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  • Malvika Patil

NYU Stern MBA Recommendation Questions 2023 - 2024

Updated: Apr 2




NYU Stern’s focus on intellectual ability and emotional intelligence (IQ+EQ) shines through in its essays, interview questions, and even its letters of recommendation (LoRs). That's why Stern calls its letters of recommendation ‘EQ Endorsements’, even including a question centred around key soft skills like self-awareness, empathy, communication and self-management.


How Many Letters of Recommendation Does NYU Stern Require?


Candidates applying to NYU Stern are asked to provide 1 letter from a current manager/supervisor who can adequately speak to their professional/personal strengths, potential to succeed, and fit with Stern’s MBA program. 


NYU Stern uses the GMAC Common Letter of Recommendation format to frame its recommendation questions, but adds an EQ specific question to better assess the candidate’s fit with its school values.


NYU Stern MBA Recommendation Questions


Instructions


One EQ (emotional intelligence) Endorsement is required, but applicants may submit a second if they choose. The required endorsement must come from a current supervisor, and if that is not possible, an explanation as to why must be provided in the application. Your EQ Endorsements should come from individuals who know you professionally and/or personally, who can objectively assess your potential for success in NYU Stern’s MBA program and in your future career, and who can act as a persuasive advocate of your EQ strengths.


Section 1: Applicant and Recommender Information 


Is the applicant currently employed by your organization? (Yes/No)


Are you an alumna/alumnus of the NYU Stern School of Business? (Yes/No)


Section 2: EQ Endorsement


Please rate the applicant in relation to his or her peers. 


  • Analytical/Quantitative Ability

  • Oral Communication Skills

  • Written Communication Skills

  • Initiative

  • Integrity

  • Leadership

  • Maturity

  • Teamwork

  • Professionalism

  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ)


Please mark your overall recommendation regarding this applicant’s admission to NYU Stern:


  • I strongly recommend this applicant for admission

  • I recommend this applicant for admission

  • I recommend this applicant for admission with reservations

  • I do not recommend this applicant be admitted

Section 3: Written Endorsement


  • Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, the applicant’s role in your organization. (Up to 50 words)


  • How does the applicant’s performance compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles (if applicable)? Please provide specific examples. (E.g. what are the applicant’s principal strengths?) (Up to 500 words)


  • Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (Up to 500 words)


  • IQ+EQ is a core value of NYU Stern, and we seek exceptional individuals who possess both intellectual and interpersonal strengths. Emotional intelligence (EQ) skills such as self-awareness, empathy, communication and self-management are at the core of our community of leaders. Please provide one specific and compelling example to demonstrate the applicant’s emotional intelligence.


  • (Optional) Is there anything else we should know?



Analysis


Ratings


Your recommender ratings will look like this:



The recommender is asked to rate the applicant on 10 characteristics, mentioned above. For each characteristic, they will be asked to choose a rating from a drop-down menu with the following scale:


  • Outstanding (Top 5%)

  • Excellent (Top 15%)

  • Good (Top 1/3)

  • Average (Middle 1/3)

  • Below Average (Bottom 1/3)

  • Unable to judge


We do not recommend choosing the Outstanding (Top 5%) option for all characteristics; the AdCom may believe that the recommender has not honestly evaluated the applicant. Discuss your strengths and weaknesses with your recommender and guide them to select the Outstanding choice in 7-8 of the characteristics listed, and the Excellent (Top 15%) option in the remaining 2-3. Reserve the middle rating (Good: Top 1/3) for a maximum of 1 characteristic, only if it requires major improvement. 


For the overall rating, select the highest option. 


Recommender Questions


The recommender will have to answer 4 mandatory questions. They may also answer the optional question if required. 


1. Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, the applicant’s role in your organization. (Up to 50 words)


In this answer, the recommender should briefly describe their role in the organization, how long they have worked there, and provide data on how many people they have managed or supervised. Then, they should explain their relationship to you, the applicant, and provide a brief overview of your role and primary responsibilities in the organization. 


2. How does the applicant’s performance compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles (if applicable)? Please provide specific examples. (E.g. what are the applicant’s principal strengths?) (Up to 500 words)


Here, the recommender will evaluate your strengths and ‘spikes’ as compared to peers in similar positions. Typically, recommenders provide up to 3 anecdotes that each demonstrate a unique strength. When writing about your strengths, ensure that they are aligned with NYU Stern’s values. NYU Stern looks for the following in their MBA candidates:


  • Global outlook

  • Commitment to diversity

  • IQ + EQ

  • Collaboration over competition

  • Leadership that can bring change


Use the SCAR method (Situation, Challenge, Action, Results) to structure these anecdotes and connect them to your fit with the school. Try to quantify your results by including figures, dollar amounts, and percentages to showcase impact. 


3. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (Up to 500 words)


For this answer, select a personal or professional weakness that you have worked to overcome. Your recommender should provide an anecdote (again, in the SCAR format) where your weakness presented a challenge, how receptive you were to their feedback, and what actions you took to improve in this area. Ensure that this weakness isn’t too generic or ‘fake’, like “being too attentive to a project” but serves to show your resilience, self-awareness, and ability to adapt to a situation. 


NYU Stern looks for diverse candidates who may not be from exceptional backgrounds, but who show humility, leadership without arrogance, and a high level of emotional intelligence in their interpersonal relationships. Guide your recommender to show your fit with these values. 


4. IQ+EQ is a core value of NYU Stern, and we seek exceptional individuals who possess both intellectual and interpersonal strengths. Emotional intelligence (EQ) skills such as self-awareness, empathy, communication and self-management are at the core of our community of leaders. Please provide one specific and compelling example to demonstrate the applicant’s emotional intelligence. (No word limit)


This question is unique to NYU Stern. Your recommender is asked to provide a specific example of a time when you showcased one of the EQ skills listed above, like self-awareness, empathy, communication, or self-management. They don’t have to limit their answer to these, but they provide a good starting point to think about this answer.


Think of this as a team/community story. The example that your recommender provides should (again, in the SCAR format) demonstrate how you identified a challenge or stepped up to help someone else and how your actions impacted them positively. 


5. (Optional) Is there anything else we should know? (No word limit)


Don’t ask your recommender to fill this field out just because there’s extra space! Reserve the Optional Answer for any important information not covered in the above questions, or to further explain a point made previously. In most cases, recommenders leave this blank. 


Our complete Recommender Guide course on MBAConsultant.com has all the advice (and sample letters based on real applicants) you need to create a compelling letter of recommendation.



 

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