Let’s take a quick trip back in time. It was April 2012, and my wife Michelle and I were driving back from a long weekend in Avalon, New Jersey when I broached the subject of going back to school to get my MBA. I thought she might ask, “Why do you need to do that?” or “Aren’t you a little old?” But, she immediately responded with emphatic support of this endeavor and we began to talk about schools. There were many programs on the initial list and all were great options.
How time flies. I have just finished the first class weekend of the second year of the Executive MBA program at NYU Stern. I couldn’t be happier with the decision to go back to school and with my choice of programs. I’ve gained many skills and much knowledge over the past year. Additionally, I’ve developed great friendships along with what has become an increasingly vast network of colleagues and mentors. These people astound me every day with their drive, intellect, strategic thinking and ability to get the most out of the Executive MBA experience while still being exceptionally productive. Even though we’ve only known each other for a year, after a month of summer break, this past weekend was like a reunion of life-long friends.
In the 2nd year, electives are a melting pot of two cohorts (August and January) and I can immediately see the value that this approach brings to the table, combining cohorts with additional experiences and diverse industry knowledge. In my Managing Change elective, taught by a Principal at Booz & Company who is in the Organization, Change and Leadership practice, I’ve met new classmates who are also in management consulting. It’s been interesting to hear their viewpoints on the cases that we’ve discussed as they bring a higher level, strategic approach to analyzing opportunities and challenges. Having been in the retail industry for 18 years, I’ve developed my own expertise in driving opportunities and creating additional value within retail. Gaining a new perspective from my Stern classmates has been invaluable. Each new classmate that I collaborate with in the Stern Executive MBA program encourages me to see new ways up, over and around business issues and to put new methods of problem solving into practice. Just in this first weekend, we’ve already learned from each other, had lively debates and some truly funny moments.
Another interesting thing happened over the past year. During this time, my wife also developed friendships with a number of my classmates and their partners. She gained a deep appreciation for what the NYU Stern MBA experience can add to skill sets, leadership abilities and confidence.
It’s easy to guess what happened next. In April, Michelle and I were driving along and she said, “I want to go back to school as well and get my MBA”. Yes, we only talk about serious stuff in the car. Flash forward to July and now we are both enrolled in Executive MBA programs. Michelle did her research, went to information sessions and is carving her own path in the Executive MBA program at another top business school.
In our condo, text books abound as well as calculators, case studies, lecture notes and multiple printer cartridges. (If anyone can develop printer cartridges that last longer than 77 pages, you will be RICH, RICH, RICH. Call me.) Her study group has a conference call on Tuesday nights while my group meets on Wednesdays. In case you were wondering, we’re in class during opposite school weekends this fall. When do we have time to ourselves? We’ve decided Sundays are date night.
And now, we’re on this journey together which makes it that much better.
Tim Reid is getting an Executive MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business. He has spent 19 years in the retail industry with The Gap, May Co., and for the past ten years, Macy’s Merchandising Group where he is group vice president of product development and design for Macy’s men’s private branded apparel. Previous posts: