Reflecting the character of the university at large, NYU Stern has always sought applicants who bring not just requisite accomplishment, but also intellectual energy and engagement with the world – people who have a point of view and are willing to express it. Stern’s EMBA essay questions are consistent with these values. While they cover the standard concerns, they also draw out your ability to self-reflect and to understand yourself in relation to others and to the world. The key to acing these essays is to present a point of view, a message, a distinctive perspective that will enrich the EMBA community at NYU Stern.
1. Describe your short- and long-term career goals and how the NYU Stern Executive MBA program will help you accomplish them. (750 word limit, double-spaced)
One simple, straightforward, and effective way to structure this essay is to start with where you are in your career now. This opening sets the context and conveys a bit about your current situation, emphasizing what is impressive and/or distinctive about it. Then discuss how the EMBA education will enable you to achieve your immediate goals in your current role and later your intermediate and longer-term goals, which should logically flow out of this present role.
In describing your goals, clarify why you want to take that step or assume that role. Add more detail for your short-term and intermediate goals. In discussing how the program will benefit you, describe the skills and knowledge you need to acquire and how the program provides them. Also refer to the structure, curriculum, and/or special features of the program, noting how you will benefit from them. Finally, resist the temptation to detail your career progress — limit yourself to points relevant to your goals.
2. NYU Stern is committed to helping students develop a deeper set of professional skills and a broader perspective of the role of business in the world. (750 word limit, double-spaced)
a. What is a significant contemporary issue on which you, as a business leader, would like to have an impact?
b. Why is it important to you?
c. How could you leverage your skills and resources to address the issue?
The most important advice here: select an issue that you truly care about (and are knowledgeable about). You may research some fine points, but responses to this question that are entirely constructed of research on a topic don’t work.
A simple and effective structure for this essay is to follow the a-b-c structure. First talk about the issue in personal as well as objective terms, i.e., how you came to learn and/or care about it, perhaps what experience you’ve had with it if relevant. Take a stand; avoid being bland or abstract. Then describe how as a business leader you can address this issue in concrete terms. This last part will vary greatly from person to person – for some your work will directly address this issue; for others work will be divorced from it, and you will indirectly use your business leadership role as a bully pulpit, as a prominent and influential community leader/volunteer, etc.
Optional Additional Information Essay: Please provide any additional information of which you would like the Admissions Committee to be aware. This may include additional details on your academic/quantitative preparedness through educational or professional experience, further explanation of academic history, current or past gaps in employment, or any other information relevant to your application. (500 word limit, double-spaced)
This question’s wording indicates that you can use it not just to explain a problem (low GMAT, employment gap) but also to present new material that you think will enhance your application. However, if you are making the adcom read more than is required, there should be a darn good reason; not just a nice-to-know.
First, succinctly explain any points that need explaining. Then, if there is something you feel is important that you haven’t had a chance to discuss elsewhere, write about it, noting why it’s essential to a full understanding of your candidacy.
Optional Scholarship Essay: NYU Stern has a strong reputation for fostering entrepreneurial spirit. Imagine the NYU Stern Executive MBA Admissions Committee is a group of potential investors, representing a broad spectrum of stakeholders. Why should the Admissions Committee invest in you as a global business leader? Be sure to articulate your competitive advantage, as well as the personal and professional qualities that make you the most compelling candidate for an NYU Stern Executive MBA program scholarship. (500 word limit, double-spaced)
This essay is essentially your portrait – your candidacy at a glance. Do not just list accomplishments that repeat your resume or the goals in essay 1. Also, don’t present every possible reason you think the adcom should invest in you. Focus on those few points that (a) are really distinctive and relevant to the MBA and/or (b) support your goals directly or indirectly and also (c) enhance rather than repeat the application. Developing an overarching message or theme for this essay before you write it will help you shape and select the content.
By Cindy Tokumitsu, co-author of The EMBA Edge, and author of the free special report, Ace the EMBA. Cindy has helped MBA applicants get accepted to top EMBA programs around the world. She is delighted to help you too!