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NYU Stern MBA Essay Questions

NYU Stern by Zac Shannon licensed under CC BY 2.0

NYU Stern’s two essay questions provide the perfect combination of instruction and freedom for MBA applicants to illustrate their fit with the program, and have some fun. Isn’t this what business school should be about?

You might think Essay 1 is a little too limited to properly address the three areas NYU Stern wants to hear about (Why an MBA now, Why Stern, and Goals) AND provide personal attributes that will give the admissions committee a warm and fuzzy feeling toward your candidacy, but this is New York. Everything is an elevator pitch.

Ideally, Why Now and Goals should work in tandem to illustrate a clearly defined path that leads to a realistic (and noble) career goal — pretty much standard fare as long as you’re mindful to connect your past and present with NYU Stern’s offerings. The WHY STERN prompt is the deal maker, or breaker. NYU Stern is well aware of how they are perceived by MBA candidates among New York’s top MBA programs: so don’t fall into the trap of writing exclusively about what “New York City” has to offer or, copy and paste your Columbia essay.

To effectively answer this question you need to do your homework on NYU Stern and you need to start now. If you can’t convince the admissions committee that uptown holds no sway in your business school decision, you have not done an adequate job in answering this question. NYU Stern is by no means a safety school — don’t treat it like one.

With so many ties to Wall Street, NYU Stern could not avoid talking about the 800 pound gorilla in the room and they do so graciously in their Essay 2 Option A. Things don’t always go as planned and oftentimes this includes people’s careers. We like to think of this as a leadership/goals essay and we’ve helped candidates achieve success thinking along these same lines. The key to making this a great essay is having a plan to reach an impactful goal even though you may get knocked off course — or change your mind.

Essay 2 Option B is a self-explanatory prompt for a self-explanatory essay of 500 words. If you want to get creative make sure it’s not the same video or app you submitted to MIT.