Georgetown McDonough MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

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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.

Our goal at Georgetown McDonough is to craft a diverse class with people who have had varying personal and professional life experiences. As such, we want to give our applicants the opportunity to select one essay (from a list of three) that allows them the ability to best highlight their experiences, characteristics, and values that showcase the value proposition that they can bring to the McDonough community. Please select one of the following three essays to complete in 500 words or less and include the essay prompt and your first/last name at the top of your submission.

The first issue you need to address is which question to respond to. All three prompts below ask you to use examples or “a situation” to support your answer. The goal of your response is to allow the readers to see you as a distinctive contributor to the Georgetown McDonough community by showcasing how you have addressed one of these three experiences.

So which should you choose? Respond to the one that you will be able to write most easily and enthusiastically while complementing the material presented elsewhere in your MBA application.

As you’re choosing, review Georgetown’s mission and the influence of Jesuit values on the school. Then think about which of your experiences show that you identify with those values and will contribute to Georgetown’s community.

I’ve provided tips for the individual prompts below.

Georgetown McDonough 2018-19 MBA Application Essays:

Georgetown MBA Essay #1

It can be said that life begins outside your comfort zone. Describe a situation when you were asked to lead outside of your comfort zone. What leadership characteristics did you exemplify in this situation that allowed you to succeed?

While I hate the cliche “comfort zone,” Georgetown doesn’t apparently share my allergic reaction. To address the prompt, discuss when you have led in an uncomfortable or new situation. When have you led and didn’t want to lead? Finally as the question asks, what characteristics allowed you to succeed?

You could structure the essay by starting with the point of discomfort and the challenge you faced. Discuss how you resolved it, the results or outcome, and conclude with the attributes you utilized to succeed. Those are your value proposition.

Georgetown MBA Essay #2

"Failure is not something to be ashamed of, it's something to be POWERED by. Failure is the high-octane fuel your life can run on. You've got to learn to make failure your fuel." -Abby Wambach.
Describe a situation when failure has been your fuel. What was your failure (or when did you not succeed to your full potential), and how did you use this as motivation to move forward and be successful in a future situation?

I have a quote on my bulletin board (attributed to Will Rogers) that is good to keep in mind if you choose to write this essay: “Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.”

This question is looking for resilience. When have you bounced back from failure or from a situation when you disappointed yourself? Describe the situation, what you didn’t do optimally, the outcome, and then a similar situation that you handled well because of the lessons learned from the first experience.

The resilience and ability to learn, adapt, and grow will be your value proposition.

Georgetown MBA Essay #3

Your personal brand reflects your values and beliefs, and impacts your relationships and community. Describe the personal brand that you will bring to business school using examples or experiences that support how you've developed it. How do you believe your personal brand will strengthen the McDonough community? As you complete your MBA program, how do you hope to see your personal brand evolve through the transformative experience of business school?

I think this is the hardest of the three prompts to answer because it is the most open-ended, but if you know your personal brand and are comfortable responding to this one, go for it! Clearly Georgetown values self-aware, thoughtful, purposeful individuals.

Please realize that personal brand (AKA reputation) is not just ideals; it has to be reflected in your behavior. To take an extreme example, if someone espouses kindness but is cruel, their personal brand is one of cruelty. If one espouses activism and initiative, but is passive, their personal brand is one of passivity.

So if you want to present yourself with specific values, the behavior has to match, or you don’t have the brand you claim. The essay readers will see the hollowness of your claims very quickly.

On the other hand, if you have lived your ideals, you should have no problem presenting examples. You will have a clear personal brand and be able to showcase the value proposition that Georgetown is looking for.

Georgetown MBA Essay #4 (Video Essay)

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. For more instructions, view our Video Essay Guide.

  • You may use your phone, computer, or other means to record the video, but please ensure all audio and visual components are clear. We recommend a well-lit room and minimal noise distraction.
  • Upload your video to an accessible website (such as Youtube, Vimeo, Youku, or Tudou), and submit the direct video URL into your online application.
  • Please note that all videos must remain active and accessible to the admissions committee online for a minimum of five years for record retention purposes.
  • For your privacy: Do not include your name in the title of your video. You may submit "unlisted" videos via Youtube or password protected videos through Vimeo. If using a password, please include immediately after your link in the text box below. [Ex:, password: Hoyas]

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 assume that your peers have already 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, 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, practice, practice.

It’s really strange to speak to a camera. Since by its very nature the camera gives no feedback, you need to 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. Another idea: ask a friend to have a video call with you, but your friend should turn off the camera so that your friend can see you, but you don’t see your friend. Then ask for feedback.

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?

Georgetown MBA Essay #5 (Optional)

Please provide any information 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.

Georgetown MBA Essay #6 (Required for Reapplicants)

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 have you changed? How are you “new and improved” since your previous application 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 essays.

For expert guidance with your Georgetown McDonough MBA application, check out Accepted’s MBA Application Packages, which include comprehensive guidance from an experienced admissions consultant. We’ve helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to Georgetown’s MBA program and look forward to helping you too!

Georgetown MBA Application Deadlines for 2018-19

Application Deadline
Round 1 October 9
Round 2 January 7
Round 3 April 1
Round 4 May 1

***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***

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Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.


Related Resources:

• Leadership in Admissions, a free guide
MBA Interview Formats: Video Essays
• School-Specific MBA Application Essay Tips

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