Went to NYU for a class visit and a “coffee break” yesterday with my fiancee. I went last year, but I wasn’t taking the MBA thing as seriously, so I didn’t remember as much detail, or who I spoke with. I wanted this to be the crux of my Essay #2 (What is you experience with the Stern community) and I was very pleased with how things went.
As I stated in my earlier post, I was scheduled to attend an International Economics class taught by the one and only, Nouriel Roubini. We arrived about 15 minutes early and were asked to wait in the admissions office. We waited, and waited, and waited some more until it was apparent that no one was coming to get us. A woman from admissions kindly took us down to the class before it started. When we got there it was a fairly large lecture style classroom and the students were all milling around talking with one another. The admissions woman asked a student where we should sit and they decided 3rd row was a good spot. While shuffling into our row, one of the students told us that Nouriel was not going to be teaching the class today, as he had a prior speaking engagement. Complete and utter dissappointment….As we sat waiting for the stand-in professor I chatted with a few of the other applicants in the class with us. When the stand-in got there I was pretty impressed. Instead of Roubini we had the head of LatAm Fixed Income research for JP Morgan, not exactly chopped liver. This got me thinking about how unique NYU and Columbia are because if a professor cancels, they can just call upon the many financial (or other types) professionals that make NYC their home. It truly is amazing the access that these two schools have to the top minds in their fields. You can bet that this made it into my essay #2!
The class was interesting and informative, but the coffee break was a chance for me to speak with current 1st years and to get a lay of the land from those who live it everyday. Danielle and I got to speaking with one of the 1st years who is looking to go into a managerial rotation program. She was in IT consulting before Stern and came here because she loved the students. I was very impressed with how she handled the questions and spoke about the school. To demonstrate how helpful the students are she told a story about how two students were vying for the same position at a boutique firm. Upon learning that only 1 spot was available, the students asked if they could split the 12 week internship into a 6 week internship for each. I was very impressed by the story and while I know it doesn’t happen everyday, it happening once is pretty impressive to me.
The conversation took a stark turn as we started talking about the social aspects of B-School. I am well aware that drinking is a big part of the B-School experience because there is a lot of stress and what better way to take your mind off it than to kill the very brain cells that are thinking about it, but I think our students was taking it a bit too far. She started talking about how drinking was a big part of getting your MBA and how if you don’t drink you should start now because you are going to have to build up a tolerance. I was fine with that…good natured joke to lighten the mood, but then she continued…She said and I quote, “Listen I am at school from 9am-11pm Mon – Thurs. because I get blackout drunk every other day!” – Ladies and gentleman the future leaders of America. I am not a prude, I obviously drink, but I thought it was a tad excessive and slightly inappropriate for an applicant discussion. It got worse (at least for me) as someone turned the discussion to dating while at Stern. The student said that everyone dates, and you have to be careful because the guys will not tell you if they are married. She said that MBA stands for: Married But Available. As the words leave her mouth, my fiancee shoots me a stare that could have killed a lesser man. Needless to say she is slightly less than excited about the prospect of me going to Stern and she is now openly rooting for Tuck.
We left after the coffee break and returned back to Jersey. I finished off Essay #2 and sent it over to my Stern specialist.
Overall impression was a great class visit with a so/so student visit. I will say that I was more impressed with the Tuck students than the Stern ones. Not just because of the one student we spoke with, but just a general consensus. All-in-all Stern is still my top choice because of the convience it provides me and it also allows Danielle to keep working while I am at school. (Big Plus!)