This is an interview with  Paula Steisel Goldfarb, Executive Director, MBA and Executive MBA Admissions and Financial Aid at NYU Stern School of Business.

Paula Steisel Goldfarb, Executive Director, MBA and Executive MBA Admissions and Financial Aid at NYU Stern

Paula Steisel Goldfarb, Executive Director, MBA and Executive MBA Admissions and Financial Aid at NYU Stern

1. You have added a new and earlier application deadline this year (the one on October 15th). What was the motivation to do so?

We are responding to feedback from applicants who have requested an earlier deadline.  We wanted to give applicants an opportunity to receive their admission decision earlier.  This new deadline also aligns with the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, of which Stern is a member and accepts applications.  It is also in line with early deadlines of many other top business schools.

2. The average GMAT at NYU is 721 – wow! How can candidates with a lower GMAT score (let’s say 660 or 650) tell whether they have a decent chance of getting in?

We do not make admissions decisions solely based on GMAT or GRE scores.  A test score is one of many components of the application that we evaluate.  The 80% GMAT range for our Fall 2013 class was 680-760, meaning 10% of our students scored a 670 or below.

3. Applicants to NYU Stern are sometimes wait-listed without an interview, which is confusing, as all admitted students are interviewed prior to admissions. Is this more like an indication for students to apply again next year, or is it possible for students to get an interview while on the wait-list?

A waitlist notification means that we see potential in the applicant, but we are not ready to meet him or her at this time.  We do invite some applicants who are on the waitlist to interview at a later date.

4. You have been accepting the GRE score for the last couple of years. How do you evaluate the GRE score and what is the score range? Is it converted to an equivalent GMAT score and reported as one for ranking purposes?

Both the GMAT and GRE assess academic ability by evaluating quantitative, verbal and analytical writing skills and help us understand how well a candidate will perform in MBA courses.  Either test will meet our application requirements.  The choice of the test is up to the applicant.

5. So many applicants want to study, live and work in NYC. How do you tell whether someone is truly interested at NYU and not just the location?

We recognize that our New York City location is attractive to many applicants, and we offer many opportunities for applicants to visit us and engage with our community – from our fall class visit program, to our new Future of Business series with faculty to special interview days in the winter and spring. Through our personal and thorough admissions process, which includes an interview for all admitted applicants, we assess an applicant’s fit with our program.

6. Last year you have introduced a new essay, “Two Different and Distinct Paths,” which applicants find very challenging. What are you looking to learn about applicants via this essay?

Beginning this year, applicants can choose which essays that they feel are most valuable for presenting their candidacy to the Admissions Committee.  In some cases, it will be best achieved by submitting the Personal Expression option; in other cases, it will be best achieved by submitting the Two Paths option.

The Two Paths question helps the Admissions Committee assess an applicant’s fit with the Stern mission and mindset about creating value in a global business environment of increased ambiguity. Given today’s dynamic and ever-changing global business landscape, we believe it is important that our students have the capacity to think broadly and creatively about how they can make an impact through their career endeavors.


7. How does Stern view re-applicants? Do you look at the previous year’s essays and interview reports before deciding whether to interview again or is the evaluation done separately? Do the same people review the candidate’s profile or will it be a new member of the admissions team?

We encourage applicants who are passionate about Stern to re-apply and have even created an abbreviated application for re-applicants who submit their new application within one year.  Re-applicants are also encouraged to use our optional essay to tell us how they have become a more competitive applicant.

8. Applying in the 3rd round: how should applicants decide whether they should apply to Stern or wait for the first round next year? Are admissions chances different for domestic and international applicants?

We admit applicants (both domestic and international) from all deadlines and encourage applicants to apply when they are ready and when they feel their application is the strongest it can be.

9. Recently, other top business schools (Kellogg and Yale) have introduced mandatory video essays, as a way to see the candidates. Are you considering using something like that or introducing other changes to the MBA application profile?

We have had a personal expression essay for a very long time and have allowed applicants to submit video submissions for a number of years.  Each person is unique and has unique passions, interests, and experiences.  We encourage applicants to tap into these things and communicate them in a manner and medium that best conveys who they are.  It can be an essay, a crossword puzzle, a painting, an artifact from the past, a video so long as it provides insight into the person.  At this point a video is not required.  Each year, we evaluate our application process to determine if any changes should be made.  If there are any changes, they will be announced over the summer.

Want to talk about your application to NYU Stern? Email to schedule a free initial consultation or fill out your contact information and I will get back to you within 24 hours.

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