Tuesday Tips: USC Marshall Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips

USC Marshall essay tipsThe Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California reflects the diversity and dynamism of the Los Angeles area.

According to Assistant Dean and Director, Evan Bouffides: “What matters most to us is our learning community and how, through collaboration, we grow and learn together to collectively strengthen the Trojan Family. Thus, we do not believe in the concept of the “perfect” or “ideal” candidate. In fact, there are more atypical candidates than typical ones, and everyone has a unique story.”

Though the USC Marshall school is a community of its own, the larger USC Trojan Family is an important part of the school’s identity and offers additional academic opportunities for MBA students.

What is your specific, immediate short-term career goal upon completion of your MBA? Please include an intended position, function, and industry in your response. (100 words)

With only 100 words to use here, stay brief and focused. What is your plan when you graduate from USC? Because you can add no context to your career plans, make sure your resume and other application materials support this next step. If you are career switching it will help to highlight any transferable skills in your resume or ask your recommenders to comment on your future plans and how you will use your MBA to reach your goals.

If your next job is a logical step from your prior experience to your MBA, it’s still important to be specific about the job you plan to pursue to add as much detail to your application as possible.

Please respond to ONLY ONE of the following essay topics. (500 words)

1. If you could pack the story of your life in a briefcase with 10 items, what items would you pack and why? Respond in list form.

2. You are asked to design a course to be taught at the Marshall School of Business. Please provide a title and description for the course.

3. You have been hired by the Marshall MBA Admissions Committee to create an essay question for next year’s application. Please state the question and answer it.

Two of the three essay questions require significant research into the Marshall MBA program. It will be important to know as much as possible about the academics at USC Marshall for option 2 and the admissions criteria and values of USC Marshall for option 3.

If you are someone who has a standard career background and competition that may be similar, you might consider using option 1 or option 3 to describe something interesting or diverse in your background. Perhaps you have an unusual hobby, have made an impact on the community in a special way, or have an interesting family heritage. Option 1 is also a tricky creative challenge that could create a fascinating and intriguing essay.

Option 2 is an excellent way for you to showcase intellectual curiosity and your knowledge of the academic curriculum at USC. If there is a professor you would want to work with, this question is an opportunity to discuss their work and your interest in it.

Option 3 is new this year and fascinating for all MBA applicants. You have been undergoing the process of evaluation by multiple schools, perhaps complete with school visits and discussions with alumni. This is your chance to show USC what you think is most important for them to know about applicants, and to answer the question yourself. Ideally you can demonstrate that you understand the USC culture and values with the question design.

Please provide any additional information that will enhance our understanding of your candidacy for the program. (250 words)

This essay is fairly open-ended and might provide an opportunity to add additional information or to discuss a gap in your application. If you have a low GPA, grade below a C in a quantitative subject, an employment gap or any other issue in your background, this is the place to explain. Focus on clearly explaining what happened, and what you have done to improve or address the issue.

Need help with your USC Marshall essays and application strategy? Contact us to learn more about what SBC can do for you.

If you have an interview coming up, you will want to review SBC’s interview prep services. The key to interview success is practice and we provide you with all the tools you need to do just that.

  • Leverage our video platform to practice, view yourself and improve
  • Work with our experts for live rehearsal and feedback
  • Download a guide for lists of practice questions, tips on how to prep and overviews of interview formats
  • Experience a real group interview before your big day

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