Nyu Stern Video Essay Assignment


NYU / Stern MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018

Following up on the release of the 2017-2018 NYU / Stern Essay Topics, we wanted to share some advice for applicants targeting the NYU MBA Class of 2020.

NYU Stern Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018

Let’s take a closer look at each prompt.

Essay 1: Professional Aspirations

  • What are your short and long-term career goals?
  • How will the MBA help you achieve them? (500 words maximum)

This is a fairly straightforward career goals essay, asking applicants to explain their post-MBA career objectives and how an MBA would support these plans.  As Stern has launched new specialized one-year MBA programs, they have broken out the longstanding school-specific prompt that used to be a part of this essay into a separate one.

First, applicants should explain the specifics of their post-MBA plans.  Establishing your long-term vision first would lend meaning to your short-term plans, as it can help the reader to know your destination before the path.  So, explain your broader 5-10 year plan, even going beyond the “what” and the “where” to the “why”—in other words, the impact you hope to make on an organization, sector, consumer base, or region. Then, applicants should outline their short-term plans very specifically, including both the position the candidate hopes to hold immediately after an MBA, along with 1-2 companies one plans to target. This short-term goal should lead naturally to the long term.

In regards to how an MBA would help you achieve your goals, it would make sense to briefly comment on your work experience to date to establish the skills you already possess; this sets up the gap in your skill set that an MBA would fill.  This phase of your discussion should describe the skills and knowledge you hope to gain from an MBA with an eye to your future plans. Forging specific connections between the skills you hope to gain (whether in class or outside of it) and your future plans will show the adcom that you have a sound understanding of how an MBA will prepare you for success.

Essay 2: Program Preferences

NYU Stern offers a portfolio of MBA programs designed to meet the needs of our applicants. Your program preferences are very important as you may be admitted to only one program. You cannot switch your program option after receiving your admissions decision.

1. 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.

2. 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”.

NYU / Stern has unified their application this year, allowing applicants to express interest in more than one MBA program.  For instance, those targeting the tech industry can apply to both the full-time MBA as well as the new one-year tech MBA.  That said, it is perfectly fine to only select one MBA option, in most cases.

No matter which program you are aiming to join, it would make sense for this discussion to cover why you chose the particular MBA program, followed by the specific curricular and programmatic offerings that make the particular NYU MBA a fit with your career goals and personal interests. In our past interview with Assistant Dean Gallogly, the admissions head pointed out that it’s in a candidate’s best interest to do an extensive amount of research on the programs they’re considering, given the financial investment and lifelong affiliation with the school’s network that comes with graduate business education. Therefore, applicants need to explain not just what they know about how Stern would position them for professional success, but also detail how they’ve learned this. Applicants should aim to highlight the insights that they gained from visiting the Stern campus or attending off-site information sessions, exploring the program’s video and social media offerings, and speaking with Stern students and alumni.  Candidates might also consider reading the Clear Admit School Guide to NYU Stern for some extra help in this area.

Essay 3: 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. While Stern has seemingly narrowed the range of options for candidates’ creative expression, Assistant Dean Gallogly assured applicants that they still have a wide range, as he explained, “It can be six words in a box, word clouds, emojis, pictures of a painting—there are so many options. The visuals should carry the lion’s share of communicating, with short captions that help support it.”

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, 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 NYU MBA essay topics! As you work on your Stern MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s Stern offerings:

Posted in: Admissions Tips, Essay Tips & Advice, Essay Topic Analysis, Essays

Schools: NYU Stern

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Admissions Tip: Video Essays

It’s no secret that the use of video in the MBA application is becoming increasingly popular among top business schools. Schools that now use these so-called video essays include Northwestern / Kellogg, INSEAD and Yale SOM. Typically you will be provided with a question, then a short amount of time to think about the question (30 seconds for example) and then a limited amount of time to provide your recorded answer, typically 60-90 seconds. In the tips that follow, we’ll explain the origins of video essays and provide a series of practical and strategic pointers to ensure that you ace this aspect of the admissions process.

 

Why B-Schools Use Video Essays

So why are some schools adopting this new means of assessing a candidacy – beyond the fact that it is new technology that was not available in earlier years?

1. Authenticity

Video essays have to be submitted without the direct support of admissions consultants and others who can provide feedback for candidates. In that sense, the content response can be perceived as more authentic than an essay;  schools know with a degree is certainty that this is the response of the candidate.

2. English Language & Communications Skills

Because a candidate cannot get editing support for these responses, it is also a great test of the language skills of a candidate. It is also a good test of broader communication skills, testing your ability to think in the moment, gathering your thoughts and responding. Certainly the video responses provide a different level of assessment of communication than what can be learned in the essays, which may have been edited by others.

3. Spontaneity

In most cases, a candidate will not have the questions ahead of the time that the responses are required, which is typically after the application is submitted. This forces the candidate to be spontaneous.  Of course, the questions are not supposed to be overly tricky, and you can get a sense of the types of questions asked by searching the web; some schools even have practice questions on their website. Clear Admit’s Yale Interview Guide includes some of the questions that have been used by Yale in previous years. Yale asks for three video responses, drawn randomly from a bank of questions.

 

Video Essay Tips

1. Practice makes perfect!

Because you don’t know your questions ahead of answering a video essay, this does not mean you should not practice. On the contrary, it is very important to practice answering questions in this format. You can get a sense of timing so you can understand how long 90 seconds is, when you are answering one question. It can also be strange at first, when you are providing your answers without getting any visual cues from your audience, as you would in a traditional interview. Those cues can help you direct your response in a traditional interview, in a video response you are on your own. So practice, and then practice some more.

2. Review your work

If you use Skype, or similar technology, practice creating video messages, and review. You should also consider your eye contact, look at the camera, not at the screen, which is more natural for you. Also make sure that your camera is at eye-level, you don’t want to be looking up, or down, at the camera. Looking at the camera, and making sure the camera is at eye-level will best simulate an in person experience for the person(s) reviewing the videos.

3. Video essays should support the application messaging

As with any other part of your application, keep on message. Your video responses will be reviewed in the broader context of the remainder of your application, your experiences, goals and so forth. It is important that your video responses support your goals, while highlighting your personality.

4. Don’t let setting, wardrobe, or technology distract

Dress well, at least for the part of you that will be visible. Make sure that the room in which you record your videos has a clean background, and the lighting of the room helps highlight you. You want the person who is viewing your videos to be able to see you clearly, and not be distracted by the background. Also make sure that there are no other audio distractions during your video responses, and that your technology is tested, and works!

 

Final Thoughts

Responses to video essays might not need to be perfect, but they will add a significant dimension to your application that cannot be gleaned from other aspects of the written application. For this reason, these responses are very important, and practice, even around questions that might not be used, will help you overcome any unfamiliarity with this new format.

 

 

Posted in: Admissions Tips, Application Tips, Essay Tips & Advice, Essays

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