Early Career

Where Did My First Semester Go?

I cannot believe nearly an entire semester has already gone by since I started business school! I’m almost 25% done, which is a scary thought. The MBA 2’s lament that time flies but you don’t actually realize it until finals are here and you have almost a full semester behind you. It’s already December 5th and I will be done in exactly 2 weeks. Of course, four finals and a final project stand in my way.

First semester can be overwhelming but the MBA 2’s say they would trade shoes with us in an instant just to have three more semesters ahead of them. Sometimes, like when I am juggling group projects, numerous job applications, extracurriculars, and sleep, I think they are crazy. But other times, like when I get to hear Newark Mayor Cory Booker speak, consult with an actual New York company, and learn about business from professors who have 30 years of experience, I am glad that I still have three semesters left. I have so much learning left to do, and I’ve barely tapped the surface here at NYU Stern.

As I mentioned, first semester can be really overwhelming. You are trying to explore various career paths, join clubs, make new friends, and get back into studying mode, while still maintaining old relationships, having a social life and finding time to relax. What has really surprised me most about Stern are the amazing and varied learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom. There really is something for everyone. Even if you do not want to pursue a career in Media or Entertainment, you can visit HBO’s office. You can taste new food creations at Unilever’s test kitchen. There is a huge start-up and entrepreneurial scene. In fact, it seems like every day one of my peers is working on a new idea for a company. You can spend two weeks in Cannes or Las Vegas or Brazil – and get credit for it! You can listen to Mario Bartiromo, Paul Volcker, Mickey Drexler, Gordon Brown, Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo, Kind’s CEO Dan Lubetzky, and the list goes on. You can partner with a small NY-based company who doesn’t have resources to afford a consultant to help them grow their business. The only thing limiting you is time. I often myself double- and triple-booked because there are so many events I want to attend. Being in NY really gives us the advantage of access.

When asked what the typical day in my life is, I am stumped. There really is no good answer as every single day is a surprise and a new learning experience. I never know who I might encounter or what topics we may end up discussing. The one guarantee is that I will be absorbing some new piece of knowledge. So I encourage you all to take full advantage of the resources business school offers. Be an active, engaged member. You aren’t here solely to earn A’s in your classes. In fact, you will not learn that much if you just read and study; you need to become involved and apply your knowledge outside the classroom to make a difference. Pick and choose what you participate in wisely so that you don’t burnout but keep an open mind, especially in the beginning. You will never get that first semester back. If something sounds interesting, check it out. I look forward to continuing the journey on my steep learning curve because I know that next year when I am an MBA 2, I will be incredibly jealous of the MBA 1’s.

Beth Lovisa, Forté Fellow
MBA 2014, Stern School of Business at NYU

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