Tuesday Tips: SMU Cox School Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips
The SMU Cox School of Business is an excellent MBA program for candidates who are looking to expand their choices beyond the top 10 business schools or have a regional interest in Texas.
Based in Dallas, SMU Cox has a diverse student body and ties to a vibrant business community. Twenty-two Dallas companies made the Fortune 500 list this year. Companies that recruit from SMU Cox include the major consulting firms, banks, along with consumer companies like Target and Starbucks and tech companies like Texas Instruments and Amazon.
In general, as you prepare these essays, keep “why MBA” top of mind and think about your own MBA requirements for the program. If you are considering an MBA admissions consultant, contact us to learn more about how Stacy Blackman Consulting can help you be the best MBA candidate you can be.
REQUIRED ESSAY 1
What are your post-graduate degree goals upon graduation? Please be as specific as possible, which might include desired roles, target companies, and/or industry. (250 word limit).
As an MBA candidate for SMU Cox, you will need to carefully explain why MBA and describe your career goals. Evaluate your past experiences, what you have learned in your undergraduate education and what you dream of as a future career.
If you are unsure what you want to do after your MBA, perhaps this article in US News and World Report can trigger some ideas. For example, more MBA graduates are pursuing careers in technology and consumer products than did so in the past. If you consider companies and career paths outside of the traditional MBA feeder industries, what areas might you pursue?
When you have identified your post-MBA career path, then you will want to describe the role in specifics. What industry are you targeting and why? What companies are most appealing? Which department do you see yourself working within? This is a good essay to add some resume highlights that will showcase a few specific skills or accomplishments that are directly related to your career path.
REQUIRED ESSAY 2
Business is an ever changing and evolving entity. Individual’s plans and interests can change as a result of industry downturns and/or emergence of new opportunities. Keeping an open mind while navigating your career is an essential component of success. Should the short-term goals you provided above not materialize, what alternative directions would you explore? (250 word limit)
Showing flexibility and adaptability is actually an important MBA candidate trait. Innovative ideas tend to come to people who are open-minded, creative and always learning. It is quite likely that there are multiple career paths that could help you reach your goals.
For example, you might be interested in technology and consumer products, but when you start meeting with companies on campus and attending career information sessions, you realize that pursuing a career in management consulting will offer more variety than you realized, and will allow you to experience many different companies and work places.
Because you were flexible and open to feedback while you learned about careers at SMU Cox, you were able to switch gears and find a better fit. Think about the possible careers that you would consider as a “Plan B” or alternate path, and explore that career in the same way that you did for Essay 1.
REQUIRED ESSAY 3
Think of an event that has changed your perspective in the last three years. Describe how this event has impacted your personal or professional outlook. (250 word limit).
At Stacy Blackman Consulting we have observed that, above all, character prevails, and that part of showing character is demonstrating your true nature. Often your true nature is revealed through pivotal events or changing points. Think about the moments you can remember with clarity over the past three years.
Of those moments, was there one that fundamentally changed your perspective? This change could have been personal or professional, it may have clarified your career path, triggered your desire to return to school, or improved a relationship.
Certainly, one core value important to many MBA candidates is helping others and improving communities. For this reason, if you have a particular focus or passion for community service, it’s likely that a pivotal experience triggered that interest.
For example, many people have been impacted by illness of a family member or friend, which may have led you to fundraise for medical research, contribute to assistance for patients, or look for opportunities to improve medical outcomes.
As you draft this essay think about micro-stories you can craft to vividly bring your story alive. What did your moment feel like? What did you hear, smell, or say? Those details will help the reader put themselves in your place and understand your perspective.
Please only use this space to address information not covered in the rest of your application package that may be helpful to the admissions committee as we make an assessment of your candidacy. (250 word limit)
MBA candidates are not always perfect, and it is common to need to explain something in your application that may be concerning or confusing. Typical topics for this essay include resume gaps, a recommender who is not your current manager, a poor grade in undergraduate coursework, or a low GMAT score.
First off, the best way to approach this type of essay is to offer explanations, not excuses. Clearly and concisely explain your situation, then describe the steps you have taken to improve.
For example, perhaps you were given a C grade in a calculus class in college. It had been a tough semester for you and your time management was poor. The next semester you improved your skills and were able to earn all A’s in next level quantitative classes. Then, you took a job as an analyst where you used quantitative tools.
This story clearly explains the situation, and then explains why one poor grade does not accurately describe your overall quantitative skills.