“I AM STERN” reads a small, 3-foot-wide sign. Walking onto Gould Plaza, one can see dozens of these signs plastered all over the windows of Tisch Hall, the main building for the Stern School of Business. Examined closely, the banner also says, in much smaller text, “New York University Stern School of Business Undergraduate College.” This first part, “New York University,” is all too often forgotten. Whether business students like it or not, Stern is still a subsidiary of NYU. However, there seems to be an attitude within the Stern student body that the business school should be considered an entity of its own, as evidenced by separate orientations and the “I AM STERN” slogan. This sense of elitism does nothing but harm Stern and the general NYU community.
Just as stereotypes originate from a lack of meaningful interaction with a certain group, both sides of the NYU community have falsely assumed the characteristics of the other. Even after orientation, the Stern bubble proves impregnable. Perhaps the smaller things are what maintain the mindset. Stern-only professional events are just the tip of the iceberg; a Stern exclusive Wi-Fi offers seemingly nothing more than just a special name — having a separate network sure did not help during the great NYU blackout of Sept. 21. A Stern-specific email address only adds inconvenience to the lives of students, as now they must check two separate accounts. Stern-only community events like the recent block party reinforces the idea that certain university assets are reserved specifically for Stern.
While Stern’s elitism is seemingly nothing new, people mistakenly acknowledge it as benign. In reality, this sense of superiority actually greatly inhibits the strength of the undergraduate business students. Not only is there a decrease in academic collaboration between Stern and the other schools, but an elitist attitude in the workplace can significantly decrease overall worker morale.
There is no doubt that Stern is an excellent business school. That being said, being a great businessperson in the modern economy demands an understanding of multiple disciplines, not just business. It is in the best interest for Stern students to interact with their other NYU peers. Once the division between Sternies and the rest of NYU is removed, the community as a whole will prosper. I am Stern, but I am also NYU.
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Email Max Schachere at [email protected].