Tuesday Tips: UT McCombs School Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips
The UT McCombs School of Business is a globally recognized MBA program, located in Austin, Texas, a center of technology and business for the region. Entrepreneurship is a huge focus for McCombs, and one of the top 5 concentrations (along with Management Consulting, Clean Tech, Innovation Leadership and Supply Chain & Operations Management). Class size is small and close knit, and the students’ backgrounds are diverse.
Stacey Kammerdiener, Senior Texas Full-Time MBA Admissions Officer, advises prospective students, “Be honest. These essays are our way to learn more about you. Our students value authenticity and we look for essays that reflect your authentic self.” More advice can be found at the Texas MBA Insider blog.
We will learn a lot about your professional background through your resume and letter of recommendation. We want to get to know you further. Please introduce yourself using an essays of 250 words, OR a video introduction of one minute.
For an open-ended essay with a creative option (the video) it can be daunting to think of a topic. Rather than focusing on how you are going to communicate, start thinking about what you want to communicate to the Texas MBA admissions committee by introducing yourself to your new study group.
As the Texas Admissions Blog reminds you, “While your professional life is important, this essay is your opportunity to share who you are outside of the bullet points on your resume.” The best essays will dive deep into your motivations and aspirations, perhaps getting into your cultural background, formative moments in your life and friends, family and colleagues who have influenced you. To identify one or two key stories you may want to tell, think about those pivotal moments of change in your life.
For many people the transition from high school to college and from college to work led to personal change. Others had formative childhood experiences or experiences that led to shifts in perspective like travel or living outside your home country. Any one of these moments could be a good way to illustrate who you are and what motivates you.
Once you have identified the content of your essay you can decide how to present it. A video could give you the opportunity to add elements of emotion, such as humor, that are harder to convey in writing. A video also allows you to include graphics, photos or other visual elements (though you should appear in the video for the bulk of it). If your story fits better into a written narrative you may choose the written essay instead.
If you choose a video essay you will still want to write a script for your video. Think about the bullet points you want to cover, and any important points you need to convey. If you decide to talk into the camera, rehearsing will be especially important, and consider having a friend or family member there so you can talk to a person instead of the camera. If you are able to edit the video after you record footage it will be easier to keep it smooth and on topic. Either way, make sure you take the time to record several takes of the video content so you can choose the best one to submit to McCombs.
Picture yourself at graduation. Describe how you spent your two years as a Texas MBA student, and how that experience helped to prepare you for the post-MBA world. (500 words)
This essay is your opportunity to demonstrate strong fit with the Texas MBA program. As part of your homework before starting this set of essays you have hopefully learned as much as possible about the school, now you can bring in your own aspirations and goals. Use your imagination to think about how you might describe your MBA experience at graduation. You’ll likely have experienced both professional and personal growth, and met interesting people who will be part of your lifelong network. The Admissions Blog reminds you that “We have also already reviewed your short and long term goals. Essay two is meant to explain to us how you believe McCombs will help get you there.”
To help you get started, research some of the unique opportunities at McCombs like the Venture Labs, if you have entrepreneurial dreams, and The MBA+ Program, with opportunities to work with influential companies through a variety of touch points. Being part of the city of Austin is another unique benefit to the program that you may want to consider in the context of your background and goals.
For example, perhaps you were interested in working for a major technology firm to learn product manager skills to use in starting your own business. While at McCombs you might have tested ideas with the Venture Labs, and also consulted for major companies like Adobe or HP to learn how large companies worked. These experiences were likely formative as you made career plans.
Don’t forget the personal – McCombs has an active and engaged student culture with many student organizations you likely joined. And your classmates and friends you made in the program were definitely an influence as well.
Please provide any additional information you believe is important and/or address any areas of concern that will be beneficial to the Admissions Committee in considering your application (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, or extenuating personal circumstances). (250 words)
This optional essay provides space for you to add your own context to any information that should be explained to the admissions committee. Some areas that may need explanation are: lower than average test score, any grades below a C on your transcript, academic probation or a significant resume gap, you can explain here. Keep your explanation concise and factual, and focused on context for the issue rather than excuses.
Stacy Blackman Consulting can provide personalized, strategic guidance for your Texas MBA application. Contact us to learn more.