Customization In Stern’s Executive MBA Program

Customization is one of the hottest buzzwords of our new vernacular with brands and new companies embracing it as a core strategy to drive sales and consumer loyalty.  From NikeiD sneakers to the iPhone (900,000+ apps) to even chocolate bars, companies are engaging consumers in their brands by offering them the ability to design and personalize their products and experience.

When I was playing basketball in my youth, I had the creative license to choose white hi-tops with either a blue swoosh or a red swoosh.  That was it.  Today, consumers can essentially design a unique style that no one else will own.  Here’s the shoe that I designed a second ago.  You might love these or hate these but it doesn’t matter to me because they are truly mine.  This ability to customize drives loyalty, creates a buzz and can elevate the perception of brands in the minds of consumers.

Customize sneakers

Customized sneakers

In the NYU Stern Executive MBA program, customization is alive and kicking.  In early May, we were given 39 electives to choose from to build our curriculum for the second year of the program.  By offering this multitude and breadth of courses, we can tailor our experience to our career goals and interests.  As soon as the e-mail went out with the list of courses offered, a flurry of e-mails hit my inbox from classmates.  “What are you taking”?  “Who else is taking that class”?  “I’ve heard that Professor X is fantastic”!  This customization created a buzz and elevated the NYU Stern Executive MBA program in my mind.  The idea of personally selecting the courses that I believe would further my development greatly appealed to me versus other programs with a set curriculum.

Here’s an example of one of the courses that I selected:

Globalization, Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing – Sounds interesting, right? The description itself for this course from NYU Stern is 225 words so I’ll summarize.  Essentially it’s exploring new ways for companies to innovate by looking outside of the firm to tap into the expertise of others to gain efficiencies.  This course will help to identify the benefits and risks of these decisions.

Tim Reid, a Stern EMBA

Tim Reid, a Stern EMBA

We also have an option to specialize in certain competencies.  The following are options for specializations:

  • Banking
  • Corporate Finance
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Finance
  • Financial Instruments and Markets
  • Global Business
  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Quantitative Finance
  • Strategy

At this point though, I am not worried about specializations at all.  My plan is to take courses that are of interest to me and see where that takes me.  I don’t think one can go wrong because either way, you are still customizing your experience.

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:

Instead of Buying A Toupee and a Porsche, He’s Getting An EMBA Degree 

Biergartens, Futbol and Banks – the B-School EuroTrip 


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