Sample MBA Admissions Essays - Accepted by Stern and NYU (Courtesy of EssayEdge)
1. Think about the decisions you have made in your life. Describe the following:
PAST: What choices have you made that led you to your current position?
PRESENT: Why is a Stern MBA necessary at this point in your life?
FUTURE: What is your desired position upon graduation from the Stern School?
I like options, I like security, and I like power. With these wants, I knew at a very early age that I would enter business and thus I attended a college that specializes in the subject. In my first position out of school, I was hired by Dunhill Equities as a cold-caller. After several weeks of being hung up on by angry prospects, I decided that this career path would not lead me to success. I then moved within the firm to a position as sales assistant. While this was by no means my dream job, I learned a tremendous amount about business, and I gained useful exposure to the world of finance. Unfortunately, the company hit a period of instability, and after ten months I transferred with my boss to Coleman & Company. Thirteen months later, that company also began to fail, and I began to search for another path to advancement. With two strikes against me, I hit a home run and was hired by Sanford Bernstein into a challenging job with limitless opportunity for growth.
After almost three years at Bernstein, I am once again seeking career advancement. My education and work experience have provided me with an excellent introduction to business, and they have sparked my interest in finance. Taking into consideration my foundation and my interests, graduate business school is the next logical step. At this point in my life, I consider a Stern MBA to be necessary since I need to gain a broader understanding of finance and to sharpen my analytical skills in order to be successful in corporate finance. Stern’s MBA program will allow me to concentrate in finance, strengthen my global business perspective, and provide me with the opportunity to study with and learn from people with varied backgrounds. The school’s location in the financial capital of the world and in one of the most diverse cities in the world also suits me perfectly.
Aside from advancing my career, I would also like to develop personally. In college I did not join many clubs or organizations, and I did not participate in sports. Instead, I spent all my time studying, working, or dealing with family issues. Having been away from home and living in New York City for four years, I feel the need to make a name for myself and to develop a meaningful social life. I want to take advantage of the many benefits that extracurricular activities offer, and I want to be involved in the Stern community.
Upon graduation from the Stern School, I will seek a position as an associate within the corporate finance department of a large, Wall Street, investment-banking firm. In three to five years, once I have become adept in financial analyses, drafting prospectuses, preparing business presentations and other financial advisory work, I will move into a senior associate position. Here I will develop my abilities to anticipate client needs and to engineer solutions that address these needs. In approximately 10 years, I will have the experience necessary to take on upper-level management responsibilities.
Describe yourself to your MBA classmates. (You may use any method to convey your message: words, illustrations, etc.)
I grew up in a small fishing village in Maine, surrounded by family. Expectations and aspirations are limited in such an environment. I could have made a living exploiting the sea, but chose to do similar work as a corporate executive. Although I have no siblings, my hometown contains over fifty family members, and our agenda of family activities is always packed. Most of my family is employed in the commercial fishing industry, which instilled in me at a very young age, the concept of work. At age eleven, I started babysitting and mowing lawns, and at the age of fifteen I applied for my lobster license. The first summer with my license, I took a job as a sternperson with a fellow female. We were the only two females out there, which was definitely an experience. When the lobstering season ended that year, I took a job at a grocery store bagging groceries. I saved enough money to build a boat and to buy fifty lobster traps; I was on my way. The following summer I continued to work as a sternperson, and I also fished my own traps. I continued lobstering throughout the rest of high school and college, and it helped me finance my college education.
In addition to being ambitious and motivated enough to put my heart into even mundane, low-level tasks, I am also extremely organized. This is one characteristic that has always received praise. I pay particular attention to detail, which I believe has contributed to my success thus far. I take pride in my work, and I look at it as a representation of myself. In my position at Sanford Bernstein as a Consultant Liaison, I market my firm to the financial consulting community. Maintaining the integrity of the firm is vital and errors are disastrous. When training new group members, I stress this point most thoroughly.
I work in a group that currently has six members. The group serves as a central source of information for the firm, and its success relies on an extraordinary amount of cooperation from each of us. As a senior member, I am able to contribute to the group in several ways including: training group members, controlling the quality of the group’s output, managing and accurately completing multiple requests with short turnaround times, gathering and conveying information from senior investment professionals, collecting and calculating data, maintaining databases, overseeing projects aimed at making long-term improvements to the group’s processes, and strengthening my own foundation of knowledge to be used as a resource. Recently, as the result of a manager leaving the firm, I have also taken on some of the managerial responsibilities for the group including prioritizing and delegating assignments.
Though I am an excellent team player, in business school I would like to sharpen my managerial skills. I have found that I need to overcompensate for my “soft” appearance in order to get my point across. I hope to improve my negotiating skills and to gain more experience in getting group members to carry their own weight. At the same time, I do not want to become a tyrant. To be effective, it is important for a manager to maintain the proper balance of power and compassion. Only in this way, will I be able to lead a team of people to realizing the goals of a firm.
(Optional) Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admission Committee. If you are unable to submit a recommendation from a current employer, please give your reason here.
To satisfy my desire for success, I must continue my education. Of the six business schools to which I am applying, the Stern School is my first choice. I am very excited about entering an MBA program that will allow me to focus on my interest in finance as well as provide me with the career possibilities and exposure to resources, such as networks and learning tools, which I do not currently have. At Stern, I know that my investment of time, energy, and money will be well rewarded. At this point in my life, I believe I have great potential to gain much from a business degree since I have been exposed to the business environment for the past eight and a half years. I now posses a strong foundation to build upon, and I am ready to assume the rigors and challenges of the Stern School’s MBA program.
In addition to its academic program, the Stern community is itself very appealing. The three undergraduate schools that I applied to were Babson, Bentley and Bryant. Babson College became my first choice as soon as I visited its quaint campus and fell in love with the friendly atmosphere and cultural diversity. From someone coming from a small fishing village in Maine, it was refreshing to be surrounded by family. Living in New York City has broadened my exposure to include a fast-paced, career-minded atmosphere. The combination of these characteristics at the Stern School will provide me with an excellent learning environment, and I hope to attend Stern for many of the same reasons I selected Babson.
For access to 100 free sample successful admissions essays, visit EssayEdge .
Admissionado back once again with fresh, off-the-shelves essay analyses for NYU Sloan's 2017 application! We wanted to jump in and give you a head-start on those essays questions jog that imagination, and give you a few tips and tricks to get started on your Sloan essays to get you started on the best foot this year. Soooooo, without further ado:
NYU Stern School of Business MBA Essay 1
What are your short and long-term career goals? How will the MBA help you achieve them? (500 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
If there’s such a thing as a garden variety MBA application essay, this is it.
Start with getting our BUY IN. On what, you ask? On the importance of your idea; on the opportunity itself; on your will to succeed. You’ve got some options here, but for us to engage, we need to buy in.
Part 1 – Generally, it’s best to establish the opportunity at hand or the thing that needs to be fixed or improved. There are two sides of the same basic coin. In your opening, explain the status quo (how things are today). Then sell us on why there’s a cooler version of this. Either a solution to a problem or a game-changing result that comes from exploiting a ripe opportunity. Once you’ve done that, give us a big picture taste of your long-term vision, the peering-into-the-horizon-one-liner version. This sets the stage, gets us excited, provides a frame, and compels us to lean forward a bit and root for your success. (75-100 words)
Part 2 – Take us through the battle plan now. This should read like a recipe with several steps or a military combat strategy. It should be utterly logical and it should seem achievable. We should develop a sense along the way that each step builds on the prior one, or at the very least, is progressing toward something. And it should be evident that you know what you’re talking about and that you’ve researched it. You’ve got to show that you’ve done enough homework to have a sense of what’s required for success, before claiming your ability to succeed. That’s the crucial point. Being realistic and sober here will count far more than issuing lofty-SOUNDING goals. We want success to feel inevitable based on the “calculations” you’ve laid bare here. (100-125 words)
Part 3 – Move from the short-term into the longer-term aspects of your aspirations. Try to avoid naming the job or the job title in your dream vision. Instead, focus on what the RESULTS will be. If and when you succeed at the thing you’re hoping to succeed at, what changes? Who is affected? What does that “After” picture look like? And why does that inspire you? This will help you cut to the “what’s powering you” aspect of your long-term goals. Again, don’t try to impress us with the idea itself. Instead, impress us by convincing us that it’s meaningful to YOU. Sell us on THAT. (There’s a difference.) (75-100 words)
Part 4 – Briefly establish what’s required in order for you to start achieving success toward your short-term goals. Then (also briefly) convince us that you have MOST of that stuff, but not all of it (because if you had all of it, why waste time with an MBA?). Clearly, something is missing. There’s a gap somewhere. There are skills that need sharpening. You’re LACKING something. Make us HUNGRY for you to fill those gaps because you’ve done such a good job here laying out that you’re oh-so-close for success but not-quite-there-yet. (50-75 words)
Part 5 – Now that we’ve laid THAT groundwork, walk us through specifically how aspects of a certain kind of MBA training will meet YOUR needs specifically. Be smart here. Talk about how not just ANY MBA will be helpful toward your goals (that isn’t true is it?), but that only an MBA that has A, B, and C specific traits will help your specific X, Y, and Z needs. Then, for bonus points, cite very specific ways in which NYU meets those needs in particular. But don’t dwell on them because they haven’t asked for that here. They want to know – instead – that you “get” what an MBA is, and why it’s important for YOUR success given YOUR goals. The person who “gets that idea” is the one who is likely to succeed over the person who can write the best love letter to NYU.
NYU Stern School Of Business MBA Essay 2
NYU Stern offers a portfolio of MBA programs designed to meet the needs of our applicants. Your program preferences are very important as you will be admitted to only one program. You cannot switch your program option after receiving your admissions decision.
A. Primary Program Preference (250 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
Please indicate the primary MBA program for which you would like to be considered, as indicated in the Primary Program Selection section of the application.
Explain why the program you have selected is the best program for you.
B. Alternative Program Preference(s) (250 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
Please indicate any alternative program(s) for which you would also like to be considered, as indicated in the Alternative Program Selection section of the application and why you would also like to be considered for this/these program(s).
An alternate program does not need to be selected. If you have no alternate programs you do not need to complete this essay, just indicate “N/A”.
Alright folks, as for Part A., surely you’ve visited this page on Stern’s website. In 250 words, make a clear, matter-of-fact case for why the program you’re choosing meets your needs best. Avoid selling YOU here (you have the rest of your application to pull that off). Here, it’s simply a matter of drawing a simple connection between the size and shape of a particular NYU MBA program and you and your needs specifically. Don’t overthink it. 250 words isn’t a lot, and honestly, you may not even need all of them.
As for Part B., the only way to screw this up is to make your ambitions in life seem flimsy. If there’s an alternative that makes perfect sense for you as a logical Plan B, make that case here. But make sure the logic is bulletproof and doesn’t weaken the rest of your arguments elsewhere in your app.
NYU Stern School Of Business MBA Essay 3
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.
It’s three sentences to tee the whole thing up and then a single sentence for each picture to help explain and bring them to life. Let’s figure out what they’re looking for here.
“Describe yourself.” To succeed at this exercise, one should be able to GLANCE at your six images (without ANY accompanying words) and be able to make some accurate predictions about who you are as a person. The closer that viewer’s “guess” is to what you’re actually like in real life, the better the execution. In fact, imagine that’s the challenge in itself. An adcom member reviews your six pictures and then says, “Okay, when I meet this person they’re going come across THIS way; they’ll be the kind of person who in THIS situation or would make THAT choice; it’s the kind of person who probably has THIS kind of story; if he were among the Game of Thrones cast, he’d be the ABC character” … Then when you meet, the Adcom member says “Wow, s/he’s exactly as I imagined.” All that means is that whatever you communicated in those six picks was unbelievably efficient and effective in conveying something about who you are, and what you’re all about.
What stuff are we conveying then? It includes hints of your:
Everything else BEYOND that? Is gravy. If you give us other stuff but neglect those things, then you’ve probably shanked it. This is not your resume. This is not a 6-page PowerPoint of your “Billion-Dollar Idea.” It’s six images that allow us to CAST you in the perfect movie role “because we understand who you are so well from the pictures.”
One quick word about drawings and infographics: don’t pack so much stuff INTO a single image that it defeats the point of the exercise. The whole point is to try to reduce you to your essence through an ECONOMY of expression. Otherwise, you could write an essay in really small font, take a picture of that essay, and include it here. See how that’s missing the point? It would be like watching a movie where it was just a continuous scroll of the screenplay, rather than a picturization OF the screenplay. Embrace the medium here folks. Understand the intention behind limiting it to (A) images, and (B) only six of them, total. It’s about high yield. That’s where the creativity comes into play.
What series of six images SUM to complete the most complete (and compelling) HINT about who you are? They don’t all need to interconnect on an individual level. Meaning, if Picture #1 is a photograph you once took of a SCENE IN NATURE that you really love, it doesn’t mean that Pictures #2–6 all need to conform to that general rule. The key is that they need to “sum” to something coherent. Even if the conclusion is that you’re a completely chaotic and random person, it’s possible for your six pictures to tell THAT story. Whatever it is, it needs to “work” though. If multiple people walk away with multiple impressions, chances are, it is weak. There are no points for the “everyone’s opinion is equally valid” nature of admiring abstract art. If anything, it’s the exact opposite challenge here. Your task is to make it so that multiple people are forced toward a very similar conclusion about who and what you are. Now, it’s possible that some may LIKE what that is, and others may not… the key is that they can at least all agree on what it IS.
Lots of ways to approach this so we’re just going to give you a taste of a few, but truly, there are many many many solid ways to go about it:
 A narrative. If you want to tell us about an evolution of sorts that shows us who/what you are TODAY compared to who/what you were “six iterations” ago, that could be cool. Six shades of YOU, where Slide 1 is You.0, then Slide 2 is You.1, etc. The idea here is that we learn something about you through the CHANGES over time. And the images don’t have to be of YOU, per se. It’s possible we can learn something about you through the evolution of your hobbies, or some other means. Lots of room for creativity here.
 Or, it can be a recipe for how to create “you.” Slide 1 is ingredient #1. (Imagine the possibilities, they are endless for what could go here.)
 You are what you eat. Six slides of foods that somehow represent every aspect of who you are: Slide 1 – Thai Green Chile Peppers (fresh, hot, unafraid to be scalding when need be). Slide 2 – XXXXX ?
The possibilities really are endless. It could be a hand-drawn comic strip that stitches together a simple story that tells us everything we need to know about who you are through a comical tale. It could be six things you’d spend money to acquire if you won the lottery. See how it’s endless? The trick is, with ANY of these ideas, it needs to convey something very clear about who you are, such that we could make some predictions about you based on those six images (and the accompanying theme/captions).
There’s not really a “wrong” way to approach this, other than the one which looks like a glorified resume, or an attempt to impress us somehow. It says more about your self-confidence, in fact, if there’s a conspicuous LACK of that instinct…
NYU Stern School Of Business MBA 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, IELTS or TOEFL or any other relevant information. (250 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
Lots of room here to spill something VITAL that hasn’t been captured anywhere else. Bring the lumber! What assets of yours are needle-movers in your candidacy, those that you feel haven’t had a chance to LEAP off the page anywhere else in your application? Whatever the biggest item is, drop it here. Maybe it’s a case you need to make about how COMPETENT your quant skills are despite what your test scores (or background) suggest. Maybe it’s a leadership story that is best served here, so as to allow your creative side to come alive in the “pick six” essay. Maybe it’s a walk-through of a compelling
Whatever the biggest item is, drop it here. Maybe it’s a case you need to make about how COMPETENT your quant skills are despite what your test scores (or background) suggest. Maybe it’s a leadership story that is best served here, so as to allow your creative side to come alive in the “pick six” essay. Maybe it’s a walk-through of a compelling
Maybe it’s a case you need to make about how COMPETENT your quant skills are despite what your test scores (or background) suggest. Maybe it’s a leadership story that is best served here so as to allow your creative side to come alive in the “pick six” essay. Maybe it’s a walk-through of a compelling backup plan you’ve formulated in case your main plan hits a snag. Depending on the quality of any of these, it may deserve some airtime here. Not all will, by the way. Just because this space is open, doesn’t mean you absolutely MUST fill it, in case the thing you fill it with doesn’t actually advance your case somehow. Just be mindful of that.
Depending on the quality of any of these, it may deserve some airtime here. Not all will, by the way. Just because this space is open, doesn’t mean you absolutely MUST fill it, especially in the case that the thing you fill it with doesn’t actually advance your case somehow. Just be mindful of that.
Read our team’s complete take on the idea of optional essay, including a brief (recent) history of b-schools’ relationship with it, and how our recommendations have evolved over the years, right here.
And that's that. Helpful, eh? If you have any questions on it or NYU or anything, just reply here or shoot us a PM. And if you want more Essay Analysis Goodness, check out more schools here. We're updating 'em daily as new prompts are released, so keep checking back.
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