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NYU Stern School of Business Sample Essay

NYU Stern by Zac Shannon licensed under CC BY 2.0

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?
(750 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

As a senior at Princeton, I walked into my first screening meeting at The FoxFund, a private equity start-up, not anticipating the humbling experience that lay ahead. Confident of becoming a great investor, I imagined investing to be formulaic and numerical. However, as I vetted ideas with fund principals, I was surprised by the variation and extent of qualitative considerations involved in evaluating a variety of businesses. Un-phased, I undertook the analysis of a repossession company that passed screening. Based on meticulous research, I concluded the company was a good buyout target. Yet, when I presented my work, I could not provide substantive answers to some of the questions asked by fund principals.

The Associate Intern role at The FoxFund illustrated that investing requires continual learning and creativity, catalyzing my passion for this work. Furthermore, the long-term, fundamentals-based approach to company analysis I implemented at The FoxFund carried over to my personal investing, leading me to professionally pursue value-oriented public markets investing that employs a similar approach. As a Senior Research Associate at XX&YY, I developed a contrarian approach to capital allocation when investing in businesses facing near-term headwinds. Perceiving great importance in ushering capital to such deserving companies to ensure their prospects, I want to continue value investing in public markets for the rest of my life.

My long-term goal is to start a value investing fund, focused on emerging markets. As geographies such as Eastern Europe and South Africa mature, they stimulate capital flows that improve these countries’ standards of living. Contributing to these improvements through investments via my own fund specifically appeals to me for the challenge of developing my own investment philosophy, being entrusted to grow capital, and building a collaborative team that serves clients successfully.

To progress towards my long-term goal, upon graduation I intend to gain more experience investing in emerging markets as an Analyst at XYZ. In this role, I will manage a portfolio from day one, placing an onus on myself to make decisions that grow capital. Yet, I will also be in a discussion-based culture, creating opportunities to hone my investment approach based on the input and wisdom of tenured value investors. I will also learn the intricacies of a synergistic organizational structure that has produced superior returns for clients since 1931, informing how I structure my fund.

To achieve my short-term goal at XYZ requires that I diversify my current analytical capacities and hone my leadership skills in ways only available through an MBA. Having been captivated by Professor xxx during investment banking training while at JP Morgan, Stern was immediately placed in the “must attend” category. To learn more about Stern, I spoke to Bob Smith, my former staffer at JP Morgan and a Stern graduate. Bob’s recount of his MBA experience highlighted the benefits of a rigorous finance education, diverse international and team learning opportunities, and a Greenwich Village location. Excited by Bob’s account, I explored the program further, listening to Stern’s podcasts and reading the school’s website, as well as unaffiliated business school reviews. I concluded that the Stern experience, supplemented by my investing background, is best suited to empower me to achieve my professional goals.

Courses such as Emerging Financial Markets will provide perspective on dynamic business situations I am likely to encounter in emerging markets investing, while Investment Strategies will inform the frameworks I employ in company analysis. I will also develop further operational and management insights through core courses such as the Strategy series and Operations Management.

Stern will allow me to refine my investment philosophy and develop team skills specific to international business analysis. Home to elite value investors, Manhattan is an ideal setting for advancing my investment approach via Stern’s adjunct faculty and student access to investors. In addition, partaking in programs such as DBi will provide me with experience working collaboratively with diverse teams in foreign countries. Such experience will be valuable when conducting primary research in frontier countries and working with international investment teams.

Having identified my desire to advance frontier economies through public markets value investing, I now must build upon my investing and business acumen, while progressing my investment philosophy and team skills specific to international business analysis. A Stern MBA will enable me to do so by providing the foundation for my future.