How to Get In: New York University Stern School of Business

What can you do to set yourself apart in your application? Admissions officials have the answers.

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We posed questions to admissions officials at the NYU Stern School of Business regarding the application process, what they look for in applicants and what sets their school apart. These are their responses:

1. What can applicants do to set themselves apart from their peers?

The applicants who stand out are those who know themselves well, and are passionate about their goals and their fit with NYU Stern. These applicants speak from the heart in their essays. After reading thousands of essays, the Admissions Committee can tell the difference between those who are writing what they really want to say, compared to those who are writing what they think we want to hear. As we read, we become as enthusiastic and energized as the applicant about his or her aspirations.

2. What do you look for in the application essays? What do the essays tell you about a candidate?

Stern's application essays give applicants the opportunity to more fully present themselves to the Admissions Committee, by providing insight into their experiences, goals, and thought processes. When we read the essays, we look to make sure an applicant has thoroughly thought through their short- and long-term plans for their career. We look for evidence of direction, a well laid-out story and again, passion and a track record of interest in their area. We also want to hear why applicants feel that NYU Stern may be the right M.B.A. program for them; what impact they will have on our community; and that they have done their research on our program and have made wise choices about where they have applied. In addition, we are in the business of educating future business leaders. We want to see a track record of experiences and attributes that signal future leadership, whether that be in their professional or personal lives.

3. How important is the applicant's GMAT score? How do you weight it against undergraduate GPA and work experience? Which of these carry the most weight? The least?

Stern's admissions process is genuinely holistic, and we therefore do not give weight to one individual requirement of the application. In terms of the academic profile, we have many components to evaluate that give us critical information about how an applicant might fare in our academically rigorous program at NYU Stern. In addition to reviewing the GMAT or GRE score, we take into consideration the rigor of the undergraduate major and course work, the reputation of the undergraduate school, trends in grades, overall GPA, as well as any graduate or additional course work completed. All of these components together help the Admissions Committee understand how an applicant will perform academically in the M.B.A.

4. How much does prior work/internship experience weigh into your decision making? What's the typical or expected amount of work experience from an applicant?

At Stern, we seek students with a proven professional track record and a high potential for future leadership. We are able to assess these characteristics, in part, by reviewing an applicant's work experience and professional recommendations. The Admissions Committee evaluates work experience not only in terms of number of years, but also in regard to depth and breadth of an individual's experience, specific responsibilities, and progression. On average, Stern students have about four to five years of work experience, and most have between one and 10 years of post-undergraduate work experience. However, full-time work experience is not a prerequisite to apply, and we review all work experience, including internships and part-time work, in our evaluation.

5. What sets you apart from other schools? What can students gain from your school that they might not be able to find anywhere else?

At NYU Stern, we have shaped an environment that nurtures forward-thinking leaders through our commitment to four core values: academic excellence, collaborative community, IQ + EQ, and leveraging the energy of a global hub. Here's what we mean by this: Our students learn from one of the largest and best business faculties in the world, while also benefiting from the vast resources of NYU, a global network university that includes top schools of Law, Public Service, and the Arts. We value both intellectual and interpersonal strengths, which is why we interview every full-time M.B.A. student we admit. We integrate the energy of New York City, as well as hubs around the world, into our culture from day one of Pre-Term Orientation, and offer an abundance of experiential learning opportunities. These include the ability to serve as a Board Member for a nonprofit organization and the opportunity to participate in a mentoring program for students switching careers.