MBA Essay Writing Tips – Part III

By - Jul 1, 01:49 AM Comments [0]

Most MBA programs have already published their updated essay questions for Fall 2015. Writing the MBA application essays is usually the hardest part of the MBA admission process. In the next few weeks we’ll bring here a few MBA essay tips and guidelines to help you successfully negotiate the essay writing process.
After the advanced MBA essay tips we brought you last week, today we'll bring you specific MBA essay tips for each top program:


Berkeley MBA Essay Tips

  • Important to demonstrate innovative and creative leadership. Does not necessarily have to be something ground-breaking, can be "something as simple as a new process for doing something or a new way to think about clients or an untapped market". Preferable to show it in professional context, if not can be in volunteer or personal context.
  • Should show proficiency in quantitative areas.
  • Possibly helpful to discuss experiential learning opportunities.


Chicago MBA Essay Tips

  • Essay questions are creatively designed to get a well-rounded picture of applicant's personality, to see how they think, and to see whether they have a good sense of the school's character.
  • In past the perception was that community at the school was weak. Therefore may be helpful to show that you are someone who will actively contribute to the community.
  • School very much values strength of its academic program - may be good to talk about how program will serve you and how you will contribute to it.


Columbia MBA Essay Tips

  • Like to see entrepreneurial mindset.
  • International orientation, multiple languages, openness to diversity, are plusses.
  • Like people who took part in activities and have actively contributed to the well-being of their communities.


Duke MBA Essay Tips

  • Fuqua has two leading motifs:
    o “Team Fuqua” – this is the slogan of the school and its mission – show in the application that you were and still are a part of a team and a leader of a team.
    o “Leaders of Consequence” - show how as a leader you look at the bigger picture and understand the consequences of you actions on classmates / business / society etc.
  • Want to see students who will be both collaborators and leaders. Believes that the two are not contradictory but rather complementary.
  • Make sure to directly answer the question asked - the admissions director advises to write essays in such a way that one could tell the question simply by reading the answer.


Harvard MBA Essay Tips

  • Harvard’s primary concern is leadership. The school is for leadership potential, and not necessarily leadership per se.
  • Harvard is particularly interested in 'Leadership without Authority'- your ability to influence, motivate, initiate and convince others to effect change without being in a traditional leadership position.
  • Have a generalist viewpoint – it’s better to be good at many things than to be extraordinarily good at just one thing (unless that one thing happens to be leadership).



  • Very important to show international orientation, preferably international business experience.
  • Career progression is important.
  • School is putting strong emphasis on entrepreneurship. Good to show entrepreneurial experience/spirit in application.


Kellogg MBA Essay Tips

  • Kellogg is looking for someone who ideates clear self reflection, speaks with conviction about goals, who they are, why they are interested in MBA, their role and fit with school. Not looking for one-dimensional people.
  • Be yourself, be confident, without arrogance. Think what your experience means for other students, what you can share and how you can contribute.
  • School emphasizes that essays should be insightful, reflective, authentic and honest - don't write simply what think adcom wants to hear.


LBS MBA Essay Tips

  • Particularly important to research the school and MBA thoroughly, show understanding of what makes school unique.
  • Show international experience/orientation/ambitions.
  • Emphasize what you will contribute to campus. Mention clubs/activities that you hope to take part in.


MIT MBA Essay Tips

  • It is recommended that non-techies emphasize quantitative skills. In general, quantitative skills are very important to Sloan.
  • Essays are very behavioral, as is the rest of the application. Talk about feelings, emotions, motives, thoughts. Looking for very specific details and examples, above all.
  • Bad essays are mostly about situation and outcome. Good essays are mostly about process. All their applicants are successful – the school wants to see the process that led to the success.


NYU MBA Essay Tips

  • Important to show that you have undertaken thorough research to learn what the Stern community is like, and that you have an idea as to how you will contribute to it. Show passion and clarity in essays. Show that you fully understand the NYC advantage.
  • Your chances are significantly higher if you are able to convince Stern that they are your first choice and that you will surely matriculate if you are admitted (yield management.) The "Why Our School" essay section is key to this.
  • Show that you have a good idea of what you want to do after school, why you want to do it, and why/how will you be successful in recruiting for that position.


Stanford MBA Essay Tips

  • Stanford wants to see applicant's ideals, passions and aspirations. Looking for students who have been successful as a by-product of pursuing their passions and interests, as opposed to just pursuing success after success as a goal in itself.
  • They like community involvement and public-service-oriented people.
  • In essays, show insight taken away from experiences, not just experiences themselves. Discuss both specific entrepreneurial ambitions, and the way those ambitions will have a positive impact on society.


Tuck MBA Essay Tips

  • Value teamwork, especially because of their Study Group system.
  • Seems that they are looking to take more students who have a 'global mindset'.
  • Like tangible anecdotes, examples and vignettes in essays.


Wharton MBA Essay Tips

  • Very important to show WHO you are (hobbies, community service, etc.), beyond professional accomplishments and stats. Be yourself and be candid.
  • Like to see international perspective.
  • Applicants should be very careful as to how they shape the group of essays: they are interrelated and will be taken together as a whole.



That's it. Next week we'll focus on specific essay tips by essay topic.


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