MBA Admission Essay Samples
Featured Expert: Anand Singh, MBA
Are you looking for some MBA admission essay samples? Look no further. In this blog, we share four outstanding MBA admission essay samples that will definitely inspire you to write your own.
Most business schools will give you specific essay prompts that you will need to answer with your essay, but ultimately, you will either be writing an MBA personal statement , an MBA statement of purpose , or an MBA diversity essay . These are the three most common types of admission essays, and they can all be challenging to write. Reviewing examples, giving yourself enough time to write and edit, and working with an expert such as an MBA essay consultant can really improve the quality of your admissions essay. To help you get started, we’ve put together a few examples with prompts from some of the top business schools.
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Article Contents 8 min read
Mba admission essays: sample #1.
Prompt from Wharton Business School : Considering your background – personal, professional, and/or academic – how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community? (400 words).
Fifteen years ago, after graduating from high school, I left Tanzania and moved to the United States because I wanted to study multimedia marketing, and my research told me there was no better place to learn. I moved halfway across the world at the age of seventeen to follow my dreams of becoming an advertising expert and opening my own firm one day.
It took me some time to find my footing in the US. I often felt isolated and confused. Sometimes, it was little things. For example, I remember the first time I went into a grocery store and found that the food was measured in pounds. I grew up using the metric system, so instead of spending twenty minutes in the store as planned, I spent almost an hour because I had to calculate the weight of things.
Other times, it was bigger things that made me feel isolated. Like the second time I went to that same grocery store and asked a young woman who worked there where I could find scallions, she responded with a blank stare. After I explained what they were, she informed me that they are called spring onions and that if I was going to live in America, I should learn to speak English, or I could go back to where I came from.
I always made it a point to try and learn as much as possible about the places I visited to ensure that I didn't make anyone feel uncomfortable or end up feeling uncomfortable myself. I eventually found the International Student Association at the University of X, where other international students embraced me and introduced me to American students with whom I am still friends to this day. One of whom I fell in love with and married.
My experiences as an international student helped me understand the importance of being welcomed and having access to information. I know that 30% of Wharton business school's student body comprises international students and that every year, it welcomes more. I would like to join the efforts of the students who help make their transition to life in America easier.
Furthermore, I believe that my experiences have taught me to be more open-minded. I look forward to sharing my point of view with students from all over the world and having the chance to learn from them too. (396 words)
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Prompt from Harvard Business School : Briefly tell us more about your career aspirations. (300 words)
My long-term career goal is to advise small businesses in my community and help them grow. I have been working as an associate business advisor with a local bank for almost a decade, and one of the many things that I have learned from this position is that several business owners do not have access to information that can go a long way toward improving, and sometimes even saving, their businesses.
Having grown up in a relatively underserved community, I understand the importance of supporting local businesses and ensuring that we reinvest in our own communities. However, as a consumer, I also understand how difficult it can be to do this when there are cheaper and faster ways to access the same products or services that a local business offers.
Over the years, I have built and maintained relationships with over 100 business owners in various industries and helping them manage their finances has taught me about business financial planning. Furthermore, I have had the opportunity to build practical experience through an internship with a local consulting agency.
I believe that these experiences have given me a solid foundation, but to achieve my goal of becoming a business consultant and helping small business owners, I need to learn more about business administration and management.
I chose to apply to the Harvard Business School MBA program because it has a rigorous curriculum emphasizing real-world experience through the FIELD immersion program and partnerships with other institutions. This is the perfect program for a person like me who learns by doing.
I am ready and eager to take this next step in my career so that I can help those around me get the most out of their businesses. I believe that this is the perfect program to help me improve on the skills required to achieve my goal.
Want to learn how to write a Harvard MBA personal statement ?
Prompt from Kellogg Business School : Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip & inspire brave leaders who create lasting value. Provide a recent example where you have demonstrated leadership and created lasting value. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (450 words)
As one of six operations managers in a contact center, I spend most of my days making decisions that are meant to create lasting value. I lead a team of thirty employees, and my job is to maximize efficiency by ensuring that we have enough employees to provide the service requested by our clients and that the employees have everything they need to do their jobs well.
I was promoted to this role a year ago, and one of the issues I wanted to tackle was our high turnover rate. I know that contact centers have notoriously high turnover rates, but instead of the expected 30 - 40%, we were averaging a rate of 60%. This was not only costing the company a lot of money, but it was reducing the quality of the service that we could provide for our clients.
I spent months pouring over the numbers, trying to understand why we were losing so many employees and what we could do to change it. We pay our agents above market average, give employees good health benefits and vacation time, and hold several contests and competitions to keep them motivated.
After a few months of analyzing the data and finding nothing, I decided to go straight to the source. I changed the company's exit strategy procedure. Instead of a conversation between exiting contact center agents and their former supervisors, they would simply fill out an anonymous survey online that only a few people had access to.
The comments on these surveys helped me understand that the issue actually came from our hiring practices. Most of the comments showed me that many of our new recruits were not understanding the role they were signing up for. So, they would begin working, find something completely different from what they expected and decide to leave.
This information allowed me to take the lead and make some changes that benefited the whole company. I worked with an HR consultant to create better job descriptions that all the different managers now use when hiring contact center agents. Our turnover rate is now 22%, which is lower than the national average for contact centers.
I pride myself on my ability to look at problems objectively and approach them from different angles until I find a solution. In this case, I was able to do the same thing, and in the process, I learned the importance of asking questions and looking beyond the numbers.
I am conscious of the fact that I still have a lot to learn, and I am eager to do so because I know that the knowledge I gain from this program will help me do right by my team. (449 words)
Check out more Kellogg MBA essay examples !
Prompt from Columbia University : Tell us about your favorite book, movie, or song and why it resonates with you. (250 words)
When I first started writing this essay, I began by writing a list of all my favorite books. I had filled about two pages with titles when I realized that I don't have one favorite; I have several. I initially told myself that I should talk about a business book, or something related to finances, but as much as I enjoy such books and as much as I learn from them, they are honestly not my favorites.
After careful consideration and a few pro-con lists, I decided to write about one of the books that I have read and enjoyed multiple times: The girl with the louding voice, by the Nigerian author Abi Dare. This book follows a young girl from a poor and remote community as she tries to raise enough funds to get an education and use what she calls her 'louding voice.' Her story is both heartbreaking and inspiring.
This particular book resonates with me so much because it reminds me of the importance of literacy and that millions of young girls worldwide do not have access to education. A cause that I am very passionate about.
I have and continue to donate my time and money towards changing things for the better. That is why I started an initiative in our publishing house to distribute books in underserved areas and underfunded schools. I hope that the knowledge and know-how that I will gain from your MBA program will allow me to do even more to help. (250 words)
Want to see more MBA admission essays from the best MBA programs in the US ?
- More Columbia MBA essay examples
- Chicago Booth MBA essay examples
- Haas essay examples
- Stanford MBA personal statement examples
- Kelley MBA essay examples
- Yale MBA essay examples
- Cornell MBA essay examples
Have you started preparing for your MBA interviews? This video is for you:
As you can tell from the different essays you just read, business schools can ask MBA applicants about various topics. Sometimes, the same school might even give you several different prompts and ask you to choose a few from the list. Harvard MBA personal statement prompts are a great example of this. It is therefore important to review as many MBA admission essay samples as possible to get inspiration and familiarize yourself with the proper structure of an admission essay.
We would be remiss if we did not remind you that while looking at MBA admission samples for inspiration is great, you should not use these essays or parts of these essays as your own. Not only is this unethical, but universities can detect plagiarism , and it can have severe consequences.
After reviewing examples, you should start by brainstorming for your own essay. Think about the experiences and motivations that have led you to apply for an MBA program and your reasons for choosing each particular MBA program that you are applying to. You can then use this information, along with examples and anecdotes from your academic and professional background to create an MBA admission essay that will stand out.
Write down as much information as possible when you are brainstorming for your essay, this information can be very helpful when you start to prepare for MBA interviews . ","label":"Bonus tip","title":"Bonus tip"}]' code='tab1' template='BlogArticle'>
We recommend that you give yourself at least six to eight weeks to go through this process. If you're unsure how to craft your own essay, invest in MBA admissions consulting . The consultants can guide you through the brainstorming, writing, and editing process to help you ensure that you are submitting an essay that is not only compelling but original. Thus, improving your overall chances of getting into your chosen MBA program.
Your admission essays are very important. They give you an opportunity to present your strengths and explain your weaknesses to the admission committee. They also give you a chance to tell them exactly what you have to offer and why you deserve a spot in their class. A well-written essay can differentiate you from other candidates and significantly improve your chances of getting into your program.
MBAs are highly sought after, so the competition to get into the programs can be fierce, especially for the top institutions such as Ivy League schools . You will need a stellar application if you want to get in.
That will depend on the school you are applying to and the specific type of admission essay that has been requested. Unless otherwise specified by the school, your essay should be between 400 and 650 words.
Not all MBA programs ask for one, but the majority of them do. Many schools require more than one admission essay, so you should always verify the school's requirements you're interested in.
A personal statement is one of the many different types of admission essays. You may be required to write a personal statement and a different type of essay, such as a letter of intent. Or your chosen school may only require one essay. Either way, you should verify the school's admissions page for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
They don't necessarily change every year, but they are subject to change depending on the school and the admission committee. You should always check the school's website before you start writing your essays to be prepared.
If you want your MBA admission essay to stand out, you need to make sure that you are showing instead of telling. Use specific examples and short anecdotes to back up any claims that you make about yourself. You should also make sure that you are following any instructions or guidelines provided by the school. If you truly want to beat the competition and craft an outstand essay, you may want to work with an MBA essay consultant.
An MBA essay consultant is an admission expert that helps students through the MBA admissions process, specifically with admission essays. They guide students as they try to craft their personal statements or other MBA admission essays. These consultants also help students improve their research and writing skills.
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2 MBA Admissions Essays That Worked
These outstanding MBA personal statements resulted in admissions offers.
2 MBA Essays That Worked
MBA admissions officials say they prefer personal statements that convey personality and demonstrate grit. (Getty Images)
There is no secret formula to writing a compelling personal statement for an MBA application, university admissions officials say.
The key, they say, is to write a statement that feels authentic and makes your case.
Bruce DelMonico, assistant dean for admissions at the Yale University School of Management , is wary of personal statements that tell dramatic stories and stretch the truth. He says he is not looking for students to have exotic experiences, but for evidence of resilience, introspection and initiative.
Yale's business school recruits students identified as unselfish leaders – those who strive to improve the circumstances of others and help themselves rather than those who exploit others for personal gain, DelMonico says.
"We are looking to bring in students who will be inclusive leaders and who will bring people together," DelMonico says.
William Rieth, former senior director with the Fox School of Business at Temple University , says applicants sometimes struggle to write a memorable personal statement, but being memorable is vital.
"Students need to remember their audience," he says. "Schools are reading thousands of essays."
He says a solid personal statement requires a "compelling story" and an honest writing voice. "It should reflect your personality and sound like you."
How to Write an MBA Application Essay: A Few Tips
MBA admissions experts say a business school application essay should offer a convincing argument about why a candidate belongs in an MBA program at that particular school.
Wayne Hutchison, managing director for the MBA program at Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business , urges prospective MBA students to explain their reasons for applying to B-school and to describe whatever incidents spurred their interest in graduate business education.
"In addition, applicants should discuss the skills and abilities they have that will translate to academic and professional success," Hutchison wrote in an email, noting that failing to include this information can lead admissions officers to question an MBA hopeful's competitiveness.
Aaron Burch, who earned his MBA degree from the University of Texas—Austin's McCombs School of Business , says MBA essays should address the following questions:
- "What do you want to accomplish career-wise that either requires an MBA or will be accelerated by an MBA?"
- "Why is this the exact point in your career where an MBA would be most impactful?"
- "What about this particular school is especially important for your career plans?"
- "How will you contribute?"
Burch, owner of DiscoverContainers.com – a website that provides information about shipping container houses – suggests that MBA students convey that they are at a point in their careers where they can "pivot without being pigeonholed" while having meaningful accomplishments, including "real responsibility."
It's also essential for MBA candidates to showcase what they have to offer a B-school, Burch wrote in an email. "You want to demonstrate that you're not just a taker and you want to add to the prestige and reputation of the school, add to the experience your future classmates will have, etc."
MBA alumni say it's crucial for prospective MBA students to describe how they intend to use an MBA .
"Admissions officers will want to understand your vision behind why an MBA might help you, so it's incumbent upon you to articulate the plan you have for yourself, and how their institution is going to help your journey," MBA degree recipient Taylor Constantine – the partner channel lead with Rain, a financial services company – wrote in an email.
Margo Bell, senior assistant director of admissions with Pepperdine University's Graziadio Business School in California, notes that MBA essays are influential factors in the MBA admissions process. Application essays help B-school admissions committees gauge the compatibility of a prospective student with the culture and values of the institution.
"As applicants begin to write their MBA applicant essays, it’s important for prospective students to share who they are as an individual," Bell wrote in an email. "The essay allows MBA admission officers to get a better understanding of who you are, what you wish to accomplish and why you deserve to be accepted."
Michal Strahilevitz, associate professor of marketing with St. Mary's College of California , advises MBA applicants to view the application essay as an opportunity to provide context for deficits in their admissions profile. "For example, if your undergraduate grades were not great because you worked full time to pay for school, write about it," Strahilevitz explained in an email.
What to Keep in Mind About MBA Essay Prompts
MBA admissions consultants note that business schools often have distinctive essay prompts, so it's important for applicants to tailor their essay to every school where they apply.
"Each school asks a specific question in the essay, and one of the most important things you can do as an applicant is to answer that question – not the question you wished we asked or the one you want to answer," DelMonico wrote in an email. "The various elements of the application fit together, and we’re looking to get very specific pieces of information from the essay. So please follow the essay instructions you’re given and don’t feel as though you need to or should make the essay broader in scope."
Barbara Coward, founder of the MBA 360° Admissions Consulting firm based in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, notes that the first step in the essay writing process should be meticulously reading the question prompt. Think about the question for a few days while going about routine tasks so that ideas can "marinate."
Coward says that once prospective students have decided what they'd like to write about, they should let the words flow without filtering them because too much self-editing at the beginning of the creative process can interfere with productivity. Revisions and tweaks can come after an applicant has fully expressed his or her ideas.
Admissions experts note that MBA hopefuls who are struggling to figure out how to describe themselves may want to ask friends and family for advice. Prospective MBA students can also gain self-awareness by keeping a diary or creating a storyboard of their life.
Mistakes to Avoid in MBA Admission Essays
Taking too long to express the main idea or central thesis of an essay is a no-no, Coward says. Applicants should directly respond to a question and ensure that their essay is easily understood by an admissions officer. "Keep in mind that somebody is not reading a novel," she says. "They're going to be glancing through."
Excessively verbose essays don't make a good impression, Coward adds. Applicants should respect word limits and be concise, because doing otherwise creates extra work for admissions officers under time pressure, she explains.
Two other errors to avoid in MBA essays, Coward says, are being monotonous or melodramatic . It's important to have an introductory sentence that strikes the right tone, she adds. "You're not trying to create drama, but you don't want to put the person to sleep either," Coward says.
Examples of Outstanding MBA Essays
Here are two MBA essays that made the cut. The first is from the Fox School of Business and the second is from Yale. These essays are annotated with comments that explain why the essays charmed admissions committees.
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Tags: graduate schools , business school , MBAs , students
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MBA Personal Statement Sample Essays & Tips
Your academic record, GMAT scores, and GPA are important factors in the MBA application process. But, more than that, business schools ultimately care about who you are and whether you would be a good fit for their program. This is where your application essays come in. The goal here is to complete the picture that your scores and stats began sketching. Take your time when writing these essays. They will form the image the admissions committee will see before they meet you at your interview. Write, edit, and edit again. Be sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors in your essay. You want your portrait to be clean and clear. Once you are satisfied with your essay, ask a trusted friend, mentor, or admissions pro to read it. A fresh pair of eyes can often see things that you can’t.
7 tips for creating the best MBA essays
Here are some important things to remember when writing your MBA essays.
- Show who you are in a background essay Use this opportunity to reveal your values and personality, the obstacles you’ve overcome, and the seminal experiences that have shaped you into the person you are today. No two people have the same history. Use stories and examples to make your background bright and stand out to demonstrate what makes you special. Discuss how your history has brought you to this point. What is there in your background that compels you to pursue an MBA at this time?
- Show your direction in the goals essay Use this opportunity to show that you have clear direction and purpose based on experience and planning. Business school is not another opportunity to “find yourself.” Even if you have had one career path and will use your MBA to launch another career, this essay must describe the reasons behind your career-change, your new goals, and how the program will help you achieve them.
- Use your optional essay to explain negatives in your stats If your GPA was lower than you would have liked early in your undergraduate education, use your essay to show how you learned from this experience. Everyone makes mistakes. How you deal with your mistakes shows a lot to the admissions committee – determination, discipline, success, resilience, and breadth of experience are qualities that will serve you well in your MBA studies and later in life. Be sure that you explain your negatives and don’t try to justify them. Show that you understand the mistake you made, learned from it and changed as a result of processing the experience. That response shows maturity. Justifying – instead of learning or changing – is a sign of immaturity. MBA programs want mature adults. Almost all of them have made mistakes.
- Say what you mean, and mean what you say Admissions committees read thousands of essays during each admissions round. A concise, well thought-out essay will have them reading yours to the end. You need examples and stories to support your statements and make your essay interesting and readable. Each of these needs to be to the point. These professionals are trained to spot an essay that is full of fluff and without substance.Avoid rambling and the use of keywords that you think the reader wants to see. A non-substantive essay will lead the reader to conclude that you, too, are without substance.
- Find your passion This relates to tip #4 above. You want to grab the reader right away and create an essay that will keep their attention to the very end – and leave them wanting to meet you and get to know you even better. In other words, offer you a coveted interview! Find a theme, and weave it throughout your essay. If you can identify a passion that you had from an early age and follow it through the different stages of your life, you will have an interesting, readable essay. Connect your passion to your childhood and you professional and extracurricular experiences and accomplishments. Demonstrate how your passion will influence your future career and serve the community at the school you want to attend.
- Focus on your professional experience and achievements Not everyone has a passion that they have carried with them throughout their life. However, since you are planning on attending an MBA program, you must have had professional and personal achievements. Highlight your professional skills and successes, as well as personal accomplishments. Show how these experiences and achievements have brought you to this point, and how they have influenced your long-term plans and reasons for pursuing an MBA.
- Highlight your experience in your EMBA essay An applicant to an Executive MBA program is an executive or manager currently in the workforce, usually with at least eight years of business experience. As an EMBA student you will be expected to excel in your coursework while continuing to hold down your full-time job. You must demonstrate significant leadership, impact, potential, and the legitimate need for the degree to be accepted. Highlight your current responsibilities and recent achievements, as well as your skill sets. Discuss your goals and how an EMBA will help you reach them. Include how you will positively impact the community at the program you are applying to.
Read MBA Personal Statement Examples
Now that you have the tools to write your compelling essay, check out our sample MBA application essays to see what you will be able to accomplish.
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Successful MBA Application Essays
— Name: Stivaly Gomez GMAT Score: 660 GPA: 3.51 Undergraduate Institution: UT Austin Undergraduate Major: Biomedical Engineering Pre-MBA experience: Healthcare Technology Consulting and Product Management Number of years of experience pre-MBA: 7
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Creating something from nothing when i moved to the us.
“Stivaly, the facts can’t be changed. You got an F on your assignment because you didn’t turn it in.”
As I heard these words, I stood next to Ms. Santiago, my 11th-grade History teacher, in shock. I had just arrived in Florida from Venezuela a few weeks before and was still learning the language. This was one of the most transformational moments of my life. By failing, I had the space to reflect on what I had done wrong, and on the lesson that my grandmothers, aunts, and mom had passed on to me—to be strong and unafraid of making mistakes, because mistakes lead to blazing new trails.
My mother, inspired by her mother’s strength, moved away from her home and became the first in her family to earn a degree in Computer Engineering, a degree uncommon for the women in Venezuela in the 1980s. She started her own computer engineering business in Ciudad Ojeda, a city she had never lived in before. In less than 10 years and after a roller coaster of failures and successes, she became one of the city’s most successful entrepreneurs and a role model for other women starting their own ventures. My mother was always vocal about taking risks and learning through setbacks.
Throughout my college years, I leveraged my insights from my experience of emigrating from another country to tutor other students who were going through a similar transition.
Her determination taught me to stand up for myself and follow my dreams regardless of the challenges. After that F in History, I was determined to formulate a plan of action to correct my actions. I sought out new friendships with my classmates to establish a support network. I set my fear of not speaking fluent English aside and dared to make mistakes out loud, because I knew I would learn more that way. I asked for clarifications from teachers and classmates any time I needed it. By the end of my junior year, I had become one of the top students in every one of my classes. I ended the year with a 4.0 GPA, leading to my admission to the Miami Dade Honors College and later to UT Austin’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. At UT, despite the initial culture shock of being one of just five women of color in my Biomedical Engineering class, I continued pushing myself forward to define a career path where I turned my aspirations into real opportunities. I successfully collaborated as a research assistant in Dr. Hugh Smyth’s pharmaceutics lab, and my team was recognized for developing one of the top 10 novel medical device prototypes in a competition of more than 50 devices.
My mother also taught me that striving for greatness came with an obligation to uplift those coming behind us. Throughout my college years, I leveraged my insights from my experience of emigrating from another country to tutor other students who were going through a similar transition.
Having recently emigrated from Venezuela, Mariana was struggling to stay motivated to continue to pursue dentistry, the career of her dreams. Mariana was working to pay for her studies, and was supporting her little brother at home by helping him with his homework. By working with her to build a collection of resources and connecting her with other tutors, students, and faculty who were aligned to life sciences careers, I helped her improve her grades and identify programs that would help her continue to pursue her degree. Now she is on her way to graduating as a general dentist and will be the first in her family to earn a doctoral degree.
Creating Something from Nothing in My Work Experience
As the only Latina in my starting group at Accenture, I made it a point to engage in retention and recruiting initiatives from day one and established the first professional development workshops for Hispanics in the DC office. Through a curriculum focused on building leadership, communication, and networking strategies, I created a platform to support our members and provide them with the tools to build a successful career path inside and outside of the company. This model became the footprint for leads that followed and a key piece to the value offerings provided by the DC office and other offices across the nation.
I joined Accenture to grow my career in the healthcare technology sector. However, the lack of opportunities and resources in the health sector in the federal space local to Washington DC forced me to build a network and career path from scratch. After various networking events and hundreds of emails, it only took one person, a managing director named Matt Farrell, to empathize with my passion for the impact I wanted have in the industry and the grit I had to pursue it. I was staffed on a life sciences project as the lead of the team tasked to create a cloud-based patient services application. Since then I have been positioned to lead projects and teams of experts to deliver on a set of client requirements despite having little to no experience with managing teams or launching products. Exceeding my clients’ expectations has earned us additional work for every project I have led. I have gained the trust of leaders in my practice and established my reputation, and now I am proud to participate in groundbreaking projects that only people with high recommendations could partake in.
I have gained the trust of leaders in my practice and established my reputation, and now I am proud to participate in groundbreaking projects that only people with high recommendations could partake in.
How HBS Will Help Me Build My Vision
My journey at Accenture has allowed me to fight for my passion: creating low-cost medical products that can be accessed by a wider population. This was important because I experienced first-hand how a lack of access to quality healthcare deteriorates a society—I lost my Aunt Marilu to cancer because she lived in a low-income community in Venezuela where she could not access effective treatments.
I aim to dedicate my life’s work to democratize low-cost innovative medical technologies from the US to hospitals across Latin America to improve the quality of care offered in the region. The portfolio of opportunities promoted by the HBS Health Care Initiative will expand my exposure to the sustainable alternatives I will use to address gaps in local and international healthcare systems.
Along with my husband, Jose Mena, who is also applying, I consider Harvard Business School to be my first choice because its focus on leadership. Being the originators of the case method, Harvard offers a unique environment for authentic leadership development where I will learn to be less self-critical, speak with assertiveness, and make tough decisions. Through HBS, I will engage in a collective endeavor to formalize my vision into a reality.
At Ivy Advisors, after working with hundreds of applicants with a wide range of experiences and backgrounds, we have developed a strong perspective on ‘how to draw out someone’s special spark’. When we engaged with Stivaly, it was very clear from the first interaction that she carried a certain spark, but it was deeply buried behind her fears of having a lower-than-average GMAT score. Her essay is the product of multiple coaching calls and sessions that helped her build a sense of self-confidence in her application so that she can proudly own who she really is beyond her stats and show -not just tell- the value she will add to the Harvard Business School.
At around 1100 words, this is a long essay. However, breaking the essay down into meaningful moments that shaped the applicant made the content much easier to read. The subtitles provided a quick way to transition from one story to another while still holding a central theme.
The average GMAT score of admitted students at HBS is around 730, while the average undergraduate GPA is around 3.7. With stats lower than average, Stivaly needed to show through other data points that she is committed to academic excellence and continues to be a competitive high performer in the workplace and an attractive candidate for MBA recruiters. With seven years of pre-MBA work experience (higher than the average 4.7 years), Stivaly was able to showcase, though her resume and other parts of her application, a rich professional background including three promotions and a number of other academic and professional recognitions. She let the other parts of her application speak to her professional achievements, so that she could make space for the essay to talk about her motivations behind her achievements.
Stivaly’s first story is about leadership and perseverance. First, she starts with a failure. Generally speaking, most people wouldn’t think about starting their Harvard Business School essay by admitting that they got an F at some time in their life. But Stivaly wanted to show who she really is – someone unafraid of failures
While she contextualizes the reason for her failure – moving to a new country and speaking a new language – she never made excuses for it. She owned her mistake and made sure that she would not repeat that mistake again. This sense of ownership demonstrates her not only her maturity at a young age, but also her action-oriented problem-solving character, something essential for leaders in the business world. In a few paragraphs, we get to see the go getter fighter who is clearly committed to excellence.
In addition, Stivaly showed that her pursuit of education was something that extended beyond herself or her grades. She made it clear that it was about continuing the legacy of the women in her family and she felt a sense of responsibility in carrying that legacy forward. She demonstrates that early sign of leadership by pointing to an example of how she used her experience as a way to help someone else who reflected a past version of her.
HBS’s mission is to “Educate Leaders who make a difference in the world”. With this first half of the essay, Stivaly made it clear that she follows a higher purpose. She showed that she was a leader and trailblazer in her community, who is persistent, action-oriented, and who was making a difference in a small way – in someone else’s life.
With this first half of the essay, Stivaly made it clear that she follows a higher purpose. She showed that she was a leader and trailblazer in her community, who is persistent, action-oriented, and who was making a difference in a small way – in someone else's life.
The second half of the essay goes on to expand on Stivaly’s consistent habit of perseverance and impact, as a professional, and at a later point in life. She uses her experience to reshape how organizations think and operate. Despite an unlucky start in Healthcare, she takes immediate action to reverse the situation. The personal connection to her area of impact – helping Latinos and working in Healthcare – show that she is vested in them and she will won’t stop finding ways to improve the status quo. Again, she makes it clear that the motivation behind these pursuits was something beyond herself.
In other words, Stivaly showed through her stories that she is a leader who makes a difference in the world.
Lastly, Stivaly effectively and succinctly articulates why HBS is the right place for her. She doesn’t make the mistake of running a laundry list of items that she will do at HBS (at Ivy Advisors, we see many applicants make that mistake). On the contrary, Stivaly is hyper focused on linking her purpose with the HBS learning environment.
At Ivy Advisors, we believe in the applicant and we propel that applicant with the best version of their authentic selves. With this philosophy, we have helped hundreds of people across backgrounds and styles land at their top business schools.
Lastly, at Ivy Advisors we care about preserving the authentic voice, tone, and style of the applicant. Although many will assert that this essay isn’t perfectly polished like an award-winning novel, we acknowledge and assert that we intentionally respected the style of the applicant. She is imperfect in many ways and her openness to admit it makes her the perfect candidate.
— • Country/State: China • Gender: Female • Ethnicity: Asian • GPA: N/A • GMAT: 710 • Undergrad Major: Mechanical Engineering • Age: 35 • Pre-MBA Industry: Automotive Manufacturing
Sponsored by ARLee Consulting : A boutique admissions consulting firm offering 1on1 coaching customized to help applicants GET ACCEPTED to their dream schools. Its Founder and Managing Director, Alex Ruiz Lee, an INSEAD MBA graduate, uses his experience as former HR Head at Samsung Electronics and Admissions Interviewer for INSEAD to guide you toward acceptance.
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 (500 words). Three months ago, when I was looking for bridesmaids for my wedding, I reconnected with a friend. She told me: “You’re my role model. When I met you, I told myself to become a woman like you: strong-willed and open-minded”. But I was not always this way. I was born as an ethnic minority in a mountainous rural area of Southwest China, where poverty prevailed, and educational opportunities were rare for girls. As a kid, I asked my mom whether boys were smarter because teachers said so. But she, a college educated woman, told me they are not. She took me to Beijing for a short trip, encouraging me to cross those mountains that surrounded us. This inspired me to grow from a girl who led other girls to play wildly in playgrounds, to a woman capable of leading a global team to overcome the most challenging projects. In university, I was bullied because I could not speak English; at work, people questioned my ability to lead big projects because I am not a German male. It has been joyful to surmount these obstacles. I have even passed determination to others as when I coached another female peer to become a successful project leader or when I guided a team of inexperienced members to collaborate effectively.
These experiences shaped me to feel naturally comfortable in international settings and built up my ability to alleviate cultural conflicts.
I only started to work with Western coworkers when I was 25, and set my feet outside of China for the first time in 2013. Since then, numerous international trips to various countries grew my curiosity for different cultures. A strong affinity opened my heart to express respect and care for people from different backgrounds and to bridge us with universal values. As a result, not only am I currently enjoying life in a country as different to China as Germany, but I am married to a French, and I combine professional career in Germany with continuous trips to France. These experiences shaped me to feel naturally comfortable in international settings and built up my ability to alleviate cultural conflicts. Thomas - the best boss I have ever met – gave me complete autonomy to leverage my problem-solving skills in order to discover issues and search for solutions. I, therefore, created processes to close gaps in change management after I observed changes were not tracked systematically. I organised resources to modify designs inherited from past products in Germany when I saw they no longer fulfilled new requirements. As a female leader, I am always proving myself to be as capable as men. Therefore, I tend to carry others’ workload all by myself without asking for help when needed, which puts unnecessary pressure on myself. I am just concerned that I will be judged as a woman who cannot honour commitments. My husband is helping me to discover that it is okay to properly show my struggles and seek support. INSEAD Gender Initiatives will bring me to an international community of female leaders who have experiences to share on how to position ourselves in men-dominated industries.
Probably the most important essay in INSEAD’s application, this is not a straightforward strengths and weaknesses essay since INSEAD also wants applicants to describe themselves as a person and highlight the factors that influenced their development. Caroline was very concerned about her profile. By the time she applied, she was about to turn 35 whereas the age range of INSEAD’s class is 26 to 32. Her GMAT score was on par with INSEAD’s average (710), which as a Chinese applicant would be considered on the lower side. She also believed her international exposure was somewhat limited compared to a “typical” INSEAD student, and her industry (automotive manufacturing) was not the most attractive of industries for business schools.
With this in mind, we decided to approach the essay with simple language and with a very positive tone and vibe, while touching upon strengths that could be connected to all four INSEAD's admissions criteria...
Caroline begins the essay with a novelist style paragraph. She puts us in a recent situation where she is conversing with a friend who shares with us right away two of Caroline's strengths (“strong-willed and open-minded”). She closes the paragraph with a sentence (“But I was not always this way”) that makes us wonder about her personal story and want to keep reading. She then walks us through her childhood, and we understand that she does not come from an affluent background. She touches upon her mother influencing her to overcome obstacles as a kid and later as a project leader because of the simple fact of being a woman. In this paragraph, we understand she is connecting her strengths to two of the admissions criteria: Leadership Potential and Ability to Contribute. Then she moves on to a paragraph that highlights her international experiences to date and how these have made her be more adaptable in international settings, and curious, respectful and caring for other cultures. Her reference to being married to a French man is a clear indication of this, and it is very easy to derive from this that she definitely meets the International Motivation criterion.
She uses the next paragraph to emphasize her problem-solving skills and her ability to think outside the box. Both strengths are connected to the Academic Capacity criterion. She also briefly mentions that Thomas is the best boss she’s ever had and gave her a great degree of autonomy. This indicates that Thomas had a great influence in her development, and it also shows that she is an appreciative and grateful person, which could also be linked to the Ability to Contribute criterion. She concludes with one weakness. While she has chosen a cliché, I like her choice because this weakness doesn’t go against any of the admissions criteria nor against her career goals. Furthermore, she has approached it from the female angle, which makes it less of a cliché. In short, she has been able to capture the reader’s attention from the very beginning and has connected all her strengths to INSEAD’s four admissions criteria in a very clear and straightforward way, while keeping a very positive tone and vibe throughout the entire essay.
Disclaimer: With exception of the removal of identifying details, essays are reproduced as originally submitted in applications; any errors in submissions are maintained to preserve the integrity of the piece.
— Country/State: International GMAT: 740 GPA: 9+ on 10 Undergrad Major: Engineering Pre-MBA Industry: Consumer Goods
Sponsored by Admissions Gateway : Admissions Gateway has helped 800+ candidates, worldwide, achieve their dreams of gaining admission to the top MBA programs. We specialize in applying to the top-15 programs. Our candidates have a 97%+ success rate with scholarship awards of up to $150,000. Our founder is the #1 rated consultant on Poetsandquants.
Our life experiences shape our skills, perspective and help define our paths. Reflecting on my personal and professional journey, I would like to share three lessons which have strongly shaped my journey and outlook.
My first lesson is about people. I feel fortunate to have understood the enormous potential in empathizing and collaborating with individuals to achieve community success, organizational targets and personal goals.
Perhaps due to my father’s frequent job transfers, I grew-up as a reticent, lone worker, shying away from forging long-lasting relationships. While excelling academically, I skipped participating in anything at school that required dependence on other people. It was only at my undergraduate institution, [University] that I really started building relationships with my hostel-mates and exploring the various opportunities [University] offered.
However, soon dark realities came to the forefront when a final-year student committed suicide while my close friend, [Name], got sucked into a vortex of depression due to his poor academic performance. Deeply shaken, I resolved to address mental-health issues on campus and joined the Institute Counseling Service, comprising student volunteers, faculty and professional counselors who sought to provide emotional and academic help to students.
Driven to make a difference, I led 240 student volunteers, strengthened our mentorship program to identify students in need of professional help and organized Orientation Programs. To dispel the stigma associated with mental-health and build trust, we increased the approachability of counsellors by initiating hostel visits and collaborated with NGOs to use theatre and generate awareness. I personally mentored students and it was heartwarming to create an environment in which people were able to discuss their personal issues freely with me. While I gained friends for life, I realized there is no greater happiness than witnessing one’s mentee overcome difficulties and be successful! Listening to varied personal experiences inculcated empathy and fostered ability to forge strong interpersonal connections.
This experience stayed with me during my professional journey with [Consumer Goods Company]. Just out of college, I had to navigate union strikes, reconcile socio-political contexts and motivate 600+ unskilled workers, several years my senior to transform the quality performance of an $800M factory in a small town. Leveraging interpersonal skills, I understood employee concerns and created an experiential training program. Listening to them, educating them, sharing success and owning failures together, I immersed myself in the workforce environment, instilling a culture of innovation and change. Our efforts reaped dividends as we eliminated all consumer complaints and achieved the best-ever performance in quality metrics, securing [Consumer Goods Company] market-share and launching 24 premium product variants. Thus, I learnt to drive organizational change by harnessing people’s potential.
My second life lesson is about values. I feel long-term success can only be achieved if one has the character to stand by one’s principles during testing times.
At age-5, I recall accompanying my mother to court hearings to witness a long-drawn trial involving my father. Overtime, I understood how my father had been slapped with a fake harassment case because he refused to accept a bribe for professional favors. Standing by his principles, he was later acquitted emerging as my inspiration and teaching me values of honesty and integrity.
After 17 years, these values were tested. Early-on in my role as Quality Manager of [Consumer Goods Company] plant, consumer complaints for a particular defect inflicted 10% market-share losses in [Big City]. On probing, I realized that we had overlooked an important data trend during manufacturing that could have averted the disaster. While corporate auditors were preparing a report attributing the occurrence of defect to chance, I presented the true picture, taking full responsibility. It was a difficult decision as our factory had already lost credibility prior to my joining. Our General Manager intervened to manage the crisis and while recognizing my ethics and courage, placed faith on my ability to redeem myself.
Motivated to prove myself, I worked incessantly with my team, ensuring that I drive systemic changes and build a culture of continuous improvement. Within one-year, we achieved benchmark performances, restoring faith in the unit/team. During our annual performance review, our unit was appreciated for data-integrity, reinforcing my belief in my value system.
The third lesson is about impact. I believe true success is achieved when people are guided by a desire to create sustainable impact and make a positive difference in society.
During a factory-visit, I engaged with our CEO, and advocated driving growth by monetizing [Consumer Goods Company] distribution network to service regional firms/startups. Intrigued, he inducted me into his office in the Trade Marketing and Distribution function in a strategic role, a move unheard for any non-MBA engineer. Initially, I engaged with product entrepreneurs to offer them [Consumer Goods Company] distribution for scaling-up. One case was [Company], a [City]-based startup that innovated on cost-effective sanitary napkins. We are helping them reach 60M consumers in [Country], a country where 75% women resort to unhygienic alternatives. Curious to understand their success, I engaged with the founder, [Name]. I realized [Name] was driven by a desire to positively impact the lives of rural women and this motivated him to innovate continuously.
Reflecting on this conversation, I identified how [Consumer Products Company] could play a larger role in adding to consumer-value and go beyond giving distribution access to CPG startups. If tech leaders such as Google, Microsoft could incubate technology startups, we needed to explore similar models in the CPG space. I formulated a strategic investor model to incubate and eventually acquire CPG startups, a first for an Indian CPG firm, and pitched it to senior leadership. They appreciated my vision of synergizing with startups, providing [Consumer Products Company] marketing expertise and product development insights to encourage product innovation, thereby creating an inorganic growth roadmap for [Consumer Products Company] vision of achieving $15B by 2030.
These lessons provide the foundation to succeed and define my professional ambitions. Going forward, I envision energizing the [Country] CPG startup ecosystem, stimulating innovation and strengthening symbiotic relationships with Corporations to deliver high social-impact products, creating sustainable value for 1.2B Indian consumers. While my experiences have created the primer, I see Harvard as the perfect catalyst to transform me into a change leader. Building on my life lessons, I can’t wait to engage with classmates who bring with them a wealth of global experiences and stories!
Analysis: In this essay, the author shares the three life lessons which have most strongly shaped his experiences and outlook. Each one brings forth a different side of his personality. The first focused on developing empathy and lasting relationships having mostly favored solo working up until his undergraduate days. The second lesson is built around personal family experiences that drove home the importance of standing up for his values: honesty and integrity. The third and final lesson drives home the author’s desire to achieve a lasting positive impact in his professional life, by fostering an internal culture of innovation, and championing start-ups in the Indian CPG industry.
Topic: The difficult part of an open-ended Harvard prompt is deciding what one wants to share. The writer shares the three life lessons which have strongly shaped his experiences and outlook. We think this is a great approach as the writer shows the admissions committee “who” he is and “what” his values and motivations are.
Each lesson brings forth a different side of his personality. The first focused on developing empathy and lasting relationships having mostly favored solo working up until his undergraduate days. The second lesson is built around personal family experiences that drove home the importance of standing up for his values: honesty and integrity. The final lesson drives home the author’s desire to achieve a lasting impact in his professional life, by fostering an internal culture of innovation, and championing start-ups in his country’s CPG industry.
Tone and readability: This essay does not have dramatic flair. Because that’s fine as flair is not everyone’s style and one should stick to his or her style! The writer comes across as someone who has reflected on his experiences and what is important to him. He also comes across as genuine and shows vulnerability as he goes along. There is a certain humility that comes of the page - someone who has accomplished a lot but is comfortable in his skin and able to share not only his achievements but also his failures.
Why this essay wins: We can see the candidate’s accomplishments in his resume and have heard from his recommenders. This essay wins because it allows us to answer the question:
“Would you want this person to be in class with you?”
— • Country/State: International • GPA: 3.32 • GMAT: 750 • Undergrad Major: Economics • Pre-MBA Industry: Non-profit
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PROMPT: As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA Program? (no word limit)
This essay was provided by the experts at Admissions Gateway .
I remember my hands trembling as I clenched the scissors, and my mother’s gorgeous locks fell to the ground − I was six years old. Compelled to quit her studies after marriage, my mother resumed her masters in [course] after ten stifling years. With my father’s solitary income going into tuition for my mother, sister and me, a proper haircut was a wasteful luxury. My parents shielded us from their struggles, but the gravity of our situation hit home as I cut my mother’s hair.
When my mother finally cleared her examinations, I expected things to change. Instead, she declined lucrative offers to join public-services, catering to marginalized populations through [country’s] public healthcare system. My parents unwavering desire to lead a life of meaning, fuelled my own. Over the course of my journey, I have carved my own path to making a difference – one of spreading my ideas and impact, beyond what I could accomplish alone. I would like to share how three transformative experiences, starting over a decade ago, have progressively shaped this lifelong approach.
At 13, I was devastated to see my sister’s tiny frame shake violently as she coughed from asthma. What affected me most was learning that we had all contributed to these respiratory problems, by making [city] the most polluted city in the world.
I refused to remain a silent spectator and started an environment club, [club], at school. Digging-up compost pits and conducting tree-plantation drives, our team explored every opportunity to make our premises greener. The efforts of our small 10-member team indicated to me the potential to spur larger change by motivating all 1500 students to step-up. Our idea to achieve this, by integrating environmental-awareness within our curriculum, was dismissed by the administration for lack of resources. Undeterred, I started writing applications to garner financial support, and within months, led our team to the first place in a national competition. The $15K we won infused both resources and enthusiasm to implement our eco-friendly curriculum.
Juggling my graduation-examinations and endless hours of organizing activities for the entire school, we grew [club] five-fold. Students stepped-up to expand our efforts, from transitioning our school to using solar energy to organizing large-scale zero-waste campaigns. ‘Exponential’ was no longer just a graph I studied, I could tangibly see my impact multiplying by mobilising individuals around me.
Eager to replicate our success beyond school, I initiated environmental workshops for children from urban-slums in [city].
“Boys don’t need to save money for dowry, do they not have to conserve environmental resources either?” asked 11-year old [name]. Half-way into my first workshop, my analogy of saving money to explain the concept of conserving environmental resources, had derailed my session-plan.
Having witnessed the consequences of gender-disparity in my own childhood I started my non-profit [non-profit], during college, to promote holistic life-skills education to uproot such evils. I was happiest spending weekends in community-centres and public-classrooms, with my team of student-volunteers, conducting activity-based workshops for hundreds of children. I vividly remember when, beaming with pride, [name] told me that she had saved enough money to buy her house. She not only grasped complex concepts of banking and savings, but acknowledged herself as a financially-independent female – albeit in a game of Monopoly!
By graduation, we grew to a 20-member team and reached 1,000+ children. However, once I moved to join Investment-Banking, our student-volunteer model disintegrated and fundraising for a full-time team seemed impossible. While struggling to sustain momentum, I saw a class-teacher enthusiastically taking initiative to support our program, during a workshop. Watching her, it struck me that scaling-up [non-profit] was not the only way to further impact.
pullquote align=left text="Over the course of my journey, I have carved my own path to making a difference – one of spreading my ideas and impact, beyond what I could accomplish alone."}
Restructuring our workshops into a comprehensive curriculum, we showcased it to the state academic department. Winning their support, we trained 100 public-school teachers and principals to deliver the program. Within two years, these teachers extended our program to 10,000 children and even co-opted their colleagues. Their efforts reaffirmed my conviction that enabling change-agents at a systemic-level could accelerate impact at scale.
To steer my journey in this direction, I decided to quit my investment-banking job in [country] and return to [country]. Forgoing the financial comfort I was finally providing my family weighed on me, but I chose to follow my heart. I joined [foundation], a philanthropy focused on driving systemic change to tangibly impact India’s education landscape.
Innovative, low-cost teaching-aids developed by [company], my [foundation] portfolio-organisation, drastically improved learning for children in rural classrooms. However, their low-monetization potential generated minimal funder interest, threatening their existence. Their question, “How will we serve these children, when we can barely stay afloat?” echoed my own struggles at [non-profit].
Collaborating with the [state] government, I helped [company] reduce costs through subsidies and extend their program to 40,000 students. I was leading large-scale projects with public systems at [foundation], but I realized that empowering social-enterprises such as [company] to drive systemic change could create ripple-effects throughout the ecosystem.
My ten-year-old self wouldn't believe just how far I have come – my hands no longer shake when I take decisive actions, whose outcomes I cannot always predict.
Today, non-profit social-enterprises in India fail to reach their potential, owing to lack of financial and strategic support - the largest remains 1/100th the size of its global peers. So, I took on the mandate to launch an Accelerator within [non-profit], to ensure this support, even though this meant leaving my team and starting out alone. My path was uphill, given [non-profit’s] strategic shift towards working directly with governments − the initiative was peripheral for every decision, be it budget-allocations or team-building.
The eagerness of portfolio-organizations in leveraging every support opportunity kept me going. Months of co-creating monetization strategies and facilitating government meetings paid off, in one instance, enabling immense expansion for the portfolio-organization to reach 800,000 children. Such successes helped evangelize our potential and we are now raising an independent fund to support 30 entrepreneurs to help transform education for 5M children.
My ten-year-old self wouldn’t believe just how far I have come – my hands no longer shake when I take decisive actions, whose outcomes I cannot always predict. Striving to continually widen my impact has helped me progress from empowering school-students to supporting social-entrepreneurs, towards enabling an entire ecosystem of social change-makers.
Battling one constant challenge throughout, that of inadequate resources, has highlighted how social-finance could be the ‘driving-force’ towards my goal. Most importantly, I have learnt that beyond individual efforts, by spearheading thought-leadership and global alliances, I can mobilize the entire ecosystem, catalyzing robust social-investment markets in India.
My friend [name] described how assimilating diverse perspectives through the case-method at HBS helped him understand nuances of business across cultures, while the vibrant community provided access to global networks. HBS equipped him to launch and grow his company across eight emerging economies, through partnerships with local entrepreneurs. Similarly, I am convinced that the ideas, experiences and relationships built at HBS will help me realize my vision where every [club], [non-profit] and [company] can go on to create the change it aspires to.
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What is most compelling is how through the three examples, the applicant demonstrates leadership, initiative, and impact at increasing levels throughout the essay, starting from a very young age.
The essay is engaging, right from the opening paragraph, when the applicant takes the reader directly to the scene as a six-year-old cutting her mother’s hair. The applicant provides important personal context with respect to the experiences that have shaped her perspective and values, “My parents unwavering desire to lead a life of meaning, fuelled my own.” This in turn, has influenced the applicant’s own desire to take action and “[carve her] own path to making a difference,” which is so clearly stated in the applicant’s thesis statement.
Throughout the essay, the applicant demonstrates her passion for giving back to the community as well as her impactful leadership and initiative.
Throughout the essay, the applicant demonstrates her passion for giving back to the community as well as her impactful leadership and initiative, first in school by starting an environmental club, then by launching a non-profit in college, and finally, by creating an accelerator within the non-profit that she joined. In doing so, she shows the reader how she went about implementing change and the ensuing impact that resulted. However, these successes have not been achieved without their share of challenges and obstacles (“battling inadequate resources”), and so what the reader comes away with is the applicant’s humility and humanness. Moreover, the story-telling is very smooth as the applicant does an excellent job of transitioning from one story to another.
As the essay concludes, the applicant comes full-circle, referencing the opening anecdote, “My ten-year-old self wouldn’t believe just how far I have come – my hands no longer shake when I take decisive actions, whose outcomes I cannot always predict.” The last paragraph is a concise but insightful conclusion that weaves in how the applicant has gotten to know Harvard Business School and how the MBA program will help her achieve her goals.
— • Gender: Female • GPA: 3.8 • GMAT: 710 • Undergrad Major: International Relations and Economics
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“The birthing ward is to the right,” the woman explained through our translator pointing to a dark room with no electricity and six cots, three on each side. Flies swarmed throughout the open-air hospital. I was in Vilanculos, Mozambique with colleagues from the IFC. As the team responsible for monitoring the firm’s investment in a gas field joint venture (“JV”) with Sasol (a South African petrochemicals company), we had come for quarterly partner meetings. On this trip however, we had ventured out of Maputo to conduct a site visit of the gas processing plant, and a local hospital funded with its revenues. As we passed the hospital’s pharmacy we came to a leaking tank, water forming a muddy puddle beneath it. Our guide explained the water tank at the hospital had been broken for the past several months. Consequently any water that was needed had to be carried from the nearest borehole.
The previous week in Washington I had updated the valuation for the investment, worried about increasing capital expenditure and how it would impact IFC’s return. This hospital, with its dirt floors and lack of plumbing, put into question my preoccupation with the financials. It was shocking that a gas plant with multi-billion dollar sales agreements could not fund this $500 problem. I soon realized however, it was emblematic of a much larger issue: the complicated relationship between the project’s stakeholders, including the Government, local community and foreign investors.
The JV had gained “community” support through promises of economic growth and the construction of social infrastructure. Yet on our visit to Vilanculos, it was clear the local people had not significantly benefitted from the gas plant. They continued to eke out livelihoods the ways they always had and would for their foreseeable future. The Government’s healthy tax and royalty revenues were the project’s real drivers. These funds could have fixed the hospital; however, when it was told about the leaking tank, the Government claimed fixing the issue was not in its current budget. Just as I in my DC office had lost sight of the individuals who could benefit from the project’s lofty developmental goals, so too had the Government. To preserve the sustainability of the hospital, the JV partners were hesitant to crowd out government responsibility for this public resource with additional private funds. Unfortunately no constructive partnership had been reached between the Government and the providers of private capital to prevent these situations.
Through my work at Goldman Sachs and the IFC, I have developed a strong understanding of finance and firsthand experience of the core issues faced when investing internationally.
After returning to Washington, I worked to ensure the water tank was fixed and the beneficiaries of the development goals were not forgotten. First, I involved broader IFC resources, including a team specializing in strategizing and implementing community outreach. Second, we established a sub-committee to ensure greater accountability and alignment amongst all JV partners for these development initiatives. The water tank has since been fixed, however these broader issues involving the division of public and private responsibility are ongoing.
Through my work at Goldman Sachs and the IFC, I have developed a strong understanding of finance and firsthand experience of the core issues faced when investing internationally. Including when working in frontier markets rarely is monetary funding enough to ensure success on all fronts. IFC’s investment thesis for the Mozambique JV contained two broad objectives: financial and developmental. Without the engagement of a diverse group of stakeholders, including governments and local communities, and their expectation for sustainable returns—the developmental goal would remain unrealized.
My interest in emerging markets and the career ambitions it has fostered are deeply intertwined with my upbringing. My Father is British, and my parents used our resulting dual-citizenships as an excuse to travel. At university, I double majored in Economics and International Relations to further study the convergence of finance and geopolitics. While studying abroad in Shanghai and researching my thesis on foreign investment’s role in the economic growth of Western China, I became aware of my own biases. After receiving a poor grade on an essay I asked the professor how to improve. “You only took account the western point of view,” he said, “what about the Chinese”? I re-wrote the paper and learned to remember both sides. My Mother is an attorney who has successfully managed to run her own law firm and raise two daughters. From her role modeling I learned that I could turn these priorities into a career with significant impact.
To reach this goal will require me to combine the technical knowledge and experiences I have garnered thus far, with a deeper understanding and development of my leadership abilities.
Going forward, I plan to work in private equity within frontier markets and in the longer-term apply my knowledge to a role in international diplomacy. To reach this goal will require me to combine the technical knowledge and experiences I have garnered thus far, with a deeper understanding and development of my leadership abilities.
My most rewarding personal leadership experience has been serving as a mentor to Chason Pan, a first-generation college student at Baruch College who moved from China when he was 18. Chason wants to become an investment banker; however, when we first met he was culturally and experientially unprepared to compete for this position. At the beginning I was frustrated and unsure of the value I could add, as the hurdles to achieving this goal felt insurmountable. One day Chason mentioned a painting that had inspired him. As a fellow art lover, on a whim I suggested we go to the Met. While there his depth of knowledge surprised me. This day, leaving the confines of an office building and getting to see a different side of Chason, was the beginning of our common understanding and working relationship. After knowing Chason holistically, his challenges to achieving a finance internship did not seem as large. His intellect and disciplined work ethic would be an asset to any firm. We incorporated these attributes into his resume and cover letters. Finally, to address his obstacles, I pulled on my own experience recruiting, as well as my network of friends and colleagues, to provide him greater knowledge of the finance industry and the path to get there. After two years of working together, Chason successfully achieved an investment banking internship at JP Morgan last summer.
In business school, I want the opportunity to refine the leadership techniques I have learned though my work with Chason in order to apply them on a broader scale. Additionally, upon graduating I aim to possess a toolkit of strategies to effectively confront the macro issues I experienced in Mozambique—successfully coupling financial return with developmental sustainability.
Our mantra is a very custom program to deliver an essay that:
- considers the candidate's specific competitive pool;
- is integral to the unique positioning of the application;
- demonstrates the applicant's potential to have positive impact;
- shows authenticity, clarity of thought, and a considered self-awareness; and,
- connects with the admissions committee reader.
— • Country/State: International • Gender: N/A • Ethnicity: N/A • GPA: 8.2/10 • GMAT: 750 • Undergrad Major: Engineering • Age: N/A • Pre-MBA Industry: E-commerce/Retail
Sponsored by The Jaffe Advantage : The Jaffe Advantage is a full service MBA Admissions Consultancy – with a strong belief in the power of storytelling. I have been advising prospective MBA candidates since 2010 and have helped multiple applicants gain entry to the top U.S. and European business schools.
Prompt: Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip and inspire brave leaders who create lasting value. Provide a recent example where you have demonstrated leadership and created value. What challenges did you face and what did you learn?
Most [Nationality] women would remember their first lingerie shopping experience. It is hard to forget the experience of slipping into a dingy shop with your mother, getting eyed up by the male seller, buying without trial and rushing out before, God forbid, the world realizes you bought a bra.
Lingerie remains a taboo topic in [Country], and fashionable lingerie is considered especially risqué, with a ‘one-size, one-style – fits all’ mindset. Aiming to provide an uninhibited lingerie shopping experience, [Company’s] CEO entrusted me responsibility to make [Company] the largest lingerie player in [Country].
Our primary challenge was to create a transformational lingerie shopping experience in a conservative society. Women were apprehensive to share details and openly purchase lingerie, especially from an unknown start-up. I initiated a pan-India “Fit-for-all” campaign highlighting body diversity and the importance of well-fitting lingerie both for health and self-confidence. The campaign spanned 100+ micro-influencers and connected 5Mn+ women, enrolling 400K followers on social-media.
With [Company's] rapid growth, I focused on ensuring sustainability by building a service-oriented culture.
With traditional firms selling standard sizes this campaign helped identify unavailability of non-average sizes. I then led “Fit-athons’, measuring hundreds of women and built a fit recommendation engine. Collaborating with the Sourcing Head, my team standardised raw materials to ensure comfort and quality across 300+ sizes. To promote correct fit, we disseminated educational content at offline events and social-media.
Reaching women in underpenetrated, non-urban areas was challenging. We developed a strategy to build an e-commerce platform supported with retail stores. Targeting consumers through social-media/affiliates, we focussed on customer-experience across touchpoints – instructional website interface, quality checks, discrete delivery across 28k+ zip-codes and easy try-and-buy options. This increased consumer retention and boosted revenue to $[X]Mn/year.
Concentrating on offline expansion through a micro-markets approach, I identified cities with large addressable markets to open exclusive stores. Leveraging our USP as ‘fit experts’, we introduced consultation programs at our omni-channel outlets, employing virtual inventory exposure to provide the right fit across 10k+ styles. We improved offline accessibility through ~600 neighbourhood stores establishing [Company] in 10 cities with ~$[X]Mn in offline sales and the fastest breakeven for company stores.
With [Company’s] rapid growth, I focused on ensuring sustainability by building a service-oriented culture. Tracking consumer feedback; conducting weekly reviews, introducing soft-skills training and setting-up a NPS-linked appraisal process for 150+ employees, my team enabled 35% uptake in NPS.
Growing [Company] taught me to build brand salience through product differentiation. I learnt to step into the customer’s shoes and innovate by creating interactive, immersive experiences to overcome consumer hesitation. Building consumer loyalty highlighted the importance of product quality, and the need for an unobtrusive service-oriented culture.
Today, [company] serves 2Mn customers, is set to reach $[X]Mn revenue by 2020, and is growing into a women’s fashion brand with aim to expand into Asia-Pacific, the Middle-East and Africa. ___
This introduction immediately captured my attention. Not only is it humorous and engaging, but it establishes that the writer is about to embark on a story focused on leadership and change. Two of the most common mistakes I see candidates make are 1) beginning their essay with a sentence that essentially reiterates the question and 2) writing an introduction that is interesting but long-winded.
Admissions officers read application essays from morning to night. Anytime a candidate can provide a respite from the “ordinary” they are one step ahead. At the same time, it is important to ensure that the essay establishes its thesis early. In this case, the writer has done both by the third sentence.
After establishing context, the writer spends the rest of the essay focusing on her actions. She addresses four different sub-topics: establishing a value proposition based on fit; reaching women in rural areas through e-commerce, creating stores in micro-markets, and building a service oriented culture. Addressing different strategies allows the writer to showcase the variety and magnitude of her experience. She demonstrates her deep knowledge of marketing from e-commerce to customer experience to social media to the use of influencers. Business schools want to know that each of their students will bring a new perspective and point-of-view to the classroom. By using a leadership essay to demonstrate a deep understanding of marketing, the writer sets herself up as an expert who can add value to Kellogg both inside and outside the classroom.
While the essay asks about leadership, Kellogg is known for its focus on teamwork. The writer does an excellent job interweaving the two. She writes about collaborating with the Sourcing Head and she makes sure to credit her team for much of the work. The essay reflects the culture of the school by putting emphasis on working well with others.
Overall this is an excellent essay. However, as a third Party Admissions Consultant (I am reviewing this essay post submission) I can’t help but notice a few things I would have recommended changing. These aren’t show-stoppers, but they are important.
- First, the solution doesn’t actually address the issue. The writer starts her essay by focusing on the fact that lingerie remains a taboo subject in her country. In order to provide an uninhibited shopping experience, it would be important for the writer to show how she changed the mindset of the consumer. Instead she focuses first and foremost on fit. While she does make reference to a “discreet delivery” in rural markets and writes about micro-influencers (who conceivably would be the ones making lingerie an acceptable subject) she never really addresses how she made lingerie acceptable. Had I been providing advice, I would have recommended that the writer explain how she used micro-influencers (or other tactics) to change the conversation in the country.
- Second, the writer interchanges the use of “I” and “we.” While it is important to own the story in a leadership essay, there are other grammatical constructions that can be used. The writer could have used the words “our” or “we” only following a reference to the company or her team.
- Finally, there is one grammatical error. She writes “[Company’s] CEO entrusted me responsibility to make…..” This should have been “[Company’s] CEO entrusted me to make ” or [Company’s] CEO entrusted me with the responsibility to make.” Though the writer is foreign, the essay is written in perfect English making this stand out as an error rather than a sentence written by a candidate whose second language is English. While one grammar mistake will not make or break an application, candidates should be extremely careful to proof their essays multiple times.
Overall this is an excellent approach to Kellogg’s leadership essay. Combined with her above-average academic credentials, I am not at all surprised to learn this candidate was admitted.
The Crimson's news and opinion teams—including writers, editors, photographers, and designers—were not involved in the production of this content.
How to Write a Powerful MBA Essay—With Examples
The MBA essay is critical to your business school application. Read our guide to writing the perfect MBA essay, with successful admit examples.
Posted August 17, 2023
Featuring Melanie E.
Perfecting Your Columbia Business School Essays
Tuesday, november 21.
12:00 AM UTC · 45 minutes
What is the MBA Essay?
The MBA admissions essay.
Those words alone are enough to make most MBA candidates run screaming. Writing in general is hard enough. Writing about why you want an MBA? Your short-term goals and career aspirations? What matters to you most, and why? Forget it.
Of course, you still have to write these essays.
The MBA essay is perhaps the most important part of the business school application. (It's also getting more and more important by the day, with some business schools moving away from traditional, quantitative measuring sticks, like the GMAT and the GRE.) Every other part of the application — your GPA, your test scores, your letters of recommendation — are quantified, cut and dried, or out of your control. The essay is your chance to show up as a fully realized MBA candidate, with hopes, dreams, and vulnerabilities. Admissions committees are not simply assessing your candidacy as a future leader — they're looking to admit human beings. That's where the MBA applicant essays come in.
That being the case, rather than being intimidated by it, treat the essay like the opportunity that it is — the chance for you to highlight your unique, iridescent self; the only moment in the MBA admissions process (prior to the interview) when you can speak directly to the admissions officers; the time when you'll show them who you really are. It's not easy to write something that will do that, of course, but with the tips and tricks in this guide, and some help from one of Leland's vetted, world-class admissions coaches, we know you can do it. Give the essay the time, attention, and respect it deserves, and you'll be on your way to an offer of admission at your dream school.
Without further ado, let's dive in!
Free MBA Essay Guide
Enter your email in the form below to receive our FREE MBA Essay Guide. This guide breaks down a system to help you brainstorm ideas, create structured outlines, write powerful essays, and polish them into a finished product.
How Long Will My MBA Essay Take?
First thing's first: let's talk about timing.
The MBA application is a behemoth; between exams, resumes, gathering your official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and the applications themselves, there's a lot to juggle. That being the case, we suggest you give yourself ample time to draft, write, and revise your essays. The last thing you want is to be rushed to the finish line.
So, give yourself at least three months to write your MBA essays. That should allow you ample time to draft, write, and edit. For more information on timing your entire b-school application, click here for A Comprehensive MBA Application Timeline--With Chart .
Now, on to the critical question:
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What Makes a Great MBA Essay?
At the highest level, the answer is the one that is truest to you. The whole point of these essays is to shine through as an authentic, vibrant human being, so the best essays are the ones that cut through the clutter, and allow you do to that.
Which begs the question — how do you cut through the clutter and shine through as a vibrant human being? Here are four critical tips to follow as you begin thinking about your essays.
1. Answer the Question
This one sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised how many applicants launch into their story, get carried away, and forget to answer the question. Follow the prompt, and answer the question the admissions committee has asked you. Those prompts can actually be very useful when writing your essays — it's a great deal harder to write when you have no guidance or guardrails. With the MBA essays, you have a very specific question you need to answer. So answer it!
2. Be Specific
Another mistake some MBA applicants make is to stay at a high level in their essays, keeping their writing abstract and therefore inaccessible to the admissions committee. If at any point, an admissions officer could replace your name with the name of another applicant, then your essay isn't getting deep enough. It's not enough, for instance, to say that you suffered adversity in high school, or that you really, really want a Wharton MBA. You need to explain, in detail, the adversity you faced, and give concrete and unique reasons why you think Wharton is the right program for you. The best essays offer hyper-specific examples and anecdotes, with details and anecdotes that no other candidate could bring to the table. To get those anecdotes, we recommend using the STAR template, as explained below:
- Situation : What was the situation you were facing? Where were you? How old were you? If you were in a professional role during this anecdote, what was the role, and how long had you been in it? If you were volunteering, at what organization? How long had you been volunteering there? Why did you start? Offer all the relevant information that the admissions readers will need to understand your story.
- Task : What was the task at hand? What went wrong? In your professional role, what was the challenge you faced? In that volunteering experience, what were the hurdles you had to overcome? You can't have a good story without conflict or tension, so after you set up the anecdote, explain what that conflict or tension was (and remember, be specific!).
- Action : What was the action you took to resolve the problem? What did you have to do to fix that issue at work? How did you clear that hurdle in your volunteer experience? Again, be specific about how you came through on the other side of that conflict/tension — and while you're doing it, highlight your leadership capabilities as much as possible! Remember that top MBA programs are looking for future leaders who can assess a situation and decisively take action. (We'll say a bit more about this below, in the Personal Statement section.
- Result : What was the result of your action? If you were facing a growth problem at work, were you able to increase sales? If so, by what percentage? If you were advocating for diversity and inclusion at your local charity, what new programs did you implement to help with that effort, and what was the enrollment like in those new programs? Detail what happened in your anecdote with as much specificity as possible — and quantify, quantify, quantify!
Most MBA admissions essay prompts are written with the goal of getting to know as much about you as possible in the shortest number of words. To do that, you're going to have to share real things from your life — to get personal, intimate, and vulnerable. Do not shy away from this. If you're starting to get emotional during the reflection, drafting, and writing process, good — that means you're on the right track. Keep going. Pro tip: If it’s making you cry, it will make them cry. Another good rule of thumb is to put something real and true on the table. Admissions officers have to read literally thousands of applications from thoroughly qualified individuals, some of whom might come from similar roles to yours, with letters of recommendation from equally impressive supervisors. In order to cut through that noise, you'll have to share something honest. If you're doing it right, this can feel risky. At some point, you’ll likely think to yourself: “Can I say that?” The answer is: “Yes.” Of course, there is a line, you don’t want to be crass or offensive but err on the side of being open and authentic. The very worst thing you can do is be overly cautious, and write something you think will please the admissions committee. These poor people have to read thousands of essays. If yours is just like everyone else’s, they’ll fall asleep. Don’t let that happen. Wake them up by putting yourself —your true, bright, vibrant, quirky self—on the page.
4. Don't Exaggerate
Finally, do not exaggerate, over-inflate, or lie. This goes without saying, but admissions committees are looking for honest candidates. The surest way to get rejected is to lie about something. (Business schools do a background check on you before you're properly admitted, so they will find out.) Don't be the person who over-inflates on their essays, then has their offer letter rescinded.
The Types of MBA Essays
All right — since we've covered high-level approaches to the MBA essays, it's time to dig into the various types.
There are three general categories of MBA essays you'll see across the board.
1. Personal Statement
These questions ask you to offer up something sincere about yourself. They'll often touch on such things as your values and your character. In these, you'll want to be as authentic as possible, while also highlighting attributes like leadership, intellectual vitality, and teamwork, that business schools are looking for. Here are a few examples of personal statement essays:
- As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program? (HBS)
- What matters most to you, and why? (Stanford GSB)
2. Why an MBA/Why This School
The next category of essays is the "Why an MBA" / "Why This School" set.
In these, schools first want to hear about how an MBA will fit into your career, both short and long term. Top MBA programs are looking for candidates who will: first of all, be gainfully employed upon graduating, second of all, have an illustrious career that will make their institution look good and encourage future generations of applicants to apply, and third, be consistent and generous donors. That being the case, they want to know about your career trajectory, and how an MBA will fit into it.
Pro tip: Here, you want to be ambitious and inspiring in laying out your future career, but not naïve. Walk the line between shooting for the stars and sounding dreamlike and uninformed.
In this set of questions, you'll also encounter questions geared at figuring out why you would want to attend a specific school. MBA programs want to know that you're serious about attending their school — yield, or the percentage of admitted candidates who accept their offers of admission, is an important metric for them — but they also want to envision how you'll contribute to their admitted class. What will you uniquely bring to the table, the things that you'll do that the other candidates wouldn’t be able to offer?
We've heard former deans of business schools say that, in choosing a class, they're curating a world-class dinner party, and that each person invited to the dinner party has to bring something different. What will you bring to the dinner party?
Pro tip: To demonstrate that you've done your research, and to help the admissions committee envision you in their program, indicate which classes you might take when earning your MBA and why, which professors you might hope to study with, and in which clubs you might participate.
Here are a few examples of "why MBA / why this school" essays:
- How is a Columbia MBA going to help you? (Columbia)
- What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (Wharton)
- Why Stanford? Describe your aspirations and how your Stanford GSB experience will help you realize them. (Stanford GSB)
Finally, most other essays will either be behavioral, asking you about experiences, traits, strengths, weaknesses, and achievements. There's a wide variety of topics here, but all the guidelines from above apply, with the final note to always prioritize authenticity (as mentioned in the Personal Statement section) and leadership ability (remember, business schools are choosing future leaders). Here are a few examples of behavioral/other essays:
- Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (Yale SOM)
- Tell us about your favorite book, movie, or song and why it resonates with you. (Columbia)
- Think about times you’ve created a positive impact, whether in professional, extracurricular, academic, or other settings. What was your impact? What made it significant to you or to others? (Stanford GSB)
Top MBA Program Essay Prompts (Updated 2022)
To help you get started, we've compiled the required prompts from a few top MBA programs below:
1. Harvard Business School (HBS)
As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program? (900 words)
For more information, visit A Guide to the HBS Essay .
2. Stanford Graduate School of Business
What matters to you most, and why? (650 words)
Why Stanford? (400 words)
Read What Matters Most When Writing the GSB Essays.
How do you plan to use the Wharton MBA program to help you achieve your future professional goals? You might consider your past experience, short and long-term goals, and resources available at Wharton. (500 words)
Taking into consideration your background – personal, professional, and/or academic – how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community? (400 words)
For Wharton-specific advice, visit A Guide to the Wharton Essays .
4. Columbia Business School
Essay 1: Through your resume and recommendation, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next three to five years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)
Essay 2: The Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership (PPIL) is a new co-curricular program designed to ensure that every CBS student develops the skills to become an ethical and inclusive leader. Through PPIL, students attend programming focused on five essential diversity, equity, and inclusion skills: Creating an Inclusive Environment, Mitigating Bias, Communicating Across Identities, Addressing Systemic Inequity, and Managing Difficult Conversations. Tell us about a time you were challenged around one of these five skills. Describe the situation, the actions you took, and the outcome. (250 words)
Essay 3: We believe Columbia Business School is a special place. CBS proudly fosters a collaborative learning environment through curricular experiences like our clusters and learning teams , an extremely active co-curricular and student life environment, and career mentorship opportunities like our Executives-in-Residence program .Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you academically, culturally, and professionally? Please be specific. (250 words)
5. Chicago Booth
How will the Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term post-MBA career goals? (250-word minimum)
An MBA is as much about personal growth as it is about professional development. In addition to sharing your experience and goals in terms of your career, we’d like to learn more about you outside of the office. Use this opportunity to tell us something about who you are… (250-word minimum)
Read more at A Guide to the Booth Essays .
6. Kellogg Northwestern
Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip and inspire brave leaders who create lasting value. Provide a recent example where you have demonstrated leadership and created value. What challenges did you face and what did you learn? (450 words)
Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you and how have they influenced you? (450 words)
Read How to Nail Your Kellogg MBA Application Essays
7. MIT Sloan
MIT Sloan seeks students whose personal characteristics demonstrate that they will make the most of the incredible opportunities at MIT, both academic and non-academic. We are on a quest to find those whose presence will enhance the experience of other students. We seek thoughtful leaders with exceptional intellectual abilities and the drive and determination to put their stamp on the world. We welcome people who are independent, authentic, and fearlessly creative — true doers. We want people who can redefine solutions to conventional problems, and strive to preempt unconventional dilemmas with cutting-edge ideas. We demand integrity, respect, and passion.
Taking the above into consideration, please submit a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA program. Your letter should conform to standard business correspondence, include one or more professional examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria above, and be addressed to the Admissions Committee (300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation)
Applicants are required to upload a 1 minute (60 seconds) video as part of their application. In your video, you should introduce yourself to your future classmates, tell us about your past experiences, and touch on why MIT Sloan is the best place for you to pursue your degree.
How to Start Your MBA Essay
So you've read about the types of essays, and seen some of the prompts from top MBA programs. Now it's time to actually start diving into the essay.
The very first thing to do, before putting pen to paper, is to look inward.
Why do you want an MBA? What role will this degree play in your professional growth? How do you imagine it will shape your life? What do you want out of your career? What is the most important thing in the world to you?
Yes, these are life’s deep-end questions, but you’ll need to tackle them in these essays, so before you start writing, take the time to think through them. Go for a run, swim some laps, bake a cake—however you get into the flow — and start a dialogue with yourself. Put down your work, turn your phone off, and give your mind permission to go to the places it usually avoids. That’s a good place to start. That’s where the answers are.
Pro tip: The first sentence is the hardest one to write. When you're starting out if it can intimidating and anxiety-producing. The trick is to simply put anything down — and don't look back. Keep putting one sentence after the other. You can edit later: let whatever comes to you out onto the page. If you’re struggling with self-critique, dim your computer screen until you can’t even see the words you’re typing. Then keep going.
Additional Tips & Tricks
Once you've started your essay, it's a matter of persistence: keep writing, then keep drafting and editing until you have something you're really proud of.
To help you with that process, here are a few more tips and tricks:
- Take Breaks
When you hit the wall — you will hit the wall — stop. This is your brain telling you it needs to do something else. Walk your dog. Take a lap around your room. Eat some cheese. Your body needs sleep every night to function; your mind is the same way. That next leap of inspiration will come exactly at the moment when you’re least expecting it.
- Read it Out Loud
When you finally have a draft, print it and read it out loud to yourself. Your ear will catch things your eyes miss. Reading out loud is the best way to pick up on spelling errors, clunky transitions, and paragraphs that still need ironing out. It’s also a good way to envision how the admissions committee will experience your essay.
Don’t be precious with your essay. Send it to anyone willing to read it. Solicit as much feedback as you can. If you don’t like what people have to say, you don’t have to incorporate it, but you need an impartial third party to give notes on what they’re seeing, thinking, and feeling. (You’re too close to things to do it for yourself.) This is where a Leland coach comes very much in handy!
- Complete Everything Early
This is more of a timing consideration, but you do not want to trip at the finish line because your internet went down the night before the deadline, or your credit card was denied when paying your application fee (it's happened before). Don't let that be you!
Here is another article to get you started, written by an expert essays coach: 7 MBA Essay Tips to Make You Stand Out in 2022 .
Example MBA Essays
Finally, here are two essays to help inspire you. The first, a personal statement essay, was submitted by an admit to Berkeley Haas' Executive MBA program; the second, a career goals / why MBA essay, was submitted by an admit to Chicago Booth's deferred MBA program.
A person’s identity is shaped by many different aspects, including family, culture, personal interests, and surrounding environments. Please share a facet of your identity or story that is essential to who you are. (300 words) My upbringing in India, filled with countless myths and legends, had a profound influence on me. The most formative tale was about a sage who prays for years to the goddess of knowledge, but in vain. In the end, the goddess didn’t appear for the sage because he was turning his prayer beads the wrong way! As a child, this story upset me: the sage worked so hard and had the right intentions. As an adult, though, I’ve come to realize that the goddess of knowledge was right: you can’t succeed unless you do things the right way. Seven years ago, two friends and I started a company, XXXX: a digital health platform that would allow patients to store medical records online and consult doctors remotely. We had early success—we brought on 2,000 patients at XXXX, a gynecology clinic in XXXX—but ultimately we didn’t have the resources to properly scale, and had to shut the company down. Among the many lessons I learned, the most valuable was that ideas and hard work are common; businesses succeed or fail based on execution—on doing things the right way. Two years ago, I relearned this lesson in the most painful way possible: when my marriage ended. My wife and I loved each other, but we weren’t there for each other when it mattered most. Our feelings weren’t enough—we had to back them up with the right actions. It’s disheartening when you have good intentions but still fall short. When this happens, though, you have to keep trying—because eventually you will do things the right way. I carry the story of the sage with me always, not as a harsh lesson, but as a motivating goal: one that keeps me striving towards doing things the right way.
How will the Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term post-MBA career goals? (250 word minimum)
I want to start a geothermal company that will help lead the energy transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy—by targeting existing oil wells as sites for geothermal plants. Oil fields are close to electric grids and have high nearby subsurface temperatures, making them ideal sites for geothermal plants. By building geothermal infrastructure nearby, my company will produce cleaner, cheaper energy, making it more profitable for operators to switch from oil to geothermal. As oil companies decommission their wells, I’ll negotiate for their land rights, so I can use their existing wells for new geothermal vents. I want my company to prove the case for economically viable, carbon neutral energy production. After getting an MBA I want to start a geothermal company which will help me lead the energy transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. I plan to target developed oil fields in Texas, where, in many places, producing wells are flowing enough hot fluid to generate clean energy. Using this geothermal heat, the carbon footprint of oil and gas extraction will decrease as fewer fossil fuels are utilized to power surrounding infrastructure. As the wells approach their economic life, I will negotiate the lease from various operators, saving them millions in plug and abandonment costs, and retrofit the wells for direct geothermal energy production via closed loop binary fluid systems, bringing emissions to zero. To accomplish this goal, I need to shore up my knowledge of energy economics and entrepreneurial finance, develop a strong sense of leadership, and build a network of like minded individuals that will help me lead the transition and I believe I can get those things at Chicago Booth. My immediate career goal is to develop my first co-production site in Shelby County, Texas at the Blanton well site, which produces abnormally heated fluid from the flanks of an active salt dome. Before investing in capital expenditures, developing a strong sense of energy economics and broader markets is necessary to verify financial feasibility. University of Chicago, through the Graduate-Student-At-Large: Business program, is already allowing me to accomplish this goal with my enrollment in “Microeconomics” with Professor Andrew McClellan. His instruction helped me understand the impact taxes and subsidies have on market equilibrium, an important aspect of renewable energy as green energy tax incentives continue to change on a yearly basis. As my company continues to grow, having a strong finance and accounting foundation is imperative to building and sustaining a healthy company. Electives such as “Accounting for Entrepreneurship: From Start-Up through IPO” will provide the skills I need to be successful by following the life-cycle of a business that originates as a start-up, and covers topics such as building an initial accounting infrastructure. I understand that execution of the business is as important as developing the idea and proof of concept, and Booth is the best place for me to develop financial fluency. Leading the energy transition will require a strong sense of leadership. Not only will I need to lead those I get to work with over my career, but to lead the energy transition, and reverse the impact fossil fuels have had thus far, I must have the emotional intelligence to inspire others to join me in my journey. The “Interpersonal Dynamics” course at Booth will allow me to develop my communication skills and better understand the emotions and perceptions of my colleagues. These skills, synthesized with leadership development acquired in “Leadership Practicum” will prepare me to act as a relational leader, who understands the needs of others. As a relational leader I hope to foster an environment which promotes happiness, and maximizes efficiency, not only to make our efforts in changing the world more successful, but to excite other people to join our cause.
To find the greatest chance of success in leading the energy transition, I will need a network of like-minded individuals who can provide a diversity of thought. Chicago Booth provides the opportunity to develop that network through different community experiences. The Energy Club’s “Energy Forward” conference, which designates time to topics in oil and gas and renewable energy will allow me to hear from industry leaders, build meaningful relationships with peers and contribute my sector experience to the public forum as I learn from those around me. Opportunities through the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Group such as “SeedCon” will help me connect with successful entrepreneurs and early-stage investors whose ideas and funding might change the course of my venture’s trajectory. Even in the GSALB program I have had the opportunity to connect with other students in various sectors, including the energy industry. I hope to continue to strengthen those connections and continue building new ones with matriculation into the full time program.
Here are several other articles that you may find helpful as you put together your MBA application:
- The Most Frequently Asked Questions on MBA Applications
- How to Answer the "Why an MBA?" Essay Question
- My Top Piece of Advice for MBA Applicants
- How I Nailed My MBA Interview and Gained Admission to Top 10 Business Schools
- 4 Expert Tips on Paying for Business School
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How to Write a Killer MBA Essay
Writing a great MBA essay is a crucial component of applying to business school . According to Lisa Koengeter , the Director of Admissions at Booth School of Business , your essay provides them with “a better understanding of you, your self-assessment and your aspirations.”
This article will outline what MBA admissions committees look for in your essays, show you how to write a killer MBA essay, and tell you what mistakes to avoid.
Types of MBA Essays
There are a few different types of MBA essay questions you will answer as part of your MBA application. The type of essay can be determined through the keywords used in the essay question. Each type of essay will have its own length requirements, depending on the business school.
This type of essay asks you to detail your personal and professional goals and how attending business school will help you achieve them. An essay question that asks about your aspirations or what you hope to gain from an MBA program is classified as a goal essay.
For example, Wharton is one of many schools that ask for a goal essay from applicants using the question: “What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA?” Columbia , NYU Stern , Darden , Dartmouth Tuck , and McCombs are some of the many other schools that ask about your goals.
A self-reflection essay is an opportunity for you to showcase the values and characteristics that make up your personal identity. It also requires you to discuss how you handled a failure at some point in your life or how you would approach an ethical dilemma.
Yale School of Management is one business school that uses self-reflection questions in its MBA essays . They want to know what the biggest commitment you have ever made is, including why you chose it and how you went about making it.
Answering this question will require you to do some deep reflection in order to answer it thoroughly.
The objective of this type of essay is to show an admissions committee how you will add value and contribute to their MBA program.
Booth School of Business poses this question: “An MBA is as much about personal growth as it is about professional development. In addition to sharing your experience and goals in terms of career, we’d like to learn more about you outside of the office. Use this opportunity to tell us something about who you are.”
Booth clearly wants you to elaborate on who you are, what you value, and how you live those values in your everyday life.
Some business schools want to know about the impact you will have on their program and pose a question that asks you to describe a time when you demonstrated leadership. This will involve discussing why you took on the leadership role in your chosen situation and your leadership impact.
Darden School of Business poses essay questions designed to gauge your leadership capabilities and the impact you’ll have on the program. As Dean of Admissions Dawna Clarke states, they are interested in “cultivating high impact leaders.”
It’s no surprise that one of their essay questions from a recent application cycle was, “Darden strives to identify and cultivate responsible leaders who follow their purpose. Please provide an example of a situation in which you have made a meaningful impact.”
Instead of writing a traditional essay, some business schools ask you to submit a video essay. The types of questions asked for a video essay can range from a short introduction to longer, multi-component questions.
Kellogg is one business school that uses video essays . They will ask you three questions. First up is an introduction, and the second is about your career goals and how Kellogg will help get you there.
The third question varies annually and is generally more randomized, so you and all the other applicants won’t necessarily respond to the same question.
How to Write a Great Business School Essay
Successfully writing business school essays is tricky. Many factors go into constructing a successful one. However, the top tips we’ve provided below outline how to write an MBA application essay that stands out from the crowd.
Pay Attention to Your Essay Structure
Blair Mannix , the Admissions Director at Wharton, noticed successful essays all had the same structure: the setup, the pivot point, and the future.
The setup is the opening of your essay, where you tell the admissions committee about who you are, what you do, and what you have learned so far.
The pivot point is where you shift from discussing what you already know and do to talking about what you would like to learn and how that will help you succeed. Mannix also describes this as a lightbulb moment, where something clicks, and you realize that if you had more education in one or two areas, you would be better at your job.
The final section of your essay is your opportunity to describe how gaining knowledge and skills in the area(s) you identified in the pivot point will help your career and why that specific MBA program will make this possible.
For essays that ask you to describe how you will contribute to the institution’s MBA community, Mannix states successful essays are personal, set up as a story, and show how your experiences resonate with the community.
Consider the Tone You Use While Writing Your Essay
It’s important to be genuine in your essay. Admissions committees want to know about you as a person and know if you’re being insincere or simply writing what you think they want to hear.
As Laurel Grodman from Yale School of Management states, your essay is an “opportunity to speak in your own voice about something meaningful and distinctive in your life.” Don’t waste this opportunity by writing about something you think will make you look better.
Write something that actually matters to you.
Authenticity is another key element to incorporate in your essay. Clarke recommends integrating aspects of your personality into your essay. For example, she suggests showcasing your creativity, humor, or any other attributes you possess. This allows admission committees to get to know you even better.
The Best MBA Essays Are School-Specific
At first, this seems like an obvious one; of course, writing a business school essay means writing about the business school itself. However, this is a great opportunity to show off your research and explain why you specifically want to attend this institution.
Have you looked into the school’s curriculum? Have you found which extracurricular opportunities you want to pursue if you are admitted? Are there any research centers that you want to become involved in?
Show how this school is the ideal stepping stone to help you achieve your future ambitions. The University of Cambridge Judge Business School provides two MBA application essay examples that highlight the importance of this:
Example 1 - “The programme will equip me with an entrepreneurial toolkit, allowing me to efficiently evaluate and capitalise on future business opportunities, further bolstering my credibility with future stakeholders.”
Example 2 - “Upon completion of the MBA programme at Cambridge Judge Business School I want to be a decisive and successful business professional.”
The first example is far more compelling; it explains what the student will gain from the program and how they will use it to achieve future success.
Pick an Event or Situation That Matters to You
When you select your topic to write about in your MBA essay, you need to make sure it is something that had a significant impact on your life and resonates with you personally. This will help ensure your authenticity shows through.
Kellogg Director of Admissions Jennifer Hayes , says that “the best essays [she has] read have heart, are not over-edited, and let the applicant’s personality emerge.” This is best done when you do not force yourself to write something you think admissions directors want to read, but rather tell an organic story that carries significant personal meaning.
The Importance of Storytelling in MBA Essays
Business school admissions officers want to see how you approach traits like leadership and commitment in your MBA application essay. Yet, if you describe an experience and don’t reflect upon it, you will not highlight your mindset, dedication, and motivation.
The best writers outline the traits that business schools want to see by telling personal stories and anecdotes. But how can you do that? It’s simple — show how your experiences impacted you. Don’t just tell us about it.
Indeed, to use the idea of commitment as an example, Yale’s admissions committee “cares less about the commitment you choose and more about the behaviors surrounding the commitment.” They want to “come away learning something new about you as a person that helps us understand your values and motivations.”
Illustrating how your experiences affect your values and motivations is difficult; this process requires a lot of introspection and self-reflection. The trick is to use plenty of real-life examples and explain how they embody your values.
One way to successfully do this is to use the STAR technique . The STAR technique is split into four distinct steps:
- Situation - Describe the situation and when it took place.
- Task - Explain the task and what was the goal.
- Action - Provide details about the action you took to attain this.
- Result - Conclude with the result of your action.
Using the four steps outlined above, you can create concise, compelling answers to your essay prompts. Let’s use one of the Berkeley Haas essay prompts as an example for an MBA essay outline:
What makes you feel alive when you are doing it, and why? (300 words maximum) .
We can split this prompt into two sections:
- Describe an activity, hobby, or anything that makes you “feel alive” when you do it.
- Explain why you find so much enjoyment in this one thing.
Storytelling is key here, and the STAR technique can help you break down exactly what you want to say. Remember, it is important to reflect upon your experiences and, in this case, show why you enjoy something.
If you manage to do this in your essays and show how you achieved results along the way, you will submit a strong MBA application essay.
Plagiarizing Your MBA Essay
Plagiarism is a big deal.
Even if a student doesn’t intend to plagiarize someone’s work, colleges can and will detect it. If colleges detect plagiarism, they will likely reject the application outright; UCLA’s Anderson School of Management rejected 52 MBA hopefuls for application plagiarism.
Applicants can easily and accidentally plagiarize someone else’s work by following MBA essay examples too closely. Essay examples are useful, as they can inspire you and give you an idea of how you can reflect upon your experiences. However, someone has written that example about their own experience in their own words, and you can’t copy it.
If you are worried about plagiarism, the simple fix is to be original. After all, admissions committees want to hear about your experiences, motivations, and opinions.
Authenticity is also an extremely important part of writing well; you will come across as more genuine writing about your genuine thoughts and experiences. If you want to check your work, you can use reliable and low-cost plagiarism checker tools like PrePostSEO and Copyscape .
MBA Essay Examples
US News wrote an article on what makes for a successful MBA essay. They provided the following MBA entrance essay sample essays written by applicants recently admitted into highly reputable business schools.
This sample was written for Fox School of Business at Temple University .
This essay was well-received by the admissions committee because it was written clearly and concisely, free of grammatical errors, and told a story. The candidate showed their personality and explained why a Fox MBA would help them achieve their career goals.
This particular candidate was honest in their essay about their weaknesses and professional growth, which is generally well-received by admissions committees. The candidate detailed the initiative they had taken in learning about the MBA program at Fox and why they decided to apply.
This next successful essay sample was written for the Yale School of Management.
Similar to the previous example, this essay told a compelling story through a clear narrative. This particular essay began with an anecdote that demonstrated the candidate’s work ethic, initiative, leadership, and resourcefulness.
This show-don’t-tell essay displayed what was important to the applicant and offered the admission committee insight into their personality and values. It also provided as much detail as was possible, given the 500-word limit.
Don’t Rely Too Much on MBA Essay Examples
While MBA essay examples are valuable tools to see what got applicants into business school, they all have one problem: They are not yours. Other peoples’ essay examples don’t focus on your achievements, values, motivations, or experiences.
In their essays, originality and authenticity are two critical themes that business schools look for because your life is unique. Remember, MBA essay writing is all about getting to know you , and your essays should truly reflect who you are as a person.
MBA essay examples are useful. They can provide you inspiration, an idea of what can work, and outline how to discuss your own experiences. However, you need to draw a line in the sand and write your own essay at some point.
People are admitted to particular schools for a wide variety of reasons. While their essays are one of those reasons, what works for one person might not work for you. Try not to overthink it — write about your experiences, background, and, most importantly, opinion.
Mistakes to Avoid While Writing Your MBA Essay
In addition to following the steps for writing a great MBA essay outlined above, there are also some common mistakes you’ll want to avoid while writing your essay. These mistakes are listed below, along with solutions to fix them.
Submitting an Overly Complex Essay
Admissions committees don’t want to know how many buzzwords and how much industry-related jargon you know. They’re looking to find out about you as a person, not solely as a business person.
Committees may become frustrated if they have to decipher what you’ve written in your overly complicated essay, especially since your application isn’t the only one that needs reviewing.
The fix : Use your own words and write as if you were talking professionally to a coworker. That way, your essay will sound more straightforward and personal and allow you to make a better connection with your reader.
Not Reading the Essay Question Closely or Misunderstanding the Question
You need to know how to answer MBA essay questions. Misreading or misunderstanding the question will lead you to write an essay that completely misses what the admissions committee wants to learn about you.
This can lead to your application being discarded.
The fix : Find the keyword(s) in the question first. This will provide you with what the admission committee hopes to learn about you in the essay.
In the Types of MBA Essays section above, identifying terms such as “contribute,” “gain,” and “lead” shows what the admissions committee is looking for you to answer. It is also a good idea to seek clarification if you find the question confusing.
Restating Your Resume or Letters of Recommendation
Admission committees don’t want your essay to be a restatement of what’s already outlined in your business school resume and letters of recommendation . Your MBA essay should be unique and should tell a story that can’t be found elsewhere in your application.
The fix : Take some time to think about what you want to write about that answers the essay question and isn’t detailed anywhere else in your application. But suppose the moment or experience you want to write about is already included.
In that case, you could instead focus on a particular project and describe some of the challenges you encountered, how you overcame them, the project’s outcome, and what you learned from the experience.
Starting Your MBA Essay Close to the Deadline
Starting too close to the deadline means you won’t have enough time to put together a clear, concise, and expertly written narrative. If you’re rushed, you’re more likely to make simple mistakes.
The fix : Start planning your essay(s) as soon as the essay questions are made available. Take time to create an outline for each essay so you have a solid plan for when you start to write your draft.
By starting well ahead of the application deadline, you’ll give yourself plenty of time to write and revise without being crunched for time and stressed.
Giving Half-Baked Reasons for Attending Business School
Business school admissions committees use your essays to gauge your interest in their program and institution. So, if you are vague about your career plans and why you should get an MBA at a specific school, take the time to outline them.
Admissions officers want to see applicants who demonstrate clear and well-defined goals. So, do your college research and explain why you want to attend their program.
1. How Long Should My MBA Application Essay Be?
The length of your MBA essay will depend on the specific school; some schools allow up to 500 words, while others want a very short and to-the-point response of 150 words.
The length set out by the MBA program you’re applying to is an important consideration, and it is not a good idea to go over the word limit. Admissions committees want to see that you can follow instructions and are capable of writing succinctly. It will not reflect well on you to go over the allowed word count.
2. Is the MBA Essay Less Important Than My GPA and GMAT Score?
No, your MBA essay is at least equally as important as your GPA and GMAT score . While your GPA and GMAT scores are good indicators of your academic abilities, the MBA essay is the admission committee’s first opportunity to get to know you personally.
This is also the first impression you will make on the committee, so it’s imperative that you write a strong and compelling essay. Most business schools use a holistic approach to assessing applications, and your response to the essay question can determine whether you are a good fit for their program.
3. Is There an MBA Essay Guide for Reapplicants?
Many schools will require or suggest that reapplicants submit an additional essay.
This will vary by school, and it is important to check with each school’s website for the exact details of what’s expected of reapplicants. If it’s optional, it is a good idea to submit one because it allows you to explain how you’ve grown personally and professionally since your previous application.
4. Can I Use the Same Business School Essay if I’m Reapplying?
It’s unlikely you’ll be successful using the same essay since your response could have been the reason you were rejected the first time around.
It’s best to consult with an MBA admissions expert or mentor to find out where you went wrong and what you can do to make your reapplication essay strong and stand out in the best way possible.
5. How Do I Edit My MBA Essay Draft to Make It Better?
First of all, make sure there are no errors with your spelling, grammar, and syntax. Business schools want students with superb communication skills, and having basic errors in your MBA essay does not demonstrate that you have strong communication skills.
Then, you should go through the common mistakes outlined above and make sure those are not present in your essay; if they are, fix them. Seeking a second opinion from a friend, mentor, colleague, or MBA essay editing expert will also help locate errors or improvement areas.
6. How Can I Ensure My Business School Essay Stands Out?
Whether you are faced with the Wharton MBA essays , Harvard Business School essay , or Booth MBA essays , to name a few, there are a few things you can do to make your essay stand out.
The event or experience you choose to write about should be something you are able to write about in a compelling narrative. It should also be something you can write about with passion, which will allow the admission committee to see your genuine and authentic voice.
Your strengths should be woven in with the story you’re telling. These things will make your essay stand out to the admission committee and help them remember you.
Unlock Your Future with the Perfect Business School Essay
Knowing how to write a great MBA essay can be a challenging component of the business school application process.
But, if you know where to start, make an outline for each essay, and get expert assistance, the process becomes significantly more manageable. Following these steps will help you write a killer MBA essay.
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MBA Admission Essay Samples: What Successful Essays Look Like
Order MBA admission essay samples and learn everything you need to know about writing the perfect paper. The best writers on our team craft our samples. And, each example is formatted and edited to meet the expected standards across all top universities in the US. So, if you want to maximize your chances of acceptance into an MBA program, using a template here as your guide is a good idea.
What Are Some Characteristics of Our Samples?
How’s our sample MBA admission essay different from others on the internet? What can a student really expect from our samples? Any template you download here is unique as we craft all our samples ourselves. Other qualities that are synonymous with our samples include:
- High-quality standard;
- Professionally edited;
- Perfectly structured and formatted;
- Tailored for top US Business schools.
Download an Example, Hire an Editor, and Get a Shot at Business School
Get an essay for MBA admission sample by hitting order now. We’ve got a variety of professionally-written samples to help you fulfil your dream of becoming an MBA student. You can never go wrong with our admission essay template.
Once you have written a good paper based on our example, do make sure you get it edited. Errors in your writing can make an otherwise good piece annoying to read and worse, illegible. We have an experienced team of editors with the right set of skills to help polish your document to perfection. Give our template and editor us a try today.
MBA Admission Essay Samples PDF: Why Download Yourself an Example?
Our MBA admission essay samples PDF have helped numerous applicants polish up their essays. If you’re a student hoping to pursue an MBA at a top business school, these samples can help you too. But how is an example useful to a student like you?
A sample is a real writeup created in the required format and style. The writer, usually an expert in the application process, assumes the identity of a student in your position. So, a template from our collection is the perfect guide to writing a piece that dazzles.
Not everything about you should appear in your writing. Most often, a student will add details that are not relevant and leave out some that are important. So, how can you tell what to talk about and what to avoid?
Studying an example will help you overcome this hurdle. After studying two or three samples, you’ll have a clear idea of what your writeup should have to become impressive. So, a template shows a student everything from the right format and presentation to the content.
How a Student Can Use an Example Effectively
How can I use the essay for MBA admission examples? A template is a valuable learning resource, and if a student uses it correctly can be very beneficial. First, you should realize that an example is only a guide and does not eliminate the writing process.Instead, our example should help make writing so much easier for you. Once you’ve found an example you can work with, take time to look at it. Read and study the template in-depth before you begin writing your own. Try to answer the following questions:
- How has the paragraphs and sentences been structured in the example?
- How has the writer shown their unique qualities within the example?
- What’s the tone/ style used in the example?
- What is the average length of the samples you’ve gone through?
An MBA admission essay offers a compelling view of you as a prospective candidate for the program you are applying to. This essay is an integral part of the application as it must convince the reader that you are perfect for the chosen school. An unforgettable MBA admission essay with a unique voice will be distinguished by the admission officer.
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Business School Admission Essay Samples
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Wharton MBA Essay Examples
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Wharton MBA Essay Samples
Wharton looks for exceptional career trajectory, quantitative chops, and demonstrated leadership, teamwork, and interpersonal skills. In recent years, they have worked to deemphasize the GMAT so it’s not quite as rigid as it once was as in order to diversify class. With less emphasis on stats, the Wharton essays are essential to showcasing character and experiences.
Successful Examples of Wharton MBA Essays
Here’s a snapshot of the caliber of expertise on our SBC team .
HBS Admissions Board at Harvard Business School HBS MBA
HBS Admissions Board at Harvard Business School Kellogg MBA
Director HBS Admissions at Harvard Business School MBA, the Wharton School
HBS Admissions Board at Harvard Business School
Director HBS Admissions at Harvard Business School HBS MBA
Admissions Officer at Stanford's Graduate School of Business (GSB) MBA, Stanford's Graduate School of Business (GSB)
Asst Director MBA Admissions at Stanford's Graduate School of Business (GSB) Director MBA Admissions at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business
MBA, Stanford's Graduate School of Business (GSB) Minority Admissions, the GSB Diversity Programs, the GSB
Associate Director MBA Admissions at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
Associate Director MBA Admissions and Marketing at the Wharton MBA’s Lauder Institute
Director, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania Professional Writer
Assistant Director MBA Admissions at Columbia Business School (CBS) NYU Admissions
Assistant Director MBA Admissions at Columbia Business School (CBS) M.S.Ed, Higher Education, U of Pennsylvania
Associate Director MBA Admissions at Columbia Business School (CBS)
Ashley is a former MBA Admissions Board Member for Harvard Business School (HBS), where she interviewed and evaluated thousands of business school applicants for over a six year tenure. Ashley holds an MBA from HBS. During her HBS years, Ashley was the Sports Editor for the Harbus and a member of the B-School Blades Ice Hockey Team. After HBS, she worked in Marketing at the Gillette Company on Male and Female shaving ...
Kerry is a former member of the Admissions Board at Harvard Business School (HBS). During her 5+ year tenure at HBS, she read and evaluated hundreds of applications and interviewed MBA candidates from a wide range of backgrounds across the globe. She also led marketing and outreach efforts focused on increasing diversity and inclusion, ran the Summer Venture in Management Program (SVMP), and launched the 2+2 Program during her time in Admissions. Kerry holds a B.A. from Bates College and ...
A former associate director of admissions at Harvard Business School, Pauline served on the HBS MBA Admissions Board full-time for four years. She evaluated and interviewed HBS applicants, both on-campus and globally. Pauline's career has included sales and marketing management roles with Coca-Cola, Gillette, Procter & Gamble, and IBM. For over 10 years, Pauline has expertly guided MBA applicants, and her clients h ...
Geri is a former member of the Admissions Board at Harvard Business School (HBS). In her 7 year tenure in HBS Admissions, she read and evaluated hundreds of applications and interviewed MBA candidates from a diverse set of academic, geographic, and employment backgrounds. Geri also traveled globally representing the school at outreach events in order to raise awareness for women and international students. In additio ...
Laura comes from the MBA Admissions Board at Harvard Business School (HBS) and is an HBS MBA alumnus. In her HBS Admissions role, she evaluated and interviewed hundreds of business school candidates, including internationals, women, military and other applicant pools, for five years. Prior to her time as a student at HBS, Laura began her career in advertising and marketing in Chicago at Leo Burnett where she worked on th ...
Andrea served as the Associate Director of MBA Admissions at Harvard Business School (HBS) for over five years. In this role, she provided strategic direction for student yield-management activities and also served as a full member of the admissions committee. In 2007, Andrea launched the new 2+2 Program at Harvard Business School – a program targeted at college junior applicants to Harvard Business School. Andrea has also served as a Career Coach for Harvard Business School for both cu ...
Jennifer served as Admissions Officer at the Stanford (GSB) for five years. She holds an MBA from Stanford (GSB) and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Jennifer has over 15 years experience in guiding applicants through the increasingly competitive admissions process into top MBA programs. Having read thousands and thousands of essays and applications while at Stanford (GSB) Admiss ...
Erin served in key roles in MBA Admissions--as Director at Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and Assistant Director at Stanford's Graduate School of Business (GSB). Erin served on the admissions committee at each school and has read thousands of applications in her career. At Haas, she served for seven years in roles that encompassed evaluation, outreach, and diversity and inclusion. During her tenure in Admissions at GSB, she was responsible for candidate evaluation, applicant outreach, ...
Susie comes from the Admissions Office of the Stanford Graduate School of Business where she reviewed and evaluated hundreds of prospective students’ applications. She holds an MBA from Stanford’s GSB and a BA from Stanford in Economics. Prior to advising MBA applicants, Susie held a variety of roles over a 15-year period in capital markets, finance, and real estate, including as partner in one of the nation’s most innovative finance and real estate investment organizations. In that r ...
Dione holds an MBA degree from Stanford Business School (GSB) and a BA degree from Stanford University, where she double majored in Economics and Communication with concentrations in journalism and sociology. Dione has served as an Admissions reader and member of the Minority Admissions Advisory Committee at Stanford. Dione is an accomplished and respected advocate and thought leader on education and diversity. She is ...
Anthony served as the Associate Director of MBA Admissions at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he dedicated over 10 years of expertise. During his time as a Wharton Admissions Officer, he read and reviewed thousands of applications and helped bring in a class of 800+ students a year. Anthony has traveled both domestically and internationally to recruit a ...
Meghan served as the Associate Director of Admissions and Marketing at the Wharton MBA’s Lauder Institute, a joint degree program combining the Wharton MBA with an MA in International Studies. In her role on the Wharton MBA admissions committee, Meghan advised domestic and international applicants; conducted interviews and information sessions domestically and overseas in Asia, Central and South America, and Europe; and evaluated applicants for admission to the program. Meghan also managed ...
Amy comes from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where she was Associate Director. Amy devoted 12 years at the Wharton School, working closely with MBA students and supporting the admissions team. During her tenure at Wharton, Amy served as a trusted adviser to prospective applicants as well as admitted and matriculated students. She conducted admissions chats with applicants early in the admissions ...
Ally brings six years of admissions experience to the SBC team, most recently as an Assistant Director of Admission for the full-time MBA program at Columbia Business School (CBS). During her time at Columbia, Ally was responsible for reviewing applications, planning recruitment events, and interviewing candidates for both the full-time MBA program and the Executive MBA program. She traveled both internationally and dome ...
Erin has over seven years of experience working across major institutions, including University of Pennsylvania, Columbia Business School, and NYU's Stern School of Business. At Columbia Business School, Erin was an Assistant Director of Admissions where she evaluated applications for both the full time and executive MBA programs, sat on the admissions and merit scholarship committees and advised applicants on which program might be the best fit for them based on their work experience and pro ...
Emma comes from the MBA Admissions Office at Columbia Business School (CBS), where she was Associate Director. Emma conducted dozens of interviews each cycle for the MBA and EMBA programs, as well as coordinating the alumni ambassador interview program. She read and evaluated hundreds of applications each cycle, delivered information sessions to audiences across the globe, and advised countless waitlisted applicants.
As a Wharton MBA, I plan to seek opportunities that exploit my strengths contributing to team environments. First, I thrive in settings where I can leverage my broad knowledge base and strong analytical foundation to help solve problems across a number of functions. Similarly, my empathetic style of leadership has been effective in engaging a range of perspectives and voices towards a common goal. Both aspects position me uniquely to take on roles where I can bridge Wharton with the surrounding community.
Dance education is an initiative I’m highly motivated to support, as dance has been an amazing therapeutic outlet for me. The countless hours I’ve spent bhangra dance moves have been both highly meditative and endlessly entertaining. Dance is also perhaps the most powerful unifier of people I’ve ever experienced. All personal differences seem to wash away when people can join around their common love of dance. While at Wharton, I plan to combine my appreciation for performance and excitement to engage with the community by working with Wharton Dance Studio, which brings Wharton students together in a broad variety of styles and and cultures, for events such as the Wharton Dance Studio & India Club’s joint Bollywood Fusion Diwali Dance Workshop. Whether teaching, organizing live events for the community, or even taking the stage as a dancer myself, I am excited about the range of ways I can spread the joy of movement through the Wharton Dance Club.
Another area of personal interest where I intend to contribute meaningfully to the Wharton community is golf. I played golf extensively growing up, but talents lie less on the fairway and more in the front-office. For years, I have maintained an avid interest in the advanced analytics of golf as a scouting / decision-making tool, even going so far as to create my own statistical models. As a widget industry professional, I’ve become well-versed in the emerging technology companies advancing the applications of data analytics to the golf handicap industry. Working with the Wharton Golf Club, I am eager to help lead the Wharton team competing at the MBA Masters tourney at Duke University and the annual Spring Scramble, and I would love to organize teams of Wharton golfers to work with inner-city Philadelphia high school and collegiate kids, helping to promote the adoption of advanced golf statistical handicapping to elevate athletic performance at the amateur level.
My short-term post-MBA goal is to join the Strategy and Operations team at a widget tech firm such as well-known-companies-that-recruit-at-Wharton A and B, to gain experience in creating growth opportunities in digital widgets. Long-term, I hope to become the COO of a widget-tech firm and drive the expansion of widget inclusion, particularly in REGION X where I grew up.
Widget inclusion is in a state of disarray, both in the United States and around the world. While going to college in COUNTRY X, I learned about the struggles migrant workers faced in accessing the widget services they needed. Foreign domestic helpers and construction workers told me how difficult it was to do xxx, yyy or zzz in countries where they lacked institutional ties. I became interested in Widget-tech after seeing widget-tech companies’ potential for expanding inclusion and widget literacy issues.
The Wharton MBA will prepare me to become a leader in the widget-tech industry. In my consulting experience at CONSULTING GIANT X, I have worked primarily with traditional widget manufacturing corporations, and developed expertise in improving risk management operations. I want to use the Wharton MBA to build on my experience while learning about managing operations more holistically across an organization, and developing relationships and expertise in the widget-tech industry.
Wharton’s Strategic Management major and elective offerings will help me succeed in a strategic and operational role. STUDENT 1 (Wharton’2X), recommended the course “Managing the Established Enterprise,” which provides frameworks on generating value and competitive advantages. “Technology Strategy,” taught by Professor Rahul Kapoor, will help me apply this knowledge to the widget industry specifically. Learning more about Professor Kapoor’s research on managing emerging technologies will also help me understand the market applications of new widget technologies.
Beyond the classroom, I will gain hands-on experience through participating in an Independent Study Project with the Widget Center for Innovation. STUDENT 2 (Wharton’2X) told me about her project identifying opportunities for technological innovation for Widgets Inc. Projects like these will provide me with new real-world insight into how technology is transforming conventional widgeting models.
I also plan to use Wharton’s Widget-tech Club to build ties in the widget industry. I will benefit from the community-building event and content development support the club facilitates. I am particularly interested in Career Treks related to digital widgets and manufacturing, and the annual widget-tech Conference. Listening to speakers such as Famous Executive, Strategy and Operations Lead at Widgets-R-Us, who spoke at the 2022 Conference, I will learn from industry leaders who are in roles I someday hope to inhabit. Current club member STUDENT 3 also told me about the club’s focus on member education and how it helped him communicate effectively when networking with widget-tech firms. The weekly lunch-and-learns and alumni fireside chats offered by the club will also deepen my content expertise and credibility in the widget industry.
Speaking with students and alumni showed me the supportive nature of Wharton’s community and I look forward to leveraging Wharton’s global network throughout my career in the widget industry.
When I was in my freshman year of high school, I signed up for the girl’s [sport] team. However, as the tryouts neared, I got cold feet; I had only played [sport] for one year prior to ninth grade. The high school coach was also my gym teacher, and she knew I was supposed to go out for the team. I could not imagine telling her that I had gone back on my word, so I dragged myself to the first practice.
That turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made. My coach gave us individualized cards before every game with that day’s goals—evidence of how deeply she cared for her players. I was a starting player by my sophomore year, and she would make me yell out directions to organize my teammates. This included telling the seniors who to cover, which was intimidating. Her confidence in me translated into confidence in myself, and I went on to play for her in the state championship game my junior year. We were not the most-skilled team in the state, but preparation, dedication and hard work helped us achieve a better record than we would have otherwise.
I continued to play in college, where my experience was completely different. At [College], we barely had enough players to field a team my senior year, so we had to recruit from the women’s [sport] and [sport] teams and other athletic friends. Learning to compete with an eclectic group of women with drastically different skill levels was a challenge. But remembering how to motivate individuals and focus on strengths helped me to succeed as captain.
My experience playing [sport] has shaped my career thus far by helping me to find ways to win in the competitive world of sales and trading and equity research. I know it will affect my contributions to the Wharton community as well. By trying out for the team my freshman year, I learned that I need to put myself out there—even if it’s uncomfortable—to gain new experiences and grow individually. I will be very active in on-campus groups, like Women in Business and Wharton’s Fintech club. Given all of the opportunities to get involved in business school, I understand the dedication it takes to get things like the Women’s Summit across the finish line. [Sport] also taught me how to empower individuals and work with a diverse group of people. By recognizing each person’s strengths, I will not only bring my Learning Team together, but also contribute to a greater sense of togetherness across the teams I am a part of at Wharton.
Finally, I would also like to contribute to the greater Wharton community by helping to coach [sport] locally in Philadelphia. I believe extending my network beyond Wharton’s walls will strengthen my leadership development, and I hope to inspire confidence in other young girls who are just beginning to think about their careers.
I am an avid runner, and am empowered by the physical feats my body is capable of. I share this outlet by volunteering with [Nonprofit], a [Description of Nonprofit]. Most recently, I [Description of achievement]. Reaching this milestone together required teamwork, leadership and commitment to action, all of which I will bring to the Wharton community.
As a team of mentors, we were charged with leading participants through a 10-week training program prior to our big event. Each week, we integrated our different professional backgrounds to appeal to the members’ diverse personalities. May, an outdoor adventure leader, was accustomed to exerting control in chaotic environments and expertly channeled energy into physical activity. June, a special event planner who is used to calming her clients in high-stress environments, easily dug into people’s underlying emotions to understand their excitement or concerns for race day. On my Wharton Learning Team, I will leverage this same collaborative approach to tackling challenges — actively contributing my own perspective and encouraging my teammates to do the same, all while pushing the group to integrate our ideas into the strongest possible response.
As we prepped the girls for the event, I gained a deeper appreciation for how passion develops leadership. I am passionate about our work, but I feel even more strongly about using it to empower the younger community. This heightened sense of purpose motivated me to work through challenges and help our members reach their goals. As a member of Wharton’s PE/VC Club and Wharton Women in Business, I will use my passion for improving businesses through investment and promoting women’s leadership to enhance the clubs’ respective communities and execute events. I am particularly eager to serve as Co-President of Wharton Women in Business and work with my team of Co-Presidents to host the Wharton Women’s Summit.
Finally, inspired by a member of my [Nonprofit] team, I will promote a commitment to action while at Wharton. AAA had struggled to gain her parents’ support during the season, but nonetheless continued to compete with a quiet determination. The day before our big event, she confided in me that she had been apprehensive about being able to do it, knowing that her parents would not be among the supporters. However, she also revealed her excitement to compete and to share in the success of her friends. Their collective hard work superseded her fears. Wharton’s campus celebrates the same type of commitment to action on behalf of others that AAA so maturely displayed that day. I will channel this practice by serving on the Deans’ MBA Advisory Council, deepening my understanding of the diverse initiatives of my peers, and then promoting their interests across the broader community. I aim to augment Wharton’s culture of sharing in each other’s successes, just as AAA did for our team.
In my Research role at [Company], I cover industrial companies that have been around for decades. I’ve noticed that in these organizations, the most exciting work is being done in the newer, software-led divisions. That’s why after graduation, I would like to expand my knowledge of new technologies in a digital transformation consulting role at a firm like Bain or BCG. Ultimately, I would like to be COO at a financial services or fintech company like PNC, Paypal, or Betterment.
To reach these goals, I hope to gain a better understanding of operations to complement my finance background. Classes in Wharton’s Operations, Information and Decisions department, such as “Information and Business Transformation” and “Enabling Technologies,” would provide a strong foundation and help me be in on the conversation about how businesses of the future will be run. Joining the Fintech club will increase my exposure to smaller growth companies and developing technologies, while allowing me to network with likeminded students.
Wharton can also help me develop the skills necessary to succeed in an upper-management position. I would take “Managing the Emerging Enterprise” to learn how to not only retain and attract talent, but also improve organizational processes. Further, I know I would benefit from taking classes with Adam Grant and Stew Friedman in particular. “Negotiations” would help me build a critical skill, and “Executive Leadership” would give me the tools to become a better leader inside and outside of work. I am also eager to learn how to encourage employees to bring their “whole self” to work.
I plan to network with [Alum] co-founder and CEO of [Company], and ask him about his experience running a fintech company and the impact his platform has had on smaller business.
[Alum], [Company] founder, is another alum I would like to connect with. I want to know how he grew his company and how customer demands have changed over the last few years as data analysis has become more mainstream. I am also interested in learning about investor’s openness to using this information to make investment decisions.
Finally, I intend to join Wharton Women in Business to network with classmates and industry leaders. I also hope to assist in organizing the Wharton Women’s Summit and bring inspiring female trailblazers to Philadelphia to share their experiences and accomplishments. I believe broadening my perspective through leadership expeditions and my classmates’ experiences will make me a more effective leader. Wharton’s diverse alumni network, leadership programs and faculty will help fill the gaps in my background and put me in the best possible position for a job in a digital consulting and ultimately for a COO role at a fintech or financial services company.
I love traveling to interview potential investment targets’ management teams; I have talked with executives at organic food producers, auto manufacturers, concrete block fabricators, and 30 other unique businesses. However, I have yet to encounter more than one woman serving in a senior-level position. I need a Wharton MBA to change this statistic.
In the short term, I will use my MBA to transition to a private equity investment role at a multinational investment firm like Carlyle, Blackstone or KKR. By capitalizing on Wharton’s advanced elective finance classes, I hope to sharpen my analytical proficiency and deepen my investment strategy knowledge.
I will complement the core’s rigor with electives such as The Finance of Acquisitions and Buyouts, which will expose me to real-world investment scenarios and improve my understanding of nuanced transaction-related details. Further, Wharton’s Learning Team model will enhance my perspective as I work with my team to incorporate our diverse backgrounds into problem solving. As [Alum] has proved, Wharton is unmatched in developing well-rounded investors and teammates.
Ultimately, I hope to leverage the leadership skills I develop at Wharton to land an executive position in the private equity division of a global investment firm. I intend to use my platform to campaign for the promotion of women to leadership positions across the industry. Through courses such as William Lauder’s Decision-Making in the Leadership Chair, I will have direct exposure to C-suite professionals and learn how to both position myself for a similar role and overcome challenges once in the position.
At the Diverse Perspectives on the Wharton MBA event in NYC, [Alum] recommended Stew Friedman’s Total Leadership to learn how to think about personal and professional fulfillment. I developed a greater appreciation for the role fulfillment can play in women’s career decisions while serving on a women’s initiative task force at [Company]. This course will be instrumental in achieving my future goal of campaigning for more female industry leaders.
I also intend to put classroom lessons into practice by serving as a Venture Fellow. I am intrigued by [Alum]’s role as a Fellow for the Andes Leadership Venture, which she detailed during conversation at an Admissions event in NYC. Just as she applied learnings from this experience to her role at the [Organization], I will do the same as an executive within a global investment firm.
Wharton’s clubs will further contribute to my development. Wharton Women in Business will serve as an excellent platform to refine my knowledge of women’s professional challenges across industries, and the Wharton Private Equity & Venture Capital Club will expose me to the diverse investment backgrounds of my peers. I also intend to serve as a Co-Chair for the PE/VC Conference, and I will use the opportunity to expand my network within the investment industry.
Wharton will help me develop the nuanced thinking and bold leadership necessary to incite change for women across the financial services industry.
My long-term goal is to combine my experience in finance and my passion for technology by starting and leading a technology company in China as a CFO. I developed an appreciation for technology companies during my time with Firm Q. I always believed they help to boost innovative ideas and make great products affordable to people from all walks of life. When I later moved to Bank, I got to know these companies more in-depth through working in the leading technology research team. I came to understand that business and innovation often go hand in hand. I want to lead a technology start-up of real social impact and propel innovation with the power of finance.
To achieve this goal, I intend to first earn an MBA and then work in Investment Banking M&A covering the technology sector in a major bank such as Goldman or Morgan Stanley after graduation. Working in the primary market would allow me to look at the technology industry from a different angle and help me be more prepared for my ultimate goal of building one of these companies.
Wharton gives me access to the tools I will need to succeed. Distinguished alumni such as Person 1 and Person 2 have spoken at length about their Wharton experiences. At Wharton, I will not only gain the knowledge needed for a leadership role in a tech start-up, but also attain deeper understanding of finance and how it functions inside and outside start-ups. Courses such as Venture Capital and Finance of Innovation, International Corporate Finance, Entrepreneurship through Acquisitions, and Enabling Technologies will provide me with insights into how finance connects with technology start-up companies in a global setting.
The role I envision for myself is that of a CFO. However, startups don’t often have the luxury of a full executive suite so I will need to sharpen my leadership and knowledge application capabilities. Speaking with ’17 student Tracy and attending info sessions, I got excited about Wharton’s broad array of courses and extra-curricular activities that emphasize leadership. Courses such as Managing the Emerging Enterprise and the Executive Coaching and Feedback Program will be central to developing my leadership skills. Besides, the Mack Institute for Innovation Management is an excellent platform for me to apply knowledge learned in management courses and develop practical approaches. In addition, I am extremely interested in the Global Immersion Program, which could offer me valuable insights through practical experience of direct interaction with local business leaders, managers, and government officials.
Outside the classroom, I will take leadership roles in the Technology club and Entrepreneurship club, where I will connect with students of similar belief and passion. Moreover, the strong Wharton alumni network in China also sets a solid foundation for my long-term career development.
Wharton is the school that not only helps me achieve my short-term goal, but also prepares me for my long-term goal by providing knowledge across subjects, leadership and immersive application training, extra-curricular activities, and community.
When I was twelve, I traveled alone to California to visit my mom’s former colleagues. While enjoying my first cup of Starbucks, I introduced Chinese traditions such as green tea and Beijing opera into these foreigners’ lives. As a Chinese girl who inherited traditional cultural values yet has also obtained a global viewpoint from living in Hong Kong and many visits to the U.S., I will contribute to Wharton by blending the western and eastern cultures and enhancing communication between both sides.
In the classroom I will contribute my deep accounting and finance knowledge and insights into the technology industry such as Apple’s supply chain competitive landscape. My international background and global perspective will allow me to provide the class with fresh angles to approach problems. In learning groups I will contribute to discussion and teamwork by playing various roles including teammate, motivator, and leader. My previous experience working with international teammates at Firm A and Bank Z strengthened my teamwork and communication skills.
In student clubs, I will contribute through taking a leadership role in the Technology Club and leveraging my contacts with technology companies and experts. For example, I could invite the CEO of StartUp Q, a leading Chinese artificial intelligence player, to talk about AI development trend. I will also join the Asia club as an officer and help with organizing the annual Asian Business Conference. I successfully organized the ABC Conference under the competition started by Wharton and the World Bank. I also attended the Harvard JKL Conference as a delegate. These experiences make me prepared to lead and contribute to the club. As an experienced student club leader, I will use my skills to identify merits in each teammate, utilize their strengths, and motivate the team.
Lastly, I want to contribute through community service. Specifically, I will apply to the Wharton Nonprofit Board Leadership Program. My commitment to community service started during college when I founded a social enterprise aimed at helping underprivileged families in Hong Kong bringing their handcrafted products to market. I worked at a Non Profit, 123 Health, on the project planning team at Uni. I am ready to contribute, and also excited to learn more Board skills at Wharton.
My perspective has been shaped by experiences spanning three different countries, and I am committed to sharing my unique experiences with the diverse Wharton community.
My long-term plan is to launch a company focused on providing solutions that allow teachers to tailor academic content to students based on their individualized needs. I have been involved in the education sector for many years, as a tutor throughout high school and college, and currently as a board member for Los Angeles Teach for America. I have long been interested in educational technology given its potential to dramatically alter the engagement level and overall learning process for students and enhance the education system. To achieve this goal I first need an MBA and an initial strategic planning role in an early stage education technology company, such as ABC Learning or Real Knowledge, where I will gain more experience in the industry, develop better cross-functional skills, and learn how to build a young business. Wharton is the first step on my journey.
While my undergraduate education and professional experiences have provided significant practice in the fields of finance and accounting, I will expand that exposure at Wharton across the full spectrum of other business functions such as strategy, sales and marketing, and operations. Courses such as Professor Siggelkow’s Strategy and Competitive Advantage will teach me to build competitive advantage for an enterprise through strategic decision-making, a key topic to meet my near-term career objectives. Entrepreneurial-focused learning like the Formation and Implementation of Entrepreneurial Ventures class will help as well, as I’ll learn to build and implement an effective start-up business model. Outside of the classroom, Wharton’s Entrepreneurship Club will offer exposure to different ideas and business plans developed by classmates, provide the opportunity to connect with alumni and learn from their entrepreneurial experiences, and serve as a network for potential funding sources down the road. Across both classroom and extracurricular activities I am excited to learn from the varied and diverse experiences of my peers in the Wharton community and benefit from their unique perspectives.
Personally, a Wharton MBA will further enhance my softer management and leadership skills. I am excited to take Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership which will allow hands-on development and application of these skills from the very beginning in Pre-Term. I also plan to serve as a Board Fellow in the Nonprofit Board Leadership Program, which will combine an interactive leadership learning opportunity with the ability to give back to local non-profit organizations – a continuation of the non-profit board work I have enjoyed over the last several years. Taking on a leadership role in the Entrepreneurship Club will give me additional experience leading a group of my peers and increase my engagement in the entrepreneurial community at Wharton. Lastly, I look forward to developing strong relationships with classmates during the program and with other Wharton alumni more broadly. The unique talents of classmates and global reach of Wharton’s deep alumni network will provide an invaluable source of ideas, resources and guidance throughout my career and entrepreneurial endeavors. Ultimately, Wharton serves as the ideal platform for me to continue my professional and personal development to achieve my career goals.
To me, academic engagement encompasses the whole Wharton learning community. I see myself contributing through the classroom, clubs and volunteer organizations.
In the classroom, I will help my learning group going through the fixed core because of my academic background and my professional experience in finance and consulting. My college coursework includes honors econometrics along with undergraduate and graduate level courses in regression analysis. This background will allow me to help my group as we go through Regression Analysis for Managers. Additionally, my professional experience will be valuable in Marketing Management which covers customer segmentation and pricing strategy, among other topics. As a consultant, I worked on several growth strategy projects based on customer segmentations. At ABC Private Equity, I helped develop pricing strategies for various businesses including a dental lab, a chain of ambulatory surgery centers and a software company. My professional experience will help me contribute to classroom discussion in elective courses outside the fixed core. For example, I plan to take Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. At ABC Private Equity, I negotiated reimbursement rate increases with health insurance companies and a multi?company deal for document printing services with a print vendor.
I also plan to contribute through leadership roles in student clubs such as the Healthcare Club. I believe that I could leverage some of my contacts in the healthcare industry to help organize a speaker series for this group. I could reach out to Mike Jones , a former president of XYZ Healthcare, to speak about the implications of healthcare reform legislation. I am working closely with Mike to develop a reimbursement management strategy for our clinical lab business.
I would also seek an officer position with the Technology Club. My experience creating web applications including a procurement management app and a pricing calculator for a dental business will make me a valuable addition to that club; I can help students from non?technical backgrounds become conversant in programming concepts.
Finally, I would like to contribute through volunteer activities. I will apply to the Wharton Nonprofit Board Leadership Program, and hope for a board position at a nonprofit focused on child/teen education. I firmly believe in the value of education and this has led me to help educate others. This started in college, where I worked as a calculus teaching assistant and continues today. I currently volunteer, through DEF Scholars, as a mentor helping underprivileged high school seniors apply to college. I also volunteer with XYZ Tutoring, a nonprofit providing free ACT prep to Chicago Public School students. At XYZ, I lead a team of three programmers building a web portal for students to take practice tests.
Wharton brings together students from diverse backgrounds to create a pool of complementary knowledge, talent and connections that all can draw from to accomplish their goals. Everyone must be willing to give into the pool. I value this dynamic and am committed to contributing.
Professionally, I want to further develop skills needed to achieve my career goals. My short term goal is to join a corporate strategy team at a large healthcare company. Subsequently, I would transition into a management role at one of that company’s business units. I would then pursue a CEO position at a mid?size healthcare IT business such as Vitera Solutions. I grew up close to someone with a chronic illness. This situation created turmoil in my family and eventually led to my parents divorce. The condition eluded effective treatment until one doctor found a combination of six drugs that brought the symptoms under control. This experience motivated me to pursue a career in healthcare and particularly healthcare IT, where data mining can be used to identify novel treatment combinations. To reach my career goals, I need to refine my leadership and analytical skills.
Ive demonstrated leadership potential through projects inside and outside of work but need to further develop as a leader to be highly effective in corporate strategy, as a manager, and as a CEO. I would accomplish this at Wharton through coursework and extracurricular activities. Specifically, I would take courses focused on leadership including Executive Leadership and Advanced Persuasion. Outside the classroom, I would take advantage of the Executive Feedback and Coaching Program. I would also participate in the Tall Ship Sailing leadership venture, first as a participant and then, hopefully, as a venture fellow.
At Wharton, I would improve analytically by learning to better apply academic theory to business problems. I studied economics and mathematics at the University of Chicago. Whereas Wharton’s philosophy is Knowledge for Action, the University of Chicago’s could best be described as Knowledge for Theory. This training gap has prevented me from fully utilizing economics/statistics to solve business problems. I would address this at Wharton through collaboration with other students and faculty on research projects. For example, I would apply for a Mack Institute Research Fellowship to explore novel ways to use patient data to improve healthcare outcomes.
Personally, I want to make close friends who share my interest in business. I met most of my close friends in college. Very few went into business. I could build similarly close relationships with other students at Wharton through my core learning group and student clubs. I have been impressed with the professional aptitude and personal qualities of the Wharton alums that I have met in my career and would be excited to build friendships with others like them. As an example, I worked on a project with John Smith (WG 99), an executive at CDE Medical. John is not only one of the smartest guys I have ever met, he is also one of the nicest.
Wharton is the only program that can help me attain my professional and personal goals: developing skills inside and outside the classroom to be an executive of impact, and forming networks and lasting friendships with like?minded individuals.
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