As the New York University Stern School of Businesswebsite states, “We seek students who best exemplify Stern’s core value: IQ+EQ. Our admissions committee takes care to select those who demonstrate strong intellectual ability, superior interpersonal skills, and a desire to create value for business and society. “ The parameters of IQ and EQ that are important in the evaluation are academic ability, professional achievements and aspirations, and personal characteristics.
While your academics will be evaluated mainly through your GMAT and GPA, the essays are a crucial part of your application strategy to cover professional achievements and aspirations and your personal characteristics.
This year NYU Stern also asks a new recommender question:
• You are required to submit one EQ Endorsement with your application.
• The endorsement must be from someone who knows you personally and/or professionally and can act as a persuasive advocate of your EQ strengths.
• More detail can be found here and on the NYU admissions website
Stacy Blackman Consulting has helped countless aspiring NYU Stern MBA students to showcase personal and professional stories that cut through the clutter. Contact us to learn more.
Essay 1: Professional Aspirations
(500 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
• What are your short and long-term career goals?
• How will the MBA help you achieve them?
While many people seek an MBA degree, NYU wants to invest in those who can use it most effectively. Perhaps you’re seeking an MBA for networking or professional credibility, or maybe you want an MBA to learn specific skills to change careers. Whatever your own personal reasons may be, make sure you can point to specific aspects of the MBA education both generally and specifically at Stern that are necessary to achieve your goals.
Your post MBA goal should be both achievable and demonstrate the need for an MBA. An MBA from NYU Stern will open professional doors for you, and you should demonstrate that you are ready to take advantage of those opportunities. Think about a logical sequence that starts with your past work experience, then your MBA education and ends with your immediate post MBA goal. Ideally your goal pulls from both your current work experience and the skills you will gain in the NYU MBA program.
Essay 2: Program Preferences
NYU Stern offers a portfolio of MBA programs designed to meet the needs of our applicants. Your program preferences are very important as you will be admitted to only one program. You cannot switch your program option after receiving your admissions decision.
A. Primary Program Preference (250 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
• Please indicate the primary MBA program for which you would like to be considered, as indicated in the Primary Program Selection section of the application.
• Explain why the program you have selected is the best program for you.
B. Alternative Program Preference(s) (250 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
• Please indicate any alternative program(s) for which you would also like to be considered, as indicated in the Alternative Program Selection section of the application and why you would also like to be considered for this/these program(s).
• An alternate program does not need to be selected. If you have no alternate programs you do not need to complete this essay, just indicate “N/A”.
NYU Stern now offers several distinct MBA options. You can choose a traditional full-time two-year MBA, the part-time option of the same program, or specialized one-year programs in tech or fashion & luxury.
The primary focus of this essay is to explain your first and second program preference. If you only want to be considered for one program, you will indicate that here as well (only answer option A). Consider that both the tech and fashion & luxury options are deep dives into the respective industries that are designed to give you access to working professionals, companies and the industry. That could be invaluable if you are set on either industry and know you want to pursue a job or start your own company in the space. If you are unsure about your career steps post-MBA the traditional MBA program allows you some space to explore other career options.
Whichever program choice you make it is important to tie your career goals as described in Essay 1 to your MBA plans. Why do you want to pursue an MBA at all and what do you hope to gain from the program. This essay also offers an opportunity to demonstrate your fit with NYU Stern and describe why NYU Stern is the right place for you to spend the next two years of your life.
Certainly personal experience of the campus through visits or student touch points would be ideal, but even if you are halfway around the world you can illustrate the many ways in which you learned about the NYU Stern experience.
Essay 3: Personal Expression (a.k.a. “Pick Six”)
Describe yourself to the Admissions Committee and to your future classmates using six images and corresponding captions. Your uploaded PDF should contain all of the following elements:
• A brief introduction or overview of your “Pick Six” (no more than 3 sentences).
• Six images that help illustrate who you are.
• A one-sentence caption for each of the six images that helps explain why they were selected and are significant to you.
Note: Your visuals may include photos, infographics, drawings, or any other images that best describe you. Your document must be uploaded as a single PDF. The essay cannot be sent in physical form or be linked to a website.
NYU Stern has evolved the creative essay into one that is more specific, but still allows you the freedom to communicate what you choose to the admissions committee. A favorite American idiom says “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and in this essay you have six pictures to use to communicate with your future classmates and the Stern admissions committee. Think about the story you want to tell with the six images – is it a collage of your life or a progression? How do the pictures work together to tell the story?
While the medium is novel, your content is king in this essay. The best first step is to brainstorm the information you want to convey. Reflect upon your unique personal qualities and what is valued most by your friends and family. How would you want your classmates to see you? What information would you share with a new friend?
Your six images may be all personal, all professional (not recommended!) or aspirational. Perhaps you want to show a journey you have taken, a person who is important to you, or a vision of your future.
Isser Gallogly, associate dean of MBA admissions and innovation, has said that this question evolved to be similar to the kind of post you might share on social media. Images are more and more important in digital communication, and this essay asks you to use images as the primary form (drawings, photos, infographics, or any other images you choose). Though images are the central medium of this essay, what is most important is the message and content to demonstrate who you are to the admissions committee.
This entry was posted in Application Tips, NYU Stern Advice and tagged application tips, applications, career goals, Essay Tips, Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips, MBA application, MBA Essays, MBA program, NYU MBA, NYU Stern, NYU Stern MBA.
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What NYU Stern Is Looking For
Two decades ago, upon receiving Leonard N. Stern’s transformative naming gift of $30 million, the Stern School implemented an initiative to attract the elite caliber of student that would support its ambitious goals. Since that time, the profile of the average Stern MBA student has strengthened significantly, and admissions criteria have become increasingly stringent. The Stern School’s admissions committee claims to evaluate each candidate “holistically,” paying careful attention to three clearly defined factors:
Academic profile. Students should be “confident in their ability to master the required material and excel in the classroom,” and are assessed based on past academic performance (as well as the institutions they attended) and general aptitude as measured by the GMAT and GPA. Successful candidates come from a wide range of academic backgrounds, and Stern has no minimum criteria for accepting an application. In reality, though, most applicants whose profiles are outside the middle-80% range of GMAT scores (currently, the bottom 10th percentile is a 680), or who have a low undergraduate GPA (10th percentile is a 3.18), will have a tough time gaining an offer at Stern. Specifically, Stern is looking for the following in terms of your GMAT and GPA:
- GMAT or GRE. Stern accepts scores from either test for applicants to the full-time or part-time MBA program. Like other schools, Stern encourages MBA candidates to re-test if they feel their score does not reflect their full potential. There is no minimum GMAT/GRE score for admission, though the average GMAT is an impressive 720. Note that no test score at all is required to apply to the Stern EMBA program.
- GPA. While Stern has no minimum GPA, it does seek students who have proven their ability to perform in an academic environment. For older applicants, the GPA is usually not weighted quite as much as it is for younger ones. However, anything less than a 3.0 (on the U.S. 4.0 scale) means that the candidate should provide additional evidence of academic ability.
Professional achievements and aspirations. Students who will “share their experiences with classmates and perform as future business leaders” are valued at Stern. Therefore, students who have interesting and significant work experiences and who have progressed in their jobs are attractive candidates. The Stern admissions committee also feels strongly that time spent at Stern should be used to pursue specific, defined short- and long-term goals, not to first identify them. Accordingly, it seeks candidates whose past experiences (and personal passions) have led them to future goals and who have a clear understanding of how an MBA will assist them in achieving those goals. Stern assesses candidates’ essay content, resumes, work histories, and professional recommendations. In the interview, the admissions team evaluates candidates’ ability to express themselves in a professional setting. Although work experience is not required to apply to Stern, most applicants have “material” work experience (between one and 10 years). No one type of professional experience is prized over others, and a diversity of backgrounds is sought for each incoming class.
Personal characteristics. Stern has long had a reputation with outsiders as a meritocratic institution, rich with “scrappy,” self-made individuals. Stern claims that it values “participants and leaders” who will “contribute to the supportive and diverse Stern community.” The admissions committee looks for candidates who demonstrate leadership ability, maturity, character, and strong communication skills, and who will develop into truly engaged and passionate “Sternies,” with enduring pride in and commitment to the school. They look to assess candidates against these criteria by reviewing essay content, professional recommendations, and past activities and achievements, and through the interview process.
Fit with Stern. In addition to the above three factors, the Stern admissions committee wants to be convinced that applicants have “done their homework” on Stern, NYU, and New York City. Candidates should demonstrate that the overall environment is one in which they will thrive and to which they can make significant contributions. To assess candidates in this area, the admissions committee focuses on how aware candidates seem to be of Stern’s culture, program offerings, facilities, faculty, placement record, and alumni network, and of how these aspects of the school appeal to them and meet their specific needs. Stern students tend to be energetic, driven, outgoing, sociable, entrepreneurial, and open-minded, and candidates possessing such characteristics are desirable for the admissions committee.
Commitment to Stern. Of course, this focus on “fit” is of critical importance to the admissions committee in filling out the MBA class; they want to feel relatively certain that a great number of admitted students consider Stern their “first choice” and will accept their offer of admission. Therefore, if there is any sign in your application that you’d actually prefer to go to that other school uptown—such as reusing an essay and forgetting to change the school name to Stern—this will likely result in an instant pass by the Stern admissions committee. Similarly, two of the most important points of emphasis in an interview with Stern are a genuine interest in the school and an ability to express how you would contribute to the culture and the community. These are best developed through significant firsthand research into the school via networking and attendance at the school’s outreach events.