The Cool Things About a Stern Education: Why I Chose Stern

Photo of Neyl Loukil-Borrás

Discover the amazing things that make up a Stern education and maybe get inspiration for your “Why NYU?” essay

The author standing in front of the NYU Stern building.
(Donʼt worry … this pic was taken pre-COVID.)

Yes, that is me, Neyl, in front of my now home, NYU Stern. If you had asked me three years ago where I wanted to go to college, I would’ve never said Stern. I knew that I wanted to study business; the question was where. Figuring out what to study is a hassle, but where to study seems like an even bigger one. Where do you begin when there are so many options? Well, to make that process easier, let’s talk about the uniqueness of Stern. So, whether you are a die-hard Stern fan, in the middle of evaluating different business programs, or just purely undecided, this article is for you. Here’s a glimpse into the things that make a Stern education cool. I hope it manages to inspire you and your “Why NYU?” essay. 

Social Impact Core: A Unique Curriculum

From the start, Stern wants to engrain the idea of change and impact in their students. Specifically, the idea that there is much more to business than what people think. This is where the Social Impact Curriculum, a series of four courses (one per year) designed to examine how business can be used to solve issues facing society, comes into play. You touch on topics like the role of law in business, the social processes of influence and persuasion, and corporate social responsibility. All this while also gaining an array of other valuable skills, like writing and debate to name two. No other business school offers a curriculum like this. Therefore, it is incredibly unique to a Stern education. And it has definitely changed how I see the world. 

Let me introduce a course every Stern student has to take their first-year spring: the cleverly named Business and Society. This course centers on the evolving role business has in creating impact on society. Apart from weekly plenary sessions with guest speakers and discussion sessions with your class, you analyze a world issue of your choice. And, for your capstone essay, you get to propose your own solution to said issue. Whether that is finding new ways to solve water scarcity or gender inequality, you have the opportunity to see how you can create impact. Furthermore, your essay might be highlighted in Stern’s The Call for Corporate Action, which business leaders across various industries read. So, the fact that what you propose has value to these leaders is truly something unique to Stern. 

Professor Galloway and Professor Damodoran at Stern Business and Society plenary session.
A typical Stern Business and Society plenary session, featuring professors Galloway (middle) and Damodaran (right).

More Study Away Destinations!

You probably know that NYU is renowned for their study away program, sending more people abroad than any other university. But, let’s say you aren’t content with the 14 different locations across the globe. Well, through the International Business Exchange (IBEX) program, you are able to expand these options. IBEX is a Stern-specific study away program open to juniors and seniors, which partners with top business schools across the globe. You can choose from 17 partner schools in unique locations such as Singapore, South Korea, Denmark, and Thailand as well as locations that already have NYU academic centers like Paris or Sydney. The advantage of IBEX is that you get to take more business-oriented courses that can count toward fulfilling your concentration(s). In case you were worried about not being able to take relevant coursework abroad, Sternʼs unique approach to study away helps relieve some of that pressure. 

 

The National University of Singaporeʼs campus.
This is the National University of Singapore, one of the IBEX partner schools. I was supposed to study away there this semester, but it was unfortunately canceled due to the pandemic since the health of students is NYUʼs top priority.

FUN FACT: As a Stern student, you can do both! For example, you can complete your Liberal Arts Core requirements with NYU Global Programs your first or second year. Then, during your junior or senior year, fulfill your business concentration requirements through IBEX. 

I’ll also let you in on a little secret. All credits transfer back as pass/fail with IBEX, so you can worry less about GPA upkeep and spend more time exploring your location. But … shhh …

“Free” Spring Break?? Yes, Please!

A man in a suit dancing around with his briefcase in an airport.
I assume this is how Sternies depart on their International Studies Program (ISP) trip.

Ah, the International Studies Program (ISP)! Probably the number one reason most students decide to come to Stern, ISP is a strategy-based course designed to gain deeper understanding of global business strategies. And it includes a one-week trip to a country in either Asia, Europe, or Latin America, where you get to meet with top executives of major corporations from that country. Yes, you read that right, you travel with your whole class and stay in the same hotel. Basically, an all-expenses paid (by Stern) business-oriented spring break. You have to take this course the spring semester of your junior year (unless youʼre already abroad), and it ensures that every Stern student has at least one global experience before they graduate. Obviously, the pandemic is cause for concern, but I remain optimistic that Stern will adapt it for the future.

Flexibility

Elastigirl and Mr. Incredible from “The Incredibles. Elastigirl says, “Well I think you need to be more … flexible.”
Stern is, in fact, Elastigirl at this very moment.

A Stern education doesn’t solely revolve around Stern. You have to diversify your interests in order to become the adaptable and flexible business person you strive to be. Besides, Stern makes this really easy. Whether you like it or not, you must complete 44 elective credits; at least 20 of those must be taken outside of Stern. You have the freedom to decide what you want to do with these: a minor, a double minor, another Stern concentration, a double major in the College of Arts and Science, or just a random fun course that piques your interest. I am co-concentrating in finance and global business and pursuing a minor, and I still have credits left over to explore new interests! The process is even easier with the help of Stern advisers, who are always there to guide you on how to align your various interests.

Your Freedom

Remember, you shape your Stern education. Iʼve only mentioned some of the perks that come with a Stern education. Take advantage of everything Stern has to offer. Literally, use Stern as a leverage point. Apply for IBEX! Write that amazing essay! Enjoy ISP! Donʼt feel limited in what you can do. Stern does everything in its power to provide you with limitless possibilities. My advice is to remain open! Donʼt come in expecting to follow exactly what you planned. Explore different courses and interests available through Stern. Also, courses taken outside of Stern will only enrich your educational experience. Anyway, Stern has the resources, you have the freedom. Now fly!