This Year’s Essays Demand Authenticity



Harvard Business School

1. You’re applying to Harvard Business School. We can see your resume, school transcripts, extra-curricular activities, awards, post-MBA career goals, test scores and what your recommenders have to say about you. What else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy? (No word limit.)

Stanford GSB

1. What matters most to you, and why?

2. What do you want to do—REALLY—and why Stanford?

3. Answer one of the three questions below. Tell us not only what you did but also how you did it. What was the outcome? How did people respond? Only describe experiences that have occurred during the last three years.

Option A: Tell us about a time in the last three years when you built or developed a team whose performance exceeded expectations.

Option B: Tell us about a time in the last three years when you identified and pursued an opportunity to improve an organization.

Option C: Tell us about a time in the last three years when you went beyond what was defined or established.

(Answers for all of the essay questions cannot exceed 1,600 words total.)

Chicago (Booth)     

1. My favorite part of my work is… (250 words.)

2. I started to think differently when… (250 words.)

3. The Chicago experience will take you deeper into issues, force you to challenge assumptions, and broaden your perspective. In a four-slide presentation or an essay of no more than 600 words, broaden our perspective about who you are. Understanding what we currently know about you from the rest of the application, what else would you like us to know? (600 words or four slides.)

UPenn (Wharton)

1. What do you aspire to achieve, personally and professionally, through the Wharton MBA? (500 words.)

2. Academic engagement is an important element of the Wharton MBA experience. How do you see yourself contributing to our learning community? (500 words.)

Northwestern (Kellogg)   

1. What’s the greatest obstacle you’ve overcome (personally or professionally)? How has overcoming this obstacle prepared you to achieve success now and in the future? (350 words.)


2. What have been your most significant leadership experiences? What challenges did you face, and what impact did you have? This is your opportunity to explain how you Think Bravely. (500 words.)

3. Part 1: What career/role are you looking to pursue and why? (250 words.)

Part 2: Why are Kellogg and the MBA essential to achieving these career goals? (250 words.)

MIT (Sloan) 

1. The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and generate ideas that advance management practice. Discuss how you will contribute toward advancing the mission based on examples of past work and activities. (500 words.)

2. Describe a time when you pushed yourself beyond your comfort zone. (500 words.)


1. What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (100 characters.)

2. Given your individual background, why are you pursuing a Columbia MBA at this time? (500 words.)

3. Columbia Business School is located in the heart of the world’s business capital—Manhattan. How do you anticipate that New York City will impact your experience at Columbia? (250 words.)

4. What will the people in your Cluster be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (250 words.)

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