Harvard MBA Business School

NYU Stern MBA Class Profile and Essay Questions

Was marijuana legalized in New York State this year? I ask because the new application at Stern seems to indicate that the admissions officers are high.

First, the Good News: Stern has added two new MBA programs to its lineup: a "Tech MBA" and a "Fashion & Luxury MBA." These are nice innovations, and they add to the school's terrific Full-Time and Part-Time MBA programs.

The Bad News: Stern has included some really nutty elements in this year's application. For instance, the school's "Pick Six" question now requires applicants to submit six pictures that describe themselves and to include short captions for each. As a professional writer with years of experience, I can handle that kind of assignment, but I anticipate bad things from the amateurs who are actually applying to school. Frankly, they've just been given too much latitude, and I anticipate that in their zeal to impress, some of them will go overboard. I would love to see a collection of the worst crash-and-burn examples that get submitted. I'm sure they're going to be brilliant.

But perhaps the weirdest thing about this year's Stern application is the "Emotional Intelligence" evaluation that recommenders are required to submit. You can read my thoughts on that here: LINK

The Stern Application

"Our Stern essay questions give you the opportunity to more fully present yourself to the Admissions Committee and to provide insight into your experiences, goals, and thought processes."

Essay 1: Professional Aspirations

(500 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

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

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 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".

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.


Essay 4: Additional Information (optional)

(250 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

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.

Essay Question (2020)

There is one question for the Class of 2020:

As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?

There is no word limit for this question. We think you know what guidance we're going to give here. Don't overthink, overcraft and overwrite. Just answer the question in clear language that those of us who don't know your world can understand.

Joint Degree Applicants

Joint program applicants for the Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Harvard Law School, and Harvard Kennedy School must provide an additional essay:

How do you expect the joint degree experience to benefit you on both a professional and a personal level? (400 words)



NYU Stern Class Profile
1 Median GMAT Score 710
2 GMAT Range — Median 80% 650 - 760
3 GMAT Range — 100% 560 - 790
4 GPA — Average 3.51
5 GPA Range — Middle 80% 3.10 - 3.87
6 GPA Range — 100% 2.51 - 4.00
7 Work Experience (Years) 4.9
8 Age Range — 100% 22 - 38
9 Number of Applicants 3,773
10 Number of Admits 872
11 Admission Rate 23%
12 Number Enrolled 390


NYU Stern Application Deadlines
Round Deadline Notification
1 October 15, 2017 January 1, 2018
2 January 15, 2018 April 1, 2018
3 March 15, 2018 June 1, 2018
*Due 11:59 PM ET