Student Ambassador Yutong Cai (DABC ’22) Sharing

September 27, 2021

On September 15th, current student Yutong Cai from the MS in Data Analytics & Business Computing (DABC) program Class of 2022 shared her program experience and application tips during the NYU SH-NYU Stern MS programs webinar. Yutong graduated from Boston University this year, double majoring in Mathematics and Economics, and minoring in computer science. She also works as a graduate admissions student ambassador. 

Q: First of all, would you share with us your decision making process for choosing our program? 

Yutong: The most important reason is the NYU Shanghai and NYU Stern brand and the program itself. I love the overall structure, the learning objectives, and the China and Asia focused career development guidance. They align really well with my career goals. 

The location is an important consideration: Shanghai and New York City are two of my favorite cities. The class size here is relatively small compared to my other choices. I also felt that the admissions committee cared about students, and the atmosphere here is really nice. 

Q: How did you prepare for the professional essay in your application? 

Yutong: I went to the official website and checked the program information such as the curriculum, the learning objectives and other relevant information to gain an overall understanding of the program and the class profile. I also went to other platforms such as ChaseDream to learn more about the program and gain new perspectives.

This helped me to prepare for the application and the professional essay. It was especially useful for answering the essay question: why do you want to pursue this degree?

Yutong during Orientation (in the middle)

Q: What were the key points in your professional essay? 

Yutong: In my professional essay, I described the achievements and difficulties in my previous internship. They prepared me for more advanced study, and helped me realize that I need to improve in certain areas. 

It can be helpful to include how this program can help you to achieve your goal, and how your learning objectives correspond with courses in the program.

You can also show your career interest in Asia/China and demonstrate your preparation for this program, such as your previous studies, internships or ideas. 

Q: The admissions committee values seeing internships that are relevant to your career goal. 

You can find a good program fit and identify the necessary resources for your future success if you understand the unique regional focus of our program. You would be able to take advantage of our Career Development Center resources and faculty industry connections in the China and Asia area, and benefit from classmates who plan on accelerating their careers in the China and Asia region.

Let’s talk about the personal expression essay. We ask for six pictures and a one-sentence caption for each one. You also need three sentences to describe the essay and give it an introduction. This is a chance to show your personality and your personal characteristics. Yutong, could you tell us about the pictures for your personal expression essay? 

Yutong: I tried to include the important experiences from the last few years: my portrait, my experience performing with the choir team to show that I like to study and spend time with others and demonstrate my interests; a picture of me volunteering, and a travel picture to show my adventurous side. 

My favorite is where I drew a self-portrait of my Boston University commencement. I was not able to attend it on campus because of the pandemic, which was a bit disappointing. I also took online classes for my entire senior year. There were a lot of things I did not get to do because of the pandemic, but I drew this scene to tell the admissions committee and remind myself that I still have a positive outlook for the future despite all the uncertainties.

Q: Some students find it challenging to choose the pictures. How was your experience? 

Yutong: It was hard to describe myself in six pictures, and I wanted those pictures to impress the admissions committee and show my personality. I actually struggled quite a bit with the process. 

It might be a good idea to prepare as early as possible, because selecting and finding pictures could be very time-consuming. 

MSDABC, Class of 2022

Q: How did you manage to describe the pictures within the limit? 

Yutong: I wrote about why I chose the picture. I think the more important thing is your reason for choosing this picture, and what you want to show to the admissions committee, your future classmates and professors.

Q: Any suggestions for someone who is currently in the application process? 

Yutong: I know students are applying to multiple graduate programs, but it is crucial to demonstrate your interest and understanding of this specific program. Learning as much as possible about the program is necessary for both the essay and the whole application and making sure that you choose the right program for yourself.

Q: We received some questions from the audience for Yutong. Do you have a favorite professor or course? 

Yutong: My favorite is the Machine Learning course we took during the summer semester. Professor Zhang Renyu taught it very well. Machine learning was a completely new topic for me, so I learned a lot and enjoyed the practical projects.