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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6. What do you look for in recommendation letters? How important is it that the letter's writer has worked regularly with the candidate in an office or school setting? Do you put much weight on letters from prominent public figures who may not know the applicant well?

We prefer recommendations from professional environments in which the applicant has worked recently and we require two such letters. A professional recommendation is most valuable to the Admissions Committee when it comes from someone who has worked with the applicant for an extended period of time, and who can describe in detail an applicant's talent, contributions to an organization, and potential as a future business leader. For this reason, we would not recommend that applicants ask anyone who they have not worked with to write on their behalf. We require a current supervisor recommendation (or explanation as to why that cannot be submitted) because we feel a supervisor is best positioned to comment on an applicant's strengths, professional experiences, and potential for leadership.

7. Can you give a brief description of the life cycle of an application? What's the timeline applicants should expect?

NYU Stern has three deadlines but issues notifications on a rolling basis, which makes us unlike some other schools that have a system of rounds. We do provide notification dates based on the deadlines, but they are the latest possible dates that an applicant could hear from us. Applicants often hear from us earlier than the notification deadline, and we do our best to issue notifications as soon as we can.

A Stern full-time M.B.A. applicant receives one of three possible initial notifications by the designated notification date: an invitation to interview, waitlist offer, or denial of admission.

Our interview process is intentionally unique and is designed to help both the Admissions Committee and the applicant assess if Stern is the best fit. Interviews are by invitation only, and the majority of interviews are conducted on campus at Stern by an Admissions Committee member. An interviewer will have thoroughly read an applicant's entire application and will be well versed in his or her background and goals. When completing the interview, applicants can spend the day on campus having lunch with a student and attending a class. After the interview, an applicant can expect to receive a decision within two to three weeks. Post-interview decisions include: an offer of admission, waitlist offer, or denial of admission.

The Admissions Committee begins reviewing the waitlist in the late spring as space in the class becomes available.

8. Which firms recruit heavily from your school? Which firms hire the highest percentage of your graduates?

Stern has a robust on-campus recruiting program for some of the most sought-after post-M.B.A. industries, including Strategy Consulting, Financial Services, and Marketing. Top Stern recruiters in these industries include McKinsey & Company, BCG, Booz & Co, Deloitte, IBM, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Barclays, Citi, JPMorgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, American Express, Colgate-Palmolive, and Kraft.

The strong relationship management team in our Office of Career Development, combined with our NYC location, has placed Stern is a unique position to develop recruiting connections in the entertainment, media, luxury, and retail industries. Recruiters in these areas include Disney, HBO, L'Oreal, Coach, Toys "R" Us, Warner Brothers, and Yahoo!.

In 2009, the top three industries hiring Stern students full-time were Investment Banking (32 percent), Consulting (17 percent), and Consumer Products (12 percent). The top three functions were Consulting (18 percent), Marketing (17 percent), and Investment Banking (15 percent).

9. What are some of the most common mistakes that applicants make that hurt their chances of being accepted?

Common mistakes include essays that don't answer our specific questions or mention another school's name, and careless typos or grammatical errors in any part of the application. We recommend that applicants proofread carefully and allocate enough time for each business school application to ensure that they are putting their best foot forward.