This Cornell Johnson 2011 MBA Application tip post is one of a series of posts providing MBA application and essay advice for applicants to top MBA programs around the world. You can access the entire series at http://blog.accepted.com/acceptedcom_blog/tag/2011-mba-application-tips. My tips for answering Johnson's essay questions are in blue below.
The essay portion of your application gives you the opportunity to candidly demonstrate your attributes and your compatibility with our rich and vibrant program. We require three essays and provide the option for completing an additional (fourth) essay. All re-applicants must complete an additional essay regarding improvements in their applications. Please observe the 400 word limit for each essay.
Essays Required for All Applicants:
1) Describe your greatest professional achievement and how you added value to your organization. (400 word limit)
Your greatest achievement needs to have had impact -- saving money, raising revenue, increasing prestige, adding clients/customers, or contributing to the achievement of some organizational goal.
As you answer this question, keep in mind Johnson's general management, team, and project orientation. I am not saying that sitting in a lab in isolation and elegantly solving a long-standing mathematical problem won't help you at all. But I suspect that working with multiple stakeholders on a marketing plan that resulted in gang-buster sales would have more punch.
2) What career do you plan to pursue upon completion of an MBA degree and why? How will the Johnson School help you achieve this goal? (400 word limit)
Goals question. Try to choose an achievement for #1 that can be a cornerstone of your future career, demonstrate your talent for it, or at least relate to it. Doing so will save you precious words when answering the "why" of this question. You still need to discuss your reasons for your goals, but if #1 partially answers the question or provides context, then most of #2 can focus on what you want to do and why you want to attend Cornell Johnson.
3) You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. Please write the table of contents for the book.
Note: Approach this essay with your unique style. We value creativity and authenticity. (400 word limit)
Have a little fun with the question. You can reveal something about your youth, influential experiences or people, challenges, hobbies, interests, passions... It's Your Life Story.
Essay Required for All Re-applicants: How did you strengthen your application since you last applied to the Johnson School?(400 word limit)
This is the key question for all MBA re-applicants. Why are you a better applicant now than you were when they rejected you last time?
Optional Essay: Complete this essay if you would like to add additional details regarding your candidacy. For instance, if you believe one or more aspects of your application (e.g., undergraduate record or test scores) do not accurately reflect your potential for success at the Johnson School. (400 word limit)
Given how little Johnson requests, I encourage you to write the optional essay. Just make sure you are submitting an informative optional essay that complements the required essays and adds to the reader's knowledge of you and your qualifications. If you do not have something to explain, this optional would be a great place to explore in depth a non-professional interest or commitment of yours.
If you would like help with your Johnson, application, please consider Accepted.com's MBA admissions consulting and essay editing and specifically our Cornell Johnson School Packages.
REMINDER: Cornell Johnson's Stacey Thomas will be Accepted's guests at an admissions chat on October 21st at 10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET/ 5:00 PM GMT.
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*Submission of your application must occur by midnight on the application deadline to receive consideration in a specific round.
By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of Accepted.com.