Global EMBA 2015 Essay Tips

By - Feb 9, 11:50 AM Comments [0]

global-business-around-the-world-300x196The Global EMBA has 2 program options: EMBA-Global Americas & Europe which combines the strengths of Columbia University and London Business School; and EMBA-Global Asia, with Columbia University, London Business School, and Hong Kong University Business School.

Of course all MBA and EMBA applications are about “fit.” The Global EMBA is too – just more so. This adcom really focuses on fit, because the program is so unique and intense. And the concept of “global leader” is a critical part of that fit. How it’s embodied will be unique to each applicant; ensure that your essays reflect your own mindset and vision of global leadership.

The adcom also looks for applicants who truly understand and will make productive use of this distinctive educational opportunity, which comprises multiple campuses and schools each with its own particular focus, opportunities, and areas of excellence.

The three essay questions vary in approach, thus requiring you to present yourself effectively from different angles. There’s a fairly classic goals essay, a “story” (behavioral) essay, and an open “statement.” The challenge is to employ a consistent individual voice while also adapting it to the various essay types.


Essay 1 (maximum 500 words)

Why do you wish to participate in the EMBA-Global programme? What do you hope to experience and how will participation in this programme help you to achieve your objectives?

Here’s that goals question. First a note about the nuance of the question: notice the words wish, hope, experience, and participate/participation. These words imply an immersive, personal, community, collaborative orientation. In the essay (and indeed throughout the application) show how you fit with this holistic approach.

Structure: I’ve found that it’s intuitive and logical to start the essay by discussing your goals – the objectives at the very end of the question. (And add a word about what motivates them.) You will then naturally move into what you hope to experience from the program, because your professional goals create your learning needs. This part can (indeed should) include a personal component as well. To address participation, discuss elements beyond the classroom where you will learn and contribute, such as clubs, social interactions, etc.

Essay 2 (maximum 500 words)

Please describe a situation either work or personal where you faced a particular challenge. What was the outcome and what did you learn from the experience about your own strengths and personal development needs?

This is the story. I suggest selecting a topic that’s relatively recent. Make it a situation with some significant stakes, and one that yielded meaningful insight, growth, and change.

Structure: Jump right into the story. Avoid preambles that give away the ending! This straightforward approach grips the reader and frees up space for detail and narrative, which is the way to grip the reader. As you walk through what happened, highlight your actions and add in snippets of what you were thinking (and even feeling). Conclude with a paragraph reflecting on what you learned about your strengths and development needs.

Personal statement (maximum 500 words)

Please tell us about yourself and your background. How do you embody the characteristics of a future global leader? The objective of this statement is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have achieved professionally.

First, think. Selecting content is not so easy when faced with an open question such as this. There is no one formula that will work for everyone. Some people might best focus on aspects of their cultural milieu and its formative influence on their values and perspective. Others might focus on pivotal experiences during university, others yet on influential role model(s) or relationships. Many people will appropriately discuss more than one of these things.

The adcom knows that the term “global leader” is abstract and that it will be manifested uniquely in each “real” global leader. So rather than trying to fit your experiences to the concept of global leader, work from the other direction: start with your experiences and background and elucidate how they will help make you a unique, individual global leader.

Last but not least, you need to know what “global leader” means to you and what kind of global leader you aspire to be. You can’t just use the phrase without defining it for the adcom. You have to create the picture.

Remaining deadlines:

EMBA Global Americas & Europe: 02 March 2015

EMBA-Global Asia: 20 March 2015

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Cindy Tokumitsu

By , co-author of The EMBA Edge, and author of the free special report, Ace the EMBA. Cindy has helped MBA applicants get accepted to top EMBA programs around the world. She is delighted to help you too!

Related Resources:

School-Specific Executive MBA Essay Tips
The GMAT and EMBA Programs
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