Caroline Murphy is an Associate Director of MBA Admissions at Stern. Caroline has worked at Stern for four years and recently completed the Langone Part-time MBA program. Outside of work, Caroline loves watching Texas Longhorn football and playing with her nieces and nephews.
Often, candidates ask our team what would make them the right “fit” for Stern. They are trying to learn what the typical Stern student looks like in terms of career background, passions, or post-MBA goals. But the answer is, there is no “typical Stern student,” and applicants should focus instead on what makes them unique. Rather than thinking about how you can ‘fit’ at Stern, reframe your process to think about if the qualities of NYU Stern’s programs align with you and your goals.
The Ideal Candidate
If you’ve sat in one of our mock application sessions, you have seen a small snippet of how the admissions process works. At Stern, we look at each applicant individually and holistically. There is no specific quality that each student must possess, rather, we want to see how an applicant’s entire story comes together to show who they are individually. There is no one-size fits all when it comes to our student body – each of our students has a different background and their own story to tell. We value all work experiences and paths that have led people to apply for an MBA.
When you are crafting your application, I encourage you to reflect on what makes you you and how that will help you develop into a strong business leader. Are you inclusive in your leadership? Are you able to bring out the best in difficult colleagues with your light hearted humor? Are you efficient and willing to go the extra mile? Are you reserved and thoughtful about your choices? All of these are individual strengths that contribute to who you are and can be leveraged in business school and beyond. It’s up to you to determine how you’ll convey these strengths in your application.
Communicating Your Authentic Self
The Stern application provides many opportunities for you to share your story and showcase your unique qualities and interests. For instance, the “activities and achievements” section on the application communicates how you spend your time and what you choose to be involved in. The “Change” and Pick Six essays give you the freedom to be creative and share personal experiences or show what makes you tick. All of this helps us understand your story and get to know you better. Through our conversation in the interview stage, we’ll get to see this person come to life as we learn more about what you shared in your application. We want to get to know you as an individual, rather than assessing how you might be similar to current Stern students.
Finding Your Fit at Stern
Rather than focusing on how you fit, focus on how Stern fits for you. There are a lot of ways to determine if the culture at Stern aligns with what you’re looking for in a network and to see if our programs align with your goals. The first step is to attend events – we have a range of events from virtual to in-person, admissions focused to student-led. Events can highlight specific areas of interest (like club office hours) and help you identify what recruiting paths are available, as well as help you get to know students and what they love most about Stern. On that note, you can also chat candidly with current students through coffee chats or by emailing email@example.com to set up a time to chat. They can help you with any concerns that you have and tell you about their experience. Lastly, explore our website! There is a ton of information on our site about the curriculum, post-MBA outcomes, school news, and more. Becoming familiar with the program will help you to envision yourself at Stern and recognize if it’s the right program for you. Don’t be shy in communicating the aspects of Stern that you’re most excited about on your application or in your interview – this helps us learn more about you and why you’re excited to go on this journey at Stern.
As you apply, I hope you’ll remember that the only type of candidate we want to see at Stern is an authentic one. Lean into what makes you YOU and it will shine through in your application. We can’t wait to meet you!