NYU’s Stern School of Business recently released its admissions essays and deadlines for the full-time MBA Class of 2016. NYU’s application essays haven’t changed at all since last year, so our advice mostly remains the same. However, the admissions committee now lets you choose between two prompts (including Stern’s famous “Creative Expression” submission) that both used to be required, reducing the total amount of “stuff” that you will submit to the school.
Without further ado, here are NYU Stern’s MBA admissions essays and deadlines for the coming year, followed by our comments in italics:
NYU Stern Admissions Deadlines
Round 1: October 15, 2013
Round 2: November 15, 2013
Round 3: January 15, 2014
Round 4: March 15, 2014
Something is new this year… A whole new round! Last year Stern’s Round 1 deadline was on November 15, and its third and final round was on March 15. This year, the school has added a round, but rather than tacking it on at the end of the admissions season, it put it at the front of the line: NYU Stern’s new Round 1 deadline is on October 15, and its old Round 1 deadline is now its Round 2 deadline, its old Round 2 deadline is now its Round 3 deadline, and so on. As we always tell applicants, you should only apply when you’re absolutely ready, so don’t rush to hit that Round 1 deadline if it means putting in anything less than an airtight application. However, note that applying in the new Round 1 means that you will be notified by December 15, giving you several weeks to prepare Round 2 applications to other schools if you get bad news from Stern. Many applicants will find the new Round 1 deadline appealing for this reason.
NYU Stern Admissions Essays
As mentioned above, the first essay below is required. You will then choose one of the next two to submit:
- 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 carries over unchanged from last year. Last year, 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? Like most top-ranked business schools, Stern places a good deal of emphasis on fit, and you need to demonstrate that you have done the same.
- Option A: 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.
- Describe two different and distinct paths you could see your career taking long term. How do you see your two paths unfolding?
- How do your paths tie to the mission of NYU Stern?
- What factors will most determine which path you will take?
This question was new last year, and carries over unchanged this year. We still really like this one because it’s a great way for 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 is no single “right” way to approach this essay, one thing we recommend trying is laying out a fairly standard path (the one that you have 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 second path an altruistic-sounding one simply for the sake of sounding like a model citizen! But, if there is 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.
- 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.
Stern has used this question for years, meaning that the admissions committee must feel that it’s effective in helping the admissions committee get to know candidates. Stern truly wants to learn about what makes you unique. The school’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 need 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 are simply 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!
For more advice on getting into Stern, download our Essential Guide to NYU Stern, one of our 14 guides to the world’s top business schools. If you’re ready to start building your own application for Stern and other top business schools, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!
By Scott Shrum