NYU’s Stern School of Business recently released its application deadlines and essays for the Class of 2015. What’s changed this year? We do notice a renewed emphasis on making sure you’ve researched the school as well as an entirely new career goals essay.
Here are NYU Stern’s application essays for the coming admissions season, followed by our comments in italics:
NYU Stern Application Essays
- Professional Aspirations: (750 words)
(a) Why pursue an MBA (or dual degree) at this point in your life?
(b) What actions have you taken to determine that Stern is the best fit for your MBA experience?
(c) What do you see yourself doing professionally upon graduation?
This question has been substantially reworded since last year, although at its core it has not changed too much. The biggest change is that Stern removed a part that asked about the decisions you have made that have led to your current position, replacing it with the part (b) that you see here. Be sure to answer that part of the question — Stern clearly wants to see that you have done your homework and are applying to the school for reasons that go beyond the obvious. Besides looking at the rankings or seeing that Stern places a lot of graduates in investment banks every year, what have you done to be sure that Stern is a good fit for you, and vice versa?
- Your Two Paths (500 words)
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.
(a) Describe two different and distinct paths you could see your career taking long term. How do you see your two paths unfolding?
(b) How do your paths tie to the mission of NYU Stern?
(c) What factors will most determine which path you will take?
This question is entirely new this year, and we really like it. It’s a good way to Stern to try to get past applicants’ well rehearsed answers and try to get a better sense of what makes them tick professionally. Yes, you should have at least a pretty good idea of what you want to do after earning your MBA, but the admissions committee knows that you probably don’t know for certain what you want to do. And, even if you do, circumstances change, new trends emerge, life events happen, etc. While there’s no one “right” way to approach this essay, one thing we recommend trying is laying out a fairly standard path (the one that you’ve probably already been telling people) and one pretty creative one — perhaps one career path could be as an investment analyst and one could be as a manager of a charter school system. The more different the two paths are, the more interesting your story will be, and the more it will help admissions officers get a read in who you are.
Resist the temptation to make your “other” path an altruistic-sounding one simply for the sake of sounding like a model citizen! But, if there’s a career path you’ve been toying with but have been reluctant to share because it might make you sound aimless or unrealistic, don’t be afraid to describe it here.
- 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.
Stern has used this question for years, meaning that the admissions committee must feel that it’s doing its job in terms of helping them get to know candidates. Similar to how Booth has used its “PowerPoint question” in recent years, Stern seeks new ways to learn about what makes you unique. The admissions office really does want to get to know the real you. Stern’s admissions officers are almost begging you to stand out here, which is a reminder about how you can make their job easier by helping them remember the real you.
One other note: Just because this question allows you to use any medium, that doesn’t mean that you need to submit something other than the written word. If that’s your best medium, use it. “Being memorable” means more than just sending them something outrageous; the most effective submissions really are the ones that leave admissions officers feeling like they know you better. Finally, while this essay prompt truly is wide open in terms of what you can submit, note that there are a few parameters (e.g., nothing perishable!) that you nee to observe.
- 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.
As we always advise our clients when it comes to optional essays, only use this essay if you need to explain a low undergraduate GPA or other potential blemish in your background. No need to harp on a minor weakness and sound like you’re making excuses when you don’t need any. If you don’t have anything else you need to tell the admissions office, it is entirely okay to skip this essay!