How To Answer The “What Will You Contribute” Essay Question
If you’re applying for an MBA, you’ll most likely have to answer an essay question that asks you what you’ll contribute or bring to campus.
For instance, Wharton applicants are asked to answer the following: “Taking into consideration your background – personal, professional, and/or academic – how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community?”
Many other b-schools will have some variation of that question. What exactly is the best way to approach the essay? The experts at Accepted recently shared a few tips on how applicants can position themselves as a candidate with plenty to contribute.
POINT TO PAST ACHIEVEMENTS
Experts say applicants should look to their past achievements and quantify the impact they had in certain experiences.
“By showing how you’ve already contributed, you demonstrate that you have the initiative, people skills, and organizational talent to make an impact in the future,” according to Accepted. “Perhaps your past contribution is part of an ongoing program or a recurring event that you intend to continue with in the future. This will show the adcom that your achievements are not one-offs; you can demonstrate your commitment, as well associating your worthy contributions with their school.”
HIGHLIGHT SKILLS AND GROWTH
It can also be helpful to discuss skills that you’ve developed through your past achievements and how these skills will help you contribute to the b-school and your future. And don’t shy away from sharing instances of failure.
“Use evidence to support your skill development by talking about how you’ve worked to build your skill set (by taking a course or through work experience, etc.),” according to Accepted. “Analyze your success to reveal that you are a thinking, growing, dynamic individual. And when asked about failures or setbacks, discuss what you learned from the tough times. Demonstrate a growth mindset.”
CONNECT IT TO THE SCHOOL
You’ll want to discuss your achievements and what skills you can bring to the table, but experts say it’s also important to tie it back to the school and explain how this specific MBA can help you and the b-school you’re applying to.
“Highlight any overlaps in the ethos of the school or the course curriculum that will advance your skills in the future,” according to Accepted. “And it works both ways: point out that just as the school helps further your skills, you as one of their contributing alumni become a future ambassador for their school.”