With graduation next week, we can’t help but be a bit nostalgic about our time at Stern and The Oppy. Half of us were the re-founding members of The Stern Opportunity in early 2020, a whole month before the start of the pandemic. Since then, we have grown the newspaper to what it is today. Stern boasts the second oldest MBA newspaper in the United States, just behind HBS, and it was a pleasure being part of that legacy. In a final goodbye, we share a little bit of our experience.
Editor-in-Chief: Deirdre Keane
I look back at these two years as EiC and regret nothing. I made the most of my experience. I have met so many amazing people at Stern by wrangling them to join the editorial board or sweetly pressuring them to write an article or letting one of us interview them. I feel like I have grown more as a leader in this role than nearly any other role I have taken on. Becoming EiC and succeeding in the position (or at least making myself believe I have) has given me the confidence to know that I will be able to get past feelings of imposter syndrome when they arise again in the future. It was an honor to contribute to the legacy of The Stern Opportunity.
I had absolutely no right to be the EiC of The Oppy. I had no journalism experience and knew nothing about running a newspaper. But I couldn’t understand how no one wanted to do it. Yes, it is a lot of work but it’s such a great way to meet people, inside and outside of Stern. I really had no idea what I was doing in the beginning though. I remember interviewing Dave Kalan for a role on the editorial board and literally making up position titles on the spot. He definitely was on to me, but was very kind about it. Thankfully, when he joined, we had one person on the original board with a journalism background. The rest I figured out on the way.
MBA2 Managing Editor: Nate Hoey
I applied to business school for the singular, naïve aim of learning about business. Sure, I memorized a couple of facts about Stern student clubs that I could spit out during my admissions interview, but I never thought that one of those clubs could become an integral part of my MBA experience, so initially I did not pursue them. Once I realized the foolishness of my decision to not get involved with any club leadership in my first year, I resolved myself to find a club in my second that would allow me to contribute to the Stern community and to meet some new people. I went to a handful of kickoff meetings last September, which felt awkward as an MBA2 because they are mostly geared toward MBA1s grasping for AVP positions. After the Oppy kickoff and subsequent happy hour, I was interested and I talked to my brother, a former journalist and my personal sounding board, about it and the questions I had in my head. “Hey, I think I want to try this. Will the board like me? Will I get the role? Am I underqualified? Is this even worth my time?” He astutely advised “Yeah… you are overthinking this. It’s a school newspaper, not the NYT. Just do it.”
Well, I did, and it’s been possibly the best thing I’ve done at Stern. But like anything that you do for an extended period, it got tough (even though I did some of the least amount of writing on the board). It was tough to think of article ideas, tough to do the actual writing, tough to make my ideas cogent after I wrote them down, and as a result I regretfully have a lot of unfinished articles in my file system. But there is learning and growth in every struggle. I learned more about how I work effectively and about how I can contribute to a successful team. I got a lot better at talking to new people. I even learned some hard skills like how to use WordPress, how to get transcription on a Zoom, and most recently how to add a worm emoji to a blog post.
I’ve read nearly everything that has been published over the past 2 years, initially just because I’m a news junkie, but now because of my role. While I feel like The Oppy is more known for lighthearted content like Stern Singles and April Fools’, the articles that will stick with me the most are those that were intimate and emotional to the writer. To me, the best examples of this are Why We Loved Michelle Go and Emoting in a Man’s World. They deal with heavy subject matter, but I highly recommend reading, or rereading, both of them.
Everyone on the board is awesome in their own way, but of course I couldn’t write this without mentioning Deirdre. Her work ethic is superhuman, and I’m sure by now she is sick of hearing from people, including me more than once, some version of the question “How is it possible that you do what you do?” Because it seems impossible. In large part due to The Oppy, Deirdre, and the rest of the board, I got so much more out of Stern than I thought I could when I was applying in 2019. Thank you all. I hope that in my next phase of life I am able to find something to contribute to that similarly enriches myself and my community. I’ll be looking for that next opportunity, because I won’t be making the same mistake that I made my first year at Stern when I wasn’t.
Langone Managing Editor: Dave Kalan
Oh boy. You know, I have to be honest. I really don’t think I can encapsulate my thoughts on The Oppy or Stern in just a paragraph or six. That’s why I didn’t. You can read my much longer reflections on what the past two-plus years have meant to me over here. Make no mistake, though. While the classes and networking were technically why I was in this school, refreshing my writing chops and connecting with even more members of this community through my work on The Oppy has been one of the great joys of my MBA experience. That rings true even as I often texted “Let the body get cold!” to Deirdre every time she sent out emails to schedule a meeting for our next issue approximately 45 seconds after we had released the previous one.
I am something of a journalist by trade. I think that description, honestly, is more generous than it should be. Stern has seen plenty of actual, real journalists far more talented and successful than I am. But I was still way more familiar with news writing than I was with coupon bonds or, you know, slide decks. I didn’t have a ton to offer when it came to “business.” But even as I enrolled at Stern with plans to shift my life away from content or the written word, The Oppy was the soft launch I needed to gradually move out of my comfort zone without completely freaking out. More often than not, my Oppy work devolved into staring at a blank Google doc for an hour and thinking, “How will I crank out 700 words about Susan Collins being a gullible patsy this week?” This humble paper has not merely connected me with a great group of people (I’m not sure I’ve loved driving anyone crazy as much as Deirdre because she’s just so damn nice about it). In transitioning me to the business world, the Oppy somehow reminded me why I love writing in the first place. Reconnecting with your passions can be a pretty powerful thing when you’ve felt as though you left them behind. For that, and the opportunity to spill catharsis onto these pages, I will always be grateful.
But mostly I am grateful that this site has grown over these past two years to the point that several classmates reach out to me after each issue. It was long my assumption that no one read my latest complaints about Ted Cruz (R-Cancun) or thought any of my jokes were funny. But it has been a gratifying surprise to see The Oppy grow in stature. I have watched the hard work of my board members revitalize what was very much a dead dog, and that is something to behold. I genuinely consider myself to only be a passenger on that journey, but I’m thrilled to have been along for the ride.
VP of Relations: Stacy Chen
When I first got to Stern, I was overwhelmed by the amount of clubs people were clamoring to join and consistently felt moronic in my classes. So, in a moment of desperation and weakness, I saw The Oppy and felt the need to grab onto something I’m familiar with, something I’m “good at” (I came from a journalism background). I thought this was my lazy way to be extracurricular. Turns out, Deirdre, our fearless leader, severely understated the amount of work this position required. It was more work than I could’ve imagined, but before I could regret my decision I quickly realized this was an unique experience where I get to work with people I never would have met otherwise. I got to take on different roles beyond writing and got to work with all kinds of groups within and outside of Stern. I got to shamelessly exploit the Oppy name and interview successful alumni working in companies I’m interested in and trick my friends into writing pieces and doing interviews for me. I know looking back at my Stern years The Oppy will no doubt be one of my favorite memories and valuable experiences.
AVP of Marketing: Kathryn Whitney
When I first started my MBA journey in the fall of 2020, I knew that I wanted to find a way to connect with the Stern community outside of my course load. After being featured as a Stern Single my first year, I decided I wanted to get more involved with The Oppy my second year and an email from Deirdre Keane sealed the deal. Growing up, I always wanted to write for a school newspaper and I even considered getting a graduate degree in journalism at one point. Having the opportunity, no pun intended, to write for the second oldest business school newspaper in the country was something I couldn’t let pass me by.
Looking back at the articles I wrote this past year, I am filled with a sense of pride not only for fulfilling one of my lifelong dreams but also for being part of something that will live on long past when we’re gone. I am also proud of the editorial board members who kept The Oppy going during the pandemic, which is no small feat. The Oppy is a Stern institution that will hopefully be around for many more generations of Sternies to enjoy in the years to come. I’m glad I was able to bring important current issues as well as a little humor to the lives of my fellow students. I also believe I was able to connect my Executive MBA peers to the wider Stern community through my articles. When I think about my time at Stern, The Oppy will stand out in my mind as one of my favorite business school experiences.