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NYU Stern School of Business Students Travel to India, Honduras to Put Research into Practice

MBA students at New York University’s Stern School of Business increasingly are taking advantage of opportunities to travel the globe and put some of the things they are learning into practice to shape social policy, according to a recent article in the Financial Times.

More than 100 Stern students participated in the Stern Consulting Corps (SCC) program this past year, and applications to the SCC program rose 117 percent this spring compared with last year, the FT reports. SCC began 10 years ago as a program placing students with local non-profits for 10-week project engagements. This year, for the first time, the program expanded to include projects in emerging markets linked to faculty research.

One such project involved a dozen MBA students traveling to India to work with Arun Sundararajan, Stern associate professor of information, operations and management sciences, to analyze the impact of India’s Unique Identity project, a government-sponsored initiative to help provide every Indian citizen with a unique 12-digit ID number. Without some form of identification, much of India’s population cannot apply for bank accounts, obtain mobile phones or receive government subsidies for food and education, among other things.

“It’s a moon-shot project,” Sundararajan told the FT. ““It’s having a transformative impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of people,” he added, noting that about 300 million citizens who did not have a portable ID will have one by the end of the year. Participation provides Stern students with an opportunity to understand in tangible ways the power business has to transform society, according to Sundararajan. “It’s one thing to be exposed to examples of this in a textbook, it’s another to witness it first hand,” he told the FT.

Meanwhile, other Stern SCC students have been in Honduras working with Professor Paul Romer, who heads Stern’s Urbanization Project, to develop a business plan for a new city now being developed. These students spent the semester coming up with population growth models and potential financial rules and regulations, as well as working up infrastructure estimates and writing policy briefs, according to the FT report. Romer presented some of the findings to Octavio Sánchez, chief of staff to the Honduran president.

Stern Dean Peter Henry is particularly pleased with how SCC helps students address what he calls a “false dichotomy between research and the real world.”

“We’re getting students into the world through the lens of research,” Henry told the FT. “We’re giving students the chance to say, ‘I didn’t just take a set of classes. I built something’.”

Learn more about the Stern Consulting Corps (SCC) program.

Read the full Financial Times article, “Using Research to Solve Real World Problems.”


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Posted in: MBA News

Schools: NYU Stern

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