NYU Stern MBA Essay 2024-2025 Analysis, Tips, and Framework for Success

By admitStreet Team

Navigating the MBA application process can be both exhilarating and daunting, especially when faced with unique essay prompts like those offered by NYU Stern. 

NYU Stern’s MBA essays stand out for their creativity and depth, offering applicants a platform to showcase not just their professional achievements, but also their personal values and aspirations. Understanding how to approach these essays strategically can make all the difference in crafting a compelling application that resonates with the admissions committee.

In this article, we delve into an analysis of NYU Stern’s MBA essays and offer valuable tips to help you craft compelling responses that stand out to the admissions committee.

Short Answer: Professional Aspirations

(150 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

  • What are your short-term career goals?

What NYU Stern MBA Admissions Committee Seeks from the Short Answer Essay

NYU Stern’s MBA admissions committee uses the short answer essay to gauge applicants’ clarity of purpose and their alignment with the program’s offerings. In just 150 words, they expect you to succinctly articulate your immediate career goals post-MBA. 

This includes specifying the role, industry, and possibly even the type and stage of the company you aspire to join. They are interested not only in your goals but also in understanding how well you’ve researched and articulated your career path. This essay serves as a snapshot of your career aspirations and how an MBA from Stern fits into your plans.

Framework to Write a Winning Essay

Crafting a compelling short answer essay for NYU Stern involves a structured approach:

Begin with a clear and direct statement of your short-term career goals. For instance, “Post-MBA, I aim to transition into a product management role within the fintech sector, focusing on enhancing financial accessibility for underserved communities.”

Next, provide context by discussing why this goal is meaningful to you. Share personal insights or experiences that have shaped your career aspirations, emphasizing how achieving these goals will enable you to make a meaningful impact.

Connect your goals to NYU Stern specifically. Highlight specific resources, programs, or aspects of the Stern MBA that align with your career objectives and how they will support your professional growth.

Conclude by briefly touching upon your long-term career vision, showing how your short-term goals contribute to your broader career trajectory and the impact you aspire to achieve in the long run.

Tips for Writing

  • Be Concise and Direct: With only 150 words, every sentence counts. Avoid unnecessary details or tangents.
  • Show Alignment: Demonstrate a clear connection between your past experiences, current skills, and future aspirations. This alignment reinforces the credibility of your goals.
  • Research Stern: Showcase your knowledge of NYU Stern’s unique offerings and explain why it’s the ideal place for you to achieve your goals.
  • Inject Personality: While concise, your essay should still reflect your personality and passion for your chosen career path.
  • Proofread: Given the brevity, ensure each word contributes to your message effectively. Edit for clarity and coherence.

NYU Stern MBA Essay 1

Essay 1: Change: _________ it
(350 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
In today’s global business environment, the only constant is change. Using NYU Stern’s brand call to action, we want to know how you view change. Change: _____ it. Fill in the blank with a word of your choice. Why does this word resonate with you? How will you embrace your own personal tagline while at Stern? Examples:

  • Change: Dare it.
  • Change: Dream it.
  • Change: Drive it.
  • Change: Empower it.
  • Change: Manifest it.
  • Change: [Any word of your choice] it.

What the NYU Stern MBA Admissions Committee Seeks

The admissions committee at NYU Stern is looking for candidates who not only understand the inevitability and significance of change in today’s global business environment but who also possess the self-awareness to articulate a meaningful response to the prompt. 

They want to see applicants who can connect their personal experiences with a chosen word that signifies their attitude towards change, and who can convincingly outline how they plan to embody this tagline while at Stern.

Framework to Write a Winning Essay

To craft a compelling essay for NYU Stern’s prompt, follow this structured approach:

  • Reflect on Your Relationship with Change: Start by introspecting deeply. Consider how change has shaped your personal and professional journey so far. What word resonates with you when you think of change? Is it about daring to innovate, empowering others, manifesting opportunities, or something entirely different? Choose a word that genuinely reflects your beliefs and experiences rather than what you think the admissions committee wants to hear.
  • Connect Your Word to Personal Experience: Share a specific anecdote or story from your life or career that exemplifies your chosen word. For instance, if you choose “Empower,” discuss a time when you empowered a team to achieve a significant goal. This story should illustrate why this word defines your approach to change.
  • Relate Your Tagline to NYU Stern: Research NYU Stern thoroughly. Understand its values, culture, and unique offerings. How can your chosen tagline contribute to the Stern community? Identify specific clubs, courses, or initiatives at Stern that align with your tagline. Demonstrate how you plan to engage with and enrich the Stern community using concrete examples.
  • Outline Actionable Steps: Detail 3-4 actionable steps or initiatives you intend to pursue at Stern that embody your tagline. This could include joining specific clubs, participating in leadership programs, or spearheading initiatives that foster positive change within the school community.
  • Craft a Cohesive Narrative: Ensure your essay flows logically from your chosen word to your personal story, your plans at Stern, and finally, how these elements combine to illustrate your readiness to contribute to and thrive within NYU Stern’s MBA program.

Tips for Writing

  • Authenticity Over Novelty: Choose a word that genuinely reflects your beliefs and experiences rather than one you think will impress the admissions committee.
  • Research and Specificity: Show that you have researched NYU Stern’s program thoroughly. Discuss specific aspects of the school that align with your goals and how you plan to engage with them.
  • Balance Creativity with Clarity: While creativity is encouraged, ensure your essay remains clear and focused. Avoid overly complex or obscure language that might distract from your message.
  • Review and Revise: Give yourself ample time to draft, revise, and edit your essay. Seek feedback from mentors, peers, or admissions consultants to refine your narrative and ensure clarity and impact.

NYU Stern MBA Essay 2

Essay 2: Personal Expression (a.k.a. “Pick Six”)
Introduce yourself to the Admissions Committee and to your future classmates using six images and corresponding captions. The Pick Six is a way to share more about the qualities you will bring to the Stern community, beyond your professional and academic achievements. Your uploaded PDF should contain all of the following elements:

  • A brief introduction or overview of your “Pick Six” (no more than 3 sentences).
  • Six images that help illustrate your interests, values, motivations, perspective and/or personality.
  • A one-sentence caption for each of the six images that helps explain why they were selected and are significant to you.

Note: Your visuals may include photos, infographics, drawings, or any other images. Your document must be uploaded as a single PDF. The essay cannot be sent in physical form or be linked to a website.

What the NYU Stern MBA Admissions Committee Seeks

The essence of this essay prompt lies in its ability to reveal the unique qualities, interests, and perspectives that you bring to the Stern community. 

While your resume and other essays may highlight your professional journey and goals, the “Pick Six” essay serves as a canvas for showcasing your personal identity and what drives you outside of your career ambitions. 

The admissions committee aims to grasp a holistic view of your character, values, motivations, and how you might contribute to and thrive within their MBA program.

Framework to Write a Winning Essay

To craft a compelling “Pick Six” essay for NYU Stern, consider the following steps:

  • Start with Reflection: Begin by reflecting on what makes you unique as an individual beyond your professional achievements. Think about your personal journey, pivotal moments, passions, and the values that define you. This introspection will guide you in selecting images that authentically represent different facets of your identity.
  • Select Meaningful Images: Choose images that resonate deeply with who you are and what matters to you. These can range from personal milestones and hobbies to cultural experiences and relationships. Each image should tell a story or convey an aspect of your character that might not be apparent from your resume or other application materials.
  • Diversify Your Selection: Ensure diversity in your choices to present a well-rounded portrait of yourself. Include a mix of images that highlight various dimensions of your life, such as community involvement, intellectual pursuits, creative endeavors, or moments of personal growth. This diversity will help the admissions committee grasp the breadth of your personality and interests.
  • Craft Compelling Captions: Write concise, one-sentence captions for each image that provide context and enhance the viewer’s understanding. Avoid merely describing what’s visible in the image; instead, use the caption to delve into why that particular image is significant to you and how it reflects your values or aspirations. Captions should complement the images by adding depth and personal insight.
  • Ensure Cohesion: Consider how your six images work together as a cohesive narrative. Each image should contribute something unique to the overall portrayal of your character. Avoid redundancy by ensuring that each selection offers new insights or perspectives that collectively paint a comprehensive picture of who you are.

Tips for Writing

Here are some additional tips to refine your “Pick Six” essay:

  • Authenticity Matters: Be genuine in your selection of images and captions. Choose moments and experiences that genuinely reflect your personality and values.
  • Showcase Diversity: Use this opportunity to showcase the breadth of your interests and experiences. Balance serious reflections with lighter, more personal moments to provide a well-rounded view of yourself.
  • Highlight Impact: Emphasize the significance of each image in shaping your outlook or character. Explain why each moment or object is meaningful to you and how it contributes to your personal narrative.
  • Review and Revise: After selecting your images and drafting captions, review them critically. Ensure that each element contributes meaningfully to your overall portrayal. Edit for clarity, conciseness, and impact.
  • Stay True to Stern’s Culture: Consider how your selections and narratives align with NYU Stern’s emphasis on emotional intelligence (EQ) and community engagement. Show how you embody these values through your chosen images.

NYU Stern MBA Essay 3

Essay 3: Additional Information (optional)
(500 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee and/or give context to your application. This may include important aspects of yourself not otherwise apparent in your application, including but not limited to: hardships you have encountered, current or past gaps in employment, further explanation of your undergraduate record or self-reported academic transcript(s), plans to retake the GMAT, GRE, Executive Assessment, IELTS or TOEFL, or any other relevant information.

After completing your application, the optional essay at NYU Stern provides an additional chance to offer the Admissions Committee any extra information or clarity that could strengthen your candidacy.

One common mistake MBA applicants make is using this essay to introduce a completely new topic. However, this approach may not always be advisable.

You should utilize this essay only if what you write adds context to an aspect of your application, enhancing your overall candidacy. Avoid the temptation to introduce unnecessary content that could potentially detract from your application.

NYU Stern’s optional essay prompt is broader than many others. This year, the admissions committee has expanded it to encourage candidates, if they wish, to discuss aspects of their diversity. This adjustment may reflect recent legal developments limiting direct inquiries into applicants’ race and gender by schools. 

The prompt also allows candidates to address any weaknesses in their application profile, providing an opportunity to resolve any lingering questions the admissions officers may have. However, it’s important not to feel pressured to fill this space unnecessarily, as leaving it blank will not be held against you. 

Lastly, refrain from repurposing essays written for other schools or including anecdotes that didn’t fit elsewhere.

Final Thoughts

Crafting impactful essays for NYU Stern requires a blend of introspection, creativity, and strategic thinking. Each essay prompt is designed to uncover different facets of your personality and experiences, providing an opportunity to present a holistic view of yourself beyond your resume. 

Whether you’re tackling the “Pick Six” essay or the Change essay, remember to stay true to yourself, leverage your unique experiences, and align your narrative with NYU Stern’s values and culture. By approaching each essay with authenticity and purpose, you can effectively demonstrate why you are a perfect fit for NYU Stern’s MBA program.

Remember, your journey to NYU Stern begins with a thoughtful and compelling application.

Drop us a line if you’d like to have a chat about your MBA applications – we’d be glad to be of help!

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