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Stern MBA Essays & Analysis 2023-2024

stern MBA Essays

The following essay topic analysis examines NYU Stern’s MBA admissions essays. The Stern MBA essays are for the 2023-2024 admissions season. You can also review essay topic analyses for all other leading MBA programs as well as general Essay Tips to further aid you in developing your admissions essays.

Stern MBA Essays & Analysis 2023-2024

Let’s take a closer look at each prompt.

Short Answer: Professional Aspirations

What are your short-term career goals? (150 word maximum)
NYU has trimmed their career goals essay down to a focus on the short term only. Applicants should concisely describe their plans upon graduating from Stern, covering the particular role and responsibilities they are interested in. Name your target firms and skills that you hope to hone. Space permitting, you could lend meaning to your short-term plans by touching on your long-term goals and/or impact you ultimately wish to have. It can also behoove you to highlight how Stern is the ideal stepping stone to your short-term position. Before such additional information, ensure your short-term career goals are the priority and fully covered.

Essay 1: Change

Change: _________ it
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.]

(350 word maximum)
Stern’s first prompt reaches for applicants’ ability to adapt, to innovate and to engage in global business. To show how the word “resonates” with you invites anecdotal evidence of how you have lived the tagline. To brainstorm for this essay, watch their video, then consider your recent professional or personal achievements. Look at the list you have generated and try to determine which projects or achievements connect the most with a sense of change. Ideally, you would be the main driver in positive change (and therefore outcome). 350 words is not a lot of space, so identify the tagline you selected, set the stage with the major players and account for how you drove change and yielded positive results as concisely as possible.

Finally, highlight specific features of the Stern MBA program that will allow you to evolve during the program or affect positive change for fellow students. This can be club activities, in courses and more – speaking with alumni or attending admissions events can give you keen ideas on opportunities at Stern. You can take direction on this element from Lisa Rios, NYU Stern Assistant Dean of MBA Admissions, who mentioned, “The world needs future leaders who are agile and ready to drive change, likely without a roadmap. Stern is the place where you will learn to make change your ally, through coursework, Stern Solutions experiential projects with companies, and more.”

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

Describe 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 who you are.
  • 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 that best describe you. Your document must be uploaded as a single PDF. The essay cannot be sent in physical form or be linked to a website.
This is a chance to literally show the adcom who you are, where you come from, and what you care about. Candidates should consider what they would truly want their classmates to know about them, while also being mindful of the balance of content between the required essays. That is, because the first response asks about candidates’ career goals, and would necessarily include some commentary on work experience, it would make sense to focus the majority of one’s comments in this response on one’s life outside the workplace. Applicants will want to think reflectively about their values and personality, as well as strategically about what makes them unique with respect to other applicants. Naturally, you’ll also want to communicate your enthusiasm about meeting and working with your fellow students and comment on any ways you would engage with them that aren’t covered in your first essay.  The goal will be to convey information about your interests, values, and personality in the context of this creative exercise.

This prompt invites interspersing text with photos and graphics. A captioned photo album of particularly proud moments or a decision-making flow chart visualizing how you decide to spend your free time could show your creativity and willingness to put special effort into your Stern application. Finally, no matter the balance of images and text, applicants should pay attention to tone and ensure that they’re coming across as sincere, collaborative, and excited about the prospect of joining the NYU community.

Optional Essay

Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee. This may include 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. (250 words)
Given the scope of the required essays and the explicit guidelines provided for this essay, applicants would do best to address only the topics outlined by the admissions committee for this prompt.

Clear Admit Resources

Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s Stern MBA essays! As you work on your NYU Stern MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s Stern offerings: