Tag Archives: Essay Questions

Tuesday Tips: 2014 UCLA Anderson Essay Tips

Last year UCLA Anderson reduced the required essays to only one, following the trend started by Harvard. UCLA’s essays were previously focused on career goals and last year’s single essay only asked about short- and …

Last year UCLA Anderson reduced the required essays to only one, following the trend started by Harvard. UCLA’s essays were previously focused on career goals and last year’s single essay only asked about short- and long-term goals. This year the one required question adds an additional element to the question by asking a more open-ended question to get at applicants’ personal lives and values.

With over a decade of experience helping applicants just like you, contact us to learn how Stacy Blackman Consulting can help you define your best essay content.

Required Essay
UCLA Anderson is distinguished by three defining principles: Share Success, Think Fearlessly, Drive Change. What principles have defined your life and pre-MBA career? How do you believe that UCLA Anderson’s principles, and the environment they create, will help you attain your post-MBA career goals? (750 words maximum)

This single required essay is actually three essays in one. First you will need to think about the principles, or values, that have influenced your life and career. Second your post MBA career goals need to be defined to answer the final part of the question. Third, you will need to explain why an MBA, specifically an Anderson MBA, will help you achieve your goals.

When you reflect upon the principles that have defined your life consider telling one or two key stories to illuminate who you are. UCLA is looking for personal expression in this essay, and to understand how you are different from other applicants. Consider the turning points or moments that triggered reflection for you. Have you experienced a significant personal setback? What is your family background? Have you lived outside your home country? When did you face a turning point or make a big decision about your career? What were some of your proudest accomplishments? What moments have called upon your need to collaborate, lead or innovate?

For the second part of the essay briefly explain what you plan to do immediately after graduation, and then what you want to accomplish over the long-term with your career. A career path that focuses on demonstrated passions and interests throughout your life is going to be most compelling as you write this essay and each section should bridge seamlessly into the next.

For the part of the essay focusing on UCLA Anderson’s part in your plans, UCLA specifically requests citing specific classes, professors and programs. To express a bit more on the personal side it will be helpful to include the social and extracurricular aspects that attract you to the small and close-knit experience at Anderson. Be specific as you discuss the clubs and conferences that are unique to the UCLA MBA.

Optional Essay
Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words maximum)

It is important to focus on explanations rather than excuses in this essay. Potential extenuating circumstances may be a very low GPA, academic probation or using a recommender other than your current supervisor. Clearly explain the situation, and if it is a situation from the past, explain why you have changed. Providing evidence that you will not repeat the actions in question will be very important.

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CMU Tepper 2014-2015 Deadlines, Essays

Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business has posted the following deadlines and essay questions for the upcoming MBA admissions season. Round 1 Deadline: October 5, 2014 Decision: December 15, 2014 Round 2 Deadline: January 4, …

Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business has posted the following deadlines and essay questions for the upcoming MBA admissions season.

Round 1
Deadline: October 5, 2014
Decision: December 15, 2014

Round 2
Deadline: January 4, 2015
Decision: March 25, 2015

Round 3
Deadline: March 15, 2015
Decision: May 15, 2015

Note to Full-Time Applicants: Following Round 3, Tepper will continue to accept applications on a rolling base. International students are encouraged to apply no later than Round 2 to ensure adequate time for the student visa process.

Essay Questions

Essay 1    (Maximum 300 words):
Describe a defining moment in your life, and explain how it shaped you as a person.

Essay 2    (Maximum 300 words):
Based on your research and interactions with the Tepper community, please share why you are a good fit with the Tepper MBA program.

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INSEAD Essays for September 2015 Intake

For the September 2015 intake, INSEAD asks applicants to answer the following job description and motivation essays. Job Description Essays Essay 1 Briefly summarise your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, …

For the September 2015 intake, INSEAD asks applicants to answer the following job description and motivation essays.

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. What would be your next step in terms of position if you were to remain in the same company? (350 words max.)

Essay 2
Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. It should be written as if you were talking to someone at a social gathering detailing your career path with the rationale behind your choices. Discuss your short and long term career aspirations. (350 words max.)

Essay 3 (Optional)
If you are currently not working or if you plan to leave your current employer more than 2 months before the programme starts please explain your activities and occupations between leaving your job and the start of the programme.

Motivation Essays

Essay 1
Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person), stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary. (600 words max.)

Essay 2
Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and explain why. In addition, describe a situation where you failed. How did these experiences impact your relationships with others? Comment on what you learned. (400 words max.)

Essay 3
Tell us about an experience where you were significantly impacted by cultural diversity, in a positive or negative way. (300 words max.)

Essay 4
Describe all types of extra-professional activities in which you have been or are still involved for a significant amount of time (clubs, sports, music, arts, politics, etc). How are you enriched by these activities? (300 words max.)

Essay 5 (Optional)
Is there anything else that was not covered in your application that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee? (300 words max.)

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INSEAD Deadlines for January, September Intakes

INSEAD Admitted Student Profile

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Chicago Booth 2014-2015 Application Deadlines, Essays

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business has announced the deadlines and essay questions for the Fall 2015 application. Round 1 Deadline: September 25, 2014 Decision Notification: December 18, 2014 Round 2 Deadline: January …

chicago booth MBA application

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business has announced the deadlines and essay questions for the Fall 2015 application.

Round 1

Deadline: September 25, 2014
Decision Notification: December 18, 2014

Round 2

Deadline: January 6, 2015
Decision Notification: March 26, 2015

Round 3

Deadline: April 7, 2015
Decision Notification: May 21, 2015

Your application must be submitted by 5 p.m. (CST/Chicago time) on the day of the deadline in order to be considered for a particular application round.

Essays

Presentation/Essay: Chicago Booth values adventurous inquiry, diverse perspectives, and a collaborative exchange of ideas.  This is us.  Who are you?

Presentation/Essay Guidelines

  • Be reflective. We’ve learned a lot about you throughout the application, but what more should we know?
  • Interpret broadly.  “Who are you?” can be interpreted in many different ways.  We encourage you to think critically and broadly about who you are, and how your values, passions and experiences have influenced you.
  • Determine your own length.  There is no prescribed minimum or maximum length.  We trust that you will use your best judgment in determining how long your submission should be, but we recommend that you think strategically about how to best allocate the space.
  • Choose the format that works for you.  You can design your presentation or compose your essay in the format that you feel best captures your response. However, please consider the specific technical restrictions noted below.   
  • Think about you, not us.  Rather than focusing on what you think we want to hear, focus on what is essential for us to know about you. Simply put, be genuine.

Reapplicant Question: Upon reflection, how has your perspective regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (300 words maximum)

The 2014-15 Chicago Booth MBA application will be available in early August 2014.

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Tuesday Tips: UC Berkeley Haas School of Business MBA Essay Tips

The set of essays for admission to UC Berkeley Haas School of Business covers a variety of topics – from the personal to professional. In approaching these varied questions it will be important to remain …

The set of essays for admission to UC Berkeley Haas School of Business covers a variety of topics – from the personal to professional. In approaching these varied questions it will be important to remain focused on what you want to communicate to the admissions committee.

A clear understanding of your application strategy, particularly your career goals and strengths/weaknesses, is the key to putting together a cohesive application. While challenging, this is also an opportunity to demonstrate several different aspects of your personality to the admissions committee.

Stacy Blackman Consulting has successfully coached applicants to the Haas MBA program for over a decade, contact us to learn more about how we can help you set a winning application strategy.

Essay 1
Describe an experience that has fundamentally changed the way you see the world. How did this transform you? (400-500 word maximum)

Berkeley Haas leads this set of essay questions with a highly personal topic. It also sounds incredibly lofty, and may be intimidating if you wonder whether you have had a transformative experience in your life. One way to approach this is to think through transitions. Perhaps the transition from high school to college was meaningful for you.

Traveling for the first time outside your home country may have been another transition. Transitioning from University to the work place could have exposed you to new people and a new lifestyle. If none of those transitions lead to a topic for this essay you can delve into the smaller incidents in your life. A friendship, family experience or trip could have opened your eyes to something new and changed your approach.

Once you have selected a topic for this essay you will need to explain how you were transformed. What was your attitude like before the experience and what are you like now? Was the transformation internal or did you change how you approached other people? It’s likely you learned something from this transformation and explaining your lessons learned is always a strong finish to an MBA essay.

Essay 2
What is your most significant professional accomplishment? (200-300 word maximum)

This year Berkeley Haas asks for a professional accomplishment specifically. Though no timeframe is specified most similar MBA essays like to see an experience from your fairly recent professional past.

Your accomplishment can be big or small, but it should be significant to you. Explain what the accomplishment meant from a big picture perspective. Was it the first time you demonstrated a valued skill? Did you learn a key lesson about your industry or work? How have you used what you learned since?

While you have limited space, this is an opportunity to demonstrate what matters to you and to showcase one of your proudest moments. While you are asked only about the accomplishment, the best essays will use this limited space to demonstrate clearly what the accomplishment was (be specific!) as well as commenting upon the significance of the accomplishment.

Essay 3
What is your desired post-MBA role and at what company or organization? In your response, please specifically address sub-questions a., b., and c.
a. How is your background compelling to this company?
b. What is something you would do better for this company than any other employee?
c. Why is an MBA necessary and how will Haas specifically help you succeed at this company?
(500-600 word maximum for 3a, 3b, and 3c combined)

This is a fairly typical career goals essay that asks for both short- and long-term goals and the background that led you to this juncture in your career. The unique aspect of this question is the request for a specific company or organization you would prefer to work for. Thinking of a specific company or organization helps you to focus this essay. As the follow up questions request, you will need to tailor everything you discuss to this specific opportunity.

Researching your target company or organization will help you craft the strongest essay. Think of it like a job application and interview and take the time to discuss your desired role with friends and contacts who may have advice.

For the question about your background you don’t need to recite your resume here – rather highlight the key experiences that will be relevant in your future career. Think about the cover letter you would write to obtain your desired position at this company and tailor your approach accordingly.

Your company research will pay off in the second part of the question, “what is something you would do better for this company than any other employee?” This question really is aimed towards your future career identity, which will combine your current experience with your MBA. What will be unique about you after you graduate from Haas? For example, perhaps you have a creative marketing job now and will add the quantitative rigor of an MBA program to your skillset making you the perfect combination of creative and analytical for your future position.

Be specific about why the Haas School of Business is the right program to pursue your goals as well. As you consider past experiences and your future goals you will be able to see what you want to gain from the Haas experience to fill any gaps. If you have an advertising background and want to become a brand manager you’ll likely need classes in operations and finance to understand the analytical side of brand management.

Other goals will require specific skills gained from an MBA and your own unique background will inform how you take advantage of the Haas experience. Make sure you have determined exactly what courses make sense for your career goals and the programs and clubs that you will participate in to reach your personal and professional goals. Thorough school research will be invaluable in approaching this question.

Optional Essays
Please feel free to provide a statement concerning any information you would like to add to your application that you haven’t addressed elsewhere. (500 word maximum)

This question is entirely open ended, so you can either use it to explain anything you need to in your application, or add another aspect to your overall profile. If you need to explain something in your application like a low GPA or a recommender that is not your current supervisor, keep the explanation brief and factual. Focus on explanations, not excuses. If you felt that there are stories in your work, extracurricular, or personal profile that you did not have the opportunity to express in the prior essays, this is an opportunity to add that information.

If not clearly evident, please discuss ways in which you have demonstrated strong quantitative abilities, or plan to strengthen quantitative abilities. You do not need to list courses that appear on your transcript. (250 word maximum)

If you have a strong quantitative background like an engineering or hard sciences degree, or you work in a quantitative field like finance, this may not be a necessary essay. Otherwise, you may want to take one or two examples to demonstrate that you have an analytical mind and can take a quantitative approach to problem solving and evaluating data. As the question specifically asks you not to focus on the grades on your transcript, use this space to describe projects at work, additional post-graduate coursework, or your plans to strengthen your quant skills before you enroll at Haas.

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Who Thinks Up Those MBA Essay Questions?

With so many elite schools either reducing the number of required essays in recent years, or getting really creative with their prompts—raise your hand if you remember Berkeley Haas‘s “If you could choose one song …

With so many elite schools either reducing the number of required essays in recent years, or getting really creative with their prompts—raise your hand if you remember Berkeley Haas‘s “If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why?”—many applicants probably wonder just how the admissions team comes up with its MBA essay prompts each year.

BusinessWeek attempts to quench the curiosity of inquiring minds with its story on how MBA essay questions get written.

For example, the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University asks applicants to share a list of “25 Random Things” about themselves,  so that candidates get away from the tendency to overly manufacture what they think AdCom wants to hear, says Liz Riley Hargrove, associate dean for admissions at the Duke MBA program.

Coming up with 25 random things to list in this essay may seem daunting at first, but this creative exercise is certainly an opportunity to follow the admissions committee’s advice to share what makes you a dynamic, multi-dimensional person.

MIT Sloan School of Management meanwhile is throwing applicants for a loop this year by asking candidates to write an essay in the form of a professional letter of recommendation on behalf of themselves. While this is something applicants are often tempted to do, Rod Garcia, senior director of admissions at Sloan, says the idea clicked when admissions staff members had to write their own annual reviews.

For the second year, Kellogg School of Management asks applicants to record a video essay, where applicants get two questions that they may take 20 seconds to think over and one minute to answer. Kate Smith, assistant dean of Kellogg’s admissions and financial aid office, tells BusinessWeek that although participants are often nervous on video, this is “a skill that students are going to need to have in the globally complex landscape of business.”

You can learn more about where business schools find the inspiration to generate ever more interesting, illuminating glimpses into the real lives of MBA applicants by following the link above back to the original article.

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