Here’s a talk with Richard Liao, who is about to start his second year at NYU Stern. Thank you Richard for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us!
This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.
Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself – where are you from? What and where did you study as an undergraduate and when did you graduate? Do you hold any other degrees?
Richard: I was born in the States, and I went back to Taiwan to go through my childhood until the age of 13, and came back to LA to study for high school. I then decided to go to the east coast to check out the different dynamics, so I enrolled in Cornell University first in Operations Research & Industrial Engineering, and then did a Master of Financial Engineering in Cornell as well as preparation for transition into Finance, investment banking. After a couple of years of stink at Wall Street I decided to pursue an MBA at Stern to transform myself into a management consultant.
Accepted: Why did you choose NYU Stern?
Richard: I think there are three pillars about NYU Stern that really attract me.
- Smart, driven, yet down to earth people – Every top 10 business school is full of smart people, and we all know that. So nothing too particular about it. What really sets Stern apart from the rest is that we are a very practical, realistic group of people. We execute on what we said, and we walk the talk. You can be a charismatic leader but if all you do is talk, in the long-run it won’t work when the business condition shifts. Therefore. NYU Stern is about a practical, executionable attitude when they select future MBAs.
- New York City – I am a city person, and there are just so many resources you can leverage in a city. No matter if it is networking for recruiting or just socializing with friends and classmates, NYC has so much to offer…this is important if you can be level-headed yourself in a more intense yet energetic environment.
- Finance & Strategy focus curriculum – NYU Stern has great strategy & finance professors. Professor Marciano is a famous strategy professor and she is one of the best at teaching strategic management. Professor Demodaran is a frequently quoted speaker from CNBC and the Wall Street Journal, and his corporate finance course is a must. I think if you want to work in finance or consulting, you can’t go wrong with NYU Stern.
Accepted: Can you tell us a bit about your MFE from Cornell? What is financial engineering?
Richard: If you think about engineering, it is about assembling individual components and constructing something out of this creation. For example, mechanical engineering assembles different components such as an engine or pipeline into a car. Similarly, financial engineering is about constructing the financial instruments by using derivatives to feed into enterprising clients’ needs.
Accepted: What are some of your favorite things about living in New York City?
Richard: New York City can satisfy all different kinds of palates. You can go for Indian food one day and the next day you can enjoy Brazilian BBQ. In addition, if you enjoy meeting new people and going out, there is no better place than NYC to do so. It can be quite intense when you go out on a consecutive basis…but it is a life-style that you can pick and decide. Of course, a lot of cultural stuff happens in NYC as well such as museums, street fairs, Broadway shows, etc.
Accepted: How does studying in the Big Apple compare to studying in Ithaca?
Richard: It is quite different. And I will be honest – I love every aspect of living in a city, and don’t really enjoy Ithaca.
Accepted: I see you’re now interning at IBM. What is your position there and what role did NYU play in helping you secure that position?
Richard: I am a Summer MBA consultant at IBM’s Strategy & Transformation (S&T), which is a management consulting arm for IBM Global Business Services. My role is to become a capable consultant to support my team in the industrial sector in all strategic initiatives when we engage with our client. I will say NYU Stern opens the door for you to recruit with IBM S&T, but it is more about you needing to nail your interviews to be able to get in.
Accepted: Do you have any advice for some of our applicants who will be applying to NYU Stern?
Richard: I think it is more about really understanding why you want an MBA. You should spend 75% of your time brainstorming and understanding what you wanna do and what you wanna get out of it. Put in consulting jargon, what is the value added from an MBA and particularly for you, because every case is different just like different core client engagement. And be prepared to present yourself to your interviewer because NYU really cares about the interview; a perfect resume does not get you in, but a well-conducted interview will.
For one-on-one guidance on the Stern application, please see our NYU Stern packages. For specific advice on how to create the best application for NYU see Linda’s NYU Stern 2013 Essay Questions, Deadlines, and Tips.