Sign Up For Your Free MBA Assessment Today!
Posted by Chioma Isiadinso
NYU Stern is a school that prides itself on being located at the heart of business and focusing on creating what’s possible. So it’s no surprise that their approach to the traditional business school application is a little bit different.
Those differences start with the school’s application deadlines – while many MBA programs have three or even two application rounds, Stern has four. They also offer four different MBA programs: in addition to the traditional full-time MBA program and a part-time offering, the school has also created targeted MBA offerings for the fashion and tech industries.
Deadlines for the traditional MBA program are:
If you’re planning to apply for the Fashion & Luxury MBA or the Andre Koo Tech MBA, the deadlines for the four application rounds are earlier: September 15, November 15, January 15, and February 15.
NYU Stern has undergone a bit of a rebrand recently. Their new emphasis is “The Stern Advantage: IQ+EQ”. As the website describes them, Stern students are “a community of exceptional individuals – individuals who possess both intellectual and interpersonal strengths to act as forces for change by turning ideas into action and inspiring others to their cause.”
That statement offers a pretty strong definition for how Stern views leadership, and highlights the traits you should emphasize in your application essays.
The school is strongly committed to this idea of the importance of EQ and interpersonal strengths. In fact, they’ve even renamed the Letters of Recommendation portion of their application profile as “EQ endorsements”. In addition to the typical questions business schools ask of recommenders, the Stern admissions committee also wants to know about applicants’ “self-awareness, empathy, communication, and self-management”.
Stern’s first essay is a straightforward one, and a question you should be prepared to answer in one form or another at every school where you apply. The prompt reads:
“What are your short and long-term career goals? How will the MBA help you achieve them?”
Taking the time to understand both your personal brand and the brand reputation of your target schools is a vital part of the MBA application process. Getting an MBA is a significant undertaking; business schools want to know that you’ve given the process serious thought.
When schools ask questions about your goals and about why you think an MBA will help you achieve those goals, or how their school in particular will help you achieve those goals, they want to see evidence that you know enough to be truly, realistically committed to the process.
Admissions committees also want to ensure that they’re building class cohorts that will offer a diverse range of perspectives and goals. Much of the value of business school comes outside of the lecture hall, when you work as a team and learn to look at problems – and think about solutions – in a new way.
NYU Stern’s version of the “Why an MBA?” question doesn’t specifically address why you’re applying to their school, but that doesn’t mean it’s ok to leave it out. Whether it’s the school’s location, reputation, faculty, curriculum, or approach, there’s something that made you want to apply to NYU Stern – make sure that desire comes through in your essay.
Finally, don’t be afraid to get specific about your goals. “I want to work in finance” is not a goal; it’s a dream. If you’re at the level where you’re ready to pursue an MBA to advance your career goals, you need to be able to connect the dots and show what steps you’ll need to take along the way.
Continuing their theme of doing things differently from other MBA programs, NYU Stern’s second required essay isn’t actually an essay at all. Instead, the school asks you to choose visuals (which can include photographs, drawings, infographics, or any other images) that describe you.
The prompt itself reads:
“Describe yourself to the Admissions Committee and to your future classmates using six images and corresponding captions. Your uploaded PDF should contain all of the following elements:
Stern has updated the creative/ personal expression portion of their application this year in order to narrow the scope – in past years, applicants were asked to describe themselves to their MBA classmates using any method they chose, from words to video to physical artwork.
While this year’s version is far more streamlined, there’s still a lot of room for you to interpret the prompt.
Some applicants may choose to give an overview of their lives, with photos of interesting, unique, or unusual experiences. Some may choose to highlight a specific theme or skillset (e.g. showcasing volunteer work, or illustrating a passion for analysis with a series of spreadsheets covering subjects both complex and mundane).
With such a broad range of possible approaches, and such a limited number of images, it’s absolutely crucial that you choose a theme that represents some element of your personal brand before you even begin looking for images. Your visuals, taken together, should tell a story, paint a portrait of who you are.
You’ll have a total of only 9 sentences to frame your story, so you need to have the important elements laid out before you choose pictures and start writing captions.
This is an essay where outside feedback will be vital – you need to run your submission by several different people to see if the story you want to present is the one they take away from your photos and captions. Give yourself plenty of time to revise or to tweak your images so that your final submission is as strong as it can possibly be.
With a school so heavily focused on doing things their own way, you can’t afford to approach your NYU Stern MBA application package like any other school. You really need to invest the time to understand yourself and determine how best to present yourself to the admissions committee.
Fortunately, the experienced admissions consultants at EXPARTUS have more than 50 years of combined experience in helping MBA applicants develop their personal brand, highlight their strengths, and mitigate their weaknesses. If you’re ready to create a compelling MBA application that makes you the clear choice for admission to NYU Stern, get in touch today.