During my time at the companies I worked for, I have gained deep experience in technology implementation projects and learned how a clearly defined business strategy (or lack thereof) is directly correlated to the success of these projects.
At one of the companies I worked for, the business goal was defined before I arrived: to use technology to simplify Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance for employers. Here, I learned the basics of leadership, strategic thinking, and stakeholder management while performing market analysis and developing requirements and use cases for Compliance Central, the 3-product software line designed to simplify ACA compliance for employers.
At another company, the business goals were more nebulous. In my first month on the job, I facilitated a global workshop to define the roadmap for re-platforming seven complex client services-related applications. During this experience, I developed my relationship managing and strategic thinking skills and applied them on a global scale. At my current employer, I am expanding my strategic thinking skills by advising a Fortune 500 company on how to implement a loyalty program that increases store spending and traffic.
While I could continue to manage similar technology transformation projects, I want to take my career in a new direction. I want to transition to a management consulting firm where I specialize in digital strategy, help clients re-imagine the customer experience, and help them answer 2 questions: “Is technology the right strategy for us? How can we use technology to target new customers, improve customer loyalty, and achieve our business objectives?” A Stern MBA will empower me to make this career transition, ascend to a partner-level position, and become a thoughtful, effective leader who sets high standards and is a hard-working teammate.
Outside of the office, I want to be on the board of a non-profit that advocates for parental involvement in children’s education, such as Project Appleseed. As a child, I was fortunate to have my parents involved in my education and believe that their involvement set me up for success. Getting involved with this type of organization and using my MBA to drive organizational success would be an awesome opportunity.
Stern’s first-year core courses such as Strategy, Operations Management, and Foundations of Finance will enable me to develop the necessary ‘hard skills’ all management consultants must possess. I look forward to taking two specific electives: Brand Strategy and Brilliant Execution. Through loyalty program implementation at Brierley, I have glimpsed how brands engage with customers. Taking Brand Strategy will allow me to get the bigger picture: how to develop a brand architecture and identity and how brand-building programs such as loyalty programs realize brand perception. I want to take Brilliant Execution because I have learned that success depends on brilliant execution. Together with courses like Education and Social Policy at the Wagner School of Public Service, I will be able to fulfill my career and public service goals. Finally, what I learn at Stern will be applicable throughout my career. When I connected with a Stern 1978 alumna, she told me that she still uses many of the organizational and analytical skills that she learned at Stern.
Outside of the classroom, activities such as the Monday Block Launches, the LAUNCH program, and the MBA Challenge would give me the opportunity to apply classroom learnings in the technology, consulting, and non-profit world. During my visit, Stern students spoke excitedly about both special interest and professional clubs; I am excited to participate in Stern Adventures, Strategy, and Operations club, and the Entertainment, Media, and Technology Association.
While visiting Stern, I learned about Stern’s “IQ + EQ” collaboration and leadership model. When I asked students why they chose Stern over similar programs, they specifically mentioned that Stern’s model fostered a sense of collaborative leadership that prepared them for their future careers in consulting, technology, or wherever their MBA took them. This resonates with me, as I believe that leadership not only requires intellectual strength but also the ability to connect with peers personally to realize the synergistic effects of collaboration.
Visiting New York City and the NYU campus, speaking with current Stern students, and attending a campus tour made me realize that New York City’s unique and dynamic intersection of culture, policy, technology, and business presents a huge opportunity for innovation, collaboration, and application of Stern classroom learnings. I believe that now is the right time to make the transition to management consulting, and a Stern MBA and Stern’s global alumni network will provide me with the experiences, network, and hard skills to make this possible.