Meet NYU Stern’s MBA Class Of 2021

Nicholas Turner

New York University, Stern School of Business

“Big guy, bigger ambitions.”

Hometown: New York, New York

Fun Fact About Yourself: In 2004, three friends and I attended the infamous ‘bloody sock’ game during the American League Championship Series between the Yankees and Red Sox. Our seats were close to the field and we decided to paint ‘1-9-1-8’ on our chests – the last year the Red Sox had won the World Series. Though the Yankees lost the game and the series, we could be seen in nearly every video broadcast and recap, including Ken Burns’ Tenth Inning documentary (last I checked). I was the number ‘8’.

Undergraduate School and Major:

Columbia University, BA in Political Science

Oxford University, MPhil in International Relations

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: ServiceTitan – Senior Manager, Growth

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Empowering others. At my last company, I helped forge relationships with some of the largest home service manufacturing companies in the world to help make business operations easier for our customers. At the Department of Justice, I streamlined processes to improve workflows for attorneys and special agents. To paraphrase a famous Chinese proverb: “If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else.”

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Generous. I haven’t met too many classmates yet, but I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a number of current students and alumni. To say they’ve been generous with their time would be an understatement. Everyone I’ve spoken to has given me more than thirty minutes in person or on the phone and offered to connect me to someone else within the Stern community. No one has taken more than 24 hours to respond to an email. If building one’s network is the key value proposition of business school, Stern has given me every indication that it cultivates and reinforces this ethos within its student body.

What is the best part of coming to New York City to earn your MBA? Access. The opportunity to be less than 15 minutes away from nearly every major global firm is unparalleled. Equally as impressive is the access to commerce and community. Where else can you find 5+ great restaurants from different parts of the world on a single block? As a native New Yorker, I can attest. That and family are the two main reasons why my girlfriend and I decided to move back.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Stern’s emphasis on “EQ”, also known as emotional intelligence. EQ is a critical life skill that provides never-ending opportunities for personal growth. It is something I have developed over time and something that I continuously strive to improve. After speaking with many in the Stern network, I have no doubt that Stern will help me continue to develop this skill. In seeing how our class is already starting to build a sense of community and hearing about the ways in which students and alumni have supported one another in job searches and career paths, the unique ability of Stern to develop EQ in its students has shown through at every stage of the MBA experience to-date.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? The Management Consulting Association and Stern Technology Association. I intend to pursue management consulting with a focus on digital and tech strategy during my MBA. Nothing is set in stone, but I’ve experienced a rigorous grad school program once before and my biggest takeaway was that you have to at least have an initial hypothesis for where you want to go after graduation and have a clear vision for how your program of choice will help you get there. Both clubs have outstanding reputations and strong track records of setting members up for success. I want in.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “What’s your backup plan?” A scary possibility to think about, but one that was posed to me by a friend early on in the process and asked time-and-time again in interviews. I’m glad my friend raised the question and I was equally glad to see that it’s prioritized by multiple MBA programs. Life isn’t a straight line, but I often think those who are best prepared for the curveballs are those who turn out best. I have an answer, but will constantly be refining it throughout my time at Stern.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I’ve never taken a business class. As an undergrad, I focused on political science and peppered in a few economics courses. During my master’s degree, I wrote a pretty heavy quant thesis on the drivers of cross-border investment. But after working full-time in tech and seeing the types of opportunities and challenges faced by high-growth start-ups, I recognized that there were more things I didn’t know than things I did. I hope to gain a better understanding of corporate finance, business analytics, and product management. Most importantly, I’m excited to be going back to school and learning things that I can apply in real-world settings for the rest of my career. I’d urge anyone considering an MBA to ask themselves if they’re truly excited by the thought of returning to the classroom.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? HBS, CBS, Anderson

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Location and culture. Location was critical for me. My girlfriend is a screenwriter and we strongly preferred New York or LA, with a considerable nudge to New York due to family. Culture was also crucial. I aimed to identify a close-knit environment where I didn’t feel like I’d be entering a veritable shark tank of competitive classmates (great show though!). I initially created a spreadsheet in an attempt to quantify top choices, but the most useful approach to identifying ‘fit’ turned out to be speaking with those who had graduated or were currently pursuing their degree. I cannot stress enough how positive current and former students were about their Stern experiences. It truly won me over.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? Early on at the Department of Justice, my first job out of college, I utilized an auto-populate feature in Microsoft Office to reduce the processing time for hundreds of documents from multiple days to under an hour. Eight attorneys and multiple special agents swarmed my desk that day to watch how I’d accomplished the feat, knowing that this small tweak would free up a considerable amount of the administrative burden they’d felt on a daily basis. Through one minor adjustment to a seemingly unsexy office task, I’d improved my colleagues’ daily workflow and gained the trust of my teammates. I was instantly hooked on this feeling and have been chasing it ever since.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? In 10 years, I hope to either be at a consulting firm or in the tech sector, though I’d also consider starting my own business. Of course, the Yankees could give me a call at some point along the way and this might all be for naught.

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