NYU Stern Executive MBA 2014 Essay Tips

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NYU_SternReflecting 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 a point of view and are willing to express it. 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 community at NYU Stern.


Applicants are required to respond to essay prompts 1, 2 and 3. 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. Please note the following:

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 now. This opening sets the context and conveys a little about your current situation, emphasizing what is impressive and/or distinctive about it. Then discuss how the EMBA education will enable you to achieve your immediate goals in your current role and later your intermediate and longer-term goals, which should logically flow out of this present role.

In describing your goals, clarify why you would take that step or pursue that role. In discussing how the program will benefit you, be specific: describe the skills and knowledge you need to acquire and how the program provides them. 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 can your group learn from you?

Think about your strengths as a team member – and identify a few actual, illustrative examples from your work (at least one fairly recent). Use these examples as the basis for answering (a).

Part (b) allows you to be more wide-ranging in your chosen points; i.e., you might discuss not just your team performance but other aspects of your work. Perhaps the group can benefit from some specific aspects of your industry practices, or from your experience in a geographic region, as well as from things like your teamwork and leadership. However, don’t just assert that they can learn from this or that experience; discuss the potential lessons.

3. The NYU Stern Executive MBA program’s curriculum is designed with a strong global focus. Stern is committed to helping students develop a deeper set of professional skills, and a broader perspective of the role of business in the world. (500-750 words, double-spaced)

a) What is a significant contemporary issue on which you, as a business leader, would like to have an impact?

b) Why is it important to you?

c) How could you 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 question that are entirely constructed of research on a topic 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 in concrete terms. 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 Essays:

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/quantitative preparedness through educational 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 should 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:

Why should the Admissions Committee invest in you as a business leader?

This essay is essentially your portrait – your candidacy at a glance. 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 every possible reason you think the adcom should invest in you. Focus on points 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’s EMBA admissions consulting and EMBA essay editing services.

Deadlines: Applications to Stern’s Executive MBA Program are considered on a rolling basis.

For the class beginning in August: early deadline is March 1, final deadline is May 1.

Cindy Tokumitsu By , 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.com.



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!

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