Applications can be completed online through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). This link is for the GSAS home page: http://gsas.nyu.edu/object/grad.admissions.onlineapp. From here, click on the Application Resource Center link for the online application and GSAS application guide.
Note: The I/O program also requires a supplemental application question which is posted on this page below. Questions are typically posted 60 days prior to the due date.
For Spring admission: October 1st
For Summer and Fall admission: February 1st
Note: Given the extremely competitive nature of the I/O program, serious consideration of the most qualified applicants may result in offers being extended beginning one month post-deadline.
The I/O Open House is an opportunity to hear from the Program Coordinator about the details of the program, ask questions, and meet students and alumni of the program. For information about the I/O Open House schedule and how to RSVP, click here: http://psych.nyu.edu/programs/ma/openhouse.html.
Supplemental I/O Application Question (required for all applicants)
Below is the supplemental writing sample required case study item for the Summer and Fall 2014 applications (February 1, 2014 deadline).
The I/O Psychology M.A. Program requires a writing sample essay. This supplemental document provides an opportunity for applicants to put Psychology and Science into practice (as expected in the program). It represents realistic preview of how one might be engaged to drive consultative intervention aimed at improving conditions for employers and employees alike.
This is a business case that asks you to write about the company, Microsoft, from an I/O Psychology vantage point. In addition, it will allow for the inclusion of personal strengths, key background experiences, and personal perspective. Include personal challenges, priorities, goals, and achievements that might bear on candidacy for admissions to the program. Bring your own history, previous studies, business experiences, and interests into focus to address the real-world human capital challenges and opportunities the case presents.
The Microsoft Case:
Background Summary / Business Conditions
Not long ago the champion of the new economy, Microsoft has stumbled a bit of late. Known for its creativity and domination in the 1980s and 1990s, Microsoft now faces shrinking PC and software sales in a much more complex and competitive global marketplace.
Wall street analysts and shareholders alike have complained that Microsoft stock hasn’t really moved up in value in years. They like the substantial dividend, but decry the lack in price appreciation compare to many other hotter, newer, “next big thing” businesses.
Reduced corporate spending and lessened home purchase are a byproduct of the financial crisis. Upgrades leave customers unhappy paying more for enhancements they may not need, yet must pay for to move forward to retain service and technical support for MS Windows and Office.
Xbox consoles and games, office assistance tools, PC operating systems – it isn’t clear what Microsoft wants to be when it grows up. It’s hard to imagine this once mighty giant the EU threatened with breakup over antitrust implications, must now be looking for new lines of work. The migration to cloud computing may bring some new opportunity, but may also cannibalize the “bread and butter” home desktop reliance on Windows and the MS Office suite of software.
The firm may need to reinvent itself with a new edge and draw for both staff and customers.
Acquisition / Merger Integration (Nokia)
It seems attention is going to mobile telecom handsets and social media these days. Gadgets. So Microsoft bought Nokia. Instant market presence. Though not easy street, as the rapid rise to the top of popular demand followed by the astonishing descent of the Blackberry device attests.
Technology integrations of competitor firms often do not go well. Cultures clash, and internal power struggles develop for command and control. Not to mention, Finland feels at a loss for its beloved Nokia being swallowed up by the whale, and won’t be easy to digest culturally. Though both are burdened by unfortunate weather, Helsinki is a long way from Redmond, Washington, literally and figuratively.
Dominant firms (e.g. Apple and Google) already battle for control in the fast changing landscape for tablets and hand held devices. New smartphones are quickly supplanted by enhancements.
CEO / Leadership Succession
Recently, embattled CEO Steve Ballmer, has volunteered that if a better CEO could be found, he would step down. Founder and Chairman Bill Gates has even been urged to leave to allow for better CEO candidates who might not run the firm under his watchful eye and creative control. A substantial change in leadership may be needed, but most difficult to accomplish.
Calls from shareholders rant for a turnaround specialist from outside, which won’t go over well in a firm known for growing talent organically from within. To look outside appears a new, innovative, and risky strategy for what has become a broad and stable if unwieldy empire. A high-profile charismatic leader could reinvigorate Microsoft potentially. Yet, it is no guarantee.
Management at all levels will need to be versed with new business segments and technology. It isn’t clear that direction of one aspect of technology immediately translates to success in entirely different businesses, even within the broader technology umbrella. So handheld devices may not work. Microsoft has tried already several times to enter this space and come up relatively short.
Worklife Conditions / Employee Morale
The best, most creative employees that used to flock to Microsoft, now often head to more innovative and imaginative startups like Facebook and Twitter. It can be challenging for staff to respond to friends and family asking why they remain at Microsoft rather than going where the latest in technology appears to be going. Not long ago the place to be, it isn’t necessarily now.
Microsoft needs to solve numerous challenges that the I/O field develops interventions for, at many levels in parallel. Jobs may have to change fundamentally. The psychological contract for most working for Microsoft and loyally using their software products may also differ. Unused to layoffs, Microsoft HR may need to push out as many as it takes in to rebalance the proportions of the workforce to the growth opportunities ahead.
To thrive, Microsoft must regroup, reassess, and revise. New leadership must raise engagement to improve efficiency, cut costs, and perhaps even release redundant staff. The management team will need to enhance innovation and take on tough competition within handsets. Staff will need to buckle down and work even harder to help re-engineer and incorporate Nokia to succeed.
It might be suggested that Microsoft is at a key tipping point. It presents a chance to reset the culture and values creating a new customer and employee experience. Or it could become one big challenge too great to survive. Many great market leaders saw shrinking customer base, changing customer needs and profiles, but failed to evolve and adapt and instead toppled.
You have been asked to independently assess the situation from an I/O Psychology perspective, to make intervention recommendations, and offer potential pathways to resolution, assessing to see the interventions actually work.
Contentious discussions with employee groups, regulators, and management await. Time is of the essence. A plan is needed to prioritize, focus, and direct activity.
Write a 1,500 word essay describing how you might advise and help Microsoft. Integrating Nokia and tying desktop to mobile have been slow. The problems of Microsoft need to be addressed on multiple levels including operational, technology, employee engagement, leadership, morale and commitment – and put into the larger context of a global economy and regulatory environment.
Specifically, what are the major areas of concern you have about the situation at Microsoft in terms of the challenges resulting from the acquisition, and in the context described above? What data might be gathered and analyzed to understand the Human Capital issues and the viability of potential solutions? What might be suggested to resolve concerns? In what ways might the issues parallel those for other companies changing direction vs. spring uniquely from the specific situation, leadership, and staff at Microsoft?
In what ways might global and cultural factors impact new leadership / CEO hiring and the relationships with employees? What benefits might be gained by suggested consultative intervention at Microsoft? What risks or downsides might need to be avoided? What tradeoffs need to be evaluated? How might individual staff, work teams, and the overarching organization as a whole be involved and impacted? How could success be measured? What might indicate that the intervention had addressed the most important problems needing to be addressed? What might a realistic practical business solution involve and entail?
From a personal and professional development perspective, what components from previous training, education, and work experience would help you to investigate, inform and improve Microsoft’s situation? Why might you personally be the best candidate to address these issues? What personal strengths, skills and special abilities could be utilized so as to be selected in competition to earn this assignment? How might taking on this assignment through the NYU I/O Psychology program address your professional development and career aspirations?
Your essay must be unique and an original work of your own creation. The document submitted must not exceed 1,500 words. The essay should be solely of your own writing and ideas. Content beyond 1,500 words will not be considered. As science, parsimony is key. You may cite research, or other ideas by including explicit references for any external resources paraphrased or copied from other sources.
Evidence that this essay has quoted material or ideas lifted without proper reference or written by third parties will result in application rejection. This essay is designed to personally engage and reflect your understanding of models of psychology, business, science, analytical methods, and your professional development goals in the service of applied problem solving. Therefore, minimize restating the problem and information given in the question and focus on your value-added ideas: prioritizing, ordering and answering questions and providing solutions.
Prepare a brief video overview of your ideas and interventions to upload. Deliver a presentation to professional colleagues summarizing your essay and ideas on the Microsoft situation.
For further investigation of the Microsoft circumstances, you may find some or all of the following sources a good starting point, and accessible online or at a local university or public library. You may also want to consider other reference books, magazines, journal articles, or business sources to inform your thinking about I/O Psychology and the particular issues involved within the Microsoft case.
Recent relevant references:
Microsoft’s Gates highlights tough requirements for new CEO. Bill Rigby, Tuesday, Reuters. November 19, 2013.
For Finland, Nokia was a National Champion; Deal with Microsoft Marks ‘End of an Era.’ Grundberg, Sven. Wall Street Journal (online). September 3, 2013.
Nokia’s Stephen Elop: Next Microsoft CEO? Stoll, John D. Wall Street Journal (online). September 3, 2013.
Here’s Why Microsoft is Buying Nokia’s Phone Business. Lee, Timothy, B. The Washington Post. September 3, 2013.
Microsoft’s Nokia Devices Acquisition Marks End of Old Mobile Era. Schadler, Ted, & Husson, Thomas. Forbes. September 3, 2013.
Microsoft’s Nokia acquisition is ‘a necessary gamble,’ analysts say: But the challenge Microsoft faces in integrating Nokia shouldn’t be underestimated
For more information about applying to the I/O program call 212-998-7920 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.