Meet NYU Stern’s MBA Class Of 2021

NYU Stern MBA graduation

NYU Stern graduated its first cohorts in the new one-year tech and fashion & luxury MBAs this week

P&Q: The MBA program is part of one of the largest business schools in the country. How does this scale benefit MBA students?

Eggers: “In fact, at NYU Stern we call this our “size paradox.”  Stern has a larger faculty than most business schools with a broad range of expertise. Our size gives us the flexibility to be nimble, to anticipate ever-changing market needs and to be first and fast to market. For example, our size and strengths enabled us to be the first U.S. business school to introduce a Fintech specialization, to create a new category of focused MBA programs and to offer an MS in Management online.”

P&Q: NYU Stern is known for unique electives and specializations and rock star adjunct faculty. Give us some examples of some of these benefits?

Eggers: One unique elective for MBA students is a course affiliated with Endless Frontier Labs at NYU Stern, a nine-month program for early-stage science- and technology-based startups. The startup founders are advised by serial entrepreneurs, investors and technical mentors to accomplish individualized business goals at eight-week intervals. These goals are designed to maximize each startup’s chance of growing into a high-growth business. While companies in the EFL program do not require an NYU affiliation to participate, all companies benefit from access to and support from NYU scientists and Stern MBA students. NYU Stern Professor Deepak Hegde is the director of the program and teaches the MBA course. MBA students get a first-hand look at building a startup and the opportunity to consult with these emerging businesses.

We’ve also continued to add to the list of senior leaders offering courses at Stern. In Spring 2019, we added a new course on Leading High Tech Companies taught by former Kakao CEO Jihoon Rim. Courses such as these allow students to take the material they’ve learned elsewhere in the curriculum and applied it to the challenges facing leading big and small companies.”

P&Q: The tech sector is exploding in New York City. What is NYU Stern doing to help MBA students capitalize on these opportunities?

Luke Williams lecturing to NYU students

Eggers: “Over the past several years especially, NYU Stern has secured its place as a hub in the thriving technology and entrepreneurial ecosystem in NYC’s Silicon Alley, which is literally in our backyard. We are deeply connected with industry to stay ahead of real-time business needs. In fact, several years ago we created an advisory board with C-level leaders who advised us when we built the Andre Koo Tech MBA and continue to support experiential projects and seek Stern talent to join their ranks once they graduate. Technology, along with finance and consulting, is one of the top three employing industries for Stern graduates, with students pursuing roles in established firms and emerging startups.”

IN THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING

The tech scene is certainly exploding in the Big Apple. Amazon – despite scrapping its HQ2 plans – still employs 5,000 people in the city. In contrast, Google is projecting to double its workforce to 14,000 there in the coming decade. On top of that, tech sector workers now make $150,000 on average according to the New York Times. As Stern continues to gain a deeper foothold in tech, it amplifies its diverse portfolio of offerings that align with the wide-ranging opportunities that are only available in the Empire City.

“New York City is a world capital of finance but it is also a world capital of fashion, luxury, entrepreneurship, tech, entertainment, media, and sports,” Dean Sundaram told P&Q in 2019. “This is an amazing place to be in for almost any industry today, especially given the transformation in the last ten years around technology and entrepreneurship.”

Survey the Class of 2021 on what led them to the Stern MBA program and New York City is bound to make everyone’s Top 3 list. For some, that starts with access, as in a 20-minute cab to Wall Street moguls, 5th Avenue trendsetters, and Madison Avenue image-makers.

‘YOU CAN ALWAYS FIND THE RIGHT NETWORK IN NEW YORK’

“New York City is an experience in and of itself. Being able to live in the heart of industry with access to experts in your field is a rare privilege that I am grateful to have the opportunity to experience,” writes Mahum Jamal. “New York offers a professional context to the MBA, providing ample opportunity to connect with industry thought-leaders while completing our studies in one of the most vibrant cities in the world. It is impossible to leave New York unchanged.”

NYU Stern School of Business – Ethan Baron photo

Of course, business is just part of the equation. Nicholas Turner observes that every major global firm is near campus, but also touts that how students can find five or more “great restaurants from different parts of the world on a single block.” Such contrasts and collisions make for inspiration and energy – perhaps the city’s most important asset, says Allan George, a civil engineer from the Virgin Islands.

Both on and off campus, it’s a cultural melting pot that brings an unlimited amount of new perspectives to every scenario. When individuals with a variety of experiences, opinions, and cultural backgrounds come together to solve a problem, the solution is always more creative and thoughtful.”

In short, says Seoyoung Park, New York City is all about opportunity. “Be creative! You can always find the right network you need in New York,” she writes.

THE IQ+EQ DIFFERENCE

That network includes their Stern peers. For the Class of 2021, another major draw of the Stern MBA was its underlying “IQ + EQ” expectation. At Stern, it isn’t enough to be smart. To excel, students must also possess a high level of emotional intelligence in interpersonal areas such as self-awareness, empathy, and communication. That’s why the school seeks out students who listen, bring out the best in others, show self-control, and understand the impact that their behavior has on others. In fact, EQ is such a core value at Stern that candidates must furnish two EQ endorsements during the application process. The result is a class high on soft skills, a big appeal to students like Cortne Edmonds.

“I wanted a top-tier business education where I would be learning from the curriculum, professors and my classmates. In order to get that experience, I knew that I needed an environment where people were not only intelligent in an academic sense but also had the interpersonal skills to connect and relate their experiences and personality in an effective way. The fact that Stern had IQ+EQ as a core value and emphasized showing the whole person in the application made me feel that there was a perfect match in values and the kind of community I wanted.”

NYU ‘Sternies’ hanging out in Washington Square Park.

Thus far, IQ+EQ has proven to be far more than marketing fluff, adds Emily Glaser. “I was slightly concerned that everyone at b-school would be finance-focused and coming from a career in creative marketing for a fast-food company, I would be the odd woman out. However, Stern really promotes the IQ+EQ culture, and I saw that regardless of anyone’s individual strengths and backgrounds, we all value empathy and teamwork. This was a place where people would appreciate a variety of experiences and we could help each other round out our collective strengths.”

A RESPONSIVE ALUMNI

At the same time, Nicholas Turner has found that Stern alumni – a network of 110,000 graduates in 138 countries – share this same graciousness. “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.”

When the Class of 2021 become alumni themselves, where do they expect to be? In true Stern style, Corte Edmonds plans to make herself a change-maker wherever she lands in 10 years. “I see myself as a leader in innovative business strategies and transformations framed around leadership and change management. I also aspire to mentor individuals on leveraging fear and self-doubt into something powerful that drives one’s story further.”

Seoyoung Park intends to follow a similar path with that same ‘yes’ attitude that has made her so successful. “I see a confident woman who constantly challenges the status quo and inspires other women in business.”

For Glaser, the future is a mix of high ambitions…and practical considerations. “[I hope to be] in a leadership role with an international brand and creating great products and experiences for consumers worldwide. Oh, and I hope I’ll have a dog by then! First I’ll need an apartment without carpets though.”

What led these professionals to enter business schools? Which programs did they also consider? What strategies did they use to choose their MBA program? What was the major event that defined them? Find the answers to these questions and many more in the in-depth profiles of these incoming MBA candidates.

DON’T MISS: MEET THE MBA CLASS OF 2021: THE GO-GETTERS

MBA StudentHometownUndergraduate Alma MaterLast Employer
Natalie AshbridgePhiladelphia, PAUniversity of PennsylvaniaComcast Business
Tom CatalanoLouisville, KYUniversity of Notre DameU.S. Navy
Riya DhananiaCalcutta, IndiaSt. Xavier’s CollegeMcKinsey & Company
Cortne EdmondsNew York, NYGeorgetown UniversityTransPerfect
Allan GeorgeBasseterre, St. KittsRochester Institute of TechnologyGilbane Building Company
Emily GlaserGreat Neck, NYNorthwestern UniversityRestaurant Brands International
Mahum JamalSan Jose, CABarnard CollegeDoe-eyed Pictures
Felipe JaramilloBogotá, ColombiaUniversidad de los AndesAcciones & Valores
Seoyoung ParkSeoul, South KoreaSungkyunkwan UniversityLIVEO
Nicholas TurnerNew York City, NYColumbia UniversityServiceTitan
Chain VayakornvichitBangkok, ThailandUniversity of OxfordVouch