Tuesday Tips: NYU Stern MBA Essay Tips

If you are applying to NYU Stern keep in mind the admissions criteria that will be used to consider your application. As the website states, “we seek students with strong intellectual ability and superior interpersonal skills (IQ + EQ)” The individual components of your application will be academic ability, professional achievements and career aspirations, and personal characteristics. While your academis will be evaluated mainly through your GMAT and GPA, the essays are a crucial tool to communicate who you are to NYU Stern.

NYU Stern’s set of MBA admissions essays has remained consistent for the past several years. The admissions committee has provided significant guidance on the essays that is worth reviewing before you approach this set of essays.

Make sure to review the admissions committee tips on these essays, and check your deadlines, before you get started.

Essay 1. Professional Aspirations
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?

While many MBA career goals essays imply these questions, NYU Stern specifically requires an understanding of your career path thus far, why MBA, and both short- and long-term career goals.

Choices are often the moments that change your path or your approach to your career. Think about the pivotal moments in your life that led you to the career you have and your future goals. Perhaps it was a class you had in college, an activity that sparked your interest, or even a childhood passion. The key to answering this section of the question is to demonstrate both how you make choices and what motivates you.

Why MBA is an important question to answer. While many people seek the 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 short and long term goals should be both achievable and aspirational. 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 your past work experience, MBA education, and future career goals as a trajectory that flows logically in order.

Essay 2. Your Stern Experience
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.

This essay is your opportunity to tell the admissions committee a bit about yourself. As the admissions committee requests, “be genuine in your essays ”“ tell us about the real you.” When you are discussing the NYU Stern community, you are also discussing you and your interests and personality.

This essay is the place 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. The activities that most excite you academically should be logically related to your career goals explained in essay 1. The activities you are involved with might be professional, or could be personal hobbies or interests. This essay is your opportunity to describe who you are outside of work, and discussing the hobbies and extracurricular interests you have pursued thus far will be an important data point.

Making your mark on the NYU Stern community it is an opportunity to write about what you will bring to the school personally and to recount some of your past community experiences. Explain what you are involved with today, and how you anticipate bringing that interest and passion to the NYU Stern community.

For all three questions in this essay, be specific and provide specific examples that show who you are, how you think, and what you will uniquely bring to NYU 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.

While you have likely hit professional experiences in essay 1, and community experiences in essay 2, essay 3 seeks to understand who you are as a person. Open-ended essays like this one can be intimidating. You are allowed any method to introduce yourself to your classmates, and you’re probably wondering what the best medium for your message is.

However, your content is king in this essay. As advised for a similar essay, the Chicago powerpoint question, 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 are some of the personal stories you would share with a new friend?

Once you have established the content you want to use for the NYU Stern essay 3, it’s time to consider the medium. If you are a visual person you may chose a drawing, painting or photo series. If you are a creative writer perhaps it’s a poem or short story. If none of the “creative” approaches feel right to you, feel free to write a standard essay where you explain who you are and introduce yourself to your classmates. The medium is not the most important aspect of this essay, rather the message and content of your composition will demonstrate who you are to the admissions committee.

NYU Stern 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.

NYU Stern is quite clear about who should use the optional essay and who should not. Like many other schools, NYU Stern provides this opportunity for you to explain a low GPA, GMAT or TOEFL. If you are in that situation, avoid excuses. Focus on the facts, and explain why this performance is not indicative of your future performance at NYU Stern.

If you are a re-applicant it will be important to establish what has changed from last year. Have you earned a promotion? Improved your GMAT score? Whatever you have been able to develop since last year, highlight why you are a stronger candidate now.

If you are not submitting a recommendation from your current employer, this is the place to explain the situation. A few valid reasons may include a brief tenure working for your current boss, that you are not sharing your MBA plans with your supervisor, or that you work more closely with other members of the team.

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