Tuesday Tips – Kelley School of Business

The Kelley School of Business at the University of Indiana features a brief core and a significant amount of time where you can design your own educational experience. Continuing to rise in prominence, the program attracts high achievers from around the world.

Kelley Business School’s set of essays offers the opportunity for you to demonstrate your personal, professional and extracurricular achievements and interests. Use your application strategy as a guide to choose the right set of essays to answer, and focus on demonstrating clear results and introspection.


Please discuss your post-MBA short- and long-term professional goals. How will your professional experience, when combined with a Kelley Business School degree, allow you to achieve these goals?

This is a fairly standard career goals essay, similar to that of Kellogg, Wharton and Columbia. When answering the question about your goals, be specific and draw in examples from your career progress thus far to illustrate your skill set and interests. In addition, linking your short and long term goals together will help you create a compelling and logical narrative thread.

Your need for an MBA in general should be very clear when linking your career progress thus far with your short and long term goals. Spend a fair amount of time on why you want to attend the Kelley Business School specifically. Research the program through studying the curriculum and understanding the specific classes you need. Do not limit your inquiry to facts and spend time reaching out to members of the Kelley Business School community either in person through visiting campus, or online through emailing club leaders in the areas you are interested in.

Choose two of the next three:
2. Describe an ethical dilemma that you faced in your professional career. How was it resolved and what did you learn from the experience?

Ethical dilemma questions can be quite tricky. If you choose to answer this question, make sure your example is both real and difficult, and something that will reflect favorably upon your own ethics. Situations that rest in the grey area are most effective with this sort of question, as those are the situations that require leadership, nuance and maturity.

Address clearly what you learned from the experience, and if you have time to illustrate how you used that learning in a subsequent experience you will have a compelling ending to your essay.

3. Suppose you had to choose three people””people alive now or people from another era””to travel with you on a cross-country automobile trip. Who would you choose and why? What would you hope to learn from them? (Think carefully about the company you want on those long stretches through Nebraska or Kansas.)

This is a fun question that allows you to bring in almost any area of your professional, personal or extracurricular interests. Choosing people who are interesting and well rounded will obviously result in the most interesting company on the long stretches through Nebraska or Kansas, but you certainly want to also choose people who will teach you something about yourself or your goals.

In a way, this essay gets to similar material as Stanford’s “What matters most” essay and could be used to paint a holistic picture of who you are and what you value. In discussing the people you choose make sure you are expressing as much about yourself and your motivations as you are about them.

4. Describe what there is about your background and your experiences that will contribute to the diversity of the entering class and enhance the educational experience of other students.

Similar to the Kellogg, Tuck and UNC essays, you have a gift in this Kelley Business School essay to differentiate yourself from other similar applicants. Explore anything that sets you apart from other people you know in your industry or demographic. In choosing the areas of diversity think carefully about what will enhance the educational experience of your classmates, not just the community or social life.

5. Is there anything else that you think we should know as we evaluate your application? If you believe your credentials and essays represent you fairly, you shouldn’t feel obligated to answer this question.

This is the area of your application to discuss any issues in your academic record, gaps in work experience or a lack of recommendation from a current supervisor. In all essays of this type it is important to be straightforward and offer explanations rather than excuses.

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