June 20, 2022

NYU Stern School of Business MBA Essay 1

NYU Stern

Essay 1: Change: _____ it (350 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

In today’s global business environment, the only constant is change. Using NYU Stern’s brand call to action, we want to know how you view change. Change: _____ it. Fill in the blank with a word of your choice. Why does this

word resonate with you? How will you embrace your own personal tagline while at Stern? Examples:

  • Change: Dare it.
  • Change: Dream it.
  • Change: Drive it.
  • Change: Empower it.
  • Change: Manifest it.
  • Change: [Any word of your choice.]

Stern has gone in an interesting new direction this year, and let’s get the obvious out of the way… when someone writes “____ it,” there is one word in the English language that fits very easily in that slot. That’s not what they’re looking for here!
Despite the unconventional format, the underlying logic here is not that far off the very straightforward goals essay that used to be in this place: prove to the adcom that you have the vision and skills to succeed post-MBA. The adcom is looking for visionaries, not functionaries. They don’t want folks who just want to take on XYZ cool

role and do well in it–they want people who will shake up their entire industry, revolutionize their market, build something new out of nothing, and otherwise reflect well on Stern as alumni. In short, they want people who will make a CHANGE in the world around them.
Don’t worry about the word you’re going to put in that blank quite yet. Start by identifying the change you hope to make, then work backward to the tagline. There are many ways to approach this, but we like to consider what you’re going to do differently from your peers and predecessors in your post-MBA career.

For example, if you’re planning on creating a novel startup, or have already identified a weakness in your industry and developed a business plan for how to shake it up, then you already likely have a “change” in mind. Take some time to brainstorm what will make your company unique, and how it will stand out from existing competitors. Write down a quick summary, including whatever context someone unfamiliar with your industry (like the adcom!) would need to understand what makes your idea NEW.

If you’re following a more traditional path–for example, pursuing a career at a large management consulting or finance firm–identifying the change you plan to make may be harder. Maybe the difference is more cultural or

internal: changing the way work is done, how decisions are made, or ways of doing business. How will you influence your team or department within the larger organization? What new perspective can you offer that is currently not represented in the industry?

Once you’ve identified the change you hope to make post-MBA, consider what specific steps you’ll take at Stern to prepare yourself for that effort. That’s “How [you will] embrace your own personal tagline while at Stern” from the prompt. Do your research, and identify a few groups or people you’d like to work with and changes you’d like to

make on campus. These activities should fit with your longer-term goals, and be logical stepping stones to that larger ambition.
Now, as our last step before writing the actual essay, let’s consider what our word should be. Look at the plan you have constructed above: the steps you plan to take on campus and thereafter. What verb fits the arc you’ve laid out? Don’t worry about picking something too esoteric or unique–with a prompt like this the word in the blank is unlikely to be the thing that makes your application stand out. Instead, focus on picking a word that fits well with your ambitions.

Then let’s stitch it all together:

  1. Explain the change you hope to make post-MBA, and your vision for changing your industry. HOW will you go about this? What makes your approach new and exciting? Why is this the change you plan to devote your life to?
  2. Show how you will prepare for that visionary career on campus, both changing Stern for the better and learning the skills that will allow you to change your future workplaces and (dare we say) the world!

Your actual “Change: _____ it.” should come near the beginning of the essay, or possibly at the end. Do make sure to include your tagline–the prompt requires it!

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