After spending four years at Deloitte Consulting, Jill Gramolini entered NYU Stern to broaden her business acumen while deepening her expertise in the retail industry. Jill’s background in consulting prepared her to handle the rigorous first semester, and while she still encountered plenty of challenges she managed to effectively juggle multiple priorities while having fun in New York City. Here’s how Jill did it.
Name: Jill Gramolini
School: New York University (Stern)
Summer Internship: Gap (Global Strategy)
Here’s what you need to know
If I could use 1 word to describe my first semester of business school the word would be “busy.” I was constantly trying to balance meeting people, classwork, recruiting, socializing, getting to know my new home in New York, and maintaining my pre-business school relationships. But, it was also super fun! I was exhausted by the time I arrived home each night, but I always felt like I was doing things that were interesting and meaningful.
Like anything worthwhile in life there were both highs and lows. The low for me was constantly feeling like there was something else I could or should be doing. First semester is a giant prioritization puzzle, and I felt like I was stretching myself too thin at many points. The high, though, was spending time with my awesome new classmates. I loved going to school every day to get to spend time with them, and going through first semester together was definitely a bonding experience.
There wasn’t a ton of free time during my first semester but whenever it came around I made sure to make good use of it. I tried to maintain a workout schedule because that really helps me de-stress. It wasn’t always possible, but the days I was able to run or practice yoga or go to a workout class always felt better. I also love having dinner and drinks with friends, so I tried to do that as often as I could when I had a free night.
- 7:30: Wake up, check email
- 8:00: Run along the East River
- 9:30: Leave for school, grab coffee, read for first class
- 10:25: First class
- 12:00: Lunch with my block
- 1:30: Second class
- 4:30: Club meeting
- 6:00: Recruiting event
- 7:30: Dinner with a friend
- 9:00: Walk home, read/study
- 11:00: Bed
Prioritize, because as much as I wanted to do it all, I learned I couldn’t. Some things helped with this – Stern has a grade non-disclosure policy, so getting perfect grades quickly fell to the bottom of the list. For my personal sanity I tried to fit working out and friend time into almost every day where I could. Recruiting during first semester is a big priority if you’re looking to pursue a “traditional” MBA career (which I wasn’t really – most of my significant internship recruiting was second semester for retail roles), but for me, networking and getting to know the retail industry inside and out became important, so I took on a part-time internship, led a Luxury and Retail Club Consulting Corps project for a NYC-based client, and attended all the Luxury and Retail Club events.
Finally, there were days when I felt overwhelmed, and I’d just give myself a “pass” for the rest of the evening when everything “mandatory” was done and do something I enjoyed…watching a movie, reading, etc. just to relax. Most of the time the constantly busy schedule was fun and exciting to me, but there were some days I just needed a break.