Meet NYU Stern’s MBA Class Of 2022

People associate IQ scores with intelligence. Score a 160 and you’re an Albert Einstein…or Mensa material at minimum. In generations past, a high IQ was a predictor of success. It meant you were a problem-solver who could think on your feet, process complex data, and connect the dots.

These days, an IQ is treated as something more narrow and abstract: the ability to operate in a controlled environment under time constraints. Enter EQ. Known as Emotional Quotient, EQ is a scientific term for an awareness of self – and an attention towards others. On one level, EQ is a measure of self-control, the ability to check messy impulses and reactions. More than that, a high EQ reflects an ability to read signals and connect. EQ means you can share the perceptions and emotions of others. By understanding their motivations and needs, you can foster common purpose and influence choices.

A SUBTLE DIFFERENCE THAT GROWS IN IMPORTANCE

Alas, IQ and EQ are akin to yin and yang, book smarts and street smarts. IQ identifies patterns, while EQ builds relationships. Together, IQ and EQ feed off each other, producing leaders with intellectual horsepower and interpersonal depth. This IQ+EQ integration is the very bedrock of New York University’s Stern School of Business. In this MBA program, the learning environment starts with the caliber of learners admitted to the program. Here, Stern balances career achievement and GMAT scores with traits like empathy, listening, openness, and communication. In other words, Stern MBAs are team players who elevate discussions with their interpersonal skills as much as their brainpower and experience.

“At Stern we talk about IQ vs EQ (intelligence quotient vs emotional quotient),” explains Isser Gallogly, the school’s Associate Dean, MBA Admissions and Program Innovation, in an interview with P&Q. “It’s nice if they can do the curriculum part, the classroom part — you’ve got to be able to do the school work. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to fit in at Stern and you’re going to succeed in business. Character is very important. What sets Stern students apart is this IQ vs EQ, the fact that they understand how to interact with people, how to lead people, that they have superior communications skills, and are very collaborative.”

In designing its programming and curating its culture, NYU Stern has made a bet that students learn best when peers are naturally inclined to watch out for each other. That’s one reason why every Stern applicant must furnish two letters validating their EQ. Of course, MBAs tend to be supportive and inclusive as a whole. However, Stern takes this impulse a step further, building a community with a long track record of bringing out the best in their peers.

NYU Stern Interior

MAKING A DIFFERENCE ALREADY

“Before coming to Stern, I kept hearing that it was a highly collaborative environment and that people really cared for and looked after one another,” explains Rebecca Dewey, a 2020 grad and P&Q Best & Brightest MBA. “I wasn’t sure that could be true – isn’t business school supposed to be competitive? This myth is definitely true, and it’s the secret sauce to Stern. Students, faculty, and administrators will go out of their way to help each other, and it makes me excited to go to campus every day. The School promotes the value of “IQ + EQ” and I love to see the many ways that Sternies live this value every day.”

Just ask the Class of 2022. For Wyatt Kimble, that takes the form of being “helpful,” where the mentality is “How can I help you?”, not “How can I help myself?” In contrast, Raquel Aurelia Rodriguez describes her classmates as “charismatic” – but frames it in terms of always engaging with each other. “Even from the introverts, you don’t have to be the loudest in the room to carry that ability to interact authentically and impactfully,” she writes.

Of course, success is also contingent on qualities that fall outside EQ and IQ. They may include passion, commitment, perseverance, curiosity, risk-taking, and resourcefulness. Make no mistake: you’ll find plenty of these virtues with the Class of 2022. Early on, Rachel Chanen noticed how driven her classmates were. For her, this created an environment of “special people who will push me to be a better version of myself.” Josue Gonzalez was equally struck by how his peers had been “agents of change” in their employers. One reason? The IQ+EQ approach tends to draw proactive servant leaders who understand their success is tied to creating value and raising the performance of their peers.

“Sternies are not waiting around for classes to start to make a difference,” adds Myryah Nicholas. “In the summer before school, I have watched incoming students launch fundraisers for social justice and teach finance basics to those anxious about re-entering the classroom. Behind all of these projects is an immense sense of community and sharing resources towards the success of the entire class.”

SMALL SCHOOL SUPPORT, NOT BIG CITY COMPETITIVENESS

That may come as surprise to some. After all, urban MBA programs are often depicted as cold and cutthroat, winner-take-all and no-holds-barred. In reality, says 2020 grad Ari Schiff, Stern MBAs enjoy the best of both worlds: a generous community that’s within a 30 minute cab ride of the leading companies in the most attractive industries.

“Whenever I talk to prospective students, they are always concerned that because Stern is in New York City, the social fabric of the school is disaggregated,” Schiff tells P&Q. “In my experience, students at Stern have the benefit of choosing to spend their time between a strong MBA community and the New York City community. If you thrive in a socially dynamic environment, you’d probably enjoy having the flexibility to choose to spend your time with classmates at Stern or with new friends you’ve made in the city.”

NYU Stern students

Yes, New York City is the capital of finance and fashion, not to mention advertising and the arts. Sure enough, the Class of 2022 boasts students who climbed the ranks at blue chip firms like General Electric, Nasdaq, and Bain & Company. Many have already held c-suite level responsibilities Take El Houssain El Marabti. He integrated the operations of five different companies as a consultant. In India, Ishan Taneja worked with officials with five government ministries to speed up the development of India’s first semiconductor unit, landing a $40 million dollar government package in the process. At the same time, Rachel Chanen rolled out the first Pride marketing project for the Trevor Project, considered the world’s largest suicide prevention program for LGBTQ youth.

ACING THE TOUGHEST TESTS

Such intensive projects required the Class of 2022 to boost their EQs to match their IQs. That’s exactly what Marilia Bagatini had to learn when she was promoted to management for the first time. “I was working on an integration deal in London and, on top of my own deliverables and a lot of pressure, I had to learn how to lead a team that was assigned to me. It showed me how important our network is to help us in challenging times. More than that, I learned that it is ok to ask for help when we need to and how important it is to trust our team. It was a very challenging project that eventually resulted in my promotion. I was one of the few women who was promoted from that group, and it showed that my hard work was paying off.”

That same combination of hard and soft skills enabled Josue Gonzalez to notch his biggest achievement as a military intelligence company commander. During a 14-day exercise in the Louisiana swamp, Gonzalez’s 130 member team set the bar against which other Army intelligence companies measured themselves.

“I developed new systems, implemented a culture change within the company, and redesigned the company’s structure to be more decentralized. During the training exercise, we were able to validate a data collection platform in a short period in part because of the new decentralized company structure that allowed my soldiers to be more effective by working in small, symbiotic virtual teams. We also utilized a new virtual cloud system…My company was the first to successfully implement that type of system in a tactical environment.”

NYU Stern students outside class

A BILLBOARD THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING

It is a moment that defined Gonzalez, much like an advertisement convinced Myryah Nicholas to take a leap of faith and pursue her dreams. “Before I moved to New York, I visited friends in the city when I stumbled across a Mother’s Day billboard that read, “I didn’t go nine months without chardonnay for you to hate your job.” While the sighting initially provided a good laugh, the message stuck with me. I knew I owed it to the people who supported me and, more importantly, myself to pivot into a career path I loved. On the plane ride home, I vowed to take the risks I needed to achieve my goals. Four months later, I was living in New York—the epicenter of the beauty industry—and one step closer to making my dreams come true.”

That spirit has carried on into Stern, Nicholas adds. “I am most excited about the opportunity to explore my passions fully. In undergrad, I made choices that prioritized security at the expense of my dreams. With a bit more wisdom and confidence, I am ready to bet on myself and go all-in.”

That doesn’t mean there has been a little hesitation going into business school, notes Ishan Taneja. “I’m really looking forward to being part of a community of like-minded peers, being able to learn from some of the most renowned professors, and getting to experience both in New York City! I’m definitely most nervous about taking accounting and statistics classes – it’s been awhile since I’ve had to deal with numbers in a classroom setting.”

PERCENTAGE OF WOMEN CLIMBS SIX POINTS

Speaking of numbers, this year’s class profile proved relatively immune to the COVID-induced fluctuations that have dogged other full-time MBA programs. One big difference is class size, with Stern slipping from 350 to 317 students over the past year. However, this appears to be a conscious decision on the school’s part. Exhibit A: The number of applications actually rose from 3,518 to 3,652 during the 2019-2020 cycle. That said, the school’s acceptance rate climbed from 26% to 29% due to the school inviting 140 more applicants this year to join the Class of 2022.

As a whole, the Class of 2022 measures up well against the previous class. Average GMAT, for example, has increased from 721 to 723 – a number that bests programs like Yale SOM, Michigan Ross, and Dartmouth Tuck (and just a point under Chicago Booth). It also represents a seven point improvement in just two years. Another 23% of the class took the GRE in lieu of the GMAT. Undergraduate GPA average – a measure of grit as much as brains – also climbed from 3.52 to 3.6. This puts NYU Stern on par with Northwestern Kellogg and Columbia Business School.

To read about 11 students in the Class of 2022, go to Page 3. 

For an interview with J.P. Eggers, Vice Dean for MBA Programs, go to Page 2. 

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