By: Indra Kar
On October 24th, the NYU Wasserman Center hosted a MBA Q&A Information Session. As a junior majoring in Economics, I was interested to see what the panelists had to offer regarding MBA admissions. There were five people on the panel:
Brian White, Assistant Director of MBA Admissions, NYU Stern
Liz Batsche, Current MBA Student, NYU Stern
Daniel Egan, Director of Energy and Sustainability, Vornado Realty (MBA CUNY)
Amy Leasca, Marketing Director, HBO (MBA Fordham)
It was a very informative program that was organized by Wasserman, and it was very helpful. There were three key takeaways from the seminar:
Essays and Recommendations are Important
Just like the college application process that we are familiar with, the MBA admissions process depends on factors other than GPA and standardized test scores. Both Brian White and Amy Leasca encouraged finding undergraduate professors and former mentors who would be willing to take the time to write very good recommendations.
Liz Batsche stated that applicants should be authentic when writing their essays because schools are looking for “the right fit.” And the essays provide outlets to demonstrate this “fit.” Daniel Egan provided a personal anecdote. He said that he was a liberal arts student in college at NYU where he majored in Metropolitan Studies which itself is not necessarily business-inclined. But he was still admitted into an MBA program of his choice. From his success, he recommended that applicants take advantage of their strengths and hone in on them in their application.
You Do Not Have to Apply While in College
All four panelists had prior work experience before entering an MBA program. Mr. Egan highly recommended a break between the end of undergraduate school and the beginning of MBA school. For him specifically, he worked in real estate for a few years after graduating from college at NYU. He didn’t start attending the MBA program at CUNY-Baruch until five years after he graduated from NYU. And he said that he was very happy he took the time off. Mr. Egan chose to apply to CUNY-Baruch’s real estate program because he was very interested in that industry.
Mr. White, who works for NYU Stern’s MBA admissions department, also worked for a few years before he attended Stern. He said that the majority applicants for a number of concentrations have at least a year of work experience. So it may actually be in the best interest of the applicant to take time off after college and gain work experience.
Ms. Leasca only applied to Fordham’s MBA school which she would eventually attend and graduate from. However, she regretted only applying to one school. Her advice was to apply to a few schools because it is important to see what different schools have to offer. If students take a year or two off before applying, they will have those years to fully research MBA programs and figure out which ones are best for them.
Networking and Campus Visits are Very Helpful
We know that having connections with the right people can help someone land a job. It can also help your chances of admission to a top MBA school.
All of the panelists emphasized that a campus visit is a great way to network with current students and admissions officers. Mr. Egan commented on how this skill is important even when you are already attending MBA school. The reason is that connections can become your “lifelines” when the nature of an industry changes. And you don’t know when a particular industry will go through these changes, so you need a safety net of people in case your department unexpectedly becomes down-sized.