MBA application essay tips

While MBA program admissions directors consider an applicant’s GMAT scores and academic track record, their goal is to get to know a potential student beyond the numbers. That’s why the essay component is an important—and enjoyable—opportunity for you to practice some self-reflection and state why you’re a uniquely strong candidate. 

With the goal of clarifying the essay writing process and easing some of the stress associated with it, here are some tips to keep in mind as you start writing 

Be a storyteller in your application essay 

The application essays are your story to tell. This is your shot to explain motivations and display your commitment and enthusiasm. Make sure you are presenting a consistent picture of who you are, what you have done and what you want to achieve.  

Be concise on why you want to go to business school and how you think the program specifically will help you in achieving your goals. Some people may feel that they are not able to fully express themselves given the essay word limit, but take it as an opportunity to focus on what is truly important and relevant to the question asked of you. 

While essay questions will vary by school and by year, they will often share some core objectives. 

Common questions of MBA essays 

Essay questions frequently fall along the lines of 

What are your values, passions and experiences?  

This type of question—perhaps worded along the lines of “What do you want to be remembered for?” or “What’s an experience that’s shaped you?”—is your opportunity to think about the interests that define you and the experiences that have shaped you.  

What are some of the tough choices you have made? Is there any aspect of your heritage that you are proud of? How you have made a difference in your community?  

With this type of question, it’s good to remember not to rehash your CV. Instead, be authentic and passionate in your writing. 

What are your post-MBA goals?  

Here’s the chance for applicants to express their personal objectives and illustrate how an MBA help them get there. 

There are two key things to remember when writing this type of essay:  

  • Be concise  
  • Be specific  

Your goal here is to express concrete career goals. You also shouldn’t hesitate to mention and describe target roles and companies. Going further, how do these goals fit with your values? And what impact do you hope to bring to potential organizations or sectors? 

Applicants pursuing a career change should detail the skills they already possess and how an MBA program will bridge the gaps in the way of a successful professional pivot. Here, you’re encouraged to identify relevant program offerings as well as clubs, classes and career treks that reaffirm why you are applying.  

Scholarship essay advice 

How do you plan to finance your MBA? Why do you think you deserve a scholarship? 

Pursuing your MBA is a big investment and it is essential to have a solid financial plan with contingencies. Applicants often combine various financing options including personal or family savings, public or private loans and scholarships. It is important to consider the feasibility of your financial plan and provide good reasoning to support your scholarship application.  

The IESE MBA program offers an array of scholarships. But highlighting your motivation and commitment to joining the school and emphasizing how you can further contribute to the school community is always advisable.  

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