AMA: I'm a current MBA student in the NYU Stern part-time program

Hi everyone,

Hope this finds you well. I created this account for anonymity purposes, but wanted to do an AMA on NYU Stern's Part-Time MBA program. I've seen quite a few questions asked about it, but no specific dedicated thread.

My background: Non Target, Natural Sciences Major (currently work at a small event-driven fund full time)

Will be graduating later this year and happy to give you an insider's perspective on the program/answer any questions you have. Feel free to fire away.

Comments (26)

Apr 16, 2019

Hey thanks for this, a couple of questions for you:

  1. What's your current role at the fund? Presumably it's a single manager if your definition of small is on an AUM basis.
  2. What are you primarily looking to get out of your MBA? If my assumption above is true and you're under a single PM, would you say you're motivated to have the optionality to transition to a larger or multi-strat shop?
  3. What are some primary differences in the recruitment process/availabilities for part-time and full time? Can you say truthfully that they're immaterial enough to justify taking the signaling hit that PT MBA's often entail?

Thanks again!

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Most Helpful
Apr 16, 2019

Hola, thanks for kicking it off.

  1. I work at a single manager as the sole analyst on the team. 2 person shop managing ~$50M in AUM. My main function is investment analysis, but since we're the definition of a lean team, I get my hands dirty in Business Development/Marketing, Operations, Compliance, etc.
  2. I actually applied to the program to increase my odds of getting into a HF, and after I was accepted, I landed my role at my current fund. I just spoke to my current PM about my future here, and am honestly gearing up to head to a bigger platform (ideally a larger single manager, but also open to a multi-strat/multi-manager) before I graduate.
  3. Recruiting in the program is tough for part-timers. There's a program called "Ignite", which allows Part-Timers to recruit on campus their last year, but it's only their last year. To be a part of this process, you need to attend ~5 meetings (you can't miss one regardless of how inconvenient it is to your schedule), and go through a checklist of other steps. I have friends that successfully completed it that got into places like Strategy& and a few other consulting shops. I also have a buddy that just said screw it, and snuck into an informational with full-timers for Investment Banking (he just landed a Summer Associate role). The bottom line is that it's tough to recruit as a Part-Timer, but I've found other resources (NYU's internal career site, alumni, networking to be helpful).
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Apr 17, 2019

Why Stern vs Columbia?

What is your schedule like with both work/school?

Apr 18, 2019
KingCudi:

Why Stern vs Columbia?

What is your schedule like with both work/school?

I knew that personally I wanted to pursue my <abbr title="Masters in Business Administration">MBA</abbr> program on a part-time basis, and I looked into Cornell and Columbia as well. The common piece of feedback I received from admissions at both Cornell and Columbia was that "the average entering age of our students are mid 30's, and you're younger, so we don't think you'd fare well in gaining acceptance". I wasn't trying to wait until I was 35 to go to <abbr title="Masters in Business Administration">MBA</abbr> school, so I only applied to Stern and ended up getting in.

My schedule can be hectic at times (as a function of my role and the industry in general), but I've structured my schedule largely to take Saturday classes. You can also take classes any other day of the week as well (whatever suits your schedule more). Your perspective on classes also plays a role in your schedule; I place more of an emphasis on learning and retaining in class than I do studying for exams. I have classmates that go to the extreme to study because they want all A's, and hence, their schedules are more hectic than mine. It truly is what you want to make of it (keep in mind that NYU Stern has a non-disclosure agreement in place for grades, so technically you're not even supposed to tell potential employers what you receive grade wise).

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Apr 29, 2019

I received the same feedback regarding the age difference between the Stern Part-timers and the Columbia EMBAs. It is more closely aligned with the Stern EMBAs.

My friend started her EMBA in January at Stern. Based on the Columbia admissions, she was on the younger side and her company was too nascent for them. Stern was more embracing of entrepreneurs.

I considered both, but at the time of my application Columbia only had the Friday/Saturday program and not the Saturday only program. I needed more flexibility as I was commuting from Connecticut. I started attending classes at the NYU Stern Westchester campus and then transitioned to taking classes in the city. It was great to have the option to take classes any day of the week (except Friday) and on Saturdays.

I loved my experience and did it in 2 years (I did many intensives and DBIs).

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Apr 17, 2019

How do you manage time between working full time and going to school part time? I did it in undergrad but things seem to be a struggle right now.

"Life is like a song, you are supposed to dance while the music is playing."

Apr 18, 2019
SponsorPromote:

How do you manage time between working full time and going to school part time? I did it in undergrad but things seem to be a struggle right now.

It was tough at first to be honest, but I've picked up a very good handle on time management through my tenure in the program. I try to maintain a level of low stress with regard to school, and view it as "additional learning" as opposed to pressure on myself for grades and performance (I'd like to do reasonably well, but I won't burn myself out for an A). I'm completing my program in 2-3 years, but keep in mind that you can push the MBA out to 5 years if you so desire (and hence, go as slow as you want).

As mentioned above, you can also structure your schedule to take weekday classes that fit your schedule on evenings, weekend classes, or even summer/winter classes.

Also worth noting--while I'm not married/don't have kids of my own, I do have classmates that have tons of other commitments (wife, kids, etc.), and some even fly in from Chicago/Florida. I know it's probably not easy, but they manage to find a way and I respect that a ton.

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Apr 17, 2019

How heavy is the MBB presence at Stern?

Apr 18, 2019
mitch-paul:

How heavy is the MBB presence at Stern?

From a classmate standpoint, I have one friend in BCG that did the part-time program (they ended up paying for the whole thing, and he is graduating soon). I can honestly say that I don't know anyone in Bain/McK, though I did have friends that interviewed at BCG/McK (albeit unsuccessfully). A majority of my peers that work in Consulting do so at EY, PWC, KPMG, banks (internal strategy) etc. There's a heavy population of the "Big 4" type Consultants at Stern.

I know for a fact that the full-timers are actively courted by the MBBs, but I would say the part-timers, not so much (unless you have prior consulting/relevant experience and/or can network reasonably well).

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Apr 18, 2019

Thanks for doing this. I've been thinking about the PT MBA myself (including this program), so very helpful. Quick questions:

1) People often pursue an MBA as an easy "reset" button to switch industries. You're staying relatively close to home - would you say that PT is still worthwhile if someone was trying to make a jump, and how would you compare the ease of doing so to FT (or not doing an MBA at all)?

2) How do you find that the PT program is perceived by prospective employers, alumni, etc? Do you feel it carries the same/similar clout as it does for FT?

Apr 18, 2019
PE-biz-dev:

Thanks for doing this. I've been thinking about the PT MBA myself (including this program), so very helpful. Quick questions:

1) People often pursue an MBA as an easy "reset" button to switch industries. You're staying relatively close to home - would you say that PT is still worthwhile if someone was trying to make a jump, and how would you compare the ease of doing so to FT (or not doing an MBA at all)?

2) How do you find that the PT program is perceived by prospective employers, alumni, etc? Do you feel it carries the same/similar clout as it does for FT?

No worries, glad to share insights!

I do think that the Part-Time is still worthwhile if you're trying to make a jump. I've had friends transition from small tech-start ups to large tech companies (think Salesforce/Google/LinkedIn), I've had a friend that was an accountant/CPA get into a Lazard/Moelis/Evercore as an Investment Banking Associate, had another friend that was Back Office at a MF get an Investment Banking Associate role, and I've even had a friend with a pure science background get into a Hedge Fund as an analyst. Realistically, you will have exit options/opportunities. Again, these options will not be equivalent to the "caliber" that the full-timers get, but you will get them . A large part of the part-time program is "how you play your cards". If you sit back and expect opportunities to fall in your lap (which they might), you won't get as many as if you network with your classmates and actively put yourself out there. It will require work, so it's self-driven from my perspective.

Full-timers have a much easier time with landing roles due to their structured internships, focus on recruiting, etc., but that shouldn't discourage you. As for not doing an MBA at all, I've found that it becomes much harder to break into a different role as your career progresses (hence my desire to pursue the degree). Personally, I feel like the degree opened up a lot of doors/avenues for me, and most importantly, I've built a solid network.

As for your question about the PT program and it's perception, I've never had push back from anyone about being a PT, including employers and alumni. In fact, the most common feedback I've gotten is positive to the effect of "You went to part-time while working full-time? Wow." I can tell you that all the professors I've had at NYU Stern also hold the PT in high regard, because they understand that completing the program is a balancing act between work and school.

Regarding clout, I personally feel that the weight of the degree is the same as the FT. Some may argue that the acceptance rates are higher for the program/the program is a "cash cow", but at the end of the day, my degree doesn't say PT or anything like that on it; it simply says that I'm a graduate of NYU Stern's MBA program, while listing the dates. The rankings for the degree are also nice, and from an alumni standpoint, I've found the network to be pretty open to speaking to you/offering help if you're seeking greener pastures.

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Apr 18, 2019

Fantastic, thanks for the thorough feedback. Sounds like the tradeoffs of PT v. FT are quite a bit less than I had anticipated / heard about. Greatly appreciate the guidance!

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Apr 22, 2019

Thank you for doing this AMA.

I know an answer to this question is highly subjective, but I'd be interested to know if, in your opinion, the education you've received in the part-time Stern MBA program was worth the price (130k-140k)? If so, why? And if not, why not?

Again, thanks for doing this AMA. I've been thinking of applying to this program after I finish my Masters in Finance this fall, and I appreciate your insight.

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Apr 29, 2019

I agree with @NYUSternAMA"
The Stern MBA was worth it.

I started the program with no idea on what I wanted to do with it, but I knew that I wanted to do something else than being a tech product developer. As a married woman hoping to start a family, I also needed to consider the "ticking clock." By attending Stern, like OP, my abilities dramatically increased as I was taking very interesting and diverse classes. [If you know what you want to transition into then you'd likely pick more similar targeted coursework]

In addition to this increase in ability, Stern provided me with a large network of friends/sternies/alumni with whom I still interact. [OP, join Sociate!] There are cross-school events, which are amazing like meeting students in the dentistry school, medical school, law school, etc. [you have to seek these out and make time for it, which is tough doing the PT school and FT work], but you can interact with them as an alumni

My salary has increased nearly 160% from the one I had in 2014, mainly given the change in jobs. I am in a role that I enjoy, my third position since graduating in 2014. I know that without NYU I may not have attained this role as a number of the MDs that I work with are NYU alumni [not Stern, other NYU schools]. I am now in internal strategy after trying management consulting and not thinking those hours and traveling would be good with a 2 year old at home.

My husband is now considering doing an MBA, but he's struggling with the decision given how much higher tuition costs are. He may do an EMBA since it's shorter in duration and he's within the average age range. I'm suggesting a program other than NYU as that would double our network. Yale SOM is a contender.

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Apr 23, 2019

No problem.

For me, personally, I feel like the program was worth it. I've had this discussion with a number of my peers who have also been considering it/are in the program, and I chalk it up to "cost" vs. "investment". From a fiscal perspective, If you look at this program as a cost and you can't swallow the big price tag, I don't think you'd be doing it for the right reasons. If you look at it from the perspective of "This is going to increase my earning potential and/or I'll be able to pay this off in 5-10 years", there's a lot less pressure on yourself regarding the actual bill.

From an educational perspective, I saw my level/ability to think greatly increase. I was honestly surprised by the high caliber level of professors in the program, especially since I went to a non-target school. Some of the professors who teach classes are former/current VCs, fund managers, bankers, notable consultants, and more, with very good resumes. One professor even won a Nobel Prize and teaches a class on Volatility. All of them (with the exception of a few pure academics) are insanely experienced, smart, and treat you like an adult.

The best part about the program is the open dialogue. Professors will grill you and make you defend your assertions, as will your classmates. You'll consistently be thinking about things outside of your "normal" thinking patterns, and you'll also see a lot of "aha" moments after being completely stumped by a professor's questions. The program is also great in teaching you how to deal with others personalities through group work and general team-oriented activities. If you take weekend classes, there is typically a Happy Hour after class every weekend to help you network (it's a big part of the culture), and there are also Stern networking events (Galas, etc.) to also help you meet new people.

When considering the "value" of an MBA, and factoring in classes, the school's brand, professors, current (and alumni) networking, and having the ability to structure classes part-time while working full-time, I'm relatively happy with the outcome here.

Apr 29, 2019

Hi @NYUSternAMA"
NYU Stern PT MBA Alumni here. Thanks for taking this thread on.

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May 1, 2019

Of course! Thanks for your insights as well--always great to get the alumni perspective on the degree, which is super helpful. Sounds like there's no regrets on your end.

May 1, 2019

I'm guessing a lot of people in the PT program are intending to use it to advance in their current company/industry/role as opposed to switching paths. Do you know many people in that situation and how much of a boost it gave them?

May 1, 2019
thurnis haley:

I'm guessing a lot of people in the PT program are intending to use it to advance in their current company/industry/role as opposed to switching paths. Do you know many people in that situation and how much of a boost it gave them?

To be honest, in my experience, a number of people in the PT program are/were pursuing the degree to switch paths (Biomedical Engineers to Consultants, Trading to Investments, Scientist to Investment Management, Tech to Banking, Big 4 Consulting to Banking, Actuarial Science to Consulting, Accounting/Back Office to Banking). I only know of two people (off the top of my head) that pursued the degree to advance in their company/industry/role; one worked in a Account Management/Pure Sales role for a Chemicals company and now works in Corp. Dev. at the same company, and the other worked as an Associate at a PE firm and now works at the VP level at a larger shop. In both these cases, I think the individuals had a conversation with their direct bosses about pursuit of an MBA, and were told that it's the "only way up the ladder". Perhaps @ICHCNYU knows differently from her class(es), but mine were almost exclusively career switchers.

May 1, 2019

How does that work if you're a career switcher though? I know you talked a little about this above, but are you just more reliant on networking than a FT person would be? I ask because I'd be a career switcher as well, but always was under the impression that a PT program isn't great for that. I'd prefer to go PT or EMBA..

Do any other PT or EMBA programs give you access to on campus recruiting?

May 8, 2019
NYUSternAMA:

Perhaps @ICHCNYU knows differently from her class(es), but mine were almost exclusively career switchers.

No, no difference, the majority of my classmates were also career switchers. I turned out to be one as well. Transitioned from Product Development to Consulting and now doing Strategy.

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May 14, 2019
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May 14, 2019