Describe Yourself To Your Mba Classmates Essay

NYU Stern Essay 3 for 2008: Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates


Nov, 02, 2007


My Fall 2009 essay analysis can be found here.

This is the second of two posts on New York University Stern’s essay questions for Fall 2008 admission. The first post is here. I suggest reading the first post before reading this one.

There are two reasons that I am analyzing NYU’s essays. The first is that I am working with a number of clients applying there. The second is that I really like Essay 3. You can find complete instructions for the entire essay set in my previous post, but here is the core part of the question:

Essay 3. Personal Expression:
Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates. You may use almost any method to convey your message (e.g. words, illustrations). Feel free to be creative.
This is the NYU question. It is the one that seems to stop many applicants from applying to Stern (which is good for Stern’s yield). In my experience, I have found that strong applicants who are willing to put the time into this question are often well rewarded (invited for interviews, admitted), but those who slap something together are often rejected.

You don’t have to make anything or do anything visual. A creative essay can be at least as effective as anything else. If you think you can answer the question most effectively by writing an essay, just do that.

In past years, I have had clients who have done Power Points for NYU, but given that Chicago GSB now requires one, if you are applying to Chicago GSB and Stern, don’t do a Power Point for Stern because the NYU admissions people will know (they can always look at your GMAT Score Report unless you control for that) you were trying to cut corners. After all, one reason NYU asks this question is because they want you to show your commitment to NYU by putting time into it.

In general, anytime a school has a non-standard question, you should really keep in mind that they are looking for answers that demonstrate an applicant’s willingness to put time into it.

Regarding time, try to give yourself at least three weeks before the deadline to write this. In my experience, most successful versions of this essay take more time and drafts than most other essays. Of course, some applicants can do it right quickly, but since you are trying to be creative and also to effectively introduce yourself to your classmates, you may need more time.

One very common initial error with this essay is to focus on being creative at the exclusion of thinking about the purpose: to introduce yourself to your classmates. Keep in mind that your objective is to create a positive image of yourself that would make an excellent first impression on your classmates. It may be creative, but make sure that it also leaves admissions with a clear understanding of what positive impression of yourself you are communicating. It is your job to provide a sufficiently clear message regardless of the way you creatively present yourself.

Some Questions to get you brainstorming:
1. What do you want Stern Admissions to know about you that would positively impact your chances for admission?
2. What major positive aspects of your life have not been effectively INTERPRETED to the admissions committee in other parts of the application?
3. If you were meeting people that would you be working closely with for two years and that you might want as a part of your lifetime professional network, what would you tell them about yourself to create a strong first impression?
4. Why do people like you?
5. If there was one story about yourself that you think would really help admissions understand you and want to admit you, what is it?
6. Do you have a personal interest (painting and poetry for example) that would work effectively?

Finally, keep in mind that what you write here should not duplicate the content of Essay 2 or anything else in the application, instead it should really provide admissions with a new perspective on why you belong at Stern.

Question? Comments? Email me at adammarkus@gmail.com
-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス

ビジネススクール カウンセリング コンサルティング 大学院 合格対策 エッセイ MBA留学



As the NYU Stern School of Businesswebsite states, “Stern develops leaders who make an impact on business and beyond.” Evolving from a pure finance school into one that focuses on areas like entertainment and technology, Stern takes advantage of the vibrant and changing business opportunities in New York City.

The individual components of your application will be academic ability, professional achievements and career aspirations, and personal characteristics. Stern provides podcasts to describe each component on the admissions website, and it’s worth starting your research there. While your academics will be evaluated mainly through your GMAT and GPA, the essays are a crucial part of your application strategy.

The personal expression essay offers you the opportunity to present yourself creatively, but also requires you to apply structure to a completely open-ended question. It’s a great test for a life solving business problems after your MBA.

Essay 1: Professional Aspirations
(750 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
• Why pursue an MBA (or dual degree) at this point in your life?
• What actions have you taken to determine that Stern is the best fit for your MBA experience?
• What do you see yourself doing professionally upon graduation?

Why MBA, why now, is an important question to answer. While many people seek an MBA degree, NYU wants to invest in those who can use it most effectively. Perhaps you’re seeking an MBA for networking or professional credibility, or maybe you want an MBA to learn specific skills to change careers. Whatever your own personal reasons may be, make sure you can point to specific aspects of the MBA education both generally and specifically at Stern that are necessary to achieve your goals.

Note that this question specifically asks about your interest in pursuing an MBA at this point in your life. Why is now the right time for you, both personally and professionally? What will an MBA add to your already successful career trajectory to get you to the next level? If you are an older applicant you will need to spend time carefully communicating that you realize what an MBA can and can’t do for you at your professional level, and that you have a plan to leverage the MBA professionally in your next job.

This essay also offers an opportunity to demonstrate your fit with NYU Stern and describe why NYU Stern is the right place for you to spend the next two years of your life. Certainly personal experience of the campus through visits or student touch points would be ideal, but even if you are halfway around the world you can illustrate the many ways in which you learned about the NYU Stern experience.

Your post MBA goal should be both achievable and demonstrate the need for an MBA. An MBA from NYU Stern will open professional doors for you, and you should demonstrate that you are ready to take advantage of those opportunities. Think about a logical sequence that starts with your past work experience, then your MBA education and ends with your immediate post MBA goal. Ideally your goal pulls from both your current work experience and the skills you will gain in the NYU MBA program.

Essay 2: Personal Expression
Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates. You may use almost any method to convey your message (e.g. words, illustrations). Feel free to be creative.

If you submit a non-written piece for this essay (i.e., artwork or multimedia) or if you submit this essay via mail, please upload a brief description of your submission with your online application.

Open-ended essays like this one can be intimidating. You are allowed any method to introduce yourself to your classmates, and you’re probably wondering what the best medium for your message is.

However, your content is king in this essay. The best first step is to brainstorm the information you want to convey. Reflect upon your unique personal qualities and what is valued most by your friends and family. How would you want your classmates to see you? What are some of the personal stories you would share with a new friend?

Once you have established the content you want to use for the NYU Stern essay 2, it’s time to consider the medium. If you are a visual person you may chose a drawing, painting or photo series. If you are a creative writer perhaps it’s a poem or short story. If none of the “creative” approaches feel right to you, feel free to write a standard essay where you explain who you are and introduce yourself to your classmates. The medium is not the most important aspect of this essay. What is most important is the message and content of your composition to demonstrate your motivations and who you are to the admissions committee.

Stacy Blackman Consulting has helped countless aspiring NYU Stern MBA students to showcase personal and professional stories that cut through the clutter. Contact us to learn more.

This entry was posted in Application Tips, General, NYU Stern Advice and tagged advice, application, application deadlines, application tips, applications, Essay Questions, Essay Tips, Fall 2017 MBA Essay Tips, MBA, MBA application, MBA Essays, MBA News Bites, MBA program.
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