The business of being in business school: A day in the life of a student at New York University

Business Insider Lifestyle 1 month ago
  • NYU is one of the most sought after schools in the United States and currently has just over 29,000 undergraduate students. 
  • Insider spoke to one of those students, Stern School of Business junior Ingrid Adams, to see what her typical day at the school is like. 
  • Like many students at NYU, Adams juggles multiple obligations that take up most of her day. When she's not studying for school, she works as a resident advisor at a first-year dorm and as a research assistant in the business school. 
  • Continue scrolling below to get a glimpse of what any given day is like at NYU, a school with one of the most unusual campuses in the world. 

New York University is one of the most coveted universities in the United States. Students flock from all 50 US  states and over 115 different countries to spend their formative college years tucked in the dense heart of downtown Manhattan.

For many outside observers, the idea of spending four-plus years in the middle of one the world's largest metropolitan cities might seem antithetical to the very idea of "college life." Aside from a violet banner marking their existence, many of the school's dorms, classrooms, and dining halls are indistinguishable from its concrete siblings. 

To find out what day to day life is really like for students, Insider spoke to NYU class of 2021 business student Ingrid Adams. The busy undergrad agrees to take a camera with her and document a full day in the city of light. When she's not taking classes to complete her degree, Adams serves as a resident assistant at NYU's Third North first-year residence hall. She also works as a research assistant for the business school's marketing department. Continue scrolling below to see how everyday students experience NYU. 



Meet Ingrid Adams. She's an NYU junior studying business and psychology and has a passion for theater and the arts. When she's not studying, she works as both a resident assistant in one of NYU's first-year dorms and as a research assistant in the Stern School of Business.

Adams starts her day at 7:45 a.m. She spends about an hour in her NYU dorm room where she lives with two suite mates. (Luckily, she has a room of her own.) Usually, she starts her day with a coffee or tea, but on this day she found herself in a rush and had to begin her 15 minutes walk to work caffeine-free.

Adams walks through Manhattan's Greenwich Village on her way to her research assistant job at the Stern School of Business. She helps out with labs and analyzes and codes data. Today, Adams is helping train a new cohort of research assistants.

Like many students at NYU, Adams receives some form of financial aid. After she received a surprise email with the subject head: "Your financial aid package has been revised," Adams hustled her way a few blocks down the street to NYU's StudentLinkCenter to get her paperwork in order. NYU claims the average scholarship amount awarded to first-year students is around $35,000.

Though she did not use it on this occasion, Adams spotted one of many NYU shuttle buses that run throughout lower Manhattan transporting students to class from their residence halls. Students access the buses with their NYU ID cards.

With some time to kill between classes, Adams used her NYU ID to purchase a coffee and a sausage, egg, and cheese from Peet's Coffee. Adams used up one meal swipe which she says is included as part of her resident assistant meal plan. Adams ate her meal at an NYU lounge with a great view of New York's skyline.

Adams then made her way back to the business school building to complete her second lab session. Not far away, in the same building, Adams had her first class of the day called "Patterns of Entrepreneurship" where she pitched a new business opportunity in front of her class. Stern is consistently ranked among the nation's best.

With her class out of the way, Adams made her way back to her research assistant job. This constant moving back and forth is common for NYU students who often juggle part-time jobs or work-study.

Though it lacks an "official campus" the blocks surrounding Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village make up NYU's de facto home. The park is a popular hangout spot for students hustling between classes and features no shortage of NYU musicians, artists, and casual observers. Adams regularly passes through the park when navigating life on campus.

When most students are calling it quits for the day, Adams is just getting started as a resident assistant. The role comes with a grant that completely pays for her room and board, but Adams has to be ready all throughout the day to respond to any number of dorm room emergencies. Adams works at the Third North residence halls which houses mostly first-year students.

As the clock strikes 10, Adams finally finishes her RA shift and starts making her way back home to her apartment. NYU students have some freedom to personalize their living quarters and Adams and her suite mates have decided to reimagine their hallway to look like a cafe. One day, Adams says she hopes to open one of her own.

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