Tuesday Tips – IESE Essay Tips

IESE is an international MBA program based in Barcelona. Along with the traditional full time MBA, IESE offers a range of executive programs, including the Global Executive MBA. The Global Executive MBA program operates across several continents with sessions in Barcelona, Madrid, Shanghai, India, Silicon Valley and New York City. To learn more about the Global Executive MBA, you may want to attend one of IESE’s events.

The nice thing about this set of essays is the specificity of the questions. That is also the difficult challenge you will have as you apply your overall application strategy, with the strengths and accomplishments you wish to communicate. Many of the situational questions ask for examples within the last two years, which may be a challenging direction. While you may be attached to situations that are further behind you, remember that the key to any situational question is a clear and concise example that you can extrapolate larger learnings from.

The situational essays in this set allow you to approach the question from either a professional or personal perspective, and it will be important to choose wisely. Think about the correct balance of personal and professional, and which activities you want to particularly highlight.

Essay 1: Please describe your short term professional goals (post MBA). (200 word limit)
Essay 2: Please describe your long term professional goals (post MBA). (200 word limit)

These first two essays are the key components of every career goals essay, and should work together in the same way that a more typical career goals essay would while also remaining two distinct essays. Make sure your short and long-term goals are cohesive, and that your short-term goals lead naturally to your long-term goals. While not explicitly part of the question, you should certainly work in why you need an MBA, and specifically why the IESE MBA will be important to achieving your career goals.

Essay 3: Describe two substantial accomplishments and one failure in a professional or private endeavour. (600 word limit)
This essay question is very similar to the HBS question asking for three accomplishments , with the substitution of a failure for one of the accomplishments. It’s difficult to explain three distinct situations in 600 words. Focus on quickly recapping the accomplishment, making it very clear what the accomplishment was, and take some time to reflect upon the accomplishment and its larger meaning to you in your life or profession.
For the failure section of the essay, you will want to find a failure that can be described succinctly, that you learned from, and that you were able to ultimately redeem yourself through. Whether you turned the failure into a success in that exact situation, or faced a similar situation later than you were able to succeed in, ending on a positive note will be crucial for this question.

Essay 4: Describe a recent situation (within last two years) in which you used a contact from your network to achieve a personal or professional objective. (200 word limit)
Limiting the situation to the past two years may be frustrating to you, but the important part of this essay will be demonstrating that you are able to build and maintain a strong professional network. If you haven’t faced a major situation that required help from your professional network, like a job hunt, think about times that you may have reached out to your friends or co-workers to seek a new perspective on a problem, or to tap into their vocational expertise. The question also allows the use of the network for a personal objective, which may be a more common occurrence day-to-day.
Whatever situation you choose, this is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate how you work with others, your collaborative approach to problem-solving, and how you may behave in a team situation at school, or as an alumna or alumnus of IESE.

Essay 5: Describe the most difficult project (personal or professional) that you have faced recently (within last two years). (200 word limit)
Difficult projects are a great learning experience, and you will want to be able to communicate clearly what you learned from this particular difficult project. If you were ultimately successful, that is a great result, but even if the project never reached completion in a satisfactory way, you hopefully learned a lesson that could be applied in subsequent projects. Though the word count is restrictive, be as specific as possible about the situation and how you approached it.

Essay 6: Describe a recent situation (within last two years) in which it was difficult to convince others. (200 word limit)
This essay is a great opportunity to demonstrate your leadership, teamwork and/or communication and negotiation skills. You will want to find a situation that was difficult, but where you were ultimately convincing. Clearly describe what was difficult about convincing others, and how you were able to ultimately succeed.

Essay 7: I wish that the application had asked me”¦ (200 word limit)
This essay is a gift for all of the extra material in your application strategy. If you had an important situation in your life that occurred more than two years ago, this is an opportunity to highlight it. If you have an interesting personal story, explanation for any weakness in your application, or other material that will help your candidacy, this is the ideal place for that material.

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