Picture this: an MBA student graduating from a New York City school is offered a lucrative, prestigious job in the Midwest. She packs up, says goodbye, and heads to the land of cornfields.
And her fellow graduates are totally flummoxed.
"It's a big deal to hear someone say they want to leave New York," says Benjamin Cole, MBA director at Fordham University, which offers a full-time MBA and an MBA for working professionals in the heart of midtown Manhattan.
Indeed, New York, a global capital that’s home to Wall Street, Broadway, and everything in between, is the promised land for many a potential MBA.
No shortage of MBA programs in New York City
And there is no shortage of MBA programs in the Big Apple. Columbia Graduate School of Business and New York University’s Stern School of Business offer the city’s top-ranked and best-known MBAs. But there are also accredited MBAs at a whole host of other business schools in the city, including including Fordham, Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, CUNY’s Zicklin School of Business, New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), and Hofstra University’s Zarb School of Business
Officials and directors at these programs say that the allure and opportunity of New York are major draws for students, who come from all over the world to take advantage of the city's networking opportunities, position as the financial capital of the world, and myriad cultural and lifestyle options.
"[Students have] access to pharmaceutical companies, advertising, finance, entertainment, all the major studios, the Lincoln Center, the opera, the ballet," says Cole. "It's a huge draw for students to come and experience New York, but it can lead to opportunities as well.
Directors at schools that offer MBA programs in New York say that attending a program in the city allows students to tap into vast alumni networks. Many graduates of these schools stay in New York, find high-powered jobs in one of the city's many industries, and stay connected with the schools, providing a built-in employment network for students.
"We have a strong alumni base there," says Kaushik Sengupta, associate dean for graduate education at Hofstra's Zarb School of Business, which offers a standard MBA program at the school's Long Island campus, as well as an off-site program in Manhattan.
"There's an employer network there. A lot end up giving student internships and eventually offers. Basically it helps being in New York. If anyone's looking at the master's program, they'd rather be in the place where you have that kind of network than not have it."
Sengupta says that in addition to the alumni network, Hofstra has a relationship with many companies that recruit its students, including healthcare systems companies such as Northwell Health and various institutions from the financial sector.
Another networking advantage of studying in New York? Professors who hold day jobs in New York's high-powered industries. Cole says that many of Fordham's professors are working professionals who want to share their expertise with students, including bankers who work full-time and teach at Fordham in the evenings.
"It's amazing how many people want to share knowledge from their industry," says Cole, adding that professionals from the advertising, consulting and hedge fund industries also teach in Fordham's programs.
Post-MBA jobs in New York City: Beyond Wall Street
But the opportunities in New York aren't only in the realm of established business. New York is also home to a robust start-up and tech scene, home to headquarters of companies such as Foursquare and Etsy as well as countless start-ups, including Alfred, a company that helps busy professionals find helpers to clean their apartments and run errands, and WayUp, a company that helps college students find jobs and internships.
"We've been very happy to see how large the small business and start-up community is here in the New York metro area," says Jess Boronico, dean of NYIT's School of Management, which is located at 61st Street, right at Central Park. "We run a number of conferences and seminars that are open to the entrepreneurial community here. Attendance is typically quite high at these events. It's a very well-connected community."
Aside from the employment, networking and cultural opportunities in New York, officials and directors say that students are drawn towards the city for intangible reasons as well. Culturally, the Big Apple is the city that welcomes the tired, huddled and poor, the home of immigrants and dreamers from all over the country and world.
"New York is considered the melting pot of the world. There's a tremendous set of opportunities that cut across global citizenship," says Boronico. "Anyone can find a home or opportunity there."
But of course there's another side to New York. The city can be dirty, expensive, messy and overwhelming, a downside for some students.
"The challenges are: if somebody's from out of state, New York is very different," says Hofstra’s Kaushik Sengupta. "If somebody's lived in the Midwest, that's an adjustment, if people are looking at coming to a program like this."
Fordham’s Benjamin Cole says that when he first moved to New York, he had plenty to get used to, from the expense to the impossibility of New York real estate. But many MBA students wouldn't have it any other way.
"It takes a couple of years to get used to New York, because of the pace and sound and vibrancy," Cole says. "But one of the reasons people want to get an MBA in New York is because you have access to the city."
Header image credit Anthony Quintano/Flickr.