Published Apr 9, 2004

The Stern school at NYU invited me to interview. How could I possibly pass up a chance to visit the Big Apple and catch the tail end of winter? Plus, the phone interview was right out. So, last weekend, I flew clear across the country and girded myself to face New York.

There were of course two sides to the trip — the visit to NYU, and the visit to New York itself. My trip started with some time spent with a good friend from college who now lives in Brooklyn and teaches high school in Hell’s Kitchen. We tooled around Manhattan all Sunday, then met for drinks Monday night after my interview. New York was windy and chilly; cars rushed at pedestrians at top speed; the subway was filled with construction and deviated from all its normal routes; and the occupants of said subway broke new ground in personal odors. I loved it.

I loved NYU too. I attended a Finance class taught by Aswath Damodaran, a professor of some renown; while some of the lesson referenced information I hadn’t been previously exposed to, it was altogether interesting and absorbing. I had a face-to-face interview, thank goodness, and felt much more at ease and that the interview was reasonably successful. I have some hope of getting in.

Were I admitted, I’d have a hard time choosing between Stern and USC Marshall. I enjoyed both schools and both seem like great places, although they’re quite different. My impression is that Stern is academically challenging and demands a great deal of the student’s time to complete schoolwork. Its environment is cooperative but not as warm as USC’s, which struck me as almost absurdly open and interactive. Marshall also appears to place more emphasis on networking and group activities outside of class, rather than traditional academic accomplishment. It’s much like the choice I had to make between the University of Chicago and Pomona College eleven years ago. Wonder if I’ll make the same choice again.