Highest-Paying MBA Specializations

Tips for the 2022-2023 Indiana Kelley MBA Essays

Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business accepts around 160 students year to its MBA program. The school prides itself on having a program that can be tailored to align with students’ personal and professional development goals.

Stacy Blackman, the founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently provided insights into what Kelley’s admissions team seeks and how applicants can strategically position their essays for success.


The first essay prompt asks applicants the following:

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)

Specialization is the cornerstone of the Kelley MBA. This essay is an opportunity to tell the admissions team about your career vision. Blackman advises applicants to split this essay into two parts. In the first part of your essay, discuss your career experience.

“Consider the times when you had to stretch to accomplish the goals set out for you,” Blackman says. “Maybe that happened when you stepped up to lead or became introspective about your career aspirations. These are the stories that will explain how your professional experience will help you achieve your goals.”

The second half of your essay should highlight your flexibility around your career goals and how you’ve adapted to change.

“Change is constant in most industries, and your ability to recognize opportunity, even outside your anticipated career goals, will be critical to your success,” Blackman says. “Therefore, think about the core elements essential to you in forming your career goals and how you could achieve them in different career opportunities.”


The second essay prompt asks applicants the following:

Please respond to one of the following short essay prompts. (300 words)

My greatest memory is…

 I’m most afraid of…

My greatest challenge has been…

I’m most proud of…

The second essay focuses on your core personal motivations. This essay is an opportunity to paint a picture of the formative moments in your life and tell a story showcasing your personality and values. Blackman suggests thinking about moments in your life that have pushed you to grow or mature.

“Was there an experience that led you to learn more about yourself?” Blackman says. “Or, perhaps, you interacted with someone who challenged or inspired you. Another experience might have been traveling outside your comfort zone—either literally outside your home country or in a transition like leaving home for college.”


The third essay prompt asks applicants the following:

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

The fact that you share in this third essay should be something that adcom can’t find in other aspects of your application, such as your resume or background data sheet. Blackman suggests choosing a fact that can be conveyed succinctly, as the word limit for this essay is maxed at 25.

“Perhaps you were a competitive swimmer in high school but didn’t pursue it in college,” Blackman says. “Or, your grandmother was from Sweden and taught you traditional cooking techniques that no one else in your life knows. Maybe you are heavily involved in a hobby that has impacted your life.”

If you’re having trouble thinking of a fact, ask your friends and family.

“Because your friends and family likely know the elements of your background and personality, this can be an effective way to develop a unique story,” Blackman says. “Those elements are more profound than your resume or application fact sheet.”

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, P&Q

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