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MBA Life Hacks8 min read

If there is anything MBA students are good at (besides networking), it’s system optimization.If there is a more efficient way to do something, we will find it. The Oppy asked you to share some of these shortcuts or alternative methods, and you delivered.

During your time at Stern, have you discovered a few tricks you would like to share to help newer MBA students?

“You can see what classes you got into before it’s officially announced if you look at your required textbooks on NYU bookstore Brightspace.”

The only reason to visit the NYU bookstore, we hear.

“When you select classes, say if your preferred class has multiple sections. Rank your preferred section higher than your other classes. As substitutes for the lower ranked classes, add the other sections of your preferred class. The ranking system will see it can’t put you in the alternate because you’ve been assigned your preferred section and should give you the primary classes you chose. It’s worked for me every time. If you’re not feeling lucky though, make sure your alternates are classes you want to take.”

I wish I knew this a few years ago.

“Don’t buy books. Treat MBA2s nicely since they are responsible for your recruitment. Your MBA experience is created solely by your class. Don’t ever pay full-price for textbooks. The sixth floor has the best bathrooms. In the past, we’d be able to see our lottery results through the NYU bookstore by putting our student ID number under the Textbooks section. Didn’t work recently.”

This submission is the Cliff Notes of the entire article.

“It’s ok to give 60% effort sometimes- at school, at networking, etc.”

That is my mantra for life.

“Virtual is not the same as in-person if you really want to network and also want to have fun.”

Zoom HHs will never be enough.

“Lean into your weaknesses while at Stern. It is a safe space to grow in those competencies.”

Finance specializations for everyone!

“Take classes with professors you admire and don’t worry about completing a bunch of specializations… the experience will be so much more rewarding that way!”

No one is going to look at those pretty specializations listed on your diploma, hanging in your future office.

“Reach out to a lot of MBA2s for advice & networking; offer them coffee or a cocktail on your tab.”

“Don’t be afraid to make friends with teachers.”

“Choose 1 or 2 clubs you’re genuinely passionate about to get involved in… don’t try to spread yourself thin.”

Exactly. Join The Oppy.

“Build relationships with people who are interested in pursuing the same career area/interests as you. These people will go through the same process as you when you’re recruiting, interviewing, picking classes, etc., so it’s the best form of community support when you can all commiserate over the same things together. Also, it might feel kind of chill in the first semester compared to what your daily schedule was like when working full time but don’t overburden yourself – enjoy the fact that you have some more time to yourself and spend it getting to know people.”

“Take on more than you think you can handle. Then scale back. Don’t be afraid to fail.”

Conflicting to advice above, but also true.

“1. Prioritize networking and the social experience as much as possible. You never know where a friendship will take you.

2. Everyone is here for a different reason. Make your priorities clear from the start of the program. They may shift as time goes on and as you find new interests.”

“1. Research the professors you want to take in advance, even for core classes. Having good professors makes such a difference in overall happiness and ability to make it through 3 hour long classes.

2. Make friends (real friends) with your study group – they’re such a resource and help. It’s nice to have friendly faces and it makes such a difference when you’re crying over stats finals.”

And they’re built in friends for Beer Blast.

Time-block your life, down to when you’re going to get random tasks done for your MBA like responding to emails, organizing club things, etc. during the workday.”

“Don’t wait till the weekend to do your assignments. Take 30 minutes everyday to finish your readings/assignments, so you have at least one day free to spend time with family & friends.”

I want to meet this person and see the quality of work they are able to deliver in thirty minutes…

“Take more classes early on so that you can ease out towards the end of the program.”

Senioritis is real.

“Go to the bathroom during the breaks.”

Thanks Mom.

“Schedule winter and summer intensives wisely.”

Poor Langoner having to take classes when the full-timers are all off partying. 🙁

Is there anything you wish you had known earlier in your MBA career?

“How early and rigorous the recruiting process was. You really don’t have time to figure out what you want to do if you’re planning to enter a ‘cyclical’ recruiting position, which I did not realize coming into B-school.”

“How much we will have to juggle school work, recruiting and social life!!!!”

I still have not figured that one out.

“How to prioritize my time.”

“Extra credit load is doable if you plan strategically.”


“Never take core classes like Finance and Accounting during summer intensives.”

You poor soul. I wish we spoke sooner.

“What Stern does to ensure quality curriculum and course instruction.”

Which is…?

“TALK to A LOT of students about how they pursued their careers post-MBA!”

“Nobody talks about night classes much in the first semester as an MBA1, but by the time you’re taking more electives in Spring you are almost guaranteed to have at least one night class and this throws a massive wrench into club activities, event planning, and finding time to work together on group projects.”

Imagine how the Langoners feel.

“Everyone in the NYU Stern program has a superpower. If you don’t know someone yet you don’t know them well enough yet. Take some time to figure it out.”

The sweetest response thus far.

“There’s going to be plenty of opportunities to do things and get involved with the Stern MBA community – you don’t have to attend every happy hour or event. Focus on what brings you joy and put your energy in that direction. Use little opportunities like the 15 minute breaks between classes to talk to people, get to know people in your block, and make friends!”

“Grades… really don’t matter. Learning and connections do.”

“Non-disclosure policy, babyyyy.”

“Learn to say NO! Get involved in club activities. Best way to network!”

“Be very selective about what activities/clubs you choose to participate in. Quantity won’t help with your career.”

“Learn to say no and manage your time.”

“Get involved with clubs.”

Seeing a trend here.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

“I think overall, there has been less guidance for Langone students in terms of signing up for courses, specializations, etc. would have loved options for part-time office hours each semester for general questions on next steps.”

Hopefully the administration is reading this.

“Full time students get a lot of opportunities.”

What type of content would you like to see in The Oppy in the future?

“More fun articles like ‘Stern Singles’ to get to know fellow classmates.”

Like a “Stern Singles” to make friends?

“I’ve enjoyed reading The Oppy. No content changes on my end. BIG fan of the April Fools’ edition.”

We’re blushing.

“People who are scared to confess to their crushes can anonymously write to Oppy and note, ‘I have a crush on XYZ and he/she is in my ABC class!’ Would love to see the excitement and mystery around it.”


“Budgeting tips for MBAs.”

Let’s start with cutting back on the trips. Kidding. We would never suggest that.

“Tips and tricks to survive Langone.”

The hospital or MBA program?

“More opinion pieces from students in different industries, backgrounds, etc.”

YES! We want that too! Please email us. 🙂

“Academically or career focused content.”

This is absolutely a big goal for The Oppy for next year.

“Info on cool classes.”

That would be helpful! In the meantime, look at Faculty Spotlight to see some of the most popular professors at Stern and the courses they teach.

“Time management tricks. Stern student features.”

“More student features!”

“A column where we can confess to our crushes anonymously. Example. Hey I have a crush on XYZ and she/he is in my ABC class. Keeps people guessing and makes it interesting.”

This answer seems oddly familiar.

“Just another way to help our Stern Singles.”

We’re hoping for in person events and Oppy-subsidized dates next year. Stay tuned.

“Maybe if the crush reaches out to ask who wrote that, give them the person’s name and let them reach out if they are interested.”

“Basically proposing Bumble/Hinge for Stern through Oppy! C’mon! Help a guy out!”

Kind sir, why don’t you DM one of the many eligible bachelorettes we have featured so far this year.

“Content for all kinds of students, virtual, in-person and Langone and for all the age groups that study at Stern.”

Yeah, but what type of content?

“Club activities. Stern and other school colabs.”

That is the goal. We just got started this year. 🙂

“Networking opportunities/highlights.”


“Stories about alumni.”

Take a look at The Graduate!

Anything else you would like to tell us?

“Stacy is the best.”

She truly is.

“Thanks for all your hard work!!”

You mean on this ol rag?

“You all are doing great! Loved the April Fool’s issue”

“Thank you for Stern Singles! Love it and love the writers! It’s very entertaining.”

Oh man, Stern Singles for the win!

“Phuong ROCKS!”

Only slightly offended I haven’t received any personal love but I also know I could never compete with THE Phuong.We hope you found this article as helpful as we did! If you would like to give us more tips or get involved, email us at [email protected]!

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