Meet NYU Stern’s MBA Class of 2018


In grade school, the three R’s — reading, writing, and arithmetic — were the foundation of the curriculum. When you come to New York University’s Stern School of Business, you’ll find a new set of priorities driving the program. They’re called the three C’s: classroom, careers, and character.

“We seek and screen for not only academic excellence but also emotional intelligence during our admissions process,” explains Isser Gallogly, the school’s associate dean of MBA admissions. “We believe this combination is what makes Stern’s community unique and is especially critical to future leadership success.”


Indeed, such balance is considered key to long-term career success, let alone being admitted into Stern. Here, the community views the pursuit of knowledge as vanity unless it is accompanied by integrity and conveyed through soft skills. “What sets Stern students apart is this IQ versus EQ,” Gallogly said in a 2015 interview with Poets&Quants, “the fact that they understand how to interact with people, how to lead people, that they have superior communications skills, and are very collaborative.”

That doesn’t mean candidates have to be perfect. In fact, Gallogly says, Stern welcomes flaws — provided they’re tempered by self-awareness and humility. “The biggest sign of strength is being okay saying what your weakness is. The more that you understand that, the more you can put yourself in a position to be successful — or by getting people around you, teammates who can help you address areas that you’re not as good in.”

NYU Stern School of Business assistant dean of MBA admissions Isser Gallogly

Isser Gallogly, NYU Stern School of Business assistant dean of MBA admissions

So how does the Class of 2018 rate according to these values? They are an “extraordinary group” Gallogly says. “Individually, they represent a diverse set of professional backgrounds, cultures and experiences,” he notes. “Collectively, they are a high-potential group with a passion for Stern and strong ‘IQ plus EQ.'”


The class isn’t shy about admitting their faults, which can easily morph into strengths depending on the situation. Sohnhwa Lee, a U.S. Navy supply officer, calls herself a “stubborn but sweet-hearted, independent woman who loves to explore and laugh.” She is joined by Allison Kantor, a Big Apple native who’s a “happy, self-proclaimed type A, literary nerd, quick to laugh and thirsty for knowledge.” Like Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama, Allie Esslinger left the South to make it big in her adopted home of New York City. A film producer, she lists her loves as iced coffee and the Alabama Crimson Tide, adding, “I believe television can save the world.”

Then there’s Ricardo Albrey, a native of Canada and Venezuela who was seemingly born to study at Stern: “I am an adventurous, world-traveling, bicultural, and sustainability-conscious problem solver.” Don’t expect the big city to intimidate him one bit. “I am not scared of heights — I have rappelled down the exterior of high-rise buildings on a set of ropes over 100 times.”

It is an equally inspiring and accomplished class. After being wounded in combat and spending two years in and out of hospitals, Chris Larsen returned to the U.S. Army to become an infantry company commander. Lee was one of the first female officers to serve on a submarine. Esslinger launched her own production company, Olive Juice Films, which has already developed an original series. Equally impressive, Kantor climbed into a leadership role at Bloomingdale’s despite her nontraditional background. “I came to Bloomingdale’s as a religious studies major from a liberal arts college and pushed myself to learn how to be comfortable with the financials of running a business.”


By the numbers, it was an up-and-down class. Applications rose from 3,696 to 3,773 in 2015-2016. At the same time, the school’s acceptance rate rose from 20% to 23% — a percentage that’s equivalent to those at similar high-powered programs like Tuck, Booth, and Fuqua. However, the incoming class was noticeably smaller at 392 students, 12 fewer than the 2017 Class but in line with class populations from 2012-2015.

The big news, however, came with average GMAT scores, which had settled in the 719-721 range for the past five years. In 2015-2016, the average plunged to 710, with scores going from 650-760 in the 80% range (with 790 being the highest score and 560 being the lowest). That said, average undergraduate GPAs held steady at 3.51.

Studying at the NYU Stern School of Business - Ethan Baron photo

Studying at the NYU Stern School of Business. Ethan Baron photo

On a positive note, the percentage of women rose from 34% to 35% for the 2018 Class, with the percentage of underrepresented minorities growing from 9% to 12% (American minorities, as a whole, accounted for 30% of the class). Alas, these gains were accompanied by a 6% drop in international students, to 31% — the lowest mark in six years.


Despite being 15 minutes from Wall Street, Stern isn’t necessarily a refuge for quants. Thirty-eight percent of the 2018 Class majored in social sciences, humanities, and the arts as undergrads, up 3% from the previous class. Business majors also increased by 5%, from 24% to 29%, while STEM majors’ 20% share stayed the same. Economics majors comprised the remainder of the class. When it comes to professional experience, though, quants headline a deeply diverse class — just not to the extent most might expect. Finance accounts for 26% of the class, with only consulting (10%) matching it in double digits.

By graduation, these numbers shift quite a bit … in some sectors, at least. Finance remains the biggest draw for Stern graduates, with 35.3% of the 2016 class choosing the field. Notably, 28.2% entered investment banking, with another 5% joining asset management and diversified financial services and 1% finding their way into hedge funds. Consulting drew 28.5% of the class — a number that has nearly doubled since 2010. You’ll find a similar dynamic in the media and technology sector at Stern, which took 14% of the 2016 Class, up from 6% just six years ago.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.