NYU Stern Executive MBA Essay Questions and Tips
The 2013 NYU EMBA questions are almost identical to the questions from 2012 and we have made only minor changes to the tips.
Reflecting the character of the university at large, NYU Stern has always sought applicants who bring not just requisite accomplishment, but also intellectual energy and engagement with the world – people who have something to say. Stern’s EMBA essay questions are consistent with these values. While they cover the standard concerns, they also draw out your ability to self-reflect and to understand yourself in relation to others. The key to acing these essays is not just to write competent and logical essays, but also to present a point of view, a message, a distinctive perspective that will enrich the EMBA table.
Please adhere to the essay word limits provided for each question. Word limits apply to the total essay question. For example, your response to Essay 2 should answer both part (a) and part (b) with a maximum of 750 words.
1. Describe your short- and long-term career goals and how the NYU Stern Executive MBA program will help you accomplish them. (500-750 words, double-spaced)
One simple, straightforward, and effective way to structure this essay is to start with where you are in your career to set the context (and convey a little about your current situation, emphasizing what is impressive and/or distinctive about it), and discuss how the business education will enable you to achieve your immediate MBA goals in your current role. Then move on to your intermediate and longer-term goals, which should logically flow out of this present role. In describing your goals at any point clarify why you would take that step or pursue that role. In discussing how the program will benefit you, be specific: describe what skills and knowledge you need to acquire and how the program meets those needs. Also refer to the structure, curriculum, and/or special features of the program, noting how you will benefit from them. Finally, resist the temptation to detail your career progress — limit yourself to points relevant to your goals.
2. High functioning study groups help to navigate the academics of the NYU Stern Executive MBA program. Students are placed in groups of four to six students, each with a diverse mix of professional backgrounds and skill sets. (500-750 words, double-spaced)
a) What role(s) do you see yourself playing within your study group?
b) What is the ONE most unique personal or professional characteristic that you have that will benefit your group?
I suggest answering part (b) first, at least in your mind, because that point will at least partially shape your answer to part (a).
Discuss a characteristic that is truly telling about you, is manifested in your most significant achievements, AND is relevant and beneficial to the group process. In answering part (b), describe this characteristic briefly and then illustrate it through an anecdote or two. Next discuss how it will enable you to contribute to the study group in concrete terms, with an example. Finally, for (a) briefly discuss another couple of ways you can contribute – they can reflect personal qualities/characteristics, industry perspective/experience, special skills, or compelling personal experiences.
3. The NYU Stern Executive MBA program’s curriculum is designed with a strong global focus. Stern is committed to helping students develop not only a deeper set of professional skills, but also a broader perspective of the role of business in the world. (500-750 words, double-spaced)
a) What is a pressing contemporary issue on which you would like to have an impact?
b) Why is it important to you?
c) How could you, as a business leader, leverage your skills and resources to address the issue?
The most important advice here: select an issue that you truly care and are knowledgeable about. You may research some fine points, but responses to this type of question that are entirely constructed of research on a topic the writer thinks will be impressive for some reason just don’t work. A simple and effective structure for this essay is to follow the a-b-c- points. First talk about the issue in personal as well as objective terms, i.e., how you came to learn and/or care about it, perhaps what experience you’ve had with it if relevant. Take a stand; avoid being bland or abstract. Then describe how as a business leader you can address this issue. This last part will vary greatly from person to person – for some your work will directly address this issue; for others work will be divorced from it, and you will indirectly use your business leadership role as a bully pulpit, as a prominent and influential community leader/volunteer, etc.
Optional Additional Essay
Please provide any additional information of which you would like the Admissions Committee to be aware. This may include additional details on your academic or quantitative preparedness through academic or professional experience, further explanation of academic history, current or past gaps in employment, or any other information relevant to your application. (500 word limit, double-spaced)
This question’s wording indicates that you can use it not just to explain a problem (low GMAT, employment gap) but also to present new material that you think will enhance your application. However, if you are making the adcom read more than is required, there better be a darn good reason; not just a nice-to-know. First, succinctly explain any points that need explaining. Then, if there is something you feel is important that you haven’t had a chance to discuss elsewhere, write about it, noting why it’s essential to a full understanding of your candidacy.
Optional Scholarship Essay
The NYU Stern Executive MBA program offers a limited number of scholarships each year to applicants receiving minimal or no financial sponsorship. There are many more qualified candidates than there are scholarships available. Scholarships are determined at the time of admission and communicated in the letter of admission if awarded. If you wish to be considered for a scholarship, please respond to the following:
NYU Stern has a strong reputation for fostering entrepreneurial spirit. Imagine the NYU Stern Executive MBA Admissions Committee is a group of potential investors, representing a broad spectrum of stakeholders. Why should the Admissions Committee invest in you as a global business leader? Be sure to articulate your competitive advantage, as well as the personal and professional qualities that make you the most compelling candidate for an NYU Stern Executive MBA program scholarship. (500 word limit, double-spaced)
This essay is essentially your portrait – your candidacy at a glance. Beware of a pitfall: in presenting your competitive advantage and your qualities, do not just list accomplishments that repeat your resume, repeat qualities described in essay 2, or repeat the goals in the goals essay. Also, don’t present everything you think gives you a competitive advantage and/or all relevant qualities; select carefully which points to discuss. Focus on those that (a) are really distinctive and relevant to the MBA and/or (b) support your goals directly or indirectly and also (c) enhance rather than repeat the application. Developing an overarching message or theme for this essay before you write it will help you shape and select the content.
If you would like help with these NYU EMBA essays, please consider Accepted.com’s EMBA admissions consulting and EMBA essay editing services.
For the August 2013 class start, the deadline is May 15, 2012
Find more application tips for top EMBA programs here
By Cindy Tokumitsu, co-author of The Finance Professional’s Guide to MBA Admissions Success, and author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her last fifteen years with Accepted.
Accepted.com’s experienced admissions consultants can help you create the most impressive application possible with comprehensive packages, or provide targeted assistance from picking perfect programs to designing a dazzling resume, constructing engaging essays, or preparing for intense interviews…and more! Accepted.com has guided thousands of applicants to acceptances at top MBA programs since 1994 – we know what works and what doesn’t, so contact us to get started now!
This article originally appeared on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog, the official blog of Accepted.com.
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