NYU Stern 2010 MBA Application Questions, Tips

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NYU Stern 2010 MBA Deadlines

Online applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on the day of the deadline. Any mailed application material must be postmarked by the deadline date.


Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
Application Due: November 15, 2009 January 15, 2010 March 15, 2010
Initial Notification* By: February 15, 2010 April 1, 2010 June 1, 2010
Benefit: Priority consideration for
merit scholarships and/or off-site interviews
Provides best
opportunity to attend
Stern's admitted
student event
(Pre-View) in April

*You will receive one of three initial notifications: invitation to interview, waitlist offer or denial of admission

Note to international applicants: You are encouraged to apply by the November 15 deadline to facilitate visa arrangements and to have priority consideration for off-site interviews, if desired. You may also apply for the January 15 and March 15 deadlines.

Note to JD/MBA and MBA/MFA applicants: The application deadline for the dual JD/MBA is February 1. The application deadlines for the dual MBA/MFA are January 15 (Stern) and December 1 (Kanbar).

My comments are in red: Stern's tips are italicized.

Please note the following details when completing the Essays section of the standard online application.

The following essay questions give you the opportunity to more fully present yourself to the Admissions Committee and to provide insight into your experiences, goals and thought processes. Your essays should be written entirely by you. An offer of admission will be withdrawn if you did not write your essays. Please note the following:

  • Essays 1, 2 and 4 must be typed and submitted using the standard U.S. 8 1/2” x 11” format, double-spaced, in 12-point font.
  • Please adhere to the essay word limits provided for each question.
  • Word limits apply to the total question. For example, your response to Essay 1 should answer part (a), part (b) and part (c) with a maximum of 750 words.
  • Label the top of each essay with the following: Name, Date of Birth (month, day, year), Essay Number and Page Number (e.g.: Joe Applicant, January 1, 2001, Essay 1, Page 1)

Essay 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?

This version is almost identical to last year's question, with an added long-term goal question in part c.  Stern wants to know about your career decisions in the past, your reasons for an MBA now, and your plans for the future. A classic goals question, this question asks you to show the logic behind your career development and how an MBA at this point in time will help you achieve your short and long-term goals.

The part of the question asking about your "career goal upon graduation" is a critical one. Are you realistic about where your past experience plus a Stern MBA can take you? Stern doesn't want people in la-la-land who will be impossible to place.

Finally make sure you answer all elements of the question within the word limits (not guidelines). No adcom member sits there and counts words, but the readers can tell when you are significantly over. "Significantly" in my book is more than 10%. Write succinctly.

Admissions Tips:

  • Listen to our podcast: Writing your Story.
  • Proofread your essays carefully.
  • Make sure you have fully answered the essay questions.
  • Be genuine in your essays - tell us about the real you.
  • Follow the essay instructions, including word limits and font size.

Essay 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.

Have you attended MBA fairs? Stern receptions? Have you visited campus, corresponded with or talked to students and recent alumni? Reviewed Stern's web site and printed material? Talked to possible employers? Read blogs of current NYU students? If you take any of those steps, let Stern know what you have done and how that research clarified for you both how you would contribute and how you would benefit by joining the Stern community.

Parts b & c are new, but flow logically from part a. Based on your research, what do you find most attractive? What would motivate you to attend Stern if you have multiple acceptances? And again based on your research, how do you intend to contribute to the rich communal life at Stern. Stern has many avenues for involvement: experienctial learning opportunities, clubs, events, community service. What's your niche?  Show that you have done your homework about Stern.

Admissions Tip:

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.

All submissions become part of NYU Stern’s permanent records and cannot be returned for any reason. Please do not submit anything that must be viewed or played electronically (e.g. CDs, DVDs, MP3s, online links), that is perishable (e.g. food) or that has been worn (e.g. used clothing). If you submit a written essay, it should be 500 words maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font.

If you are not submitting Essay 3 online, you are required to upload a brief description of your submission in your online application. Please note that on the online application checklist, you must select "Submitted Online" for Essay 3 even if you are mailing it.

To submit Essay 3 by mail, please follow the mail and labeling instructions and ensure it is postmarked by the deadline. Also, note that supplemental Essay 3 packages are subject to size restrictions. Essays that exceed the stated size restrictions will not be accepted for review by the Admissions Committee. Please see the table below for the maximum package size guidelines:

Packaging Type Dimensions: Metric Dimensions: Non-metric
Box 36cm x 31cm x 8cm
14” x 12” x 3”
Cylindrical Tube 8cm x 91cm 3” x 36”
Triangular Tube
97cm x 16cm x 16 cm x 16 cm
38” x 6” x 6” x 6”_

Bribes don't work either. Candidates can get very creative with this essay and use different media (other than culinary and electronic), but for the majority of you who will convey your ideas in words, think of how you describe yourself in a social setting, meeting people for the first time. If it's the first day of class or a mixer early in the pre-term, how would you break the ice? Would you try to set up a tennis game or golf match? Would you find someone to explore NYC's museums? Or do you hate museums and prefer the outdoors? What would you say if you were in the campus coffee shop and sat down with some new classmates? Could you create a dialog? A short skit?

Hint: Don't use your four Chicago PPT slides.

Admissions Tip:

  • Listen to Isser Gallogly, Executive Director of MBA Admissions, discuss Essay 3 on Public Radio's "Marketplace". (Before listening, note that we now have new Essay 3 size restrictions.)

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 and/or TOEFL or any other relevant information.

  • If you are unable to submit a recommendation from a 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.

Obviously if you fit into one of the categories described in the 3 points above, you need to write this essay. If you don't fit into the above categories and have something you want the admissions committee to know that isn't part of the required essays, then you still should write this optional essay.

If you would like help with your NYU Stern MBA application, please consider Accepted.com's MBA essay editing and admissions consulting or a NYU Stern Comprehensive Package, which includes essay editing, interview coaching, consultation, and a resume edit for the NYU Stern MBA application.


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