Another admission cycle is starting soon. Most top MBA programs have announced their essay questions for 2015.
Here is a list of essay questions published so far:
The Admissions Committee wants to get to know you on both a professional and personal level. We encourage you to be introspective, candid, and succinct. Most importantly, we suggest you be yourself.
First-time applicants and reapplicants are required to complete the same set of essay questions.
Questions, Class of 2017:
1. (Required) What do you hope to gain both personally and professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
2. (Optional) Please use the space below to highlight any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about your candidacy. (400 words)
Additional Question for Reapplicants:
All reapplicants to Wharton are required to complete the Optional Essay. Explain how you have reflected on the previous decision about your application, and discuss any updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, extracurricular/volunteer engagements). You may also use this section to address any extenuating circumstances. (250 words)
You’re applying to Harvard Business School. We can see your resume, academic transcripts, extracurricular activities, awards, post-MBA career intentions, test scores, and what your recommenders have to say about you. What else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy?
Describe the most courageous professional decision you have made or action you have taken. What did you learn from that experience? (500 words maximum)
Haas – Berkeley
At Berkeley-Haas, our distinctive culture is defined by four key principles — Question the Status Quo; Confidence Without Attitude; Students Always; and Beyond yourself. We seek candidates from a broad range of cultures, backgrounds, and industries who demonstrate a strong cultural fit with our program and defining principles. Please use the following essays as an opportunity to reflect on and share with us the values, experiences, and accomplishments that have helped shape who you are.(Learn more about Berkeley-Haas’ Defining Principles).
1. Describe an experience that has fundamentally changed the way you see the world. How did this transform you? (400-500 word maximum)
2. What is your most significant professional accomplishment? (200-300 word maximum)
3. What is your desired post-MBA role and at what company or organization? In your response, please specifically address sub-questions a., b., and c.
a. How is your background compelling to this company?
b. What is something you would do better for this company than any other employee?
c. Why is an MBA necessary and how will Haas specifically help you succeed at this company?
(500-600 word maximum for 3a, 3b, and 3c combined)
1. If you have not provided a letter of recommendation from your current supervisor, please explain. If not applicable, enter N/A.
2. List in order of importance all community and professional organizations and extracurricular activities in which you have been involved during or after university studies. Include the following information for each organization or activity using the format below:
• Name of organization or activity
• Nature of organization or activity
• Size of organization
• Dates of involvement
• Offices held
• Average number of hours spent per month
3. List full-time and part-time jobs held during undergraduate or graduate studies, indicating the employer, job title, employment dates, location, and the number of hours worked per week for each position held prior to the completion of your degree.
4. Please explain all gaps in your employment since earning your university degree.
5. If you have ever been subject to academic discipline, placed on probation, suspended, or required to withdraw from any college or university, please explain. If not, please enter N/A. (An affirmative response to this question does not automatically disqualify you from admission.)
1. (Optional) Please feel free to provide a statement concerning any information you would like to add to your application that you haven’t addressed elsewhere. (500 word maximum)
2. (Optional) If not clearly evident, please discuss ways in which you have demonstrated strong quantitative abilities, or plan to strengthen quantitative abilities. You do not need to list courses that appear on your transcript. (250 word maximum)
Booth – Chicago
Presentation/Essay: Chicago Booth values adventurous inquiry, diverse perspectives, and a collaborative exchange of ideas. This is us. Who are you?
• Be reflective. We’ve learned a lot about you throughout the application, but what more should we know?
• Interpret broadly. “Who are you?” can be interpreted in many different ways. We encourage you to think critically and broadly about who you are, and how your values, passions and experiences have influenced you.
• Determine your own length. There is no prescribed minimum or maximum length. We trust that you will use your best judgment in determining how long your submission should be, but we recommend that you think strategically about how to best allocate the space.
• Choose the format that works for you. You can design your presentation or compose your essay in the format that you feel best captures your response. However, please consider the specific technical restrictions noted below.
• Think about you, not us. Rather than focusing on what you think we want to hear, focus on what is essential for us to know about you. Simply put, be genuine.
• File Size: Maximum file size is 16 MB.
• Accepted Upload Formats: Acceptable formats are PDF, Word and Powerpoint.
• Multimedia Restrictions: We will be viewing your submission electronically and in full color, but all submissions will be converted to PDF files, so animation, video, music, etc. will not translate over.
• Preserve Your Formatting: We strongly recommend converting your piece to a PDF file prior to submitting to ensure that everything you see matches what we see.
Upon reflection, how has your perspective regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (300 words maximum)
Applicants must complete one short answer question and three essays.
Short Answer Question:
What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (75 characters maximum)
Examples of possible responses:
“Work in business development for a media company.”
“Join a consulting firm specializing in renewable energy.”
“Work for an investment firm that focuses on real estate.”
Given your individual background and goals, why are you pursuing a Columbia MBA at this time? (Maximum 500 words)
Please view the video below:
How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? (Maximum 250 words)
What will the people in your Cluster be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (Maximum 250 words)
An optional fourth essay will allow you to discuss any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays.
How have you enhanced your candidacy since your previous application? Please detail your progress since you last applied and reiterate how you plan to achieve your immediate and long term post-MBA professional goals. (Maximum 500 words).
Rather than answer Essay 1, current Knight-Bagehot Fellows applying to Columbia Business School should use the space allocated to the first essay (500 words) to complete the Wiegers Fellowship application essay.
Wiegers Fellowship Essay Question:
What are your career goals? How has the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship affected these goals? How will an MBA help you achieve these goals? (500 words maximum)
Job description 1
Briefly summarise your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of budget, clients/products and results achieved. What would be your next step in terms of position if you were to remain in the same company? (350 words max.)
Job description 2
Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. It should be written as if you were talking to someone at a social gathering detailing your career path with the rationale behind your choices. Discuss your short and long term career aspirations. (350 words max.)
Job description 3 (Optional)
If you are currently not working or if you plan to leave your current employer more than 2 months before the programme starts, please explain your activities and occupations between leaving your job and the start of the programme.
Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person), stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary. (600 words max.)
Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and explain why. In addition, describe a situation where you failed. How did these experiences impact your relationships with others? Comment on what you learned. (400 words max.)
Tell us about an experience where you were significantly impacted by cultural diversity, in a positive or negative way. (300 words max.)
Describe all types of extra-professional activities in which you have been or are still involved for a significant amount of time (clubs, sports, music, arts, politics, etc). How are you enriched by these activities? (300 words max.)
Essay 5 (optional)
Is there anything else that was not covered in your application that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee? (300 words max.)
For 2014-2015, the following two essays are required of all applicants:
1. Resilience. Perseverance. Grit. Call it what you will…. Challenges can build character. Describe a challenging experience you’ve had. How were you tested? What did you learn? (450 words)
2. Leadership requires an ability to collaborate with and motivate others. Describe a professional experience that required you to influence people. What did this experience teach you about working with others, and how will it make you a better leader? (450 words)
Certain applicants will respond to additional questions:
Dual-degree applicants: For applicants to the MMM or JD-MBA dual degree programs, please explain why that program is right for you. (250 words)
Re-applicants: Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 word limit)
All applicants have the opportunity to provide explanations or clarification in Additional Information:
If needed, use this section to briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.) (no word count)
The Video Essays provide applicants with an additional opportunity to demonstrate what they will bring to our vibrant Kellogg community – in an interactive way. Each applicant will complete two short video essay questions. The questions are designed to bring to life the person we have learned about on paper.
• After submitting a completed application, each applicant will be asked to complete two Video Essay Questions. One will be about the candidate’s interest in Kellogg and the other will be a “getting to know you” type of question.
• There are 10 practice questions which candidates can complete as many times as they like to get comfortable with the format and technology. The practice questions and experience will simulate the actual video essay experience, so this is meant to be a useful tool and help applicants feel prepared.
• There is not an opportunity to re-do the answer to the official video essay questions. We encourage applicants to practice so they are comfortable with the format once it is time to complete the official questions.
• Candidates will have 20 seconds to think about their question and up to 1 minute to give their response.
• We estimate the Video Essays will take 30 minutes to complete – which includes time for set-up and answering all the practice questions.
Ross – Michigan
Fall 2015 Full-time MBA Essay Questions:
1. What are you most proud of professionally and why? What did you learn from that experience? (400 words)
2. What are you most proud of personally and why? How does it shape who you are today? (400 words)
3. Optional question:
Is there anything not addressed elsewhere in the application that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you to evaluate your candidacy? (300 words)
The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice. Discuss how you will contribute toward advancing the mission based on examples of past work and activities. (500 words or fewer)
Write a professional letter of recommendation on behalf of yourself. Answer the following questions as if you were your most recent supervisor recommending yourself for admission to the MIT Sloan MBA Program: (750 words or fewer)
• How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant?
• How does the applicant stand out from others in a similar capacity?
• Please give an example of the applicant’s impact on a person, group, or organization.
• Please give a representative example of how the applicant interacts with other people.
• Which of the applicant’s personal or professional characteristics would you change?
• Please tell us anything else you think we should know about this applicant.
The Admissions Committee invites you to share anything else you would like us to know about you, in any format. If you choose to use a multimedia format, please host the information on a website and provide us the URL.
Essay Questions for the Class of 2017
We request that you write two personal essays. The personal essays give us glimpses of your character and hopes. In each essay, we want to hear your genuine voice. Think carefully about your values, passions, aims, and dreams prior to writing them.
Essay A: What matters most to you, and why?
A strong response to this question will:
Focus on the “why” rather than the “what.”
Reflect the self-examination process you used to write your response.
Genuinely illustrate who you are and how you came to be the person you are.
Share the insights, experiences, and lessons that shaped your perspectives, rather than focusing merely on what you’ve done or accomplished.
Be written from the heart, and illustrate how a person, situation, or event has influenced you.
Essay B: Why Stanford?
Use this essay to explain your view of your future, not to repeat accomplishments from your past. Enlighten us on how earning your MBA at Stanford will enable you to realize your ambitions.
A strong response to this essay question will:
Explain your decision to pursue graduate education in management.
Explain the distinctive opportunities you will pursue at the Stanford MBA Program.
Your answers for both essay questions combined may not exceed 1,100 words. Below are suggested word counts per essay, but you should allocate the maximum word count in the way that is most effective for you.
Essay A 650-850
Essay B 250-450
• 12 pt. font size
• Double spaced
• Recommended font types: Arial, Courier, or Times New Roman
• Indicate the question you are answering at the beginning of each essay (does not count toward the word limit)
• Number all pages
• Upload one document that includes both essays
Stern – NYU
Please note the following details when completing your essays.
• All written essays must be typed and submitted using the standard U.S. 8 1/2” x 11” format, double-spaced, in 12-point font.
• Word limits apply to the total question. For example, your response to Essay 1 should answer all parts of the question with a total maximum of 750 words.
• Label the top of each essay with the following: Name, Date of Birth (month, day, year), Essay Number and Page Number (e.g.: Joe Applicant, January 1, 1983, Essay 1, Page 1).
• Your essays should be written entirely by you. An offer of admission will be revoked if you did not write your essays.
Essay 1: Professional Aspirations
(750 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
• Why pursue an MBA (or dual degree) at this point in your life?
• What actions have you taken to determine that Stern is the best fit for your MBA experience?
• What do you see yourself doing professionally upon graduation?
Essay 2: Choose Option A or Option B
Option A: Your Two Paths
(500 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
The mission of the Stern School of Business is to develop people and ideas that transform the challenges of the 21st century into opportunities to create value for business and society. Given today’s ever-changing global landscape, Stern seeks and develops leaders who thrive in ambiguity, embrace a broad perspective and think creatively about the range of ways they can have impact.
Describe two different and distinct paths you could see your career taking long term. How do you see your two paths unfolding?
What factors will most determine which path you will take?
How do your paths tie to the mission of NYU Stern?
Option B: Personal Expression
Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates. You may use almost any method to convey your message (e.g. words, illustrations). Feel free to be creative.
If you submit a non-written piece for this essay (i.e., artwork or multimedia) or if you submit this essay via mail, please upload a brief description of your submission with your online application.
Please note the following guidelines and restrictions:
• Your submission becomes the property of NYU Stern and cannot be returned for any reason.
• If you submit a written essay, it should be 500 words maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font. If you submit a video or audio file, it should be five minutes maximum.
• If you prepare a multimedia submission, you may mail a CD, DVD or USB flash drive to the Admissions Office. These are the only acceptable methods of submission. Please do not submit an internet link to any websites or to a video hosting service such as YouTube.
• The Admissions Committee reserves the right to request an alternate essay if we are unable to view your submission.
• Do not submit anything perishable (e.g. food), or any item that has been worn (e.g. clothing).
• Mailed materials must be postmarked by the application deadline date. Please follow our mail and labeling instructions.
Essay 3. Additional Information (optional)
Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee. This may include current or past gaps in employment, further explanation of your undergraduate record or self-reported academic transcript(s), plans to retake the GMAT, GRE and/or TOEFL or any other relevant information.
If you are unable to submit a recommendation from your current supervisor, you must explain your reason, even if you are a re-applicant.
If you are a re-applicant from last year, please explain how your candidacy has improved since your last application.
Please respond fully but concisely to the following essay questions. There are no right or wrong answers. We encourage applicants to limit the length of their responses to 500 words for each essay. Please double-space your responses.
1. Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA fit for you and your goals and why are you the best fit for Tuck?
2. Tell us about your most meaningful leadership experience and what role you played. What did you learn about your own individual strengths and weaknesses through this experience?
3. (Optional) Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere that may be helpful in reviewing your application (e.g., unusual choice of evaluators, weaknesses in academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes, etc.). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.
4. (To be completed by all reapplicants) How have you strengthened your candidacy since you last applied? Please reflect on how you have grown personally and professionally.
Contact us today to brainstorm your MBA essays