Georgetown McDonough MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
One major change to Georgetown McDonough's application this year: A new essay prompt with a little more focus, but with the same word limit as last year's question. The video question is basically the same as last year.
About a year ago I interviewed Georgetown McDonough's Dean of Admissions, Shari Hubert, for our Admission Straight Talk podcast. While the main topic of the podcast is the evolving nature of the MBA job search, Dean Hubert did discuss the application changes and the reasons for them in the podcast. I highly recommend you listen to the entire interview. However, if you don't have time for the 40-minute interview, make time for the portion discussing last year's application, which starts at 28:30.
My comments are in blue below.
We want to hear your story. When responding to our required essays, be authentic and take time to reflect on your goals and past experiences. Craft a response that explains how these experiences led you to pursue an MBA.
Please answer the following essay question in 500 words or less: “Describe a defining moment when you were challenged and exceeded expectations.” The moment can be a professional or personal one. If personal, then please also include how it had an impact on your professional development.
This question is looking for an experience where you show resilience and strength of character and where the experience was profoundly influential. Give them what they're looking for.
Here's a possible approach to answering this question: Start with the challenge and then describe how you dealt with it and how the results of your actions exceeded expectations. Finally, relate how this experience influenced you in a defining, meaningful way. I'm not talking about a momentary celebration, award, or bonus. If it's "defining" it had to have long-term and significant impact. Ideally show how you are still learning the lessons you learned as a result of this experience today. And if you chose a personal experience, make sure you describe the experience's impact on you as a professional.
We ask that you introduce yourself to your cohort in one minute or less. The Admissions Committee would like for you to appear in person during part of your video, and we strongly encourage you to speak outside of the experiences we can read on your resume. Use this video as an opportunity to bring life to your application. Please upload it to an accessible website (such as Youtube, Vimeo, Youku, or Tudou), and submit the direct video URL into your online application. Please note that we cannot accept private or password-protected videos. For more instructions, view our Video Essay Guide.
This is one of those questions when you are not supposed to think about the fact that your essay is being read by admissions people. Address your peers, your professional network to-be, and your future friends i.e. your classmates. And you're supposed to assume that your peers have read your resume. You certainly don't want to bore them by telling them what they just read.
What would you want them to know about you?
Your future friends (and the adcom) are looking for more than just spreadsheet skills or professional mojo here, although they might creep in. Balance personal and professional. As Georgetown says, "bring life to your application" with this video. If you used Essay 1 to discuss a professional experience, use the video essay to reveal something that is not work-related. If you used Essay 1 for a personal example of resilience, then I still wouldn't focus exclusively on work here, because you are addressing your peers and classmates here.
Take the time to sketch out what you want to say in these 60 seconds. I don't recommend that you write it out and memorize it, but definitely have a plan. And then practice. It's really strange to speak to a camera. The camera gives no feedback, has no affect, and is completely wooden in responsiveness. You may be tempted to behave similarly. Bad idea. Either practice by yourself and view the videos of your practices so that you improve, or ask an encouraging friend to film you so that at least you have your friend's reactions to respond to.
What is the Georgetown admissions committee looking for in this video? They are trying to imagine you as a member of their community. They also want to see how you present yourself without going to the trouble and expense of an interview. They want to assess your presence: how will you appear to a potential employer?
1. If you are not currently employed full-time, use this essay to provide information about your current activities. (250 words or fewer)
Show them that you are using this period of unemployment to acquire new skills, contribute to your community, or grow in some way.
2. Please provide any information that you would like to add to your application that you have not otherwise included. (500 words or fewer)
Please see “Optional Essays: When and How to Write Them.”
Re-Applicant Essay: Required for re-applicants.
How have you strengthened your candidacy since your last application? We are particularly interested in hearing about how you have grown professionally and personally. (500 words or fewer)
This is a key question (whether asked explicitly or not) for all reapplicants to any MBA program. What has changed? How are you "new and improved" since last year – when you were rejected? Georgetown does you the favor of providing this explicit prompt so you can address this question while retaining the ability to address the main essay.
If you would like professional guidance with your Georgetown McDonough School MBA application, check out Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Georgetown McDonough MBA application.
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.
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