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Real Humans of NYU Stern’s MBA Class of 2021

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Saumya Wali, NYU Stern MBA Class of 2021

Saumya Wali, NYU Stern MBA Class of 2021

Age: 26
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Texas at Austin, Majored in Public Relations and Advertising with a minor in Business
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 3.5 years in consulting at Accenture

Why business school? Why now?
I spent 3.5 years in consulting and felt I had gained valuable experiences and knowledge on which to start building. I always saw myself going back to school to shift into the social impact space and have always wanted to build on my passion for international development in a professional capacity.

I thought business school would set me up well with a refined skill set, great opportunities, and a new outlook on how to solve problems specifically in this space so I thought I would apply!

Why NYU Stern? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I wanted the opportunity to live somewhere outside of Texas and also in a city. Specifically, in a city that had access to social impact and international development opportunities, but also to a variety of opportunities that play on my personal interests.

I also liked how Stern had the dual degree program with the Wagner School of Public Service where I could focus my MBA in social impact and strategy and get a Master’s in Public Administration from Wagner with a focus in International Development. When I came up for preview weekend, I really enjoyed the event, the school’s culture, the amazing opportunities that Stern has, and the people I met as well. After considering all these things, it was a pretty easy decision!

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
I think the biggest value/differentiating contribution I bring to my class is the fact that I am a dual-degree student (MBA with social impact and strategy and a Master’s in Public Administration with international development) and have kind of a different goal for what I want to do after school compared to my classmates.

Even though it is nice to have similar interests as others, I honestly am looking forward to paving my own specific path and using my Stern experience to help the developing world. I am also looking forward to building upon my background in consulting and bringing those strategic problem-solving skills to Stern.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I went to Barack Obama’s first inauguration! It was through this leadership program in high school and it was the inauguration for his first term. I was about 100 yards from him when he gave his inaugural address at the Capitol. I’m very grateful that I got to be a part of such a historic day!

Post-MBA career interests?
After grad school, I am interested in working at the intersection of social impact, business, and international development. I would love to work for places like the World Bank, the Gates Foundation, the UN or in a Program Officer, Internal Consultant, or Business Designer role. However, I am obviously open to any company/role as long as they are strategic in nature and somehow advance the current state of humanity.

Advice to current prospective applicants:

 –One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I am very grateful that I was extremely organized in my application process. I had a whole Excel sheet with schools’ requirements and deadlines. It was very helpful for me and I highly recommend others utilize some sort of similar strategy!

I would also recommend prospective applicants get to know their story early in the process. Know and understand why you are applying and what are your differentiating factors. I am glad I knew what my story for my essays was going to be and that definitely made the essay writing portion less daunting!

One thing you would change or do differently?
I probably wouldn’t have stressed as much. Looking back, the test portion of the application process was a huge stressor for me. I also was worried if my goals after graduation would be of interest for business schools. However, something I learned through the process is that schools are looking for well-rounded applicants and want to get a holistic view of you. So, stressing won’t help at all! Just try your best and be authentic to who you are!

Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Taking the GMAT/GRE for sure! Studying was a super stressful time and the only thing that got me through it was that one day I would have to accept my score for what it was, and it would be too late to retake the test!

What is your initial impression of NYU Stern’s students/culture/community?
I have been very impressed with Stern’s culture and community. I have found it to be accepting, innovative, helpful, and inclusive. Everyone is so welcoming and wants to see each other succeed which has been amazing to see!

One thing you have learned about NYU Stern that has surprised you?
I think I have been surprised at how eager my fellow classmates are to get to know one another. There is a good amount of people who are new to the city and then a good amount who were already living in the city/from here. But everyone has been eager to be social despite the craziness of moving to a new city, having other friends in the city, and New York having so much going on. Our class genuinely wants to create relationships with each other and it’s great to be a part of!

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I just want to make sure I am able to manage everything with school work, finding the right summer internship,  adjusting to living in NYC, getting the right exposure to things I am interested in, pursuing extra curriculars, keeping up with social engagements, as well as finding time for myself. I have heard the first semester is especially tough so if I can get through the fall in one piece, I should be good!

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am definitely most excited about the amount of opportunities Stern/NYC present. I am very grateful to be here and to have this as the next part of my journey!

Clear Admit Resources

Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s NYU MBA essay topics! As you work on your Stern MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s Stern offerings:

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.