Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business has moved to one incredibly simple MBA admissions essay question: “Why you?” McDonough is asking applicants to answer the question in 750 words, cutting about 600 words from last year’s application which required two essays and a tweet.
The school announced the decision today (July 14), joining numerous other schools that have also cutback on the number of questions asked of MBA candidates. A spokesperson said the school wanted to streamline the process for applicants, not adding to an already stressful process and to ensure that the information we receive is most helpful to the admissions process. “We wanted to learn more about the applicants as individuals, rather than have them repeat our values from our website,” the spokesperson added.
“We know that applying to business school is a huge investment of time and effort, and we wanted to streamline that process a bit,” said Shari Hubert, associate dean for MBA Admissions, in a statement. “We often hear that prospective MBAs want more flexibility to communicate who they are and why they should be admitted in a way that is truly authentic to them. This is their chance.”
‘WE ARE LOOKING FOR AN ANSWER THAT CANNOT BE FOUND ON OUR WEBSITE’
Hubert said that applicants should note the hint that accompanies the question before they submit their 750-word response: “We are looking for an answer that cannot be found from research on our website.” Hubert explained that in the past, applicants were more inclined to tell the school what they thought the Admissions team wanted to hear or to repackage the values and attributes of the program in their essays.
“Applicants forget that the Admissions Committee already is well-versed in what the school has to offer, so we were not learning anything new from those types of responses,” she said.
Hubert added that there is no “right” answer to the question. “We are not looking for something specific,” she added. “This is more about our applicants having an opportunity to show us who they are and how they think. I believe ‘why’ questions are more thought provoking and allow you to be much more introspective because it requires you to go beyond the facts that can be read in your application or resume.”
WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT THE APPLICANT’S CHARACTER AND POTENTIAL FIT WITH THE PROGRAM
Hubert suggested that applicants may choose to address the question in multiple ways, ranging from their passions to their career aspirations to something they feel makes them special to an experience that caused them to want to pursue an MBA – anything to help the Admissions Committee learn more about each applicant’s character and potential fit with the program.
The school set a round one deadline of Oct. 10, with final notification by Dec. 20, and a second round deadline of Jan. 5, with a decision on March 20. The third and final deadline is April 1, with notification by May 15.
Last year, McDonough asked applicants to answer a two-part essay as well as to pick from two options for their second essay question. See below:
Essay 1 (answer both Part A and Part B):
Part A. What is your short-term goal following graduation from the Georgetown McDonough Full-time MBA Program? What skills are you seeking to develop or improve upon in order to reach your goals? (500 words)
Part B. What is your long-term career goal? (100 words)
Essay 2 (answer either Option A or Option B):
Option A. Describe a global business challenge and its relevance to your post-MBA career. (750 words)
Option B. Describe yourself both personally and professionally and how you will contribute to the Georgetown McDonough community. (750 words)
“Essay” 3: Why do you want to attend the Georgetown McDonough Full-time MBA Program? Tell us in tweet format. (140 characters or fewer)