New York University’s (NYU’s) Stern School of Business jumps on the “less is more” bandwagon this application season by reducing its essay count from three to two. However, that is the only change—Stern’s essay questions are actually the same as last year’s, but for Essay 2, candidates can now choose between two prompts that were previously both mandatory.
For Essay 2, it will be interesting to see whether candidates favor Option A, taking the rather straightforward path and exploring their envisioned careers in greater depth, or the challenging creative essay in Option B, hoping to provide a far deeper personal picture for the admissions committee. Our guess is that most applicants will choose the latter—doing so will allow the candidates to differentiate themselves from many “careerists” in the applicant pool. We also suspect that some candidates will worry that if they choose Option A, they will be inadvertently revealing themselves to be “uncreative” and will therefore feel compelled to choose Option B. But do not try to guess what the admissions committee “wants”! If the school wanted everyone to respond to one option in particular, they would not have offered two! Let us reassure you that this is not some sort of test. Take the time to consider how you would respond to both questions, and then select the one that you believe would offer the admissions committee the more compelling picture of you.
Essay 1: Professional Aspirations
(750 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
- Why pursue an MBA (or dual degree) at this point in your life?
- What actions have you taken to determine that Stern is the best fit for your MBA experience?
- What do you see yourself doing professionally upon graduation?
The three points that make up Stern’s Essay 1 question this year basically constitute a Personal Statement, and because Personal Statements are similar from one application to the next, we have produced the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which helps applicants write this style of essay for any school. We offer this guide to candidates free of charge. Please feel free to download your copy today.
And for a thorough exploration of NYU Stern’s academic program/merits, defining characteristics, important statistics, social life, academic environment and more, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business.
Essay 2: Choose Option A or Option B
Option A: Your Two Paths
(500 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
The mission of the Stern School of Business is to develop people and ideas that transform the challenges of the 21st century into opportunities to create value for business and society. Given today’s ever-changing global landscape, Stern seeks and develops leaders who thrive in ambiguity, embrace a broad perspective and think creatively about the range of ways they can have impact.
- Describe two different and distinct paths you could see your career taking long term. How do you see your two paths unfolding?
- How do your paths tie to the mission of NYU Stern?
- What factors will most determine which path you will take?
Given that the school is asking about two possible paths for your long-term career, you may be wondering whether you can be vague or uncertain about your goals in this essay. Quite simply, “No.” In fact, you will instead need to present two feasible career options and relate your skills and experiences to them very clearly to create an effective, coherent statement and show both that you are versatile and that you know yourself well.