NYU Stern Changes Face

NYU Stern was hit particularly hard during the financial crisis, mainly because of its proximity (both in location and in interests) to NYC’s Wall Street. Now, according to a recent article in BusinessWeek, Dean Peter Henry (the new NYU Stern Dean as of January 15), is working towards creating a more global educational profile with a lower dependence on investment banking.

In short, Dean Henry is attempting to remove Stern’s reputation as a “finance school” and instead transform the school (and its reputation) into a more diverse program that doesn’t just churn out students for careers in finance, but for a wide range of other career fields as well.

In 2007, 44% of Stern graduates entered investment banking. In 2008 that number was down to 37%. In 2009, only 32% entered that same field.

In 2008 only 8% of Stern graduates did not receive a job offer three months after graduating. In 2009 that number jumped up to 18%.

Relying on investment banking is just not as wise as it once was.

The challenge of transforming the Stern class profile is a twofold challenge: First, restructuring the career services department—this will require the addition of many new resources as new recruiting relationships need to be forged in new industries. The second challenge is more difficult—the restructuring of the academic program itself. These changes will require getting new faculty members and shifting around management duties, in addition to the actual changes that need to be made in the curriculum.

Students for the most part are welcoming these changes with open arms. Stern graduates are somewhat notorious for taking jobs in North America alone and perhaps look forward to the program’s forthcoming global footprint expansion.

The new dean makes it clear that despite his ambitious plans to expand Stern’s program and diversity, one should not conclude that he plans on severing relationships with Wall Street. In fact, Henry says “he will continue to strengthen relationships with Wall Street and the finance sector in general.”

Thomas Cooley, Professor of Economics and former Stern dean reflects on Stern’s past and present situation. He explains that this is not the first time that Stern was faced with such a challenge. In the last decade, he explains, when everyone was turning towards the dot-coms, Goldman Sachs actually had trouble recruiting.

Cooley ends by making two final points: First, he says, “[w]hatever you think the world is right now, hold on because it can change very quickly. And second, “Stern will always tilt slightly toward Wall Street, but then again most business schools do.

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