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New York University (Stern) Essay Analysis, 2011-2012

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, important statistics, social life, academic environment and more, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to New York University’s 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.

 

Being located in New York City is an incredible asset for an MBA program, because the school’s students are therefore close to numerous professional opportunities and the program can attract many great business school candidates who simply love the city. However, from NYU’s perspective, the location can also be a liability, because many students who were already working and/or living in the city before joining the MBA program 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 program 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 impress 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 offer more than just 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 will have to 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 submit a non-written piece for Essay 3 (i.e., artwork or multimedia) or if you submit Essay 3 via mail, please upload a brief description of your submission with your online 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 submit a video or audio file, it should be five minutes maximum.
  • If you prepare a multimedia submission, you may mail a CD, DVD or USB flash drive to the Admissions Office. These are the only acceptable methods of submission. Please do not submit an internet link to any websites or to a video hosting service such as YouTube.
  • The Admissions Committee reserves the right to request an alternate Essay 3 if we are unable to view your submission
  • Do not submit anything perishable (e.g. food) or any item that has been worn (e.g. clothing).

 

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. The first is the vehicle through 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, not just 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 (note: 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 you. The second way 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 do not feel compelled to use this option if this is not something with which you are comfortable, and if you do choose this method, do not worry about the level of your Web design or video production skills relative to others’. For this essay, 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 had captivated the admissions committee—and many of these were straightforward essays!




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