NYU / Stern MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018
Following up on the release of the 2017-2018 NYU / Stern Essay Topics, we wanted to share some advice for applicants targeting the NYU MBA Class of 2020.
NYU Stern Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018
Let’s take a closer look at each prompt.
Essay 1: Professional Aspirations
- What are your short and long-term career goals?
- How will the MBA help you achieve them? (500 words maximum)
This is a fairly straightforward career goals essay, asking applicants to explain their post-MBA career objectives and how an MBA would support these plans. As Stern has launched new specialized one-year MBA programs, they have broken out the longstanding school-specific prompt that used to be a part of this essay into a separate one.
First, applicants should explain the specifics of their post-MBA plans. Establishing your long-term vision first would lend meaning to your short-term plans, as it can help the reader to know your destination before the path. So, explain your broader 5-10 year plan, even going beyond the “what” and the “where” to the “why”—in other words, the impact you hope to make on an organization, sector, consumer base, or region. Then, applicants should outline their short-term plans very specifically, including both the position the candidate hopes to hold immediately after an MBA, along with 1-2 companies one plans to target. This short-term goal should lead naturally to the long term.
In regards to how an MBA would help you achieve your goals, it would make sense to briefly comment on your work experience to date to establish the skills you already possess; this sets up the gap in your skill set that an MBA would fill. This phase of your discussion should describe the skills and knowledge you hope to gain from an MBA with an eye to your future plans. Forging specific connections between the skills you hope to gain (whether in class or outside of it) and your future plans will show the adcom that you have a sound understanding of how an MBA will prepare you for success.
Essay 2: Program Preferences
NYU Stern offers a portfolio of MBA programs designed to meet the needs of our applicants. Your program preferences are very important as you may be admitted to only one program. You cannot switch your program option after receiving your admissions decision.
1. Primary Program Preference (250 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
- Please indicate the primary MBA program for which you would like to be considered, as indicated in the Primary Program Selection section of the application.
- Explain why the program you have selected is the best program for you.
2. Alternative Program Preference(s) (250 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
- Please indicate any alternative program(s) for which you would also like to be considered, as indicated in the Alternative Program Selection section of the application and why you would also like to be considered for this/these program(s).
- An alternate program does not need to be selected. If you have no alternate programs you do not need to complete this essay, just indicate “N/A”.
NYU / Stern has unified their application this year, allowing applicants to express interest in more than one MBA program. For instance, those targeting the tech industry can apply to both the full-time MBA as well as the new one-year tech MBA. That said, it is perfectly fine to only select one MBA option, in most cases.
No matter which program you are aiming to join, it would make sense for this discussion to cover why you chose the particular MBA program, followed by the specific curricular and programmatic offerings that make the particular NYU MBA a fit with your career goals and personal interests. In our past interview with Assistant Dean Gallogly, the admissions head pointed out that it’s in a candidate’s best interest to do an extensive amount of research on the programs they’re considering, given the financial investment and lifelong affiliation with the school’s network that comes with graduate business education. Therefore, applicants need to explain not just what they know about how Stern would position them for professional success, but also detail how they’ve learned this. Applicants should aim to highlight the insights that they gained from visiting the Stern campus or attending off-site information sessions, exploring the program’s video and social media offerings, and speaking with Stern students and alumni. Candidates might also consider reading the Clear Admit School Guide to NYU Stern for some extra help in this area.
Essay 3: Personal Expression (a.k.a. “Pick Six”)
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:
- A brief introduction or overview of your “Pick Six” (no more than 3 sentences).
- Six images that help illustrate who you are.
- A one-sentence caption for each of the six images that helps explain why they were selected and are significant to you.
Note: Your visuals may include photos, infographics, drawings, or any other images that best describe you. Your document must be uploaded as a single PDF. The essay cannot be sent in physical form or be linked to a website.
This is a chance to literally show the adcom who you are, where you come from, and what you care about. While Stern has seemingly narrowed the range of options for candidates’ creative expression, Assistant Dean Gallogly assured applicants that they still have a wide range, as he explained, “It can be six words in a box, word clouds, emojis, pictures of a painting—there are so many options. The visuals should carry the lion’s share of communicating, with short captions that help support it.”
Candidates should consider what they would truly want their classmates to know about them, while also being mindful of the balance of content between the required essays. That is, because the first response asks about candidates’ career goals, and would necessarily include some commentary on work experience, it would make sense to focus the majority of one’s comments in this response on one’s life outside the workplace. Applicants will want to think reflectively about their values and personality, as well as strategically about what makes them unique with respect to other applicants. Naturally, you’ll also want to communicate your enthusiasm about meeting and working with your fellow students and comment on any ways you would engage with them that aren’t covered in your first essay. The goal will be to convey information about your interests, values, and personality in the context of this creative exercise.
This prompt invites interspersing text with photos and graphics. A captioned photo album of particularly proud moments or a decision-making flow chart visualizing how you decide to spend your free time could show your creativity and willingness to put special effort into your Stern application. Finally, no matter the balance of images and text, applicants should pay attention to tone and ensure that they’re coming across as sincere, collaborative, and excited about the prospect of joining the NYU community.
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, IELTS or TOEFL, or any other relevant information. (250 words)
Given the scope of the required essays and the explicit guidelines provided for this essay, applicants would do best to address only the topics outlined by the admissions committee for this prompt.
Clear Admit Resources
Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s NYU MBA essay topics! As you work on your Stern MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s Stern offerings:
Posted in: Admissions Tips, Essay Tips & Advice, Essay Topic Analysis, Essays
Schools: NYU Stern
NYU Stern School of Business
NYU Stern’s School of Business today (June 12) unveiled the most dramatic changes to its MBA application in many years. Among other things, the new application requirements will assess candidates on “fit” with the school’s culture by adding what Stern is calling an emotional intelligence (EQ) endorsement from a colleague or peer and a new “Pick Six” essay that requires candidates to submit six images, such as pictures, charts, infographics or artwork, along with six short captions to best express who they are to the admissions committee.
Also for the first time, NYU Stern is allowing candidates to apply to all of its MBA program options, including the school’s two new one-year specialized MBAs in tech and fashion and luxury, in one application. Even students who want to apply to Stern’s part-time MBA can use the same application. Last year, 3,773 candidates applied to Stern’s full-time MBA program. The school admitted 872 applicants for an acceptance rate of 23.1% and enrolled 390 students into the Class of 2018.
“These are the biggest changes we have implemented in any year that I’ve been here and we hope it’s a little bit industry shaping, changing the way things are done,” says Isser Gallogly, associate dean of MBA admissions and innovation, who had been in Stern admissions for 14 years. “We believe these changes will help applicants more effectively communicate to the committee who they are as a person, which programs best suit their goals and how they demonstrate EQ. Additionally, these changes are much more in keeping with the ‘social media’ style of communication of today’s applicant. Applicants communicate with much more than words these days and visual elements now play a dominant role.”
THE NEW EQ ENDORSEMENT REQUIRES A SPECIFIC COMPELLING STORY
NYU Stern’s Isser Gallogly, associate dean of MBA admissions & innovation
NYU Stern says that it already screens and selects students who possess both intellectual as well as emotional intelligence-–what the School calls IQ + EQ. The new MBA application will now require an EQ endorsement in the form of a testimonial provided by an advocate of the applicant that illustrates a specific example of demonstrated EQ to the admissions committee. Unlike typical professional recommendations, which are frequently restricted to supervisors, the EQ endorsement might come from a team member, colleague or friend, for example, who can best attest to the emotional intelligence of the candidate. Anyone outside an immediate family member can endorse an applicant.
“It’s a brand new idea and a new concept,” says Gallogly in an interview with Poets&Quants. “We are looking for students who are not only capable academicaly but also capable in leadership, managing teams and having emotional intelligence. So we really asekd ourselves what can we do to get more insight into a person’s emotional intelligence into their character.”
The EQ endorsement differs from the two professional recommendations Stern continues to require. Endorsers would be asked to provide one specific compelling example that represents the applicant’s EQ. “LinkedIn has people endorsing you in certain skills,” says Gallogly. ‘This is a similar concept. But we want them to provide a specific story rather than just tell us about their EQ. We want to get behind the assertions that someone is a great leader or a team player. We are hoping to get a more more insight into what this person brings to the table that you cannot get from a personal recommendation.”
DITCHING THE PERSONAL EXPRESSION ESSAY IN FAVOR OF A PICK SIX
Stern also believes it’s a chance for more humble candidates to get an advocate to make a case for them. “Sometimes applicants can sell themselves short,” reasons Gallogly. “They don’t want to say something that could be perceived as bragging. Some are a bit more modest. Sometimes people can’t see their own skills objectively. I feel these EQ endorsers can do that a bit more than applicants themselves. It’s only in rare occasions where a professional recommendation will move an application to a whole other level. I feel like the EQ endorser may be able to do that for the applicant to a greater level.”
Stern also tossed its famous creative essay in favor of what it is calling a “Pick Six” essay. For more than 15 years Stern has featured a personal expression or “creative” essay in which applicants could use just about any means imagined to express who they are as a person to the admissions committee. This year, in an effort to provide additional direction to applicants and create more consistency in the evaluation process without compromising expression, Stern is replacing it with “Pick Six.” Candidates will submit six images, such as pictures, charts, infographics and artwork, along with six short captions to best express who they are.
“We are basically evolving the essay,” explains Gallogly. “It’s kind of like creative essay 2.0. We thought it would be helpful to the applicant to provide a little more structure around it, a little more consistency and it would help us on the evaluation side without getting in the way for them to become very creative. It’s a little like Instagram and social media. The images can be just about anything, a photo or a word cloud or emojis or the picture of a painting and then short captions so we understand why that is meaningful to the applicant. This is how people are communicating these days so I think they will find it to be very familiar and comfrotable but also extremely expressive. I think applicants are going to love it.”
LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH NYU STERN’S ISSER GALLOGLY