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MBA Admission Essays: NYU Stern School of Business

Posted by Chioma Isiadinso

NYU’s Stern School of Business requires two MBA admission essays, one focusing on your career goals, and one with two options allowing MBA applicants to get a bit more creative.

Essay 1: (750 words) Why pursue an MBA degree (or dual degree) at this point in your life? What actions have you taken to determine that Stern is the best fit for your MBA experience? What do you see yourself doing professionally upon graduation?

Here, you must showcase both the research that you have put into your MBA path, and the research that you have done on Stern’s program. The question focuses mostly on the short-term, so keep your answers specific, concrete and achievable. Build a progression, beginning with the skills you have now, the skills that you hope the MBA will give you, and how you will use the degree after graduation. Then, you should have a bit of room to explain how your immediate post-graduation plans fit into your long-term goals.

Also keep in mind that Stern is one of those schools that pays attention to the level of research and engagement you have had with the school, as reflected in their question, “What actions have you taken to determine that Stern is the best fit….” So be sure to express precisely what you have done, the steps you have taken, to demonstrate that you have a good understanding of the school and how it fits with your MBA aspirations.
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You have a lot of words available to you, so don’t be afraid to get down to specifics, and to explain yourself thoroughly. You want to show the MBA admissions board that you have thought about this decision carefully, that you are aware of the assets you need, and that you have a clear vision for how a Stern MBA will help fill those needs.

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Essay 2- Choose option A or B

Option A: 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?
  • What factors will most determine which path you will take?
  • How do your paths tie to the mission of NYU Stern?

Unlike the first question, this question gives you plenty of room to discuss long-term aspirations. If you choose this option, make sure that your answer does not overlap too much with information you revealed in your first essay. You want it to be complementary, not redundant.

Similarly, make sure that the two paths you outline complement each other, and that each are grounded in your current experience. For example, if you say you want a non-profit career, but have only worked at for-profit firms, you will need to have significant and long-standing community involvement to justify that stance.

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Also think carefully about how your time at Stern will influence the path you will take? What do you expect to learn, and how might those experiences shape your path? What factors could change your choice? Avoid simply discussing the profitability of your two options. Focus instead on how each option might facilitate your passions and interests, and how you might impact the world around you.

For the final part of the question, focus on Stern’s value statement, an “Education in Possible”. What would your long-term paths make possible for you, your employer, and your community? How are you exploring the boundaries of what is possible? How might your plans drive change or innovation in your chosen field? Stern is looking for driven, dynamic and eager alumni. Prove that you can fit that profile.
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Option B:

Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates. You may use almost any method to convey your message (words, illustrations, video, audio, etc.). Feel free to be creative. Written essays should be 500 words.

If being creative is part of your personal brand, and part of the value that you can add, then feel free to take a more creative approach and use illustrations, video or audio to convey your point. If, however, you are more inclined to a straightforward essay, that is okay too. If you essay shows self-awareness, it will be just as valuable as any other method.

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It’s tempting, with these types of prompts, to throw in all sorts of information about your personality, character and experiences. You don’t want to leave anything out, right? Actually, though, the most successful of these essays will focus in on two-three themes that matter most to you (hint: your personal brand themes). If you have invested enough time in self-assessment and introspection, you should not have too much trouble with this essay. After all, if you have a clear idea of who you are, you should not have too much trouble conveying that to your readers (or viewers). Brand consistency is also important so make sure that the message being communicated through this more creative medium is in line with the rest of the brand message you are communicating about yourself. Inconsistency only raises questions about the authenticity of the entire application and that can lead to your MBA application being relegated to the rejection pile.

For more information, visit NYU Stern’s website.

Deadlines: Round 1- October 15; Round 2- November 15; Round 3- January 15; Round 4- March 15

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