New York University (Stern) Essay Analysis, 2010–2011

1. Professional Aspirations
(750-word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

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?

Because Personal Statements are similar from one application to the next, we have produced the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which helps applicants write this style of essay for any school. We offer this guide to candidates free of charge, via our online store. Please feel free to download your copy today.

For a thorough exploration of NYU Stern’s academic program/merits, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, academic environment and more, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

2. Your Stern Experience
(500-word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

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.

New York City is an incredible asset for an MBA program, because it keeps students close to professional opportunities and attracts many great business school candidates who simply love the city. However, from NYU’s perspective, New York City can also be a liability, because many students who were working and/or living in the city before joining the MBA program can tend to focus on maintaining their pre-business school lives, rather than immersing themselves in the Stern community as the school would like. Thus, the school is determined to select candidates who are truly ready to contribute to and participate in the Stern community, and this essay is a first step in weeding out those who have not done their homework, who may not be ready to commit fully or who simply do not understand the nature of the experience.

To make your impression on the admissions committee, you will need to discuss your firsthand experience(s) with the school, gained via personal interactions with alumni, students and/or admissions officers, and especially via a campus visit. Applicants who live abroad can learn a great deal about the school and its community by speaking with students or alumni by phone or by attending Stern outreach events held outside the United States. Discussing repeated visits to the school’s Web site and only referencing information found there will show that you have achieved—and invested—no more than the bare minimum. Demonstrating evidence that you have thoroughly researched the program and identified true connections between yourself and Stern’s offerings is vital.

In addition, as you explore the topic of “what most excites you about Stern from an academic and extracurricular perspective” in your essay, take care to not just offer a long list of various classes, professors and clubs. Instead, focus on the ones that are most applicable to your interests and goals, and illustrate direct connections between these resources and your aspirations. (Please consult the aforementioned free mbaMission Personal Statement Guide for examples.) Similarly, when discussing your anticipated “mark on the community,” you must do more than enumerate the clubs you plan to join. Remember, the school wants to see “impact” and specificity, so the more detail you can provide about how you will participate in the school’s community and how your participation will benefit the whole, the better.

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.

If you will submit Essay 3 via mail or by providing an online link, please provide a brief description of your submission and its relevance to your MBA application.

Please note the following guidelines and restrictions:

Your submission becomes the property of NYU Stern and cannot be returned for any reason.

If you submit a written essay, it should be 500 words maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font.

If you have a multimedia submission, you may:

  • Mail a CD, DVD or USB flash drive.
  • Include an online link in your submission description.

The Admissions Committee reserves the right to request an alternate Essay 3 if we are unable to view your submission.

In NYU Stern’s famed essay three, you are offered a phenomenal opportunity to differentiate yourself from the rest of the applicant pool in two distinct ways. First, you can do so via the vehicle by which you choose to reveal your persona. By using a creative and captivating format, you can grab the admissions committee’s interest and compel your reader to pay closer attention to your content. However, be sure to consider the possible limitations of certain clever options in conjunction with their uniqueness. For example, although a baseball card may be aesthetically pleasing, this format severely limits the amount of information you can convey because of its size and anticipated style. Instead, if you were to submit a eulogy theoretically written by your best friend (do not use this idea; it is now public), the format would be sufficiently broad to allow you to touch on all that is unique about your profile. The second way in which this essay question allows you to differentiate yourself is through your content. Ideally, you will use this opportunity to showcase a diversity of professional, personal, academic and community accomplishments that you were not able to share in essays one and two. Essay three allows you to reveal your true personality and “likeability” beyond your professional/academic competencies.

One important note: NYU Stern is now accepting multimedia presentations, but you should not feel compelled to use this option and should not worry about your Web design or video production skills relative to others’ if you do choose this method. Content trumps style. In fact, at a recent mbaMission event, we interviewed various admissions officers, students and alumni from NYU Stern who spoke of some incredibly simple essay threes that captivated the admissions committee—many of which were straightforward essays!

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