Tips for the ESADE 2012 MBA Application are in blue below.
What makes you YOU?
Today there is a growing need for outstanding business leaders who excel in their field and adapt quickly to the changing needs of the market.
Companies look to us for future leaders – people whose expertise and entrepreneurial abilities are flexible and suit a variety of leadership roles. Your drive and motivation and the individual qualities that you bring to the table are your best selling points and are what will enrich your team members most.
It is this individuality, together with the diversity at ESADE and our commitment to leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship that make us what we are: a talent pool for the business leaders of tomorrow.
The following questions are designed to help us get a more complete picture of who you are and the impact that you will have both here at ESADE and on society after completing your MBA.
Please respond openly, explaining what makes you the person that you are and who you will become.
Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Flexibility, Internationalism… these are the main qualities of Spanish business school ESADE, which strives to form business leaders with a deep sense of ethics and responsibility to society.
Strong in GM, Green Tech and Social Enterprise, the program’s main strengths are its flexibility (the option to do the program in 12, 15 or 18 months), its global focus (exchanges and internships with over 100 universities worldwide; a 70-75% international student body), and its highly collaborative atmosphere (small class size, close interaction with professors, flexible curriculum.)
Each question is limited to 2000 characters, which is roughly 1 page, double-spaced
Essay 1. Which aspects have you improved on during your academic and professional career so far? Which tools or values have helped you achieve this? (*)
Bam! Opening with a “self-improvement” essay sets the bar for the rest of the application. Only highly self-aware individuals can aspire to that special combination of flexibility/adaptability and solidity that makes the kind of future leader ESADE seeks.
Why did you choose your studies? What weaknesses or aspects did you choose to improve at school? Why? How? Why and how did you choose your job(s)? What have you improved through them? How?
If there is room, you can extrapolate to what, how and why you will do in a similar vein during the MBA program.
Essay 2. How will your background, values and non work-related activities enhance the experience of other ESADE MBA students and add to the diverse culture we strive for at ESADE? (Note: The goal of this essay is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have accomplished) (*)
Why would someone want to sit next to you in class for one or two years? What would they get from your presence? What makes you tick? Where did it come from? Those are the questions you should ask yourself when writing this essay. A chronological approach usually works best here. Discuss some salient points about growing up that illustrate your environment, the values you inculcated, the things you discovered; and mention the inflection points that inform who you are today. Continue up until today. Describe the personal choices you made and why you made them. And how will all of this enhance the experience for your classmates?
Essay 3. What are your motivations in pursuing a full-time MBA at this point in your life? Describe your mid-term and long-term visions for your post-MBA career path. What is it about ESADE you think will help you reach your goals? (*)
The classic goal question with a twist: it doesn’t start with your short-term –immediate post-MBA— goals. Are you applying to ESADE in hopes of going into consulting immediately after graduation? What if that doesn’t happen? Step away from your immediate goals and show where you hope to be in 5 years, and then in 10 or 15 years. How will you get there? How will ESADE specifically help? Think in broad terms: the school’s strengths and values; but also in more focused terms such as particular classes, professors and initiatives.
Essay 4. Complete two of the following four questions or statements (*)
Multiple choice questions are a great way to either drill down into an aspect of your personality or career that summarizes what you are made of, or to discuss an issue that is dear to you. It’s all a question of balance. If you feel that you’ve said enough about your professional profile in the previous questions, use this to balance things out with a more personal story. If you feel that you’ve only given a superficial view of your career so far, use this to get more detailed. If you have a particular hobby or activity or quality or value that you were unable to discuss in detail elsewhere, discuss it here. (Please see “MBA Essay Questions: The Jokers)
Finally, look at the values of the school: International, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Leadership…if these qualities don’t stand out in the other essays, use this space to illustrate one or several of them.
a) I am most proud of…
What is the single event or issue that defines who you are today and where you have ended up? It doesn’t have to be “big” but it does have to be meaningful. Don’t forget to add why it is important to you. If possible, extrapolate to your longer-term vision.
b) People may be surprised to learn that I…
Ditto the advice for option A, but this can also be a great opportunity to discuss something unique about you, like a hobby, an activity, a risk you’ve taken, a decision you’ve made. Again, it doesn’t have to be big, but it should be meaningful and give more insight into your personality. What did you learn? And how did that learning affect you?
c) What has your biggest challenge been and what did it help you learn about yourself?
“Challenge” is an open-ended term in this experiential question. Discussing a failure would work well here. Or, you can discuss a turning point in your life or career that brought you to the proverbial fork in the road. This could also be about managing the unknown, or about your toughest professional experience. Whatever you choose to discuss, make sure that you describe the experience itself, what you learnt from it and how it has impacted you (or those around you.)
d) Which historical figure do you most identify with and why?
Which past figure incarnates your values and aspirations? Which historical figure inspires you? This demands both knowledge of the personality and his/her life, but also of yourself: why does this person’s life resonate with yours? How can you align the two of you without sounding arrogant? Choose wisely and avoid the “usual suspects” unless you have something personal or unique to add to the conversation. Saying that Ayn Rand inspired you to enter finance is, in my mind, an automatic ding. Discussing your admiration for Gandhi if you’ve never been involved in similar activities could be suspect. And let Steve Jobs rest in peace a little while longer.
Essay 5. Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee. This may include gaps in employment, your undergraduate record, plans to retake the GMAT or any other relevant information. (*)
Again, an open-ended question from a school that is clearly interested in hearing about you-the-person. However, mind the word “relevant” and stay away from fluff. This may be about your stats, a gap year, why you did not get a letter from your immediate supervisor, and so on. It could also be about how your teenage fascination with X sets the stage for your involvement with the school’s Y initiative.
Staged Application Deadlines for 2012 Intake:
If you would like professional guidance with your ESADE application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our ESADE School MBA Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the ESADE MBA application.
By Paris-based Accepted.com editor Tanis Kmetyk, who has well over a decade of experience advising applicants to top MBA programs. She’d be happy to share her expertise with you when you apply too.
Be sure to check out the rest of our 2012 MBA application essay tips.
Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn
This post originally appeared on the Accepted Admissions Blog, official blog of Accepted.com.