The NYU Stern EQ (Emotional Intelligence) Recommendation Question

While NYU Stern bases its full-time MBA LOR on the GMAC Common LOR, the school supplements that with an additional question that confounds many applicants.

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.

 Times like these require an EQ hero. That’s you!

Times like these require an EQ hero. That’s you!

Like the subject of EQ itself, your answer will likely include subtleties as well. I tell my clients to consider times when they addressed hidden simmering tension within a group or between teammates, themselves included. It is your emotional intelligence that allows you to recognize such strains and direct them to the surface in a way they can be dissipated productively.

Perhaps your team leader is a bully and your teammates are getting fed up. Or maybe a group member is feeling isolated after making a mistake. Examples external to your group are also possible, say in the case of a negotiating partner whose demands appear irrational. What these situations have in common is that bad feelings are swirling around which are hampering progress, and no one is doing anything about them. Except for you.

Recognizing and surfacing the problem alone are not sufficient. A good example should also include how you sensitively untangled the sticky emotions involved in a way that was effective while maintaining everyone’s dignity. Having your recommender include direct quotations from your "interventions" can help express your brave, subtle, strategic, and thoughtful approach.