NYU Stern 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

NYU Stern

Your essays will need to highlight your qualities as a successful, leadership-driven, creative thinker and businessperson. For NYU Stern, you’ll want to reveal that you are a perfect fit with the program, the Stern community, and the global business world at large. Keep in mind that Stern is a place the values EQ as much as IQ.

My tips are in blue below.

Our Stern essay questions give you the opportunity to more fully present yourself to the Admissions Committee and to provide insight into your experiences, goals and thought processes.

Please note the following details when completing your essays.

•   All written essays must be typed and submitted using the standard U.S. 8 1/2” x 11” format, double-spaced, in 12-point font.
•   Word limits apply to the total question. For example, your response to Essay 1 should answer all parts of the question with a total maximum of 750 words.
•   Label the top of each essay with the following: Name, Date of Birth (month, day, year), Essay Number and Page Number (e.g.: Joe Applicant, January 1, 1983, Essay 1, Page 1).
•   Your essays should be written entirely by you. An offer of admission will be revoked if you did not write your essays.

Essays:

1. Professional Aspirations (750 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

• Why pursue an MBA (or dual degree) at this point in your life?
• What actions have you taken to determine that Stern is the best fit for your MBA experience?
• What do you see yourself doing professionally upon graduation?

Stern states explicitly that it seeks students with a “well-articulated plan to achieve their career aspirations.” 

Stern’s #1 is an MBA goals question with a couple of small twists. A and C are fairly typical of this genre, only C doesn’t ask about long-term goals.  At the heart of this question: What do you want to do after you graduate that requires an MBA and A asks why is now the right time to get it?  You should be able to answer Stern’s #1, or you shouldn’t be applying.

Another small twist occurs in B: Have you done your homework about Stern? What have you done to research the program, its curriculum, career opportunities, and student life? What aspects of the program will help you achieve the goals you provide in C?

The part of the question asking about your career goal “upon graduation” is critical. Are you realistic about where your past experience plus a Stern MBA can take you? Stern doesn’t want people in la-la-land who will be impossible to place.

Finally make sure you answer all elements of the question while staying within the word limits (not guidelines). No adcom member sits there and counts words, but the readers can tell when you are significantly over. “Significantly” in my book is more than 10%. Write succinctly. 

2. Choose Option A or Option B (500 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

Answer the question that will best complement your answer to #1 and the rest of your application.

Option A: Your Two Paths

The mission of the Stern School of Business is to develop people and ideas that transform the challenges of the 21st century into opportunities to create value for business and society. Given today’s ever-changing global landscape, Stern seeks and develops leaders who thrive in ambiguity, embrace a broad perspective and think creatively about the range of ways they can have impact.

• Describe two different and distinct paths you could see your career taking long term. How do you see your two paths unfolding?
• What factors will most determine which path you will take?
• How do your paths tie to the mission of NYU Stern?

This is  a relatively difficult question. It forces you to embrace that broad perspective, ambiguity, and creativity, or you can’t answer the question. Let’s assume you get that first job out of Stern that you describe in Essay 1. What are the two most desirable paths you would take from there? Alternatively, chart two alternatives starting with that first job. In each path, how will you create value for others? for society? Why would you choose one path over the other?

You may have a clearly preferred plan A and a less desirable Plan B that ultimately ties to Plan A. You can have two parallel or divergent paths. I think the feasibility of your path given your past experience and an NYU MBA plus your enthusiasm, dare I say passion, for you goals are going to determine the success of this essay.

If I urged concision for essay 1, it is even more important for essay 2, which has a 500-word maximum.

Option B: Personal Expression

Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates. You may use almost any method to convey your message (e.g. words, illustrations). Feel free to be creative.

If you submit a non-written piece for this essay (i.e., artwork or multimedia) or if you submit this essay via mail, please upload a brief description of your submission with your online application.

Please note the following guidelines and restrictions:

•   Your submission becomes the property of NYU Stern and cannot be returned for any reason.
•   If you submit a written essay, it should be 500 words maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font. If you submit a video or audio file, it should be five minutes maximum.
•   If you prepare a multimedia submission, you may mail a CD, DVD or USB flash drive to the Admissions Office. These are the only acceptable methods of submission. Please do not submit an internet link to any websites or to a video hosting service such as YouTube.
•   The Admissions Committee reserves the right to request an alternate essay if we are unable to view your submission.
•   Do not submit anything perishable (e.g. food), or any item that has been worn (e.g. clothing).
•   Mailed materials must be postmarked by the application deadline date. Please follow our mail and labeling instructions.

Please note that mailed packages are subject to size restrictions. Submissions that exceed the stated size restrictions will not be accepted for review by the Admissions Committee. Please see the table below for the maximum package size guidelines:

Packaging Type                         Dimensions: Metric                            Dimensions: Non-metric                      
Box 36cm x 31cm x 8cm 14” x 12” x 3”
Cylindrical tube 8cm x 91cm 3” x 36”
Triangular tube 97cm x 16cm x 16 cm x 16 cm 38” x 6” x 6” x 6”

Bribes won’t work. Candidates can get very creative with this essay and use different media (other than edibles and worn attire), but many of you will convey your ideas in words. Think of how you describe yourself in a social setting when meeting people for the first time.

If it’s the first day of class or a mixer early in the pre-term, how would you break the ice? Would you try to set up a tennis game or golf match? Would you find someone to explore NYC’s museums? Or do you hate museums and prefer hiking through the woods? What would you say if you were in the campus coffee shop and sat down with some new classmates? Could you create a dialog? A short skit?

NYU Stern also permits the use of multimedia in response to this question. While the medium may vary, the point again is to introduce yourself to friends. Given the other questions, this can be a great venue for hobbies, extra-curricular interests, and community service.

When I visited NYU Stern a few years ago, the admissions officer I met with proudly showed me several “personal expressions.” Her faves. They were incredibly creative, but much less slick than you might imagine. This past May, Stern hosted AIGAC for a day and again presented two of the videos filmed in response to this question.  They were thoughtful introductions to the applicants who created them. But neither one was super-slick or professional. Just revealing, creative, and clever.

 If you want to submit something three-dimensional or multi-media, don’t worry if you aren’t ready for the Louvre or the Academy Awards as long as your creation is authentically yours, introduces you, and sticks to the above requirements. It will be taken seriously and appreciated.

If you are considering video, download Audio/Video in Admissions: Get Ready for Prime Time, a free special report.

3. Additional Information (optional)

Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee. This may include current or past gaps in employment, further explanation of your undergraduate record or self-reported academic transcript(s), plans to retake the GMAT, GRE and/or TOEFL or any other relevant information.

If you are unable to submit a recommendation from your current supervisor, you must explain your reason, even if you are a re-applicant.

If you are a re-applicant from last year, please explain how your candidacy has improved since your last application.

Obviously if you fit into one of the categories described in the three points above, you need to write this essay. If you don’t fit into the above categories and have something you want the admissions committee to know that isn’t part of the required essays, then you still should write this optional essay.

If you are an MBA reapplicant, please realize that the question posed here by NYU Stern is THE key question you need to answer as a reapplicant. What have you done to improve your candidacy that should change the outcome?

Application Deadlines

Deadline Initial Notification
1st Deadline          October 15, 2014 December 15, 2014
2nd Deadline November 15, 2014 February 15, 2015
3rd Deadline January 15, 2015 April 1, 2015
4th Deadline March 15, 2015 June 1, 2015

If you would like professional guidance with your NYU Stern MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the NUY Stern MBA application. 

Create a 5 Star Multi-Media Admissions Presentation: Download our Free report, "Audio & Video in Admissions!"

Linda Abraham

By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

NYU Hosts AIGAC!

Click here to learn more about NYU Stern

About 70% of applicants who interview are admitted.

Not only did NYU Stern host the annual conference of Association of International Graduate Application Consultants – AIGAC – last week (along with Columbia Business School) – it also shared some valuable information about its program and applications process.  Here are several highlights.

• The admissions team characterized the Stern MBA program as “deep, diverse, and [reflecting] academic excellence.”  They cited particular strengths: finance, strategy, consulting, entertainment and media, marketing, entrepreneurship and innovation.  This array behooves applicants to define their own, unique path and approach to productively using Stern’s resources.

• Community is huge at NYU Stern – so EQ is as important as IQ and is sought by the adcom.  The value of community is even reflected in the program’s institutional resources, including the Center for Business and Human Rights established in 2013.

• Speaking of EQ, the adcom noted that applicants possessing this requisite quality will articulate fit with Stern in the application.

• It’s now the second year for the scholarship established in 2013 to “support exceptional college seniors”: William R. Berkley Scholarship Program covers full tuition and includes a housing stipend.  Scholarship winners are selected based on academic performance plus potential to contribute to society.

• Stern’s loan assistance program is open to all types of students: regular full-timers, Langone part-timers, and EMBAs.

• Fun fact: about 40% of Stern MBAs receive some kind of scholarship, including international students.

• Another fun fact: about 70% of applicants who are interviewed are admitted.

• Last but not least fun fact: the 80% GMAT range for Stern’s full-time MBA is 680-760, and for the Langone part-time program it is 620-730.

• The Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation is a particularly cherished resource at Stern – a nerve center of sorts – deeply integrated into the fabric of intellectual and professional life at the school.

 NYU’s presentation to AIGAC conference attendees also included two samples of successful video essays in response to the longstanding essay 3 asking applicants to describe themselves creatively to their classmates.  In one, the applicant showed different aspects of himself (friend, student, professional, sportsman, etc.) in little vignettes, each with a touch of humor.  None was highly unusual – one stood out because this presentation captured his charm and enthusiasm.  In the second, the applicant focused with warmth and wit on her specific passion: parks and public spaces.  So, two different approaches: one broad, one narrow.  Both fresh, expressive, confident.  Both brimming with EQ.  As I’ve told people many times, there is no one formula for doing this essay well.  And yes, it’s there again this year.

Download our free special report: Best MBA Programs

Cindy Tokumitsu By , author and co-author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports, including Why MBA and Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her last fifteen years with Accepted.

Where Does Wall St. Hire: U.S. B-Schools Sending Grads into Financial Services

According to GMAC’s just released Prospective Students Survey Report, 37% of prospective MBA students hope to go into finance after they earn their degree, making it the most popular post-MBA destination. If you fall into this crowded category, then you’ll be interested in knowing which b-schools prepare the most grads for jobs in financial services.

As you’ll see below, we’ve created two charts (based on data from U.S. News’ top 25, which happens to have 26 schools because of a tie for 25th place) that display the U.S. schools with the highest percentage of grads going into financial services and those with the highest number of grads reporting financial services jobs. We did not include non-U.S. programs because U.S. News doesn’t rank them, and we wanted the data to be consistent. There are definitely financial powerhouses outside the U.S.

Want to learn more? Get your free copy of MBA in Sight: Focus on Finance

For more information about the top MBA programs, check out our B-School Zone pages.

The top names on this list, in terms of absolute numbers, are the standard bearers in finance, known as Wall St. breeding grounds. I was a little surprised at how low MIT Sloan came out on both totem poles. It has very prominent faculty in finance, including Nobel Prize winner Robert C. Merton. Perhaps those smaller schools known for entrepreneurship, like Stanford, MIT Sloan, and Haas, are sending more of their graduates into non-traditional fields. Consequently they will not do as well in this kind of a ranking even though they have the curricular, co-curricular, and placement ability to support financial services goals.

Can you put less weight on attending schools at the top of the list even though you may want to go into financial services when you graduate? You can if you’ve already worked in financial services and are looking to get a broader understanding of business, management and leadership through the MBA. Those of you with that background already have valuable skills and a relevant network. Those of you looking to get into financial services for the first time, however, will probably want to look more closely at the programs higher up this list.

Realize that these lists don’t reflect the class profile of the programs or the typical credentials of admitted applicants. You need to know that information too to assess your competitiveness when choosing where to apply. Washington Olin (2nd in percentages) has an average GMAT of 696. UNC Kenan-Flagler (ranked #4 in percentages) has an average GMAT of 683. Both schools send 32% and 28% of their grads respectively into financial services. For those of you without GMAT bragging rights or other qualifications to get into Chicago (average GMAT 723), Columbia (716), and Wharton (average GMAT 725) — the leaders on this list in absolute numbers and overall USN ranking – Olin and Kenan-Flagler may be a good alternative and at least start you down your desired career path.

Much as I did with the similar data we compiled on consulting I must issue a warning: This list or ranking is valuable, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. “Financial services” is a very broad category covering everything from private equity and venture capital, to investment banking, money management, corporate financial analyst positions, and even good old bean counting (AKA accounting). Clearly your specific area of interest is critical, and you have to dig deeper into the employment reports at your target schools to confirm strong placement in your particular area of interest. Also understand how the curriculum and co-curricular activities, events, and clubs will help you do what you want to do after your MBA.

You want to attend a b-school that will help you realize your career goals. Identifying schools with exceptional track records for students with similar goals – especially for those of you seeking to change industries and enter financial services – is an excellent place to start when choosing which MBA programs to apply to, and ultimately, deciding where to attend. This list helps you focus your research. It is the starting gate, not the finish line.

Focus on Finance will help you research and identify the best programs for you to apply to given your finance goals.

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

Consulting at Top MBA Programs

MBA In Sight: Focus on Management Consulting - Click here to download your copy!Entrepreneurship is the sexy post-MBA job, but the reality is that less than 5% of grads from top MBA programs start a business at graduation. Per GMAC’s just released Prospective Students Survey Report, 34% of all graduate business students seek consulting positions after they earn their degree. My suspicion is that the figure is even higher among full-time MBA candidates. True, many will work as consultants for a few years, and then down the road start their own business.

If you are in that vast mass of MBA wannabes planning/hoping for a job in consulting immediately after you earn your degree, this ranking is for you! We’ve examined US Newstop MBA programs and the number of grads who have gone into consulting from each one. (The data here is from U.S. News.)

Schools Ranked by Percentage of Grads Going into Consulting

Schools Ranked by Number of Grads Going into Consulting

The biggest surprise is how low Stanford places on these lists. I would attribute that low ranking to the relatively high percentage of MBAs going into entrepreneurship (approximately 18%, the highest of any of these programs by far.).  Yale’s placement as #1 in percentage as well as Duke Fuqua’s, CMU Tepper’s and Emory’s as respectively #2,#6 and #8 on the percentage list also indicate real strength in consulting placement, which sometimes isn’t recognized.

Similarly Wharton’s #1 placement and Chicago Booth’s #4 spot in total numbers call into question the meme that these two programs are “just” finance powerhouses.

Certainly a high ranking in either of these lists indicates that the program has the recruiting ties, placement track record, and alumni network, as well as the curriculum, to support your consulting goals.  However, these numbers don’t tell the full picture. Dig into the schools’ class profile, placement stats, curriculum, extra-curricular activities and opportunities to determine which schools to apply to.

Ultimately you want to apply to programs that will take you where you want to go and that are likely to admit you.

Click here to download your free copy of Focus on Management Consulting

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

2015 Best Business Schools Ranked by U.S. News

Check out our MBA Admissions 101 pages!U.S. News released its annual best b-school rankings, and we’re here to provide all the top rankings all in one spot!

2015 Best MBA Programs (last year’s rank in parentheses)

1. Harvard Business School (1)
1. Stanford GSB (2)
1. Wharton (3)
4. Chicago Booth (6)
5. MIT Sloan (4)
6. Northwestern Kellogg (4)
7. UC Berkeley – Haas (7)
8. Columbia (8)
9. Dartmouth Tuck (9)
10. NYU Stern (10)

2015 Best Executive MBA Programs (last year’s rank in parentheses)

1. Wharton (1)
2. Chicago Booth (2)
3. Northwestern Kellogg (3)
4. Duke Fuqua (4)
5. Columbia (4)
6. NYU Stern (6)
7. Michigan Ross (8)
8. UCLA Anderson (7)
9. UC Berkeley – Haas (10)
9. UNC Kenan-Flagler (9)
11. USC Marshall

2015 Best Part-Time MBA Programs (last year’s rank in parentheses)

1. UC Berkeley – Haas (1)
2. Chicago Booth (2)
3. Northwestern Kellogg (3)
4. NYU Stern (4)
4. UCLA Anderson (5)
6. Texas McCombs (7)
7. Michigan Ross (6)
8. Indiana Kelley (9)
9. Ohio State Fisher (8)
10. CMU Tepper (9)

Wondering how much rankings should play a roll in determining where you apply? Watch the video below for Linda Abraham’s answer:

Download our free special report: Best MBA Programs

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