NYU MBA Admission Counselors

A Guide to the NYU MBA Admissions Process - Essays, Interviews & Deadlines

About NYU Stern

The NYU Stern MBA is all about “Creating Leaders who Embrace Uncertainty and Drive Change,” and this mission reflects throughout all aspects of their MBA and dual degree programs.

One of the oldest business schools,  NYU Stern boasts a powerful alumni network and several MBA programs offering a flexible curriculum with global study opportunities, a legacy of research, and a close-knit community within a highly collaborative culture. This culture is created by what they call IQ+EQ: community members who have exceptional intellectual and personal strengths to contribute to their peers and program. Students can even pursue a Tech MBA, or the well-known Fashion & Luxury MBA.

NYU MBA Admissions Counselor

Stern MBA Admissions Counseling

Stern’s downtown New York City location is an obvious and significant draw for many MBA hopefuls looking to forge careers in finance, investment banking, sales and trading, and consulting. While career data from the top five MBA programs shows us that studying in New York is not a prerequisite for a 5-star post-MBA gig, it is hard to deny the power of their New York location.

Stern has a strong track record of successfully placing a majority of graduates in these fields year after year. The benefits of location also come into play for those interested in careers in media and entertainment as beyond location, a powerful MBA network is at play within many companies that exclusively recruit at Stern.

NYU Stern MBA Application Requirements

Stern’s curriculum consists of 8 core courses:

  • 2 from the Required Core category.
  • 5 from the Menu Core category.
  • 1 selection from two Capstone Core choices.

In some instances, students can show prior proficiency in the required core courses to waive them or take different classes. Conversely, students can also opt-out of Menu Core requirements, though they will have to be prepared to not be eligible to take electives for which those courses would have been prerequisites. During the first semester, all students also complete Team Communication.

In any case, Stern requires these core curriculum courses to be completed in the first year of the two-year MBA program.

With such a competitive admissions environment, we strongly recommend considering our MBA application consulting services.

MBA Experience At Stern

The MBA experience at Stern however truly begins with LAUNCH, giving new first-year students a full introduction into the Stern MBA experience and a jumpstart in how to address major issues in a variety of fields.

As students enter Stern, they are placed in one of six blocks in which they will take core courses together and participate in a variety of community and social activities as a "block". All first-year students in the 2-year Full-time MBA program participate in The Change: Studio, a co-curricular program meant to help develop their confidence and professional skills.

Even within this curriculum structure, there is still a lot of flexibility offered by way of electives, coupled with the opportunity to opt-out or place out of certain core courses. This flexibility also offers the opportunity to specialize in up to three areas like business analytics, fintech, global business, real estate, and more. Students can even take up to 25% of their coursework at other NYU graduate programs, a big bonus for those who value an interdisciplinary experience.

Applying to NYU Stern

Prospective students can apply directly to Stern, or via the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, an alliance of American business schools and top corporations established to enhance diversity in business education.

With consistently strong rankings in the MBA application process, Stern’s acceptance rate for the upcoming class was higher than in prior years, with a class size around 310.

For top MBA programs, advice on when to apply is pretty consistent: plan ahead so that you have adequate time to present the strongest version of your candidacy. While Stern, unlike many schools, offers four application rounds, plan to apply as early as you can handle. International MBA applicants are encouraged to apply as early in the admissions cycle as possible to allow time to set up eventual interviews.

As with any school application, make sure you can show engagement with the program by attending live or virtual events, and reaching out to students and alumni, and even visiting campus.

The Application Evaluation

Stern will also surely evaluate based on the value they place on IQ+EQ. Ultimately Stern is looking for bright candidates with strong academic profiles showing a propensity to excel in the classroom. For signs of strong EQ, emotional intelligence, or emotional quotient (EQ), your past community engagements, leadership experiences, and ability, and any examples that can naturally come through your essays.

Your professional past is also critical to your candidacy as Stern seeks those who show career progression and a clear idea of their future. They can be wary of those who are seeking to use the MBA program as career exploration and instead value candidates who have a strong idea of their path and how a Stern MBA will help them get there. This includes the understanding that an MBA is actually a critical aspect of achieving your long and short-term goals.

Like all programs, there will be certain aspects that can show you as a strong fit, or not to the program like entrepreneurial thinking, a bootstrapping mentality, community-driven, and more. Your professional past will be key and applicants should really put effort into telling that story of experience and growth.

Stern College Essay Prompts

Stern is one of the very few schools that plainly states on their website that any offer of admissions will be rescinded if the essay was discovered to not be written by the applicant. Based on the prompts they provide this year and in years past, they are trying to get to the core of your personal traits and professional aspirations and how they fit within the Stern MBA community and culture.

There was 3 essay prompts for this year’s application:

  • Essay 1: Holds a 500-word maximum word count.​
  • Essay 2: Asks applicants to use six images and captions in a single PDF to reflect:​
  • Essay 3: Is optional and carries a 250-word maximum.

Generally, applicants should reflect on whether or not they submit an optional essay, as they can many times really be intended for applicants to discuss any anomalies in their application like lower GPAs for a gap in employment for example.

Letters of Recommendation

Stern asks applicants to submit two letters, or EQ endorsements, with the application. Applicants are advised to have one come from a current supervisor, and one “other” of your choice by anyone who knows you personally and professionally. Stern provides questions that your endorsers would address in their online submission.

The Interview

Like almost all other top programs, interviews are by invitation with only about one-third of applicants being invited. Candidates should expect, under regular circumstances, to travel to New York City to complete interviews with members of the admissions committee, instead of alumni or students like many of their peer schools.

MBA interviews are not blind, meaning your interviewer will have read and become familiar with your application and candidacy. This informed interview method helps Stern to provide consistent interviews and evaluations across candidates.

Since the interviewer has read your application, expect a more specific and direct conversation during your virtual or in-person time together. After an interview is complete, applicants can expect a decision in about three to four weeks on whether they have been admitted, waitlisted, or denied.


Test Scores

There are few schools left that will still accept standardized test scores that are not the GMAT or GRE, and Stern is among them. Applicants can also elect to submit the Executive Assessment Test (EA), MCAT, LSAT, and DAT in addition to the GMAT or GRE. Stern has no preference to which test applicants submit and will only use your highest scores in the evaluation of your application.

In order to remain competitive, however, it’s prudent to keep in mind that of those who submitted GMAT scores, the average score was 723, with a range of 640-680, very typical to other top 10 programs.

For more information about the NYU Stern process, reach out to us via any of the contact options below.