Just spent the past week or two revising my main essay for my third business school application. At first glance, while the question prompt for NYU Stern’s first essay is quite similar to Columbia’s, their focus is actually pretty different. Stern specifically asks about your past experiences (i.e., the choices you have made to get to where you are now) as well as your future goals, but Columbia only asks about forward-looking matters (i.e., your short- and long-term goals and Columbia’s fit).
In using my Stern essay as a starting point for Columbia’s application, I was initially discouraged by my chances at getting into Columbia, because my essay didn’t seem like a compelling answer to the prompt. But, after substantially revising my essay to focus more on what my career goals are and why those choices are important to me (with less emphasis than before on my previous experiences that translate into my goals), I feel better about the fit between my story and getting an MBA from Columbia. After about ten drafts, I’m nearly there!