MORE DISRUPTION ON THE WAY
With her experience in marketing, we asked Menon for her insights on what to expect ahead in the field of marketing.
While traditional principles of marketing still hold, she says that communication between companies and consumers has changed from a unidirectional conversation from the company to the consumers, to a bidirectional one with consumers being able to communicate their likes, dislikes, and ideas straight back to the company. In addition, word-of-mouth, which has always been a very powerful tool that companies covet, has ballooned into a significant influence as consumers are able to communicate quickly and loudly to other consumers through social media, she says.
It’s undeniable that social media and mobile technology has disrupted the face of marketing, but it’s important to note that mobile technology has amplified the marketing ecosystem and allowed companies to connect with millions of people in emerging economies who might not have otherwise had access. Experts at Stern are investigating the effects of social media on consumer desires and choices in markets such as South Africa and India and the domination of global brands.
To stay ahead and relevant, Menon says her colleagues at NYU Stern are looking into the addictive nature of technology, as well as the effects of that social media on consumer memory of experiences and the subsequent enjoyment and recall of these experiences.
The other hot topic these days is big data, and Menon says it’s important to keep up with changes in that area as well. “Big data has been fundamental in helping marketers understand the motivations and actions of consumers on a whole new level,” she says. “Business analytics has become a field unto itself, and has a big influence on how marketers make decisions.”
Ask Menon why a business student should pick Stern and she is tick off a list of reasons. She’s thought of this question long beforehand, and makes some pretty unique and compelling arguments.
Of course, at the top of the list is the school’s unique location in New York City, which isn’t a claim many other colleges can make. Their location allows students to intern year-round if they choose at places like Goldman Sachs, Google, Macy’s, NYC government offices, or one of the many other NYC organizations.
Their location is paired with one of the largest B-school faculties in the world, which includes four Nobel Laureates. Plus, with 14 global campuses, NYU Stern students get to study on six continents throughout the world, and about 50% of Stern students spend at least one semester at an NYU campus abroad.
The International Studies Program (ISP) ensures that all NYU Stern students have a global academic experience before they graduate. Menon says that each year since 2001, the Stern ISP course on global business has sent 600 juniors on an international business trip to one of three cities in Asia, Europe, or South America. They conduct market studies and visit companies before sharing what they’ve learned with their classmates to promote knowledge exchange.
In line with the increase in overall attention on social impact, the school’s four-year Social Impact curriculum emphasizes the important role of business in society and has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a model for undergraduate business education.
AN INCREASINGLY COMPETITIVE SCENE
As dean of the undergraduate program, Menon interacts closely with current and potential students and their families. She says that in the last seven years, she’s seen the number of applications nearly double, while the number of spots available, and quality of the applicant pool, have remained constant.
“Our admit rate today is 8%, speaking to the selectivity of our incoming class,” she says. “We have also seen an increase in our early decision applications, signaling a surge in the reputation and praise that families bestow on our undergraduate college.
To sieve out the best, Dean Menon says that the admissions team at her school does a holistic review to ensure well-rounded students in each incoming class. To share some examples, she says that nearly half of Stern students double majored or minored in the liberal arts, including areas such as Public Policy & Management, Astronomy, and Philosophy.
LOOKING AHEAD, MAKING CHANGES
In line with the tech disruption that is happening, NYU Stern has recently created curricular Tracks, which provide students with a roadmap of coursework to help them develop both intellectually and professionally in areas of interest that cross traditional disciplines.
“Tracks are designed to be multidisciplinary, in-depth, and supplemental to students’ business concentrations, and cover areas such as Asset Pricing, Digital Marketing, and Real Estate,” Menon says. “We also recently added Luxury Marketing, a big industry in NYC, to the list of Track options. It has been popular and even spawned a new student-led club in the area, the Luxury and Retail Association.”
The school has also taken note of the increasing demand for training in entrepreneurship, and launched a co-concentration in Entrepreneurship last year. For students who are in touch with the growing consumer concern of social impact and doing good, the school now also has a new co-concentration in Sustainable Business. “It gives students the perspective and skills they need to work at or lead organizations that effectively create economic, social and environmental value,” she says.
Taking advantage of their NYC location, Dean Menon also shares that the school had added a new dual degree in BS/BFA in Business and Film & Television, which is designed for students with a passion for film and television, and an interest in the business aspects of these industries.
“Because of our location, we can bring in speakers who are leaders in entertainment and media,” she says. “In addition, students have interned or gone on to work at top production companies and TV stations here in New York.”
ADVICE FOR FUTURE STUDENTS AND THEIR PARENTS
There’s little doubt Menon has seen the industry of business education change immensely over the years. However, she makes it clear that the things students need to do, regardless what they’re interested in, hasn’t changed.
“Do your homework to identify the schools that excite you and when possible, pay the campuses a visit to try to get a feel for the place. Let your personality shine through in your application,” she says. “Once you apply, let your worries go, knowing that you did your best. Recognize that there is a college for everyone and you will find your place.”
And as for parents, she says they need to be reminded that their kids are growing up, and that growth can and is often painful. “Offer them a safety net occasionally when they need it,” she says, “but you don’t have to catch them every time they fall.”