So another Monday evening in London, another evening admissions ‘get to know you’ chat. I didn’t know much about Stern, I’ll be honest. I knew their program was well regarded, and right in central Manhattan. So I went along intending to find out a little bit more. Unfortunately I was to be disappointed.
The evening itself seemed to be designed to see who would beg the most for admission. Opening quotes were “This isn’t going to be a traditional sit back and talk to you for half an hour evening”, “This is going to be a really interactive session” and asking us what recent developments in business interested us… [translation in my head: we don’t really have much to say]. I did quite enjoy someone who looked like a quant trying to explain how exciting 3D printing is. That’s five minutes of my life I won’t get back. At the end of the evening they had a raffle for admissions-fee waivers. I thought the dancing girls might come in next.
The next 30 minutes were a very general overview of Stern in terms of their program (mainly highly generic ‘culture’ points that you will find at most business schools and the fact they have some Nobel prizewinning faculty), top recruiters (the same short selection of brand names that you’ll get in most MBA campuses) and what they’re looking for: Good academics, good work experience, good ‘fit’. Heard that before?
Oh, and its in New York, which is a good location. Whoodaguess?
If you’ve read the website for more than 10 minutes (which I have to admit I hadn’t, but have since) you won’t have missed anything up to this point.
The next hour (I’m really not kidding here) was dedicated to the pros and cons of a mock application, mainly how a 660 GMAT was in their target 80% range but below their average so maybe not great, and how being described as ‘nice’ in references was not a rock solid indication of good teamwork. Again, if you read my blog you probably read a few others and/or forums and will know this really isn’t groundbreaking stuff. Lots of people put their hands up to say they’d ‘admit’ and a few of the oldies near me actually giggled a little.
The most interesting thing in the whole evening was the guy sat next to me called Steve, who said he was applying to NYU as well as UCLA because it had a good media course and wanted to resume his passion for screenwriting. This was at least actually interesting, and I can’t help thinking this was a rather unique insight as it occurred in a 1-2-1 conversation and not delivered through official channels…
One plus point that was discussed very briefly was the ‘Doing Business in… [DBi]’ which is basically a way to prevent people doing a semester elsewhere, instead an accelerated two/three week experience trek in various locales around the world. Good but again, not exactly unique.
The main other takeaways for me were that NYU did Finance. Oh so much Finance. Most people, both alums and potential students, looked like finance guys. I am not a finance guy. You could say that this is London and most people are in finance, but the crowd at Berkeley-Haas last week was far more varied and diverse. As for the curriculum, from what little I heard It seemed incredibly traditional and dare I say ‘old-fasioned’? Whisper it gently.
So urm yeah, probably not going onto my shortlist. Anyone got any insights that may persuade me otherwise?