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NYU Stern MBA Essay Tips 2010-11

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?

Not leaving anything to chance, Stern divides the standard career goals essay into three distinct sub questions. Make sure to answer all of the questions posed, though you do not need to actually separate the essay into the three sub categories. The best essays will lead logically from a, to b, to c.

When discussing the choices that led to your current position think about the pivotal moments in your life that have led to a change in direction. 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.

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, yet also aspirational. An MBA from Stern will likely open doors for you, and you should demonstrate that you are ready to take advantage of the opportunities that will be presented. Think about your past work experience, MBA education, and future career goals as a trajectory that flows logically in order.

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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 Stern community, you are also discussing you and your interests and personality.

Fit is critical in the application process, and this is the place to demonstrate your fit with Stern. It will be important to discuss your passion for Stern and your interest in attending NYU’s MBA program in this essay. 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 Stern experience.

The activities that most excite you academically should be logically related to your career goals explained in essay 1. When you discuss your extracurricular interests it will be a great opportunity to provide more personal information about you and what you enjoying doing outside of work.
Making your mark on the 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. If you currently lead a team of volunteers to conduct a fund raising drive, explain what you are involved with today, and how you anticipate bringing those skills to the Stern community.

For all three questions in this essay, be specific and provide tailored examples that speak to you and your interest in 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.

Please visit the Stern website for more details on submission requirements.

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 will likely immediately wonder what method to use.

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 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.

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.
Stern is quite clear about who should use the optional essay and who should not. Like many other schools, 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 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, that you are not sharing your MBA plans with your supervisor, or that you work more closely with other members of the team.

Stacy Blackman Consulting


This article brought to you by Stacy Blackman Consulting.

Founded in 2001, Stacy Blackman Consulting has helped thousands of MBA applicants gain admission to the most selective business schools in the world.  The Stacy Blackman team, comprised of MBA graduates, former admissions officers and expert writers, editors and marketers, helps clients develop and implement a winning marketing strategy. 

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3) Shows you how to answer Essay 2 in six ways (Travelogue, Artist, Breaking Stereotype, Impact Oriented, Family Legacy and Infomercial)


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