Our Insider Tips on Applying to Ten Top Schools – NYU Stern

September 18, 2014 | by Matt Symonds

Located in the heart of Greenwich Village in downtown New York City, New York University’s Stern School of Business (Stern) is situated in between the Financial District and Midtown Manhattan. A short subway ride away to many major companies in NYC, Stern is proud of its downtown location and reputation for smart, down-to-earth students. Visitors to campus are quick to notice that the Stern community is friendly, inviting, and collegial.

Be careful not to mistake Stern’s welcoming atmosphere as a sign that getting in is easy; it’s actually a very competitive program and for the 2014-1015 academic year, the average GMAT score was 721. Although Stern is best known for its ties to Wall Street and developing strong finance skills in its students, the school is also popular for students with non-business backgrounds. For anyone who has been out of school for some time or who comes from a less traditional background, a unique program called Summer Start helps incoming first year students get a jump-start on their MBA studies by beginning classes earlier.

At Stern, New York City is a big part of the learning experience and students have incredible hands-on learning opportunities to apply what they’re studying in the classroom to real world scenarios. A number of local business executives teach a wide range of elective classes as adjunct faculty members, which many students highlight as one of the greatest advantages of enrolling in b-school in NYC. Stern’s Admissions team looks for candidates who understand the benefits of studying in NYC and the unique Stern culture, so be sure to do your homework in advance. Visit campus, take a tour, engage with Stern students and speak to Stern alumni in advance of submitting your application.

Fortuna’s Dina Glasofer worked previously at Stern in MBA Admissions, most recently as a Senior Associate Director of Admissions in the Executive MBA Program. Here are her first three insider tips for applying to Stern, and to see the additional tips, click here.

Stern Tip #1 – Demonstrating your IQ + EQ

Stern is proud of its reputation as a program that develops students who are not only smart but also have interpersonal strengths and teamwork skills. It’s not enough to just have strong grades and GMAT scores since Stern is looking for prospective students who will be involved in the school community and who are team players. The Admissions Committee uses a holistic approach to evaluate applicants, which includes evaluating individuals’ academic and professional backgrounds as well as personal characteristics. Stern looks for candidates who are team-oriented and have strong leadership potential.

You will have a number of opportunities to demonstrate your EQ and IQ, through your essays, interview and campus visit. Think about how you work on team projects and be prepared to share examples of your leadership style and team interactions. If you’re invited to interview, sign up for any opportunities to interact with current students, such as a student lunch. Stern is proud of its collegial, friendly environment and looks for candidates who seek this kind of community for their own MBA experience.

Stern Tip #2 – Academic Strengths Beyond Finance

As a top-ranked business school in NYC it’s no surprise that Stern is world-renowned for its strength in finance but it is also strong in a number of other disciplines. Don’t be concerned if you have never taken a finance class or if you work in an unrelated industry. The Stern Admissions Committee values diversity and looks for candidates from many different backgrounds. In addition to finance, recruiters from NYC and other parts of the country (and world!) recruit at Stern each year for positions in consulting, marketing, management, operations, strategic planning, real estate, social enterprise, and more. You’ll find well-known faculty teaching in these disciplines and because of its location in NYC, Stern is able to get incredible real-world practitioners as guest speakers and to teach courses.

Stern is also highly regarded for its strengths in entertainment, media and technology (EMT) and hosts impressive conferences with well-known and accomplished individuals in the EMT industry. Anyone interested in entrepreneurship should look into Stern’s Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and consider entering one of the annual business plan competitions.

Stern Tip #3 – Understanding the NYU Stern difference

From the moment you set foot on campus, you’ll be able to feel what it’s like to be an MBA student at Stern. Students and faculty are approachable and collaborative and many professors make themselves available to students after classes end. One popular professor for a Negotiations class provides his students with a lifelong promise to be available for advice on matters like negotiating a real estate transaction or job offer. The best way to experience the Stern difference is to visit the campus in person, meet students, and observe a class in session to determine if the school is a good fit for you.

It is obvious when reading an application whether a candidate has done his or her homework on the program. Make sure you incorporate information about Stern that’s relevant to your candidacy. You have an opportunity to convince the Adcom why Stern is the right school for you and specific examples are a good way to show you have spent the time to research the program. There are many tools available to better know Stern including the program website and the school’s social media outlets.

For the additional top 10 insider tips on NYU Stern, click here, and for other b-school application tips see our Fortuna videos.

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