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A chat with NYU-Poly President Jerry Hultin

South Asian students like the entrepreneurship culture at NYU-Poly and the full slate of techie disciplines, said Jerry Hultin, President of NYU-Poly, while pointing out that the school’s international enrollments expanded this year.
BY Uttara Choudhary |   21-10-2011
Photo by: Jerry MacArthur Hultin 

The Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) is a top engineering, applied sciences and tech school rooted in a 157-year tradition of innovation. It helps students turn their lab research into products and services through faculty and student-owned companies.

The New York City Economic Development Corp, Trinity Real Estate and NYU-Poly run the 17000 square foot Varick Street incubator, which houses 34 start-up companies in financial services, green technology and film.

Jerry MacArthur Hultin, President of NYU-Poly talked to Uttara Choudhury in New York about how NYU-Poly is creating an environment that integrates academics and the commercial world. Hultin said South Asian students liked the entrepreneurship culture at NYU-Poly and the full slate of techie disciplines. The school has a large concentration of South Asians; nearly 10% of the student population is Indian.

Despite the US economic slowdown is NYU-Poly still attracting a significant number of students from India?

We have had very strong enrollment from India again this year and this has been so for many years. Many in the faculty in NYU-Poly are of Indian origin. They are educated in India and moved here or their parents were educated in India and moved here. At least four of our senior faculty members have deep roots with India.

Enrollment for us is up on international students. It is higher than last year because the opportunity to understand how science and technology innovates and how we do this in America is a very valuable skill. Everyone understands that innovation keeps the larger economy growing.

There is a rebound in careers in engineering the field has historically held a place among top salary lists even during times of economic strain. It should continue to do so. According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment and demand for talent in three high-tech job categories — electrical and electronics engineers; software engineers; and computer scientists and systems analysts — have returned to levels last seen in 2008.

Foreign students worry about coming to study in America because they don't know whether they will be able to find work to pay off their student debts.

Immigrants have really made America. I am the grandson of an immigrant of Sweden. Half of Silicon Valley has been founded by Indians or Indian Americans who really made a difference. We as a nation, America, really need to keep our doors open. I am worried that we have made it a little too hard for students to stay and the return we get from those students in terms of bright ideas far exceeds the potential of job displacement.

What is hopeful is that the rest of the world has great opportunities of growth. You can go back to India and have a great career. You can return to China and become a very wealthy and important person. Fortunately, there are more options than just staying in America. But I want to be sure that America stays open and understands the value of diversity. It is what made our nation great and we need to continue doing it.

Does NYU-Poly organize campus recruitment fairs?

Yes, we have a strong set of corporations who have had such success in hiring NYU-Poly graduates that they return year after year and hire any number of our students. There are many opportunities for our students to talk to corporations and land jobs out there.

NYU-Poly is a school where students have learned their lessons; they are hard-working, inventive, and very valuable, so there is a lot of company interest. The market may be tougher right now. I don’t want to say it is not. For some graduates, getting a job may take longer and they may have to knock on more doors.

What is the median starting salary for NYU-Poly graduates?

Our undergraduate engineering students earn median starting salaries of $62,000, according to PayScale.com’s latest survey. Students looking for strong returns on their educational investment, can choose engineering and NYU-Poly with confidence. NYU-Poly alumni also pull fresh graduates into top firms.

Students praise the innovation culture at NYU-Poly.

We have focused on teaching young people to be inventors, innovators and entrepreneursso not only do we have the great university environment, even more so as part of NYU, but we also have incubators in which companies are being created and our students can work. We have angel funds which can help fund student ideas.

Laptops and information networks aren’t the only products engineers develop; they reconstruct genomes, design robots, and develop software to make businesses more efficient. That’s just the kind of invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship — or i-squared-e — that NYU-Poly encourages. Here we emphasize the ability to be a creative person, an out-of-the-box engineer.

We think a business incubator is one way of encouraging innovation among our students. We are creating an environment that integrates academics and the commercial world. This has really made a difference in our enrollments and given our student opportunities.

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