The Indian School of Business (ISB) appears to have somewhat narrowed the focus of its essay questions since last season. It again asks candidates to explain what differentiates them from others, but this year, it specifically requests two examples and characterizes what kinds of qualities it seeks, rather than leaving the query more open-ended. The ISB has also shifted its question about applicants’ post-MBA goals to focus less on the goals themselves and more on why its program is the right one to prepare candidates to achieve their ambitions. Applicants are no longer required to submit a video essay about what they believe “life” to be (we imagine a large number of candidates were relieved to see that prompt dropped), and a request for additional information that was mandatory last year is now optional. Overall, the ISB seems to want to get at the heart of who its applicants are… Read full post
NSEAD apparently has not felt the pressure to alter its essay questions or requirements this season, as many U.S. business schools have done. Except for reversing the order of some questions, no changes have really been made to the school’s queries or allotted word counts. The program’s six “motivational essay” prompts are the primary ones, and we will examine those in depth in this analysis, but applicants must also provide two to three shorter “job description essays” that generally require (or allow, depending on your perspective) candidates to provide a fuller picture of their current positions and career progression to date than a resume or CV might provide. We will briefly address these essays first.
Job Description Essays
Essay 1: Briefly summarise your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and, where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of budget, clients/products and results achieved. (250 … Read full post
By asking candidates to submit three essays of 250 words each, the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, Austin, has drastically streamlined its essay questions this year compared with last year—and in concert with what many other MBA programs are doing this season. Then, the length requirement for Essay 1 alone was 800 words, and applicants had roughly 600 words for the school’s three-part Essay 2. Overall, McCombs’s questions appear to have taken a more personal tone, asking candidates to introduce themselves to the student community, explain what they can contribute to the program other than professional qualities and describe how they expect to develop during their two years in the MBA program. Gone are any explicit references to short- or long-term goals and one’s career history, so the applicant’s more internal aspects and soft skills are highlighted instead.
1. Imagine that you are at the Texas … Read full post
As we have seen several top MBA programs do this year, the Yale School of Management (SOM) has reduced its essay requirements for the current round of applicants. During the 2011–2012 application season, the school asked candidates to respond to six questions using 1,600 words; in 2012–2013, this was condensed to four questions and 1,050 words; this season, the SOM poses just two questions, for which it allots only 750 words (300 for Essay 1 and 450 for Essay 2). This reduction should not be taken as an indication that the admissions committee is less interested in what applicants have to say, however. Instead, the school is in the process of incorporating a video component into its application in which candidates will respond orally to typical essay-style questions in a spontaneous manner, without knowing the questions in advance. We therefore encourage you to make the most of your essays, for … Read full post
What exactly UCLA Anderson is trying to achieve with its incredibly straightforward approach to application essays is hard to figure out. The school wants to know that you have purpose in pursuing your MBA—and in applying to Anderson in particular—and to understand any pitfalls in your candidacy (via the optional essay), but other than that…? Anderson does not seem to want to get to know its applicants’ personalities or give them an opportunity to differentiate themselves via their essays. So, to stand out to the school, you will have to showcase your personality in your resume and interview and encourage your recommenders to highlight your personal characteristics where appropriate. Anderson may be fighting it out with Darden to have the admissions committee that wants to learn the least about its candidates through their essays and, just like Darden, may be inadvertently causing committed applicants a great deal of anxiety, because … Read full post
Last year, the admissions committee at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business radically revamped its essay questions—showing some creativity and flair by asking candidates for a list of 25 random things about themselves. Fuqua seems to have gained the insight it wanted through this approach, because its essay questions remain unchanged this year.
The school’s essay requirements—which consist of three short answers of 50 words each, the aforementioned list of 25 random things and a two-page essay—are not only unconventional, they are also demanding. You will need to share a lot of information about yourself, especially through your 25-item list! As always, we suggest that you brainstorm thoroughly and create a plan of action before putting your hands on your keyboard. Although this is standard advice from us, doing so for your Duke Fuqua essays is particularly important.
Required Short Answer Questions: Answer all 3 questions
For each short answer … Read full post
The Kellogg School of Management recently announced that it is adding a video interview component to its application process so that the admissions committee can get a feel for candidates’ “spontaneous” side. Although your essays may not be truly spontaneous, they should allow you to showcase the best of yourself in a compelling manner. Kellogg sticks with a traditional format for its application essays: two questions that require you to discuss your past experiences and one that is a classic personal statement/goal statement prompt. Our analysis follows…
Essay 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 word limit)
In any discussion of a situation in which you overcame something, you need
to lay a foundation for your central anecdote by showing that you had significant momentum toward an important goal before encountering … Read full post
The Haas School of Business at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, offers you more opportunity to tell your story than most business schools do these days—its three short essays favor those whose candidacies include a variety of dimensions and accomplishments. Your job is to ensure that the reader is constantly learning about you as he/she reads on. Ask yourself, “Am I offering a new skill or a new experience in each essay?” If your answer is not “Absolutely!” then you must go back to brainstorming to ensure you are providing a broad and compelling picture of yourself. If you want the admissions committee to stay interested, you must keep providing new information throughout your essays.
As absurd as this prompt may seem, you of course want to take … Read full post
Wharton’s essay prompts for this application season may seem a bit perplexing. At first glance, the two questions seem rather similar. However, the first is basically a question about what you hope to get from your MBA experience at the school, and the second is mostly about what you can give to the Wharton program. With only 500 words for Essay 2 to give the school a sense of your personality and experiences, you will need to think especially carefully about what you want to say. At other schools, an interview will give you the opportunity to share these parts of your profile, but Wharton’s group interview will not be the place for you to talk about yourself, so this essay is your opportunity instead. Proceed thoughtfully…
Essay 1: What do you aspire to achieve, personally and professionally, through the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
This essay prompt has the markings … Read full post
As MBA programs move toward PowerPoint presentations, creative essays and essays without word limits, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College sticks to its tried and true approach: three 500-word essays, one of which is a classic career statement, while the others ask candidates to reflect on individual experiences. Given the more straightforward nature of these prompts, Tuck applicants will likely take comfort in knowing for certain that they have provided what the school wants—they have not missed the point of the questions or veered too far afield. Tuck in some ways allows candidates to more easily showcase their stories in a direct manner, and this means the school will be better able to compare candidates one-to-one—though applicants are hardly “apples to apples” in nature.
Please respond fully but concisely to the following essay questions. There are no right or wrong answers. We encourage applicants to limit the length … Read full post