NYU Stern Application Essays and Deadlines for 2011-2012

NYU’s Stern School of Business has released its MBA admissions essays and deadlines for the Class of 2014. Here they are, followed by our comments in italics:

NYU Stern Admissions Deadlines
Round 1: November 15, 2011
Round 2: January 15, 2012
Round 3: March 15, 2012

These deadlines are identical to last year’s. Note that, unlike many other top business schools, Stern has kept its Round 1 admissions deadline firmly in the middle of November. The good news for you is that, if you’re applying to Stern along with a few other schools in Round 1, this gives you a chance to get those ones done in October, catch your breath, and then give your Stern application your undivided attention. The downside is that Stern won’t notify Round 1 applicants until as late as February 15, 2011, so you will have to make choices about your Round 2 applications (which mostly have January deadlines) before you receive your final decision from Stern.

NYU Stern Admissions Essays

  1. Think about the decisions you have made in your life. Answer the following (750 words):

    (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?

    This question carries over from last year with only the slightest tweak in wording. What we think makes this question unique vs. other schools’ “Why an MBA?” questions is Stern’s emphasis on the choices you’ve made up until now. Be sure to answer that part of the question — you shouldn’t simply write about what you’ve done up until now, but also explain why you did those things and made those choices. Stern provides some useful admissions tips on its essay page, including podcasts to help you clarify your story. These are great resources for any Stern applicant.
  2. 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 (500 words):

    (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 question also carries over unchanged from the 2010-2011 application season. Over the past several years this this question has evolved into a “Convince us that you’re passionate about Stern” essay prompt. Note the emphasis on specifics — don’t describe your knowledge of Stern in generalities or just copy language from the school’s web site. What do you know about NYU Stern that convinces you that it’s right right school for you, and that you’re the ideal Stern student? And how will you convince the admissions committee? Looking at this kind of essay question early in the process will hopefully provide the impetus you need to really do your homework.
  3. 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 team must feel that it’s doing its job in terms of helping them get to know candidates. Like Booth (and previously Anderson before it got rid of its video question), 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.
  4. (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!

Applying to Stern this year? Take a look at our NYU Stern Annual Report, one of 15 guides to the world’s top MBA programs. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!