Thursday, July 28, 2016

Useful practical tips for students headed to the USA

My elder daughter is headed off to Stanford Business School to do her MBA, and this is the advice my younger daughter ( who is at Yale) had to give her.

Things to do when you get to  USA (in order of importance)

1) Set up a bank account . I don't know about the West Coast but pick one that has the max number of ATMs and branches close to you and Stanford. I've heard BoA is always good (that's who I bank with). Get a credit card to start building credit history - they'll give one to you without an SSN ONLY IF YOU GET IT AT THE STUDENT BANK OUTLET AT STANFORD. Otherwise getting a credit card without a job and credit history is hard.

2) Get a phone number. Don't get a contract - they make no economic sense and they're very tough to get out of. T-mobile has cheap family plans - you can either join someone else's or create your own. They start at 4 lines and have 10 GB of data on each which is INSANE. It works out to about $30 per line per month. Compare this to AT&T who charges upwards of $60 for just 1 GB of data..I've never had issues with T-mobile and my family plan is awesome.Also they have international calling plans - I have one that calls to 80+ countries (including India and the UK) for an additional $10 a month.

3) Get a phone. You can pick whatever you want. I think the phone you have is fine though but get one with 64 GB of data OR MORE. I can't stress this enough - there are SOOOO many apps that take up so much space. Don't compromise on this.
Also get a laptop while you're at it. I'd recommend a 13" mac book air and NOT the new 12" mac cause it doesn't have a traditional USB (it has USB c which hasn't caught with the rest of the world). The Pro was too heavy for me. Get a Mac over PC cause everything here - especially in Stanford - runs better with Macs. Unless you foresee yourself doing a lot of excel modelling.

4) Download these apps :

    Venmo (how everyone transfers money for free - right from $1 to $10,000)
    BoA or your bank' s app. Makes life easy
    Lyft in case you don't already have it
    CamCard in case you don't already use it (to scan business cards and convert it to digital contacts)

Also once you get a house and need to decorate - buy stuff from discount stores like Ross, Marshalls, TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack. You find the CUTEST stuff in their home sections for really discounted prices. A lot of it is designer also. Don't waste money at IKEA and stores like Bed, Bath and Beyond without checking these out first. Trust me, I really regretted it. This counts right from lounge chairs to mats and towels to candles and other home knick knacks.

This is her opinion based on her personal experience - your mileage may vary !

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