2016-2017 MBA Essay Cheat Sheet

Writing an essay

As always, the 2016-2017 MBA application essays are a varied lot. Many schools now require just a single essay from applicants to their full-time MBA programs, including Harvard Business School. Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business returns with the question generally considered to be a favorite: “List 25 random things about yourself.” UC-Berkeley wants applicants to name a school that expresses who you are and why. Several schools, including Yale’s School of Management and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, have video pop-up questions in addition to their written essays.

Here are some of this year’s batch from leading business schools, listed in order of the school’s Poets&Quants’ rank (see here for the essays to get into the best international schools outside the U.S.)

1. HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL in Boston, Massachusetts

As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?

There is no word limit for this question.

 


Stanford_GSB_Logo2. STANFORD UNIVERSITY’S GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS in Stanford, California
Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? (750 words)

Essay B: Why Stanford? (400 words or 450 if applying to both the MBA and MSx programs)

Your answers for both essay questions combined may not exceed 1,150 words (1,200 words if you are applying to both the MBA and MSx programs).


Chicago Booth logo

3. UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO’S BOOTH SCHOOL OF BUSINESS in Chicago, Illinois          

View this collection of shared Booth moments. Choose the moment that best resonates with you and tell us why. 

Choose the format that works for you. Determine your own length

 


wharton-logo14. UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA’S WHARTON SCHOOL OF BUSINESS in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1. What do you hope to gain professionally from the wharton MBA (500 words)

2: Teamwork is at the core of the Wharton MBA experience with each student contributing unique elements to our collaborative culture. How will you contribute to the Wharton community? (400 words)

 


Kellogg logo5. NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY’S KELLOGG SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT in Evanston, Illinois

1. Leadership and teamwork are integral parts of the Kellogg experience. Describe a recent and meaningful time you were a leader. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (450 words)

2. Pursuing an MBA is a catalyst for personal and professional growth. How have you grown in the past? How do you intend to grow at Kellogg? (450 words)

Video questions required.


6. COLUMBIA BUSINESS SCHOOL in New YorkColumbia Business School logo

1. Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals going forward, and how will the Columbia MBA help you achieve them? (100-750 words)

2. Columbia Business School’s students participate in industry focused New York immersion seminars; in project based Master Classes; and in school year internships. Most importantly, our students are taught by a combination of distinguished research faculty and accomplished practitioners. How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? (100-500 words)

3. CBS Matters, a key element of the School’s culture, allows the people in your Cluster to learn more about you on a personal level. What will your Cluster mates be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (100-250 words)


mit-sloan-logo-e1415722630580

7. MIT’s SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT in Cambridge, Massachusetts

1. Please submit a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA Program. Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions. (250 words or fewer)

2. The Admissions Committee invites you to share additional information about yourself, in any format. If you choose a multimedia format, please host the information on a website and provide us with the URL.

Please keep all videos and media limited to 2:00 minutes total in length. Please keep all written essays to 500 words or less.


Berkeley Haas logo8. UC-BERKELEY’S HAAS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

1) If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why? (250 words maximum)

Your song can be in any language, from any culture, and does not need to contain lyrics. The strongest responses will focus on answering why this song expresses who you are.

2) Please respond to one of the following prompts: (250 words maximum)

Describe an experience that has fundamentally changed the way you see the world and how it transformed you.

Describe a time when you were challenged by perspectives different from your own and how you responded.

Describe a difficult decision you have made and why it was challenging.

In your response, clearly indicate to which prompt (1, 2, or 3) you are responding. We do not have a preference among the prompts and suggest that you select the one for which you can share a specific experience, professional or personal.

3) Tell us about your career plans. How have your past experiences prepared you to achieve these goals? How will Berkeley-Haas help you? (500 words maximum)

You are encouraged to reflect on what it is you want to do after business school, including the types of roles, responsibilities, and organizations that are of interest. Through this essay we hope to learn about your professional journey to date and how an MBA will facilitate your success – broadly defined – in the future.


Tuck School Logo

9. DARTMOUTH COLLEGE’S TUCK SCHOOL OF BUSINESS in Hanover, New Hampshire

1. (Required) Tuck educates wise leaders who better the world of busines What are your short- and long-term goals? How will a Tuck MBA enable you to become a wise leader with global impact?

2. (Required) As a diverse and global community, our students arrive at the same place from many different paths.  Tell us about an experience in which you have had to live, learn and/or work with other people very different from yourself.  What challenges and/or opportunities did you experience, how did you respond, and what did you learn about yourself as a result?


MastersProfile-Yale University's School of Management

10. YALE UNIVERSITY’S SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT in New Haven, Connecticut                           

Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words)

Video questions are also required of applicants.

 


duke11. DUKE UNIVERSITY’S FUQUA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS in Durham, North Carolina

Short answers: Answer all 3 of the following questions. For each question, respond in 500 characters only (the equivalent of about 100 words).

1.     What are your short-term goals, post-MBA?

2.     What are your long-term goals?

3.     Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize what alternative directions have you considered?

Essay questions

1. 25 Random Things About Yourself.   Your complete list should not exceed 2 pages.

2. Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, how do you see yourself engaging in and contributing to our community, outside of the classroom?

Your response should be no more than 2 pages in length.


Darden-Logo-112. UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA’S DARDEN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS in  Charlottesville, Virginia

Describe the most important professional feedback you have received and how you responded to this feedback.

 

 


michigan-ross-school-logo1

13. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN’S ROSS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS in Ann Arbor, Michigan

1. What are you most proud of outside of your professional life? How does it shape who you are today? (up to 400 words)

2. What is your desired career path and why? (up to 250 words)


UCLA logo14. UCLA’S ANDERSON SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT

Required essay for first-time applicants:

We believe that the best results are achieved when you share success, think fearlessly and drive change. With this in mind, what are your goals at UCLA Anderson and in your short-term and long-term career? (750 words maximum)

Optional essay:

The following essay is optional. No preference is given in the evaluation process to applicants who submit an optional essay. Please note that we only accept written essays.
Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? Please use your best judgment. (250 words maximum)

Required essays for re-applicants:

Please describe your career progress since you last applied and ways in which you have enhanced your candidacy. Include updates on short-term and long-term career goals, as well as your continued interest in UCLA Anderson. (750 words maximum)



NYUStern_logo2-0116. NEW YORK UNIVERSITY’S STERN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS in New York

1. Professional aspirations: Why pursue and MBA (or dual degree) at this point in your life? What actions have you taken to determine that Stern is the best fit for your MBA experience? What do you see yourself doing professionally upon graduation? (750 words)

2. Personal expression: Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates. You may use almost any method to convey your message (e.g. words, illustrations). Feel free to be creative.



UNC-Kenan-Flagler-Logo-350x35017. KENAN-FLAGLER BUSINESS SCHOOL AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA

One required essay and three optional essays. The essays for the 2016-2017 application season are:

Required: Please describe your short and long term goals post-MBA. Explain how your professional experience has shaped these goals, why this career option appeals to you, and how you arrived at the decision that now is the time and the MBA is the appropriate degree. (500 words maximum)

Optional: What personal qualities or life experiences distinguish you from other applicants? How do these qualities or experiences equip you to contribute to UNC Kenan-Flagler? (300 words maximum)

Optional: If your standardized test scores are low, or if you have not had coursework in core business subjects (calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting), please tell us how you plan to prepare yourself for the quantitative rigor of the MBA curriculum. (300 words maximum)

Optional: Is there any other information you would like to share that is not presented elsewhere in the application? (300 words maximum)


mccombs logo18. MCCOMBS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS-AUSTIN

The University of Texas at Austin values unique perspectives and cultivates a collaborative environment of distinct individual contributions. It is the first day of orientation. You are meeting your study group, comprised of five of your classmates from various backgrounds. Please introduce yourself to your new team, highlighting what drives you in your personal and professional life.

Select only one communication method that you would like to use for your response.

Write an essay (250 words)

Share a video introduction (one minute)

Based on your post-MBA goals and what drives you in your personal and professional life, why is the Texas MBA the ideal program for you and how do you plan to engage in our community? (500 words)

Optional Statement: Please provide any additional information you believe is important and/or address any areas of concern that will be beneficial to the Admissions Committee in considering your application (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, or extenuating personal circumstances). (250 words)


tepper19. CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY’S TEPPER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

Required: Imagine that you meet up with a member of the admission committee at an airport while on a layover. You have an opportunity to make a memorable impression. Use this essay to introduce yourself. Include any information that you believe is important for the committee member to know about you both professionally and personally (300-350 words)

Optional: Use this essay to convey important information that you may not have been otherwise able to convey. This may include unexplained resume gaps, context for recommender selection, etc.

If you are a re-applicant, explain how your candidacy has strengthened since your last application.


Emory logo20. EMORY UNIVERSITY’S GOIZUETA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

Define your short-term post-MBA career goals. How are your professional strengths, past experience and personal attributes aligned with these goals? (300 word limit)

The business school is named for Roberto C. Goizueta, former Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, who led the organization for 16 years, extending its global reach, quadrupling consumption, building brand responsibility, and creating unprecedented shareholder wealth. Mr. Goizueta’s core values guide us in educating Principled Leaders for Global Enterprise. Provide an example of your leadership – professional or personal – and explain what you learned about yourself through the experience. (300 word limit)

Complete one of the following statements. (250 word limit)

I am passionate about…

The best piece of advice I’ve received is…

The best day of my life was…

A personal goal I want to accomplish is…

Share with the committee and your future classmates a fun or noteworthy fact about you. (25 word limit)

Optional: If you have additional information or feel there are extenuating circumstances which you would like to share with the MBA Admissions Committee (i.e. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance issues or areas of weakness in application). Please limit your response to 250 words.


kelley-school21. INDIANA UNIVERSITY’S KELLEY SCHOOL OF BUSINESS in Bloomington, Indiana

Required:

Discuss your immediate post-MBA professional goals. How will your professional experience, when combined with a Kelley MBA degree, allow you to achieve these goals? Should the short-term goals you have identified not materialize, what alternate career paths might you consider? (500 words)

Respond to one of the following short essay prompts. (300 words) a. My greatest memory is…b. I’m most afraid of…
c. My greatest challenge has been… d. I’m most proud of…

Share a brief fact about yourself that your classmates would find interesting, surprising, or noteworthy. (25 words)

Optional:

4. Is there anything else that you think we should know as we evaluate your application? If you believe your credentials and essays represent you fairly, you shouldn’t feel obligated to answer this question. (300 words)



michael-g-foster-school-of-business_416x41622. UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON FOSTER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

Required: 1) Post-MBA Plans – Tell us your ideas about what lies ahead for you in your career. What are the gaps or deficiencies currently preventing you from pursuing these potential career paths? How do you plan to use your time in the Foster MBA program to fill these gaps and advance your career? (750 words)

Required: 2) Inspiring Experience Essay – Please tell us about an experience that inspired or confirmed your decision to pursue the MBA (500 words)

Optional: Please include this essay if you have additional information that you believe would be helpful to the admissions committee in considering your application (500 words)


McDonough logo24. GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY’S MCDONOUGH SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

Required: We would like to learn more about you. Please answer the following essay question in 750 words or less: “Why you?”

Optional: If you are not currently employed full-time, use this essay to provide information about your current activities. (250 words or fewer)

Optional: Please provide any information you would like to add to your application that you have not otherwise included. (500 words or fewer)

Re-Applicant Essay: How have you strengthened your candidacy since your last application? We are particularly interested in hearing about how you have grown professionally and personally. (500 words or fewer)


DON’T MISS: 2016-2017 MBA APPLICATION DEADLINES FOR LEADING BUSINESS SCHOOLS