This NYU Stern 2011 MBA Application tip post is one of a series of posts providing MBA application and essay advice for applicants to top MBA programs around the world. You can access the entire series at https://blog.accepted.com/acceptedcom_blog/tag/2011-mba-application-tips. My tips for answering Stern’s essay questions are in blue below. Stern’s tips are italicized.
Please note the following details when completing the Essays section of the 2010-11 online application.
The following 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. Your essays should be written entirely by you. An offer of admission will be revoked if you did not write your essays. Please note the following:
- Essays 1, 2 and 4 must be typed and submitted using the standard U.S. 8 1/2” x 11” format, double-spaced, in 12-point font
- Please adhere to the essay word limits provided for each question
- Word limits apply to the total question. For example, your response to Essay 1 should answer part (a), part (b) and part (c) 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)
Essay 1. Professional Aspirations
(750 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
Think about the decisions you have made in your life. Answer the following:
(a) What choices have you made that led you to your current position?
(b) Why pursue an MBA at this point in your life?
(c) What is your career goal upon graduation from NYU Stern? What is your long-term career goal?
Stern wants to know about your career decisions in the past, your reasons for an MBA now, and your plans for the future. A classic goals question, this question asks you to show the logic behind your career development and how an MBA at this point in time will help you achieve your short and long-term goals.
The part of the question asking about your “career goal upon graduation” is a critical one. 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 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.
- Listen to our podcast: Essays.
- Proofread your essays carefully.
- Make sure you have fully answered the essay questions.
- Be genuine in your essays – tell us about the real you.
- Follow the essay instructions, including word limits and font size.
Essay 2. Your Stern Experience
(500 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
We take great care to shape the Stern community with individuals who possess both intellectual and interpersonal strengths. We seek individuals who are highly intelligent, collaborative, and committed to flourishing as Stern leaders. Please answer the following questions:
(a) What is your personal experience with the Stern community? Tell us what actions you have taken to learn about us.
(b) Describe what most excites you about Stern from both an academic and extracurricular perspective.
(c) How do you anticipate making your mark on the Stern community? Be specific about the roles you will take on and the impact you hope to achieve.
Have you attended MBA fairs? Stern receptions? Have you visited the Stern campus, corresponded with or talked to students and recent alumni? Reviewed Stern’s web site and printed material? Talked to possible employers? Read blogs of current NYU students? If you take any of those steps, let Stern know what you have done.
For parts b and c, based on your research, what do you find most attractive? What would motivate you to attend Stern if you have multiple acceptances? And again based on your research and your past commitments, how do you intend to contribute to the rich communal life at Stern? Stern has many avenues for involvement: experiential learning opportunities, clubs, events, community service. What’s your niche? Show that you have done your homework about Stern.
Essay 3. 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 will submit Essay 3 via mail or by providing an online link, please provide a brief description of your submission and its relevance to your MBA application.
Please note the following guidelines and restrictions:
If you submit a written essay, it should be 500 words maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font.
If you have a multimedia submission, you may:
- Mail a CD, DVD or USB flash drive.
- Include an online link in your submission description.
The Admissions Committee reserves the right to request an alternate Essay 3 if we are unable to view your submission.
Do not submit anything perishable (e.g. food).
Mailed materials must be postmarked by the deadline date. To submit Essay 3 by mail, please follow the mail and labeling instructions.
Please note that mailed Essay 3 packages are subject to size restrictions. Essays that exceed the stated size restrictions will not be accepted for review by the Admissions Committee.
Bribes don’t work either. Candidates can get very creative with this essay and use different media (other than culinary), but many, if not most, of you will convey your ideas in words. Think of how you describe yourself in a social setting, 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 the outdoors? 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?
The one significant change to NYU Stern’s application is the permitting 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.
If you are considering video, download Audio/Video in Admissions: Get Ready for Prime Time, a free special report by Accepted’s Michelle Stockman.
- Listen to Isser Gallogly, Executive Director of MBA Admissions, discuss Essay 3 on Public Radio’s “Marketplace”. (Please note that we have updated Essay 3 size restrictions and multimedia submissions including CDs, DVDs, USB flash drives and online links are now accepted.)
Essay 4. 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 in Essay 4.
If you are a re-applicant from last year, please explain how your candidacy has improved since your last application.
If you are applying to a dual degree program, please explain your decision to pursue a dual degree.
Obviously if you fit into one of the categories described in the 3 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.
You may upload documents into the online application in the following formats: word, excel, PDF, .txt, .rft and .wpd.
1st Deadline 2nd Deadline 3rd Deadline
Application Due: Nov. 15, 2010 Jan. 15, 2011 March 15, 2011
Initial Notification*: Feb. 15, 2011 April 1, 2011 June 1, 2011
*You will receive one of three initial notifications: invitation to interview, waitlist offer or denial of admission.
You are encouraged to apply by the November 15 deadline to facilitate visa arrangements and to have priority consideration for off-site interviews, if desired. You may also apply for the January 15 and March 15 deadlines.
If your application is not complete (for example, missing test scores, illegible scanned transcript, no essays or other items) you will be informed via email. If you do not provide a completed application by the deadline, we cannot guarantee notification by the initial notification date.