NYU Stern MBA Essays for 2024: A Comprehensive Guide

Home » NYU Stern MBA Essays for 2024: A Comprehensive Guide

Applying to business school is a multifaceted process that requires a careful balance of showcasing professional achievements, personal strengths, and future ambitions. For the 2024 application cycle, NYU Stern School of Business has outlined specific essay prompts designed to capture the essence of your professional aspirations, your ability to embrace change, and your personal expression. This guide will break down each component of the Stern MBA essays, providing insights and strategies to help you craft compelling responses.

Short Answer: Professional Aspirations

Prompt: What are your short-term career goals? (150 words maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

The short answer question on professional aspirations is designed to be concise yet impactful. With only 150 words, you have little room for elaboration, so every word must count. NYU Stern wants you to articulate your motivation for earning an MBA and your expectations for your career immediately after graduation. This is not the place for grand, long-term visions but rather a focused declaration of your short-term goals. You should clearly state your desired position, industry, and the type of company you aim to work for post-MBA. Specificity is crucial here; vague statements about wanting to “make an impact” or “lead a team” are insufficient. Instead, outline a precise role, such as “joining a top-tier consulting firm as a management consultant specializing in technology solutions.” This level of detail demonstrates that you have a well-thought-out plan.

Your stated goals should align with your existing skills and experiences. If you have a background in software development and project management, for example, these should be evident in your response, showing that your goals are not only ambitious but also attainable. Briefly mentioning how Stern’s program will help you achieve these goals can add depth to your response, but keep it concise. The admissions committee is looking for clarity and realism in your aspirations, so ensure your goals are achievable within the context of your background and the opportunities an MBA from Stern will provide. This will lend credibility to your statement and show that you are entering the program with a clear and realistic career trajectory.

Essay 1: Change: _______ it

Prompt: 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? (350 words maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

This essay allows you to demonstrate your adaptability and vision in a constantly evolving business environment. To craft an effective response, begin by reflecting deeply on what change means to you both personally and professionally. Consider how change has impacted your life and career so far. Think about specific instances where you have navigated significant changes, whether by embracing new opportunities, adapting to unforeseen challenges, or initiating transformations within your organization. Your reaction to change, whether you embrace it or resist it, and your reasons for doing so will form the foundation of your essay.

Choosing an authentic word to fill in the blank is crucial. The word you select should resonate with your personal experiences and reflect your attitude toward change. This word will be the centerpiece of your essay, so it must be meaningful to you. For example, if you choose “embrace,” you should provide a narrative that explains why this word is significant. Share specific anecdotes or experiences that illustrate how you have embraced change in the past. This could include a career transition, a personal transformation, or a project where you led a team through significant changes. Your story should highlight your adaptability, resilience, and proactive approach to change.

Connecting your personal tagline to your future at Stern is another critical component of this essay. You need to illustrate how you will embody this word while at Stern. This involves highlighting specific programs, courses, or opportunities at Stern that align with your chosen word and demonstrating how you will leverage these resources to drive change. For instance, if your word is “innovate,” you could discuss your interest in Stern’s Tech MBA program and how it will equip you with the skills to drive innovation in the technology sector. Researching Stern’s programs and understanding the school’s values and culture will help you make a compelling case for how you will contribute to the community.

Essay 2: Personal Expression (a.k.a. “Pick Six”)

Prompt: Introduce yourself to the Admissions Committee and to your future classmates using six images and corresponding captions. 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.

This unique format allows you to showcase your personality and interests through a creative medium. This essay allows you to introduce yourself to the Admissions Committee and your future classmates using six images and corresponding captions. The goal is to share more about the qualities you will bring to the Stern community beyond your professional and academic achievements. To start, craft a brief introduction or overview of your “Pick Six” that sets the stage for the Admissions Committee to understand the context of your choices. This introduction should be no more than three sentences and provide a cohesive theme or concept behind your selection of images.

Selecting meaningful images is the next step. These images should represent your interests, values, motivations, perspective, and personality. They can include photos, infographics, drawings, or any visual that is significant to you. For example, an image of a community service event could illustrate your commitment to social impact, while a photo of you playing a musical instrument might reflect your passion for the arts. The images should collectively provide a holistic view of who you are and what you value.

Writing informative captions for each image is essential to enhance their meaning. Each caption should be a single sentence that explains the significance of the image. The caption should add depth to your visual representation by providing context or highlighting an important aspect of your personality. For instance, a caption for an image of you volunteering might read, “Volunteering at XYZ organisation taught me the importance of giving back and strengthened my commitment to social impact.” This adds a layer of understanding that goes beyond the visual element.

It’s important to format your document carefully, ensuring that it is uploaded as a single PDF. This technical requirement is crucial for a seamless review process. Your visuals should be high quality and professionally presented, reflecting the care and attention you have put into your application. Remember that this is not an art contest; the goal is to authentically represent who you are through your images and captions.

Essay 3: Additional Information (optional)

Prompt: 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. (500 words maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

The additional information essay is optional but provides an opportunity to address any aspects of your application that may require further explanation. This could include gaps in your employment, inconsistencies in your academic record, or any personal hardships that have impacted your journey. If you choose to write this essay, it’s important to be honest and concise. Focus on providing context and explaining the circumstances behind any anomalies. For example, if you have gaps in your employment, explain the reasons behind them and what you learned from those experiences. This could include taking time off to care for a family member, pursuing additional education, or navigating a career transition.

If there are any anomalies in your academic performance, such as low grades in certain courses, provide context and explain how you have worked to overcome these challenges. Highlight any steps you have taken to address these issues, such as retaking standardized tests or pursuing additional coursework. This demonstrates your resilience and commitment to personal and professional growth.

The additional information essay is also an opportunity to share any other relevant details that you believe are important for the Admissions Committee to know. This could include plans to retake standardised tests, further explanation of your undergraduate record, or any other information that provides a fuller picture of your candidacy. Be sure to stay within the 500-word limit and adhere to the formatting requirements.

Crafting your essays for NYU Stern requires a thorough understanding of what the school values in its applicants. Stern places a strong emphasis on leadership, collaboration, and a global mindset. As you write your essays, keep these values in mind and demonstrate how you embody them through your experiences and aspirations. Authenticity is key; share genuine experiences and insights that reflect who you are and what you aspire to achieve. Avoid trying to fit a perceived mold or writing what you think the Admissions Committee wants to hear. Instead, focus on telling your unique story in a way that highlights your strengths and aligns with Stern’s values.

Proofreading your essays is essential to ensure they are free from grammatical errors and typos. Consider having a mentor, colleague, or professional review your work to provide feedback and catch any mistakes you may have missed. This will help you present a polished and professional application.

Adhering to the word limits and formatting requirements is crucial. This demonstrates your ability to follow instructions and communicate effectively. Staying within the prescribed limits ensures that your essays are concise and to the point, making it easier for the Admissions Committee to understand your message.

Reflecting on your experiences and revising your essays is an important part of the writing process. Take the time to think deeply about your experiences and how they have shaped you. Consider how your background, skills, and aspirations align with Stern’s values and what you hope to contribute to the community. Revise your essays to ensure they tell a cohesive and compelling story, making each word count.

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