Admissions Tips for the EQ Endorsements

Erica Hartsfield is a Senior Associate Director of MBA Admissions and has worked at NYU Stern for over 5 years on both the events marketing and digital marketing teams. Outside of work, Erica is an avid Chicago sports fan (go Bears!), puzzle enthusiast, history buff, and MPA candidate at NYU Wagner.

“Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?” is a question we get often from prospective students. On one hand, the answer seems pretty straightforward: ask a current or previous supervisor. In practice, the answer is a bit more complex. Letters of Recommendation (LORs), or EQ Endorsements as we call them at Stern, are one of the few external inputs that candidates include in their application. But why do we ask for them? And who should you actually ask to write a recommendation?

The Purpose of Letters of Recommendation

The LOR is a data point in a holistic application review process and adds an external perspective to your application. The content and structure of LORs may vary by program, but ultimately, a good LOR should do two things:
  • Support your candidacy. 
  • Bring to life the story in your application through the viewpoint of someone who knows you well.

NYU Stern’s EQ Endorsements

At Stern, our letters of recommendation are called EQ Endorsements. Our EQ Endorsements are similar to a common LOR, but we ask your endorser to provide a specific example of your EQ, or emotional intelligence. Our community values EQ, and this is an opportunity to hear how candidates embody this core pillar of our community through the experience of their endorser.  

Picking Endorsers

You should be selective when deciding who to ask for an EQ Endorsement. At Stern, we encourage at least one professional EQ Endorsement from a current or recent manager. The second endorsement is up to you ( you should avoid anyone who may be biased like family members or significant others). Most importantly, select endorsers who know you and can speak to your contributions and strengths. We can usually tell if you haven’t worked closely with an endorser, so you won’t get extra points for including a letter from an executive just because of their title.

Managing the “Ask”

Once you’ve identified who you want to ask, think about how you’ll manage this process. Here are some tips for ‘managing the ask’:

  • Reach out early. Make a list of people you want to reach out to for EQ Endorsements, and ensure you give them enough time to write a good endorsement. 
  • Don’t tell your recommender what to write about you. Remember, endorsements should be external insight that supports your application. Instead, have a conversation with your endorser to remind them of your accomplishments and share context about why you want to pursue your MBA.
  • Follow up. Stay in touch with your endorsers and follow up as needed. People often miss application deadlines because they are missing an EQ endorsement. 
  • Send a thank you note! It seems obvious, but it’s an important step. Your endorsers have taken time to advocate for you in this journey, so remember to thank them for their support. 

Ultimately, EQ endorsements build on the story you’re telling in your application. If your voice in your application says “this is who I am and this is what I’ve done”, your endorsements should say “that’s true, and here’s how”. 

Tips from a Stern Reapplicant

Jade Burger MacNee is in her first year of the Full-Time MBA program, specializing in Marketing and Media & Entertainment. Prior to Stern, Jade worked in the Fashion and Beauty Industry in companies such as Estée Lauder, Tory Burch and PVH. She is originally from Brazil, where she started her career working as a producer for multiple international fashion magazines including Vogue US, GQ, W and V Magazine.

How does one find their own path in life? What is yours? These were the questions that time and time again I asked myself, especially when I was working on my two applications for NYU’s MBA program. 

Yes, you read it right. I applied to the Stern MBA program twice. My first attempt to embark on the MBA journey was cut short after being waitlisted and ultimately declined admission. But everything changed in 2022 when I received a phone call that shook my life upside down and secured me a place in the class of 2024. 

As I soul searched between my first and second applications, I started discovering in me an unexpected sense of resiliency and confidence. In the fall of 2021, I found myself once again dreading each and every piece of information required for NYU’s application. I wanted to put my best foot forward and was scared of missing the point. However, I took a deep breath and decided to face my fears. I wanted to show how I evolved and why I am constantly motivated by change. 

The first time I applied, I had explained why I wanted to pivot careers and learn how to be a marketer. In my second application, I was able to say that I conquered my goal. I had worked hard throughout the year to make the pivot on my own, and was excited to show Stern the thought I’d put into my time between applications. It takes courage to act and determination to change, and I showed Stern that I was committed to finding new paths in my life. If you ever find yourself in this position, think of action items you can work on between applications. Even if you don’t fully get there, you will already be on the right track. And don’t forget to highlight your short-term achievements in your new essays.

Another area that I was able to improve was the Pick 6. My first one was good, but the second one was real. Don’t be afraid to show blurry photos. The most important thing I wanted to  demonstrate through the photos is my everyday life. I did not realize at first how powerful being real can be. So, after putting it together, I discovered that I am really passionate about all the small things in my life such as cooking with family or reuniting with friends at a wedding. This was certainly a shift from the photos I had before, which I felt focused too heavily on my work and professional life.

My application process felt like a roller coaster, full of ups and downs. However, it made me think of all my successes and failures through a different lens. NYU Stern taught me to be proud of all my achievements even before the first week of class. I am happy to say that everything I expected from the NYU community was correct. Stern is definitely a place where competition gives way to camaraderie. The EQ is real here at NYU – trust me.

Conquering the Pick Six

Nedjee is an Admissions Coordinator at NYU’s Stern School of Business, and has been with Stern since 2021. Outside of her role of planning admissions events, she enjoys watching basketball (Miami Heat) as well as spending quality time with her family. 

We often get questions from applicants about the Pick 6 essay and how to best use visuals to describe yourself and your experiences. This post should give you the knowledge you need and some insider tips on how this photo essay can help you deliver your story using a series of images.

The basics

Let’s start with logistics. The Pick Six Essay prompts you to introduce yourself to the Admissions Committee and to your future classmates using six images and corresponding captions. Your essay 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.

AdCom Tips 

Relay a multifaceted, confident story.

Get an idea of what photos you would like to include and why. From your first image to the very last image, you’re creating a visually dynamic story. It’s important to understand what the message behind each photo is so you can capture the narrative in your brief caption. 

The “why” means more than the “what”

This essay really gives you the opportunity to show us who you are outside of the other components of the application, so use this space to share aspects about you that we may not see otherwise on your application. This is a great way for us to learn more about what gets you out of bed in the morning, what motivates you, and what experiences have impacted you. This can be a series of connected images, or six totally unrelated images, it’s completely up to you! So whether it is a photo of your dog, favorite vacation spots, or historic landmarks, share things that are meaningful to you so we can learn more about you.

Ask for outside advice.

Share your pick six with someone who you trust and who knows you well. Show them your images and the written description of your overall story, and be open to their honest feedback. If you don’t quite have an idea of what images to include, get advice from the people who know you best, and see how their insight aligns with the message you want to convey. This is your chance to be creative however you see fit, so take advantage of it. Ultimately, you make the final selection on the images that tell your story.

Write brief captions.

Your six images should include brief captions to help describe your visual narrative. The caption should help give the Admissions Committee context about the significance of your images. Remember to keep your captions succinct.


We know the Pick 6 essay can be a little nerve-wracking to complete but it should be fun to put together! We love reviewing this essay because it helps bring the application, and the applicant to life. So, it is worth saying again – have fun putting this essay together! We can’t wait to get to know the real you!

Jumping into the Next Stage of Your Career at Stern

Catherine is a Senior Associate Director at NYU’s Stern School of Business, and has been with Stern since 2016. Outside of recruiting the next class of Sternies, she enjoys watching football (NY Giants & Boston College) as well as working her way through her extensive list of NYC restaurants to try.

What do you want to be when you graduate business school? No matter what you are interested in, Stern has the tools to help you succeed in your career.

Historically, Stern was known as the school to go to if you wanted to become an investment banker. Nowadays, you’ll find students interested in all sorts of industries – technology, healthcare, consulting, luxury and retail … the list goes on. To dive deeper, students are able to to specialize in specific subject areas. These specializations help students become experts in the business topics of their choice. 

Aside from offering a diverse and flexible curriculum, Stern has a top-notch Office of Career Development (OCD). OCD’s main focus is to prepare students for internship and full-time employment recruitment. It all starts with IGNITE, which is a job preparation program that all Full-time MBA students complete in their first semester. Students will revise their resumes, participate in interview prep, and attend workshops to identify which industries or career paths pique their interest. Stern’s professional clubs are also a great resource to help students prepare for recruitment. MBA2s act as mentors for the MBA1s, and impart their wisdom after having gone through the recruitment process just one year before.

OCD and the professional clubs are an especially great resource for students who are not coming from a “business” background. In fact, many students pursue an MBA to make a serious career pivot, so don’t fear – you’re not the only one! Our MBA program and its career-focused resources are designed to give you the skills you need to make that career pivot. 

Once students have completed the IGNITE program, they’re ready to recruit! Stern has many companies that participate in on-campus recruiting, meaning they come to Stern to recruit our students directly. Our location in the heart of NYC makes this process even easier since companies and students don’t have to travel far to meet each other. Students are able to recruit for a variety  of industries, given NYC’s status as a hub for global business. Students also find it easy to connect with Stern alumni at companies of interest by simply hopping on the subway to meet a former Sternie for a coffee chat in a matter of minutes. For students who are interested in pursuing roles at smaller companies, or in more niche industries, OCD will help you to make the connections, find applications, and land the perfect role.

We’ve talked about career support, but where do Sternies end up? Take a look at our employment report! Each year, OCD publishes a summary of where the graduating class has accepted jobs, broken down by industry and function. The report also includes information on compensation. For example, the median salary for the Class of 2022 was $170,000. This report is a helpful tool to demonstrate the ROI of Stern’s Full-time MBA program, and highlights career possibilities for Sternies. 

Career support doesn’t stop once a Sternie graduates! Alumni have lifelong access to the Career Center for Working Professionals (CCWP). CCWP provides professional development support and coaches to help you with any career changes. Graduates also join the Stern alumni network, which is 100,000+ alumni strong. 

I hope I’ve provided more insight on how Stern can help shape your future career. The impact of a Stern MBA is something you will feel long after you’ve graduated! 

NYU Stern: From the Eyes of An International Student

Ria Jambusaria is an MBA2, specializing in finance and sustainable business and innovation. Prior to Stern, Ria worked at EY in their financial statement audit service line. This summer, Ria interned at Credit Suisse as an Investment Banking Summer Associate and will be continuing to work in investment banking post graduation. Additionally, Ria is a Managing Editor of the Stern Oppy and a Co-Portfolio Manager for the ESG Fund of the Michael Price Student Investment Fund.

As I write this, I am suddenly reminded that it is already halfway through my second fall semester at Stern. Where has all that time gone? It seems like just yesterday I walked out of JFK Airport on my own for the first time, wondering what New York City held for me.

Why Stern

There are many reasons why I picked Stern, but the location was the first of those reasons. I was considering pursuing a career in finance, and what better place to do that than in what is arguably the financial capital of the world, with Wall Street just a few subway stops away (something that came in very handy during recruiting)! New York is also the best place to be if I decide to pursue a different industry because nearly every large company in the world has a significant presence in the Big Apple. I also chose Stern because of the strength of the alumni community. I wanted to give myself the best opportunity to build a network in a country that I have never lived or worked in, and therefore, the best opportunity to find the right job after Stern. 

Community at Stern

The community at Stern is very strong and that was apparent when I was considering my options for business school. I reached out to several people at Stern during this time –  current students, alumni, people that I had known at work who came to Stern – and everyone was so remarkably helpful and willing to make time for me and answer any questions I had! 

This sentiment was only reinforced when I finally did make it to Stern. Whether it is recruiting, academics or even just life, I know I can rely on the people I have met here at NYU to be there for me. This is especially true during recruiting – we leaned on each other for support and advice, and  even for some light venting! It is also a testament to the strength of the community that several MBA2s take time out of their winter break to help us prepare for interviews by doing endless mock interviews and sharing their experiences to get us over the line.

Embracing Diversity

One of the ways in which Stern builds community is through the many events that are held throughout the semester, especially those that celebrate the culture of the hundreds of international students at Stern (nearly half our class is made up of international students!). This past spring, we had Passport Day, which has been hands down one of my favorite events at Stern (and not just because there was food involved!). Passport Day is a celebration of the cultural diversity in our class. Passport Day featured biryani and samosas from India and Pakistan, empanadas from Colombia, and crêpes from France among many, MANY other delicacies from more than 25 countries. The event also included fabulous dance, song and comedic performances, and was attended by over 450 people, making it one of the biggest Stern events of the semester. It was amazing to see my classmates learn about each other’s cultures and this was one of those times when I truly appreciated the breadth of diversity of our class.  

How Stern Helps you Move

Moving to a new country can be a daunting task, and it is important to do the research beforehand – the student visa process, entry requirements, accommodation etc. The Office of Global Services here at NYU has several resources that can help you start your research. They are also quick to answer any questions you might have about any of the above. When we got to New York, Stern had programming specifically for international students to help us understand the intricacies of the work authorizations and visa processes that will become important after the MBA, as well as things we should keep in mind while living in New York and the United States. A few months into my time in New York, I got a call saying there was a legal notice in my name from Border Control and I’m sure if it hadn’t been for Stern’s orientation, I might have panicked, not realizing it was a scam!

What can I say about New York itself that hasn’t already been said by poets and writers and singers far better than I? It is all they say it is and more. I have cherished every minute I have spent in the Big Apple and never have I felt like an outsider. Culture, art, music, film, Broadway, cuisine and millions of people – they all make New York a truly global city. 

A little more than a year ago, I had never lived away from home. But I have felt comfortable in this incredible city thanks to Stern and all of the wonderful friends I have made here!


Club Leadership at Stern

Chris Cognetta is an MBA2, specializing in Tech Product Management, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Brand Management. Prior to Stern, Chris worked at Charles Schwab. This summer, Chris interned at FTI Consulting and is currently re-recruiting for technology. Additionally, Chris is involved in SGov, Stern Technology Association, Gaming and eSports Management Society, Stern Follies, SpeechMasters, and European Business Society.

The September at the start of your MBA is an eventful time. Between the delightful chaos of meeting all the amazing people in your class and setting up appointments with the Office of Career Development, there’s this major series of events going on: club kickoffs and applications for leadership positions. Every club at Stern is going to host their first meeting, introducing you to the club before expressing the extra positions that you can apply for.

I personally was caught off guard by how many clubs there were and how many positions were available. As an MBA1, you typically get involved as an Assistant Vice President (AVP), where you work directly with the existing club Vice Presidents on their specific verticals, such as Finance or Communications. 

There’s lots of benefits to being an AVP in your first year:

  1. It’s a great networking opportunity
    Being an AVP puts you in direct contact with an MBA2 and you will work with that person(s) on a consistent basis. Working so often with each other allows a connection to form and gives you a great relationship with a future Stern Alumnus.
  2. You gain training and experience for the role if you choose to fill it as a VP next year (or Club President)
    My MBA1 year I served as an AVP of Finance for Stern Follies (a comedy organization that puts on shows and distributes funny memes about the MBA experience throughout the academic year). Being able to train under the existing VP and Presidents, I was able to understand how they do their job and it gave me confidence to fill the role of VP as an MBA2. I’ve now selected my AVP for this year in hopes he can fill the same role once I graduate!
  3. It shows leadership experience and is a resume boost
    A subtle, yet effective way to demonstrate your passion while recruiting is to have your club leadership positions on your resume. This highlights your interests and shows that you have solid leadership experience. For example, my friends who wanted to pivot into technology capitalized on their Stern Tech Association leadership positions to demonstrate their interest and skill in the technology space. 
  4. You help plan memorable MBA events!
    For me personally, there’s no greater feeling than when you spend hours and weeks planning an event that your classmates really enjoy. Being able to plan events like STA Tech Talks or the Stern Follies production were amazing feelings – they were so well received, provided benefit for my class, and introduced me to so many new people. Having my name out in the community helped me to build friendships and connections with people I didn’t know before.

As with most things in business school,  the Club Leadership process can be challenging and break you out of your comfort zone – trying to become an AVP can feel just as intimidating as a job interview. Some clubs will have you submit your resume, you are scheduled for an interview, and then you have to await the decision. It can hurt to get rejected from a position you were excited about. And in all honesty, that’s what happened to me. Almost every club leadership position I had applied for I was rejected my first year. I only served on one club board my MBA1 year. But that didn’t stop me and shouldn’t stop you either. I attended events, showed my passion, and come spring semester, I applied to fill vacant VP positions within various clubs, getting most of the positions I applied for (see the full list in my bio up top)!

It’s important to not get discouraged because there are always opportunities to get involved in club leadership positions: you can join in your MBA2 year, you can form your own club, or you can make friends with Club Leadership and offer to help in some capacity (such as running Study Groups for people who are recruiting).

Overall, being a leader in a club is an incredibly rewarding experience at Stern. In my case, it was an opportunity to meet new people and feel connected to the Stern community. Throughout your two years, you can choose how involved you want to be at Stern, but in my opinion, participating in the clubs is part of what has made my experience at Stern so special!

The Stern Community: The Only Thing I Wish Would Never “Change”

Jeet Khilnani is an MBA2, specializing in strategy and leadership & change management. Prior to Stern, Jeet worked at Nomura in a corporate finance role, and Deloitte in an audit role. This summer, Jeet interned at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as a Summer Consultant and will be continuing to work at the firm post graduation, in New York City. Additionally, Jeet is the Co-President of Outclass (Stern’s LGBTQ+ organization), and a VP of Stern Student Government, Management Consulting Association, Graduate Finance Association, and South Asian Business Association at Stern.

From the time I committed to attending Stern, the one thing that I kept wondering about (rather, worrying about) was the community at Stern. Being an international student who has never lived in the US before, I had heard a lot – that New York City is the big, bad concrete jungle, that people would do anything to get to their goals, and there really isn’t much of a community at a big city school like Stern. I’m sure quite a few of you reading this would’ve also heard / believe the same about Stern / NYC.

Diversity of the Class

As a result of these thoughts, I came into the city with a lot of questions about who my classmates were going to be, what it was going to be like working with them, how competition will bring out the best and worst in us, and more. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Within a few days of being at Stern, I saw my classmates were every bit as incredible as they seemed in the first Zoom meeting we had. Nobody was just ‘playing’ nice, but they were genuinely incredible human beings. I think it’s because we all, no matter where we come from, left stable jobs and took on some risk to go to business school and take the plunge towards a new career. We all came in with some amount of anxiety, some amount of imposter syndrome and some amount of being awestruck that we’re in New York City. The outcome of all that is a large, diverse community of kind, inclusive, intelligent people who would travel significant lengths to help you succeed.

Building Relationships

My first few friends were ones who I’d met at Zoom over a virtual admitted students happy hour, where week after week we had new icebreakers and fun games. It felt surreal to be meeting people again in the Fall of 2021, after a rather rough year and a half spent largely in confinement and solitude thanks to COVID. But the connection was instant – we were all so happy to meet each other (finally!) and begin this incredible journey of two years, one that would for all practical purposes transform our lives.

We also were put into study groups of 5-6 people by the school to work on our “Group Pick Six”, an assignment due before LAUNCH. It was a great way to meet my study group, break the ice with them and work on an interesting assignment together. I think getting six pictures from six individuals can be an interesting way to set up group dynamics – Does each one get to pick one? How do we deal with overlaps? What do we want to say as a team? We had a lot of fun in one hour and found out six common attributes we all shared, for example, we all love adventure!

Our LAUNCH Group’s Pick 6

As school began, we had LAUNCH- which was simply one whole week of awesome. One of my life’s most treasured moments was the dinner at Ellis Island, sitting on a table with seven other students I’d never met before, looking at the Manhattan skyline and not being able to believe that all this was real. We all shared that same emotion I guess, and I walked away with one “core memory” (Inside Out reference) and seven new friends. As school progressed, I met more and more people and my friends list kept growing.

Friendships Strengthened through Ups & Downs

Of course, it’s never all just fun and games. That never results in the strongest community in my opinion. And soon enough, our test stood in front of us – recruiting. We all got busy, running from one corporate event to another, one coffee chat after another and a social gathering seemed like the last thing on anyone’s mind. Yet, you could feel the power of the Stern community because despite not having met for days/weeks on end, I felt supported. If I missed an event, my friends would share their notes with me. If there was an assignment due and I was busy, someone else in my project team did the heavy lifting for me, if I was sick (and I did get COVID in week 1 of classes), someone dropped off food at my doorstep. 

As Fall progressed, things got even more intense. The weather got colder, but our community grew warmer. Through the holidays, the rejections, the interview prep and the interview season, we stood by each other – sharing resources, questions, case practice, advice and sometimes just holding your hand or giving you a hug. I clearly remember the night before a big final round interview, I was freaking out – I sent a text to a dear friend (also recruiting) and they immediately called me back. We spoke for twenty minutes, they made sure I was calm and wouldn’t do anything to hurt my chances the next day. Right after my interview, I got a call again to check if everything was okay. To me, that gesture alone defines the community at Stern.

Today, I feel like an integral part of the Stern community, and Sternies are an indispensable part of my life. I don’t know what I would do without them, and I couldn’t be more grateful for each and every one of them.

Yes, we’re in New York. Yes, it’s competitive (duh!). Yes, it’s intense. But, we are Stern. We get through it, together. Always have, always will.


Reflections on My Recruiting Journey: How Stern Can Help You Land Your Dream Internship

Ria Jambusaria is an MBA2, specializing in finance and sustainable business and innovation. Prior to Stern, Ria worked at EY in their financial statement audit service line. This summer, Ria interned at Credit Suisse as an Investment Banking Summer Associate and will be continuing to work in investment banking post graduation. Additionally, Ria is a Managing Editor of the Stern Oppy and a Co-Portfolio Manager for the ESG Fund of the Michael Price Student Investment Fund.


Whenever I told someone I was planning on recruiting for investment banking, I would be greeted with a look that clearly said, well, you’re in for a roller coaster of a first semester!

And so it was! The recruiting process for banking is no easy task, but the Graduate Finance Association (GFA), the Office of Career Development (OCD) at Stern, and the great Stern alumni network certainly made it less intense and I could not be more grateful. Speaking with my friends who recruited in consulting, technology, or entertainment and media, I know they have also benefited from the professional clubs here at Stern as well as the expertise of OCD.

How it Works

For banking, the recruiting is quite structured – a result of Stern’s proximity to Wall Street and its great relationship with all the major bulge bracket and boutique banks. Even as an international student, I had the opportunity to recruit with a large number of banks. With Wall Street and Midtown, only a few subway stops away, I was able to visit their offices and meet the teams which allowed me to get an outsider’s view of their culture.

Recruiting involves A LOT of networking and this is made easier by Stern’s connection with the banks. Stern alumni from these banks come to campus for corporate presentations which allow students the opportunity to meet directly with senior bankers. If this sounds nerve-wracking, keep in mind that the GFA helps out first-year students with best practices so that we can be prepared when presenting ourselves to representatives from these banks. The GFA works tirelessly with these companies to bring them to Stern for corporate presentations and “Host a Deal” events where current employees talk about how some of their major deals came to be. 

OCD Resources

The OCD also has several resources that help with recruiting, and they hit the ground running before the first semester even starts. OCD begins with resume reviews and helps students figure out the best path for them. In the first semester, OCD has regularly scheduled programming aimed at helping students with their thirty and sixty-second pitches, networking, and interview skills. OCD also holds office hours regularly and students can set up appointments with its marvelous career coaches to discuss anything from resumes, interviews, offers, or even to have mock coffee chats and mock interviews. I found the appointments with career coaches to be especially helpful for practicing my coffee chat skills. As an introvert, I found the idea of networking quite daunting, so the opportunity to practice those skills in a low-stakes environment was great!

Coffee chats are the best way of getting to know the alumni and the senior bankers and I had somewhere between sixty and eighty coffee chats throughout the fall semester! It may seem like a lot, but I found the networking and the one-on-one chats were essential to help me understand how I would fit into a particular bank and whether they could offer me what I wanted. It also helped me build connections at banks and showcase myself as a candidate for them, which can be crucial when applying for internships.

Banks also have group networking events in the second half of the fall semester, which was another opportunity to meet senior bankers I had not spoken with before, and learn about their experiences in the industry, which were invaluable when I was deciding on where I should do my internship. I have found the Stern alumni to be open and communicative, always willing to share their stories.

Interview Prep

GFA and OCD are amazing with interview prep as well. It is a testament to the strength of the community here at Stern that several MBA2s take time out of their winter break to help us by doing endless prep, and sharing their experiences and resources to get us ready for both the behavioral and technical portions of the interview. I can safely say that without the help and encouragement of my seniors as well as the career coaches in the OCD, my interviews would not have gone half as well as they did!

Community Support

Apart from the internal resources that Stern offers as well as the massive help we get from MBA2s, something that was instrumental in my recruiting journey was the peer network at Stern. Just talking to people who are recruiting in the same industry or who have had experience working with companies you might want to work for can provide vital information you might need on your recruiting journey.

Overall, the Stern community made what could have been a daunting recruiting process into a memorable experience that was vital to my professional as well as personal growth.

Academics at Stern

Gustavo Valverde Rezende is an MBA2, originally from Brazil. He has a Bachelor’s in business administration from Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora and a Master’s in finance from IBMEC. Before joining Stern, Gustavo worked in management consulting, public management, and corporate finance before joining Eureca, a purpose-driven startup, as Chief Financial Officer.  His latest job was as Strategy & Finance Leader at Grupo Anga, Eureca’s parent company, overlooking a portfolio of six purpose-driven companies. This summer, Gustavo worked as an Investment Banking Summer Associate at Credit Suisse in New York.


Before coming to NYC, I never cared too much about academics. After a few weeks in my first year at Stern, I realized it would be a mistake not to care. As I studied Statistics, Accounting, Foundations of Finance, Strategy, and Firms & Markets, – all courses I had taken before – I felt like I was exploring a whole new world. Now, in my second to last semester, I already miss the academic experience at Stern.

What made me change my mind so drastically and quickly?

1. Stern classes are relevant to me

As they will be to you. Note I didn’t write that they are important for a business professional –  I chose my words carefully. After a few years of work experience, I have a pretty strong sense of things I like to do and, more importantly, areas where I need to improve. Stern has over 200 elective classes that allow me to tailor my professional experience to what I like and need.

Even with core classes, like the ones I mentioned before, I had the option to opt out based on my previous experience – but chose to take them anyway because I believed that would strengthen my fundamentals, as they did. I also took classes such as Modeling Financial Statements, which aligns with what I want to do in the future, and Management Communications, which is something I’m sure I need to improve upon. These are two of my favorite classes – but I’ll get back to them.

To help me avoid a choice paradox, Stern offers 27 specializations that cluster all these electives together. I’m not required to choose any particular specialization, but they are very helpful for my own academic planning. They are also nice signals to send to recruiters or the market about topics you care about enough to specialize in. So I can pick up to three specializations, or none. Whatever works best for me. I chose to specialize in Corporate Finance, General Management, and Banking because these align with my short and long-term career goals.

2. Stern professors care about what you take from their classes

I like to think that my teachers are as diverse as my classmates. Each of them has their own teaching methods, backgrounds, and styles. Some are researchers, some are practitioners. But I like to think they all have one thing in common: they give you tough love. 

Believe me, they can be tough! In Modeling Financial Statements, Professor Dan Gode gave us over 100 assignments in one semester. In Management Communication, Professor Burns held an in-class exercise where she played the part of an obnoxious CEO that made me wanna quit (her company, not her class!).

Professors at Stern do this because they believe that’s the best way for you to take something from their class. And they have the freedom to do so. I would have never gotten through my internship without the practice runs Professor Gode gave me last Spring. It was hard, but I left that class much better prepared for life. Professor Burns took me out of my comfort zone to teach me how to handle difficult people in power positions. She did not need to do this, but she did. And it was invaluable.

3. Stern academics don’t end in the classroom

At Stern, I can learn in several different ways. I can travel abroad for an exchange program in Europe, LATAM, Asia, and many other places. I can spend a week learning about business in South Africa or Argentina. I’m gaining real-world experience through my involvement in  a student-led fund seeking to invest in impactful startups. I could also gain experience on  a non-profit Board, deliver a consulting engagement, or engage with an early-stage tech startup in NYC.

This allows me to really learn from my peers and form my own experience. I learn as I do, or do as I learn, just like it should be.

The bad news is that I won’t be able to do everything I wanted. Two years may sound like a lot, but most of the time it feels like it’s not enough. There’s just not enough time to take classes with all Professors I’d like to learn from, nor to take all the experiential offerings I’d like to live. Prioritizing is an arduous and constant struggle. FOMO is real at Stern. Even in academics, believe it or not.

And I’m glad it is. Because this variety of options is what makes my Stern experience unique. It’s what makes NYU Stern a good fit for me. And hopefully, for you. 


Getting to Know Stern

Jessica joined the MBA Admissions team in 2015 and is currently responsible for LGBTQ and Women’s recruiting, marketing, events and customer service for the Full-time MBA programs. Prior to joining Stern, Jessica worked in graduate admissions at Columbia University’s Teachers College and in Hofstra University’s Office of Undergraduate Admission and has read 1000s of applications! Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her family & friends, exploring new places and is looking forward to getting back on the road recruiting future Sternies!

As you explore MBA programs, you should consider a few questions. Where do you want to spend 1-2 years of your life? What culture and community do you thrive in? Do you want to stay connected with this community 5 -10 years down the road as you make your next career move or encounter life changes? 

At Stern, IQ+EQ is a hallmark trait – we bring together students and community members who are intellectually strong, professionally accomplished, but also those who are collaborative, empathetic leaders and teammates. This is what I love about Stern – being part of an impressive community that is still down to earth. Culture is incredibly important, but there are other aspects of the Stern experience that make it special. For example, location. Being in the heart of New York City is such a huge part of Stern. We are located in a diverse and vibrant community, and our location gives students access to top notch firms, recruiters, in-semester internships, faculty, speakers & more! Academics is an important consideration as well. Stern’s full-time program is very flexible, allowing students to customize their curriculum and take advantage of our extensive menu of electives courses, including classes at other NYU graduate schools! I can go on and on about Stern, but I’ll summarize it by saying – do your research and get to know the schools you’re applying to. I hope Stern is on your list!

Getting to know Stern

There are many ways to connect with Stern! First, I’d recommend clicking through our website to learn more about our program offerings. I would also suggest checking out our  Meet With Us page to explore more ways to connect with members of the community. I’m sure you want to connect with the admissions committee, but you should also find time to speak with current students. Our students are an invaluable resource in the discovery process (and there are many ways to do it!).

We offer a number of events to help you get to know Stern, including information sessions, “Ask a Sternie” chats with current students and clubs, and mock application workshops with our admissions committee. Events are added regularly – so continue to check our events calendar  to stay up to date! If you’re interested in a Focused MBA program, be sure to check out the “Meet With Us” pages for the Tech MBA and Fashion & Luxury MBA as well.

Prioritizing events 

We offer a variety of ongoing virtual events – it is a great way to connect with us! It is not a requirement to attend events, but rather an opportunity for you to learn more about Stern. For applicants at the beginning of the MBA search, it may be helpful to join an information session. As applicants move along, mock application workshops are a unique way to gain insider tips on crafting an application. We also offer smaller coffee chats and club events that allow for direct interaction with current students where applicants can ask personalized questions. Again, it is not a requirement to attend events, but an important resource that applicants can and should take advantage of!

Additionally, stay in touch after you’ve attended an event! If contact information is shared, please feel free to follow up and stay connected.

Other ways to get to know Stern

Events aren’t the only way to build your familiarity with our MBA programs. If you’re looking to learn more about Stern on the go, you can tune into our student podcast, “Stern Chats”. The ‘chats’ are a fun listen that share excellent insight into life at Stern. The podcast highlights the stories (not just resumes) of key members of the community. You can also read our community blogs and follow our LinkedIn pages to get insight from students and the admissions team:

Unable to attend an event? Watch recordings of past events at a time that’s convenient for you.   

Highlight what you know in your application

You can share your knowledge of Stern in your application. You can include Stern contacts you’ve connected with along the way, or specific clubs or centers you want to get involved in. These specifics are often included in applicant essays, but may also come up in other areas of your application. Additionally, an interview is a great way to showcase knowledge about Stern. I have conducted many successful interviews in which interviewees shared compelling examples of how they connected with Stern and how they want to get involved. Our interviews are not blind, so we’re able to take the conversation to the next level and dig into your interest in Stern and how you plan to contribute to the community.

Have fun during this exploration process! Don’t be shy about reaching out and connecting with us. We love talking about Stern and connecting with prospective students!