NYU Stern’s Gatekeeper On The New EQ-Focused Application

A Pick Six example from Sebastian Hooker, who is enrolled in the tech and entrepreneurship MBA at NYU Stern. Courtesy photo

P&Q: We’ve talked a bit about the changes in the application you all have recently made. Have you seen any changes in the applicant pool over the past few years?

Gallogly: I think this has been going on for more than a few years now, but people who were growing up and experienced the ’07-’08 drama that occurred have a different vantage point. And a lot of those folk have been coming through a little bit and are coming through even more when those were really formative years. They’ve seen what can happen to industries and they’ve seen the good and the bad in business. They’ve seen how it affects themselves, how it affects their families and those in their communities. And I believe from those experiences, along with others, that they’re seeking something more than a career. I think they are seeking a profession, a calling, something that has meaning. And it doesn’t meant that they want to go off and work for the Red Cross or something — they can get meaning from their jobs, you know, traditional jobs. But that’s becoming increasingly important — does my career have some sort of impact? Or am I just perpetuating ongoing cycles? And that also speaks to the fact that they also have a life as well — that they feel like they can do some of the things they want to do outside of work and it’s not just all about the work or all about the money from the work.

That’s why I think we’ve seen such an interest in the tech space. That’s a new and exciting field. A lot of tech companies are known for having a bit more of a balanced approach to life and lifestyles. And a lot of them are having a huge impact in terms of how things are done, goods and services, a lot of them have CSR programs, or are engaged in green programs and sustainability. These things are fully engrained in the DNA of today’s applicants. And they are important for schools to know and understand.

At Stern, we’ve been part of this change in many ways, you know, whether it’s our sustainability effort, or the creative destruction lab, obviously the boom in tech with our new tech MBA. There are just so many things that are a part of this. But I also think that is why people respond so well to the Pick Six and the EQ endorsement. Because it speaks to us looking at them beyond a business person to a person that wants to make a contribution and impact. And so it has to be a more holistic and much more individualistic view of what they are, what their DNA is, and what they think their roadmap towards impact will be. When you talk to our new dean, Raghu, he’s all about the future. He’s all about what is the change that is going to happen? How are you going to evolve? How are you going to innovate? How are you going to adapt? What is your impact going to be? Because the pace of things is also accelerating.

I feel like we’ve always been a place that values these things. It’s nice to do that and see it magnified. But that would be the macro trend that I see and it’s fun to be part of it.

P&Q: I like how you brought that back full-circle. That was nice.

Gallogly (laughing): There’s a reason we do what we do, right? It’s usually based in what we’re seeing. At Stern, if there is a word I’d use these days it’s ahead. We’re always thinking about what’s next. We have a long, long history, but we don’t really care about it. We’re not looking at the last hundred years, we’re looking at the next hundred years. I joke about it a lot, I say, you know there are a lot of schools that have a history, but Stern has a future. And we’re always thinking about what’s next, what’s ahead, what’s coming down the pike. We’re not handcuffed to old rules. We don’t really care about that. That’s why it’s fun to be here. Every year is a new adventure for me and I’ve been here over 15 years. You just keep seeing new change at an accelerating rate. You keep seeing new ways to make an impact. These one-year programs are just so radically different, but of course we would do this. I think there are many schools that would never do this. It’s fun.

P&Q: Any final thoughts?

Gallogly: I think we covered a lot ground and that gives you a good flavor for what we’re doing.