Much like New York City itself, NYU Stern has changed significantly over the years. In 2019, Stern released a ‘Call to Action,’ rebranding with its new slogan: “Change. Dare it. Dream it. Drive it.” Just as Stern has taken many steps to enhance its program in a rapidly changing, forward-thinking world, such as doubling down on tech options, the Admissions Committee wants to see analogous motivation in its applicants. Stern’s ethos around adaptability, and the premium it puts on cultivating leaders who are nimble, flexible and agile in the face of ambiguity, couldn’t be more relevant given the complexities of our current Covid-19 reality.
As a Fortuna Admissions coach, tech-consultant and NYU Stern MBA alum, I’ve worked with countless candidates to deliver a narrative that’s persuasive, coherent, concise and authentic to you. You’ll want to consider Stern’s ethos and new curriculum in approaching your application.
So what is NYU Stern looking for in its candidates? No matter your background, Stern wants to see that you are progressively thinking beyond your industry’s traditional definitions. Think about how you can position your achievements to highlight that you are more than someone who can simply be a passenger to change, but rather a leader or orchestrator of change.
3 TIPS TO CRAFTING A STANDOUT MBA APPLICATION TO NYU STERN
- Demonstrate EQ + IQ
Stern is proud of its reputation for developing students who are not only smart but also have interpersonal strengths and teamwork skills. The Admissions Committee uses a holistic approach to evaluate applicants, looking beyond strong grades and test scores to assess EQ (emotional intelligence). Stern will evaluate individuals’ personal characteristics and is looking for prospective students who will be involved in the school community.
You will have a number of opportunities to demonstrate your EQ and IQ, through your essays, interview and campus visit, as well as the EQ endorsements, which are included in your two recommendations. The instructions provided by Stern specify that one recommendation should be provided from a direct supervisor, but your second can extend beyond your professional relationships, excluding immediate family members. They are looking for a richer and deeper understanding of who you are through this endorsement, so you should choose someone who knows you extremely well and can be a compelling advocate of your EQ. Resist the inclination to get hung up on the person’s title or position and select someone who can communicate your personal and professional strengths most strongly.
- Convey What You’ll Bring to the Community of “Sternies”
From the moment you set foot on campus, you’ll witness firsthand how the Stern students and faculty are approachable and collaborative. This sense of community is often noted by students and alumni in testimonials. “Sternies” are ingrained with a sense a responsibility to help each other throughout their MBA, constantly developing new resources for knowledge sharing and interpersonal development.
A big part of the Stern experience involves extracurricular activities, which include professional groups as well as recreational clubs. MBA students run the campus clubs and select the next generation of leaders in each incoming class. Whether you have a talent in music or sports or just have a desire to learn something new, the committee is interested in hearing what you can contribute to the Stern community.
- Address Weaknesses in Your Application
Take a look at Stern’s latest class profile – if you fall below the middle 80% range in GMAT or undergraduate GPA you can take steps to address your concerns. For someone with a limited number of quantitative classes on your resume or poor undergraduate grades, consider taking a class like calculus, statistics, economics, or even accounting to prove you can handle the quant-heavy coursework. You can also think about taking on analytical projects at your job to show your strength in this area. In addition to considering a candidate’s academic and professional background in the admissions process, Stern places a strong emphasis on personal characteristics. If you are weaker in one area, find a way to show strengths in another.
For more insights and advice, view my related blog post, “NYU Stern Essays: Strategy & Tips for Success.”
Trisha Nussbaum is an MBA Admissions coach with Fortuna Admissions and an NYU Stern alumna who has experience working at top tech giants Google and IBM. For a candid assessment of your chances of admission success at a top MBA program, sign up for a free consultation.