Notre Dame offers both a one year MBA for applicants with an undergraduate business degree and a traditional two year MBA. The flexibility of the one year program may be appealing to candidates who are already on their preferred career path, while career changers would be better suited for a two year program with an internship.
Whichever option you choose, you will want to evaluate your strategy carefully. Notre Dame starts with a classic career goals essay, and then provides the option of choosing two options from a set of five. Mendoza is looking for students who have a proven record of leadership through at least two years of work experience, and potential for personal and professional success.
Notre Dame is specifically looking for the following four leadership dimensions:
An integrated mind: with a balanced mastery of all functional areas of business and able to discern the implications of a problem—and its solution—organization wide
Broad perspective: with eyes open to the complexities of business in our communities both at home and globally
Heart: an understanding of how one’s values guide their actions and ethical decision making
Tenacity: the role of communication, motivation and mobilization in bringing a solution to life
To demonstrate these qualities to Mendoza, make sure you are able to communicate your leadership skills through one of your two additional essays.
I. What are your career plans immediately after graduation? Explain how your past experiences prepare you for your desired position. What are your long-term career aspirations?
This standard career goals essay asks for your background, and your short-term and long-term career goals. In the two pages you have for this essay, make sure your story follows a trajectory from past to present to future that is logical and focuses on key inflection points. Use solid examples from your past that support your career goals, and make sure you are able to connect your short-term and long-term goals.
In addition, Notre Dame does not explicitly ask the question Why Mendoza? However, it will be important to clearly demonstrate how the Mendoza MBA will aid in the development of your goals and why Mendoza is the right place for you to pursue your MBA studies.
II. Additionally, please complete any two of the following five essay questions.
1. Each MBA student at the University of Notre Dame is given the opportunity to contribute to the MBA community. What will you bring to Notre Dame and the MBA family?
Similar to the Kellogg essay on the same topic, this is an opportunity to highlight anything in your background that is diverse or interesting, and will contribute to Notre Dame. If you are not someone with a wildly diverse background, a significant community service or extracurricular involvement can also be a great aspect of your background to highlight in this essay. Whichever approach you take, you will want to thoroughly demonstrate your understanding of the Mendoza community.
2. What inspires you outside of your work environment?
This question is fairly open-ended and can be used to highlight many aspects of your application strategy outside of work. If you have a meaningful hobby or extracurricular involvement that you cannot discuss elsewhere in the application, this is the ideal place to explain it and discuss why it is inspiring to you.
3. How do you define leadership? Please give an example of someone you feel is a great leader and explain why.
This question is as much about you and your definition of leadership as the example you choose to provide. Think about the key aspects of leadership that are important to you, and perhaps are a bit unique, and provide an example of someone who embodies that definition. In addition, you should certainly talk about your own leadership path and how you hope to develop the leadership attributes to reach your goals in the context of this example.
4. Of which accomplishments are you most proud and why?
Similar to the HBS accomplishments essay, you will need to be concise with this question and clearly explain a few of your most important accomplishments.
At the same time, you need to thoroughly explain why you are most proud of these accomplishments. The best answers are extremely specific, yet allow the reader to understand your circumstances and sympathize with them.
5. Describe a failure or disappointing experience in your life. How did you react and what did you learn?
The failure essay can be quite challenging, especially when you are coming up with an idea. The best failure essays are honest and clear about what went wrong, while at the same time demonstrating how the situation was corrected and especially what you did to generate a positive result. It will be important to demonstrate introspection in this question and to admit that you have experienced setbacks and failure.
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