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MBA Essays Examples: How to Ace Your MBA Application

MBA Essay Sample Questions

Beginning the journey of MBA program admissions, prospective students encounter the pivotal aspect of MBA essays. These essays hold immense significance, constituting a  substantial 15% weightage in the application process.

Acting as a gateway to the admissions committee, MBA essays provide a unique platform to convey one's journey, aspirations, and distinguishing qualities. At the heart of the MBA application process lies the MBA essay—a canvas where applicants portray their narrative, aspirations, and individual attributes. 

How Many Types of MBA Essays Are There?

Preparing to commence on the journey of crafting your MBA essays is akin to gearing up for an adventure—a voyage into self-discovery and professional aspirations. With each essay, you have the opportunity to unveil a different facet of your narrative, presenting a comprehensive picture of who you are and what you aspire to achieve. 

Here's a breakdown of why essays for MBA Program are so crucial and how to approach them.

  • A Personal Introduction
  • Showcasing Your Fit and Potential
  • Highlighting Your Experience and Goals
  • Demonstrating Your Communication Skills
  • Reflecting Your Authenticity
Essay Type What It’s About
Personal Statement Sharing your unique story, values, and what makes you stand out.
Why an MBA/Why this School Explaining how an MBA fits into your career plans and why you’ve chosen a specific school.
Behavioral/Other Showcasing your achievements, skills, and how you handle challenges through real-life examples.

What Key Elements will Lead to Successful MBA Essays?

When writing your MBA essays, it's really important to talk about a few key things: what you want to do in your career, your leadership experiences, how you've grown personally, what you've achieved, and how you can add value to the MBA program.

Each of these areas tells the school something special about you, like your goals, how you lead, how you've overcome challenges, and what you'll bring to the table.
 

Elements Tips
Career Goals
  • Clearly define short-term and long-term goals.
  • Mention about the industry, function, geography, company size and/or mission.
  • Explain why an MBA is essential to achieving these goals.
  • Link how you will utilize this degree to create a positive impact impact on the community/society.
Leadership Experience
  • Detail leadership roles and the impact made.
  • Illustrate with examples where you led a team or project.
Personal Growth and Achievements
  • Share success or failure experiences that have led to personal or professional growth.
  • Reflect on what you learned from these experiences.
  • Include your most memorable achievement.
Contribution
  • Discuss potential contributions to the MBA program and student community.
  • Examples include unique professional expertise, diverse cultural perspectives, or leadership in community service.
  • Illustrate what initiatives would you take to create an inclusive environment.

Let’s look at each of these elements of MBA essays and analyze what are the crucial key points we have to remember while writing these essays:

Career Goals

Its important to clearly describe your career goals, both short-term and long-term. Begin your MBA essays by mentioning where you see yourself working, the kind of job you aim for, and the type of company you wish to join. It's important to explain why you believe an MBA is essential for reaching these goals.

Some examples of essays focusing on  career goals are:

School Question
Oxford Business School Describe below your immediate plan after graduating from the MBA ( No-Limit)
Cambridge Judge Business School Please provide details of your post-MBA career plans. The statement should not exceed 500 words and must address the following: short and long-term career objectives; how the Cambridge MBA will equip you to achieve these; your short-term career goal research; confidence in meeting your short-term career goal; skills/characteristics you have to achieve them; and preparation you are doing now.
Ivey Business School What are your short-term career plans immediately post-MBA, and why is an Ivey MBA essential to those plans? (250 words)
London Business School What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School programme contribute towards these? (500 words)
HEC Paris

Why are you applying to the HEC MBA Program now? What is the professional objective that will guide your career choice after your MBA, and how will the HEC MBA contribute to the achievement of this objective? (500 words)

Booth School of Business How will a Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term post-MBA career() goals? (min 250 words)
ESCP Paris What are your career objectives and how do you expect the MBA to help you reach them? (500 words)

Leadership Experiences


Sharing your leadership experiences is key while writing your essays. Talk about times you've led a team or a project, focusing on the change or impact you made. It's not just about what you did but how you moved things forward.

This shows schools you have what it takes to lead in business, too. Each story in your MBA essays should highlight your skills and how you've grown as a leader, making your application stand out. 

Some questions based on leadership are:

School Question
HEC Paris MBA Leadership and ethics are inevitably intertwined in the business world. Describe a situation in which you have dealt with these issues and how they have influenced you. ( 250 words)
Columbia Business School MBA The Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership (PPIL) is a co-curricular program designed to provide students with the skills and strategies needed to develop as inclusive leaders. Describe a time or situation when you had the need to utilize one or more of these five skills, and tell us the actions you took and the outcome. ( 250 words)

UNC Full-Time MBA

Your response should be no longer than 500 words and should address the following question: Reflect on a project or initiative you were involved in that had a significant positive impact on a community, organization, or individual. How did this experience shape your sense of responsibility as a future leader dedicated to making a difference in the world?

Emory Two-Year MBA Leadership in Business: Goizueta Business School is a values-driven community with a mission to prepare principled leaders to have an influence on business and society.  Please tell us which of the Goizueta Core Values (Courage, Accountability, Integrity, Rigor, Diversity, Team, Community) resonates most with you and share a personal account of demonstrating leadership in this area within your current or previous company or service organization.  The committee is interested in a personal story of leadership. (200 word limit)

Personal Growth and Achievements

Writing about how you've grown and what you've achieved is really important. It shows you can learn from what happens to you and that you want to keep getting better. Talking about both success and failure shows you have a strong personality that can face any adversities and overcome them as well.

School Question
Ivey Business School Tell us about a challenge you have faced in your life, and what lessons you learned from it. ( 250 words)
INSEAD Give a candid description of yourself, 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)
NUS Business School How have people, events, and/or situations in your life influenced who you are today? ( 250 words)
ISB Provide an honest portrayal of yourself, emphasizing your strengths and weaknesses. Highlight the key elements that have shaped your personal journey. Give relevant illustrations as needed. ( 400 words)
Booth School of Business 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… ( min 250 words)
Cambridge Judge Business School What has been your most significant professional achievement? ( 200 words)
HEC Paris What do you consider your most significant life achievement? ( 250 words)

Contribution Essay

Talking about the unique things you bring to the table is crucial. You should share your special work skills, different cultural views, or how you've led community projects. Also, talk about how you plan to make everyone feel welcome and included in the MBA program. This shows you're not just there to learn; you're also ready to make the program better for others.

The contribution MBA essays are a great way for schools to assess what applicants might bring to the table. Some examples of such essays include:

School Question
Imperial MBA What will you contribute to Imperial's cohort and community? ( 1500 characters)
ESADE MBA How will your background, values and non-work-related activities enhance the experience of other ESADE MBA students and add to the diverse culture we strive for at ESADE? (Note: The goal of this essay is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have accomplished). (max 3 000 characters including spaces)
Darden MBA Please describe a tangible example that illuminates your experience promoting an inclusive environment and what you would bring to creating a welcoming, global community at Darden. (300 words)
Tepper MBA

The Tepper community is dynamic and unique with students who strive to be collaborative, supportive and inclusive. Please provide an example of when you experienced or created an inclusive environment and how you will use that experience to help members of the community reach their full potential.(Maximum 500 words, double spaced, 12 point font)

Optional Question

Before diving into the optional essay, it's important to decide if this extra part is right for you. You need to understand why the optional essay exists and be good at telling a convincing story to increase your chances of being accepted into your dream business school.

The optional essay is a chance for you to provide more information or context about your profile or background that the admissions committee may need. It gives you a chance to explain any problems like gaps in your work or study history, low exam scores, health issues, or big life events that have affected your path.

School Question
Fisher College of Business

The optional supplemental essay can be used to address any circumstances you'd like the Admissions Committee to be aware of (gaps in work history, explaining your quant ability through work experience, past academic performance, test waiver requests, etc.). This is a valuable opportunity to speak directly to the committee or highlight something not in the rest of your application. Students requesting a GRE/GMAT/EA test waiver may consider using this essay to clarify why they should receive a waiver. The admissions committee will utilize this in consideration of a waiver permission. (Maximum words: 500)

ESSEC Business School

You may choose to write about a subject of your choice  if you feel you have something additional to share. You may also use this space to write about any of the components of your candidature that you feel require additional information. (Word limit- 5000 characters)

Tuck School of Business Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere (e.g., atypical choice of references, factors affecting academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application. For advice on how this section is best used and when to refrain from using it altogether, (300 words)
HEC Paris Is there any additional information you would like to share with us? (no word limit)

How to Write Impactful MBA Essays?

mba essays

Successfully writing MBA 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

Pay Attention to Your Essay Structure

Every great MBA essay follows a structure: starting with your background, moving to a key change moment, and ending with your future plans. Begin by sharing about yourself, your work, and what you've learned. Then, talk about what you want to learn next and how it will help you grow. 

Consider the Tone You Use While Writing Your Essay

The admissions team wants to see the true you, not just what you think they want to hear. Talk about something that truly matters to you. Being authentic is crucial. Let your personality shine through by sharing your creativity, sense of humor, or any unique traits. This helps the admissions team know you better. 

The Best MBA Essays Are School-Specific 

When writing your essay for business school, it's more than just talking about the school itself. Use it as a chance to show you've done your homework. Mention specific parts of the school's program, clubs, or research centers you're excited about. Explain why this school is the perfect place for you to reach your goals. 
 
Following are the two MBA sample essays that highlight the importance of this: 

Example 1 – “The Cambridge MBA will equip me with the crucial skillset for this journey. Courses like Investments and Portfolio Management, Private Equity and Venture Capital, and Advanced Corporate Finance within the finance concentration will provide a solid foundation in leveraged buyout structuring, portfolio management, and corporate restructuring.”

Example 2 – “Upon completion of the MBA program at Cambridge Judge Business School, I want to be a successful entrepreneur.”

The first example is far more informative as compared to example 2; it explains what the student will gain from the program and how they will use it to achieve future success. 

Let Us Understand the Importance of Storytelling Essays

The MBA admissions team looks for your take on qualities like leadership and dedication in your MBA essays. Simply talking about an experience without reflecting on it won't show them your true character and drive. It's important to share what you learned from your experiences and how they've shaped your approach and commitment.

Talking about how your life events shape what you care about and aim for can be tough. It means looking deep inside yourself. The key is to share real stories and explain how these moments reflect what's important to you. This helps show who you really are and what drives you.

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 and how it impacted your life. 

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.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Essays

Common Mistakes to Avoid in MBA Essays

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

The admissions committees are not interested in how well you can use fancy words or business jargon. They want to get to know you as an individual beyond just your business skills. If your MBA essays are too complex, it can annoy the committee, especially since they have thousands to read.

The fix: Write your MBA essays clearly and straightforwardly, like you're speaking to someone you work with. This makes your writing more relatable and helps you form a stronger connection with the reader.

Not Reading the Essay Question Closely or Misunderstanding the Question

It is crucial for you to understand how to tackle MBA essay questions. If you misinterpret the question, you might end up writing an essay that doesn't show what the admissions committee is looking to find out about you.
 
This can lead to your application being discarded.

The fix: First, look for the keywords or idea in the question. This helps you understand what the admissions committee wants to learn about you through your essay.

In the Key Elements to include in the MBA Essays section above, identifying terms such as “contribution,” “growth,” and “leadership” shows what the admissions committee is looking for you to answer. 

Restating Your Resume or Letters of Recommendation

The admissions team doesn't just want to see a repeat of your MBA resume or LOR for MBA in your MBA essays. It should offer something new and tell a story only you can share, adding a unique layer to your application.

The fix: Spend time thinking about a unique topic for your essay that isn't mentioned elsewhere in your application. If you want to talk about something already included, focus on a specific project. Discuss the challenges, how you overcame them, the outcome, and what you learned. This approach makes your essay fresh and insightful.

Starting Your MBA Essay Close to the Deadline 

Starting too close to the MBA deadlines 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 deadline for the best MBA Colleges is generally around the end of the year to early months.

The fix: Begin planning your essays right after the questions are released. Take the time to outline each one, creating a clear plan for when you start writing your drafts. This helps you organize your thoughts and ensures you cover all necessary points.

Plagiarising Your MBA Essays 

Plagiarizing your essays can lead to rejection!!!

When working on tight deadlines, applicants can easily plagiarize someone else’s work by following MBA sample essays 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 colleges detect plagiarism, they will reject the application outright.

Here are some simple fixes to avoid plagiarism:

Tip Description
Wait a Day
  •  Let writing style ideas sink in for a day.
  • Reduces the chance of directly copying text.
Avoid Control C
  • Do not use copy and paste in your MBA essays.
  • Keep research materials out of reach while writing.
Footnote
  • Properly attribute any used sources.
  • Use footnotes for documentation if needed.
Plagiarism Tools
  • Use online plagiarism tools like Turnitin, Grammarly, Copyscape, and Plagscan

7 Tips for Creating the Best MBA Essays

mba essays

Here are some important things to remember when writing your MBA essays to get the admit in best MBA colleges in world.

1. Show who you are in a background essay

Take this chance to share what's important to you, how you've grown from challenges and critical moments that made you who you are. Everyone's story is different. Tell yours through examples to show what sets you apart. Explain why these experiences have led you to want an MBA now.
 

2. Show your direction in the goals essay

In your essays, show that you have a clear direction and purpose based on experience and planning. 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.

3. Use your optional essay to explain the negatives in your stats

If your college grades weren't great, use your essay to talk about what you learned from that time. It's okay to make mistakes, but how you handle them matters. Show you grew from the experience, which shows you're mature. Don't make excuses for the past; instead, show how you've changed for the better. This honesty and growth are what schools look for.

4. Say what you mean, and mean what you say

Admissions teams read lots of essays, so make yours clear and well-written to keep their attention. You can use stories and examples to back up your points and keep your essay engaging. Stay on topic and avoid adding unnecessary details. Also, don't just use big words or phrases you think they want to hear. If your essay lacks accurate content, it might seem like you do, too.

5. Find your passion

From the beginning, you have to catch the reader's interest and keep them engaged until the end, making them eager to meet you. Use a consistent theme throughout your essay. If you can talk about a passion that started in your childhood and how it's been part of your life in various ways, your essay will be engaging. 

6. Focus on your professional experience and achievements

Highlight your professional skills and successes, as well as personal accomplishments, in the MBA essays. 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.

7. Highlight your experience in your Executive MBA essays

If you're applying for an Executive MBA (EMBA), you're likely already working as a manager or executive with about eight years of experience. For this program, you need to keep working full-time while also doing well in your studies. Show that you're a strong leader with lots to offer, and explain why you need this degree.

Talk about your job, your big wins, and your skills. Share your future plans and how the EMBA will help you achieve them. Also, mention how you'll make a positive mark on the program's community.

Here Are Some Sample MBA Essays 

There are some following successful MBA sample essays was written for the Haas MBA Program:
 

mba essays

Question: How will an MBA help you achieve your short-term and long-term career goals? (300 words max)

Answer: 

The most rewarding aspect of my work in analytics has been contributing to product improvements that genuinely benefit our end users, and I am determined to make this the direct focus of my career. Post-MBA, I will work as a product manager in companies like Google Pay or Amazon Prime and use data-driven insights to build products that improve people's lives. I want to grow in this career path and eventually lead product strategy as a VP of Product. 

Due to my undergraduate degree in engineering, I have acquired strong technical knowledge. However, to achieve my career goals, I recognize the need to gain in-depth business knowledge. Therefore, through this MBA, I am eager to engage with the "Opportunity Recognition: Technology & Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley" course, which will help me develop the skills to learn about the prospects even within unfamiliar industries. In addition, this course will be crucial in enabling me to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of the technology sector with ease. Further, I believe that this coursework would be well complemented by experiential learning opportunities such as Haas @ Work, which will allow me to apply my learning through a practical, result-oriented program that goes beyond the constraints of a classroom. I am also excited to join the Technology Club, where I wish to build a strong network with like-minded people and gain industry experience. 

Useful Links

SOP Statement of Purpose for MBA

Conclusion

Knowing how to write great MBA essays 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.

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.

 

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. 

 

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.

 

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. 

 

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, you should always talk about your personal experiences. aspirations and goals.

Know Your Author
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Abhyank Srinet
Study Abroad Expert
Abhyank Srinet, the founder of MiM-Essay.com, is a globally recognized expert in study abroad and admission consulting.His passion lies in helping students navigate the complex world of admissions and achieve their academic dreams. Having earned a Master's degree in Management from ESCP Europe, Abhyank's expertise in data-driven marketing strategies has driven growth for some of the most competitive industries. As the founder of MiM-Essay.com, he has helped thousands of students get into top business schools with a strong emphasis on research, shortlisting, and applying to schools from a single platform. His dedication to education has also led him to create MentR-Me, a free-to-use social platform that simplifies the study abroad process for students, while providing universities with a powerful recruitment tool. As a leader in the field of admission consulting, he is constantly researching and implementing the latest strategies to ensure that his clients receive the best possible guidance. He leads the Business Development and Digital Marketing side of both companies, and has grown both ventures to 7 figure revenue.His unique insights, experience, and dedication to his clients make him a valuable resource for anyone seeking to advance their education or career.
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