One breezy April morning, I hesitantly passed under Vanderbilt Hall’s signature arches, unsure if these marble stones would be a place to entrust my intellectual identity. I had came to interview for the Jacobson Leadership Program in Law and Business, a unique track that equips students with business and legal skills beyond the traditional law school training. At the time, I was a consultant for institutional clients, with one non-profit stint on the side. I was convinced that there must be a way to combine my interests in law, business and social entrepreneurship; yet no idea how to achieve synergy.
To my surprise, the program’s co-directors Professor Helen Scott and Professor Gerald Rosenfeld were not at all taken aback at my confession. They had encountered my kind many times before. The program, they explained, is designed precisely to create synergy of those puzzle pieces. Through joint classes with students from Stern School of Business, one-on-one mentorship with attorneys and business leaders, and year-long individualized research projects, Jacobson scholars develop their own network and niche in the globalized crossroads of law and business.
As part of the program, I benefit from frequent check-ins with Helen and Jerry, monthly events with notable speakers such as Laurie Ferber, former counsel and managing director of Goldman Sachs, and Benjamin Stone, an Orrick-associate-turned-NGO-founder of Indego Africa (upcoming on November 16). Not to mention a welcoming event at Citi Field in a private suite, graciously donated to us that evening by an NYU trustee, and catered by the famous Shake Shack, long-known to serve New York’s best burger.
The best perk of the Jacobson program to me is the freedom to revel in my own aspiration, while enjoying unconditional support and guidance from the directors and staff. With long-standing interest in international organizations, I decided to pursue an internship with the U.N. next summer, and received full blessings and eager advices from Helen and Jerry. Law school, as you might have read elsewhere, can be a lonely place, where the mind struggles to understand long-standing, ever-evolving wisdom of the law. Knowing that the open arms of Helen, Jerry and previous scholars are always behind me infuses immense confidence and comfort. It is, in fact, the reason why I chose NYU Law, and why I have been grateful ever since.
So you, yes you bright-eyed prospective students, remember that those 500-word essays on page 4 of the application are small investments to make upfront in exchange for amazing intellectual, professional and personal returns. Best of luck to Class of 2014 with your applications, and I hope to see you in Vanderbilt Hall one breezy April day next spring.