Conor Grennan, Dean of Students
We’ve been waiting for you all summer. If you’d walked down that little alley between Bobst Library and Shimkin this summer and looked up to the 6th floor, you would have seen me leaning against my office window, forlorn, waiting for you.
But you’re here now! It’s a brand new year and it feels like a fresh start. It’s why I love LAUNCH and Langone LAB: It’s not just for you MBA1s and new Langone students – it lets us as an administration revisit our vision for the Stern. That’s what I want to talk about a bit here.
You all have a vision for your life and your career, right? You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t. Or, better put, you wouldn’t have been admitted to Stern. (So at the very least, you know how to fake it in an essay. So….kudos?)
Well, we have a vision for this school, too. We have a vision for the kinds of leaders we want to put out into the world, and we’re pretty sure it matches up at least generally with your vision – because you decided to come here and we decided to offer you a place in the class.
That vision has a lot to do with how we treat others. How we interact with them, how we help them. We devote a fair amount of time to it in one form or another.
Which is great and all, but you’re not going to see our community “in action” by listening to me speak in Paulson auditorium all day (I know the very thought of it gives you hives.) Rather, you’ll see it in classes and in late night study sessions and in group projects.
And you’ll find it outside the building as well. I was speaking with a student in a summer internship who told me that his summer had gone well because he was lucky enough to have Sternies around. Not because of the usual b-school nepotism, he said, but because Stern alumni were known for treating people well, regardless of their school affiliation. They were known for it.
I love that.
Look – everyone who comes out of a top business school is going to be smart and hard working. You were smart and hard working before you came here. If that’s what you’re hanging your reputation on, well, you’re going to blend into the background. And we didn’t bring you here to blend into the background.
People remember their relationships. They remember the people who helped them along the way. That’s where you can make an impact: build meaningful relationships. And I’m not talking about going to beer blast with your buddies. You hang out with your buddies all the time. Your buddies will be there tomorrow. I’m talking about building new relationships. I’m talking about asking somebody with a radically different background about their life.
The phrase “get out of your comfort zone” is so clichéd that nobody hears it anymore. But do this for me: Find somebody you don’t know, who doesn’t look like you and doesn’t sound like you and ask them a question and listen to the answer. That’s why Stern Speaks is so amazing. It’s the kind of thing that can change your vision of yourself and your world.
You came in with a vision. But if your vision of yourself and the world hasn’t been changed by the people around you in this building, then you’re missing out on the best thing about Stern.
We’re excited to see what you do with your time here. Thanks for choosing Stern – I think we’re going to do great things together.