal portfolios with multiple risky assets and attended an information session, where I discovered that up to 25% of all classes can be taken at NYU graduate schools other than Stern. When I came back home I participated in another information session, hosted by Heather Daly. I was especially impressed by Daly’s remark that Stern offers 22 specializations in various areas.
What most excites me about Stern academically is the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, and particularly the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Lab. I know that this lab, together with the variety of other courses and activities the center offers, will greatly improve my entrepreneurial experience by pointing me in the right direction as to working on a venture during my years at Stern.
From an extracurricular perspective, what most excites me is the Technology and Media Group student club. I believe that the firsthand experience of meeting leading executives in technology companies as part of the club’s career treks will be very beneficial to my long-term career goal of becoming a CEO at a large software company. I am also excited about the Office of Career Development, which I believe will be a great asset for me in finding my post-MBA dream job.
As a student at Stern, I would like to leverage my extensive teaching experience, which includes among others positions as a volunteer tutor and a university TA – to leave a mark that will live on long after I graduate: something that will contribute not only the Stern community but also the New York society. I plan to establish and lead a club devoted to tutoring high school children from New York who cannot afford taking private lessons, helping them pass their matriculation exams.
My vision is of a club that would aim not only at providing the children with free tutoring sessions to improve their academic performance but also at enriching their minds, by allowing them to interact with Stern students and exposing them to new fields they may not have been aware of. I believe that with my experience and ambition to succeed, the club will quickly become very active.
Having first-hand experience assisting global financial organizations to resolve complex issues in the regulatory dimension, I intimately understand the severe lack of effective corporate governance in today’s businesses. I am passionate about ensuring that financial institutions lead with the highest moral standards and exhibit ethical behavior to better uphold their social responsibilities. I take great pride in my work because I believe it upholds the security and strength of the global financial system. Pursuing an MBA from NYU Stern would equip me with the necessary skills to be a more effective consultant and place me in an environment where I can succeed.
Upon graduation, I plan to continue my career as a consultant, specializing in corporate governance and implementing strong controls to prevent corporate misconduct for financial institutions. Because the need for strong governance is crucial to the future of the global financial system, my long-term goal is to establish a private-sector company with the finest and most sophisticated governance practices to better assist banks in this specific field.
Working with a global financial institution in today’s complex regulatory environment requires comprehensive knowledge of legal and moral obstacles across various cultures. Stern classes such as “Strategic Management of Global Risk” would offer me the key managerial and legal skills necessary to succeed as a consultant. I plan to complement my work experience by joining the Government and Business Association to build upon my understanding of financial institutions and the role of federal regulators.
Additionally, the Stern Consulting Corps is the ideal program to develop my problem-solving skills, given my interest in and experience with consulting. I plan to contribute to my project team by developing and implementing innovative solutions to difficult problems, as I have done in my current role as a consultant with Promontory Financial Group. Because I am passionate about seeing the real-world changes my work produces, participating in the NYU Impact Investing Fund would align seamlessly with my interests and prior experience. I am confident that I could offer a unique perspective on financial institutions’ social responsibilities to the group.
The entrepreneurial and leadership skills I developed at Stern will be invaluable in achieving my long-term goal of creating a company that specializes in the regulatory work that drives and motivates me. I have worked closely with many financial institutions and have witnessed the success – and failure – of their efforts to combat white-collar crimes and the need for more experts with the drive to assist them. Classes such as “Foundations of Entrepreneurship” would be the perfect courses to learn more about company creation in a classroom setting, and the Entrepreneur Experiential Immersion would provide the perfect opportunity to learn more about how to help small businesses grow and succeed in practice. The experience of working hands-on with entrepreneurs would serve as an essential step in preparing me to start my own business.
Through NYU’s Summer Session Program and campus visits, I was amazed to see how I could easily fit into Stern’s unique culture. I had the opportunity to speak with current Stern students, including Katie Cowling (MBA ‘XX), and was overwhelmed by the positive energy at NYU and genuine interest they had in me as a person. I was particularly struck by how enthusiastic Katie was about the MBA program and how eager she was to discuss the various classes and programs she has been involved with, including the “Doing Business in” courses and the Management Consulting Association.
Developing personal relationships has been a hallmark of my leadership style, and I hope to contribute my perspectives on teamwork to my peers as a Leadership Fellow, which I learned about from a Stern alumnus. The benefit of being located in Manhattan, where many successful companies begin, is something of which I will surely take advantage. Earning an MBA surrounded by the largest global banks would be ideal, given my aspirations to continue working in bank governance. Additionally, I plan to utilize the strong and involved Stern alumni network when looking to create my own business.
While I plan to take full advantage of the programs, courses, and extracurricular activities at Stern, I also want to give back to the school community. I take pride in the social impact that my current work has by creating a safer financial system, and I want to further this impact by joining America Reads and Counts at NYU. As a former tutor, I understand the need for more individuals with the enthusiasm to improve the educational quality for inner-city school children.
During my time at the companies I worked for, I have gained deep experience in technology implementation projects and learned how a clearly defined business strategy (or lack thereof) is directly correlated to the success of these projects.
At one of the companies I worked for, the business goal was defined before I arrived: to use technology to simplify Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance for employers. Here, I learned the basics of leadership, strategic thinking, and stakeholder management while performing market analysis and developing requirements and use cases for Compliance Central, the 3-product software line designed to simplify ACA compliance for employers.
At another company, the business goals were more nebulous. In my first month on the job, I facilitated a global workshop to define the roadmap for re-platforming seven complex client services-related applications. During this experience, I developed my relationship managing and strategic thinking skills and applied them on a global scale. At my current employer, I am expanding my strategic thinking skills by advising a Fortune 500 company on how to implement a loyalty program that increases store spending and traffic.
While I could continue to manage similar technology transformation projects, I want to take my career in a new direction. I want to transition to a management consulting firm where I specialize in digital strategy, help clients re-imagine the customer experience, and help them answer 2 questions: “Is technology the right strategy for us? How can we use technology to target new customers, improve customer loyalty, and achieve our business objectives?” A Stern MBA will empower me to make this career transition, ascend to a partner-level position, and become a thoughtful, effective leader who sets high standards and is a hard-working teammate.
Outside of the office, I want to be on the board of a non-profit that advocates for parental involvement in children’s education, such as Project Appleseed. As a child, I was fortunate to have my parents involved in my education and believe that their involvement set me up for success. Getting involved with this type of organization and using my MBA to drive organizational success would be an awesome opportunity.
Stern’s first-year core courses such as Strategy, Operations Management, and Foundations of Finance will enable me to develop the necessary ‘hard skills’ all management consultants must possess. I look forward to taking two specific electives: Brand Strategy and Brilliant Execution. Through loyalty program implementation at Brierley, I have glimpsed how brands engage with customers. Taking Brand Strategy will allow me to get the bigger picture: how to develop a brand architecture and identity and how brand-building programs such as loyalty programs realize brand perception. I want to take Brilliant Execution because I have learned that success depends on brilliant execution. Together with courses like Education and Social Policy at the Wagner School of Public Service, I will be able to fulfill my career and public service goals. Finally, what I learn at Stern will be applicable throughout my career. When I connected with a Stern 1978 alumna, she told me that she still uses many of the organizational and analytical skills that she learned at Stern.
Outside of the classroom, activities such as the Monday Block Launches, the LAUNCH program, and the MBA Challenge would give me the opportunity to apply classroom learnings in the technology, consulting, and non-profit world. During my visit, Stern students spoke excitedly about both special interest and professional clubs; I am excited to participate in Stern Adventures, Strategy, and Operations club, and the Entertainment, Media, and Technology Association.
While visiting Stern, I learned about Stern’s “IQ + EQ” collaboration and leadership model. When I asked students why they chose Stern over similar programs, they specifically mentioned that Stern’s model fostered a sense of collaborative leadership that prepared them for their future careers in consulting, technology, or wherever their MBA took them. This resonates with me, as I believe that leadership not only requires intellectual strength but also the ability to connect with peers personally to realize the synergistic effects of collaboration.
Visiting New York City and the NYU campus, speaking with current Stern students, and attending a campus tour made me realize that New York City’s unique and dynamic intersection of culture, policy, technology, and business presents a huge opportunity for innovation, collaboration, and application of Stern classroom learnings. I believe that now is the right time to make the transition to management consulting, and a Stern MBA and Stern’s global alumni network will provide me the experiences, network, and hard skills to make this possible.
When I started researching Stern's program offerings, I considered both the Tech and Full-time MBAs. Both outlines appealed to me and seemed in sync with my goals and personality. However, when I attended an MBA Fair to meet with an alumnus, I discovered that the FT MBA is the best fit.
Professionally, the FT MBA will enable me to take courses in a wide variety of fields and the more diverse emphasis in its core studies will strengthen the less-developed sides of my business education. Additionally, due to the large class size, I will be part of a far more diverse cohort. Learning alongside Sternies from multiple backgrounds will surely broaden my perspective and improve my understanding of different industries. The FT MBA will also allow me to participate in an immersion week or do a summer internship, which can help me secure a position after graduation.
As an international student moving my entire family to a foreign country, I am looking forward to the experience, including exploring the many options New York offers. For this reason, the two-year full-time MBA is ideal, offering a longer time in which to take advantage of the school's many clubs and as well as participate in the Doing Business in (DBi) program in Morocco, where my family came from. My wife is especially eager to join the Partners Club and become part of the NYU community, and we will both gain from two years to contribute within it instead of one.
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