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Stern Drops Allegedly "Famous" Application Element, Adds Infamous New One

Every few years, someone in the admissions office of a top-tier MBA school gets a wild hair up his ass and adds something crazy to the application — apparently believing he's a genius for doing so. This year, that person is at NYU.

The 2017 - 2018 Stern application was released today and it contains a unique new requirement for your recommenders: an evaluation of your emotional intelligence. Specifically, recommenders are given a definition of emotional intelligence and asked to respond to the following prompt:

"Please provide one specific and compelling example to demonstrate the applicant’s emotional intelligence. (250 word maximum)"

This Is Dumb

I'm not disputing the existence of emotional intelligence, nor am I minimizing its importance as an indicator of potential for career success. In fact, I think emotional intelligence is critically important. What I question is the ability of a lay recommender to evaluate it in others and convey a meaningful assessment to the Stern School.

The problem is that emotional intelligence is hard to define and even harder to evaluate. The school might have benefitted more by asking, "How much can the applicant drink before becoming sloppy?"

That's a useful metric. After all, business school is really just a poorly disguised drinking society through which young professionals who are high on student loan debt encounter overpriced vodkas in exotic locations. Might as well know ahead of time who can handle their liquor and who can't.

What I'm Trying to Say

This new Stern requirement is just another nutty idea that we'll need to suffer through for a few years until it dies out. Don't overanalyze it, and don't believe it has a significant impact on the admissions decision. When I get time, I'll post a guide on how to handle it.