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A Guide to “Why MBA?” and “Why Our Business School?” Essays

D uring your MBA application campaign, you will almost certainly be asked why you believe you need an MBA. Often, this question is not just about “Why MBA?” it is also asking why you want an MBA from that particular business school.

The “Why MBA” Essay is your chance to convince admissions officers that their school is the perfect fit for what you are looking for in an MBA program. The best essays are both personal and specific. You need to effectively convey what you are seeking from an MBA program and tell the admissions committee why their school will best meet your needs. This article takes a close look at the “Why Our Business School” Essay and provides you with the insights, tools, and examples you need to succeed.

First, we’ll talk about the common mistakes that applicants make when writing a “Why MBA” Essay and highlight resources for preparing better answers. We’ll also share the characteristics of an outstanding essay response. We’ll even provide you with a set of building blocks for crafting a unique and powerful essay of your own.

In the final section of this article, we analyze a sample “Why Our Business School?” Essay so that you see all of the principles in this article in action.

Common Mistakes in a “Why MBA” Essay

You might seriously undermine your chances for admission to a top-tier program with a weak or generic answer to the “Why MBA” question.

Effectively answering this MBA essay question begins with careful research to select which business schools to apply to. That work will take more than browsing the rankings and spending a few minutes on each program’s website. When admissions committees ask you why you are applying to their school, you need to explain at a deeper level what you’re hoping to gain from an MBA program and how that exact school best meets your needs.

Because so many applicants submit generic, flawed answers to the “Why MBA” question, it’s worth spending a few moments examining an ineffective essay response.

Here we have printed an example MBA essay written by an aspiring student who failed to read this article and follow our advice:

I am applying to your school because I need a thorough grounding in general management and the key business disciplines. In your program, I will have the opportunity to study with world-class professors, alongside ambitious students who have distinguished themselves as future leaders. Your school’s alumni network will open doors and prepare me for long-term success. In short, I couldn’t be more excited about spending the next two years in your program and would be honored if offered the opportunity to do so.

This would-be MBA will cut and paste this response into all of his MBA applications and assume that he’s adequately explained his motivations for applying for an MBA. Months later, he’ll scratch his head and wonder what went wrong when the “ding letters” start rolling in from business schools he hoped to attend.

But what’s wrong with this example essay? His reasons for applying to the school appear logical on the surface, and he’s written flattering things about the program.

To understand the problems with this sample essay, put yourself in an admissions officer’s shoes. Would this essay response convince you that the applicant knows what sets your program apart from the others? Has he proven that your school is an excellent fit with his specific career goals, academic needs, and cultural expectations?

An effective “Why MBA” essay begins with thoughtful research on the programs available. If you haven’t started your school research , then you have plenty of work to do before you begin outlining the contents of this kind of essay. Once you have chosen your target programs, you’ll need to dig deeper into the specific resources each program offers that make it a good fit.

Research Tips for “Why Our School” MBA Essays

Where can you go to generate valuable material for a “Why Our Business School?” MBA essay? Here are some sources you may not have considered:

Visit the School

School visits will provide you with first-hand observations that admissions officers appreciate. For example, in your essays and interview, you can reference students you met and things that stood out to you while visiting the school. However, don’t go overboard; if it feels like you are name-dropping or padding your answer, this strategy can backfire.

Join Official Email Distribution Lists and Read Admissions Blogs

Many MBA admission offices communicate regularly through traditional and new media channels. We recommend that you make every effort to stay on top of information the admissions office publishes. Be sure to add your email to the distribution list of each school on your target list so that you don’t miss important news and events.

Follow Student Blogs

An increasing number of MBA students are writing blogs to share their experiences in business school; while some are sanctioned by the admissions office, others are not. Do not overlook these opportunities to benefit from current students’ eye-witness accounts.

Talk to Current Students

An information source even more valuable than a student blog is a chat, whether on the phone or in person, with a current student. Many MBA students are happy to play the role of ambassadors for their program and give you the “inside scoop” on classes, clubs, and the student experience. Officers of student clubs related to your personal or professional interests are possible options if you don’t have friends or friends-of-friends in your network. Make sure to respect the time of everyone you speak to — they are very busy people. Think carefully about what you want to learn so that you can ask questions that will lead to great insights for your “Why MBA” essay.

Chat with Alumni

The school’s alumni network is one of the most critical assets of any MBA program. Many alumni are ready and willing to tell you more about their experiences and relive their days in the program by sharing them with prospective students. Search your professional networks (such as LinkedIn) for connections to alumni from the schools you will apply to and ask them if they would be willing to have a quick chat with you about their alma mater.

Once you’ve gathered this information, it’s time to start thinking about which data points to include and how to assemble them. To do this successfully, you need to know how to score top marks with the admissions officer reading your essay.

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How to Score Top Marks on the “Why MBA” Essay

The best answers to the “Why MBA” essay questions are both personal and specific. They are personal because they cover the unique challenges that you need to prepare for, given your short-term and long-term career goals. They are specific because they draw distinct connections between your motivations for an MBA and the distinctive resources that a particular school offers. An excellent response will prove that you don’t just want an MBA; you want an MBA from that individual school!

Let’s look at the characteristics of an outstanding “Why MBA” Essay.

First off, MBA admissions officers tend to use the “Why MBA” essay question as a test of your decision-making abilities and your ability to communicate your rationale for a decision. These skills are fundamental to succeeding in business school and as a business leader in the future.

Do you have crystal clear reasons for pursuing an MBA at that school? By this stage in your application process, you need to have the building blocks of a convincing case for pursuing an MBA and pursuing an MBA there . Armed with those points, you are ready to make your case to the admissions officers. Your overarching objective is to persuade admissions officers that attending this program will benefit you tremendously – not just any student, but you specifically.

In the earlier essay example, you learned not to cut-and-paste boilerplate reasons for why you want an MBA. Instead, show admissions officers that you genuinely understand the school’s unique resources and culture. “Boilerplate” answers like “I’m applying because you have great professors, an amazing student body, and a powerful alumni network” just won’t cut it. Look carefully at each point in your essay outline – if you can make the same point about any top MBA program, then you haven’t tailored your essay enough to prove to the admissions committee that you value what their school has to offer.

Building on that idea, write about the classes, clubs, professors, and special programs that matter most to you. An essay that sounds like a list of bullet points analyzing the program’s competitive advantages can entirely miss the mark. The things that are different about the school must connect to your learning goals — the new skills, knowledge, and experiences you hope to acquire in the program that will help you succeed in the future. Armed with a clear understanding of your learning agenda, tell admissions officers how you plan to close those gaps as a student at their school.

If you’ve done your school due diligence, you’ve taken active steps to get to know the program. However, simply name-dropping the professors, students, or alumni you’ve spoken to won’t help. Instead, tell your reader what you learned in your school research that impressed you and why.

Next, once you have a complete draft, consider the tone of your essay – have you expressed excitement and enthusiasm? Your emotional and personal reasons for applying can be just as convincing as the logical ones.

Finally, while some schools may ask a separate “what you plan to contribute” essay , this prompt offers another opportunity to share plans for being an active contributor on campus. For example, if you write about a student club that appeals to you, also tell the admissions officers how you might make the club even better as a student leader.

Let’s take a look at the content building blocks for an outstanding “Why MBA” Essay.

Content Building Blocks for the “Why MBA” Essay

You already know that, to create a strong “Why MBA” Essay, your points must be personal, specific, and convincing. The trick is to connect your learning goals — the new skills, knowledge, experience, and relationships you must have to succeed in your future career – with the unique resources that impressed you about the school — the academic programs, professors, student organizations, special programs, and relationships that only this school can offer you.

On the way to showing you an effective sample MBA essay, let’s look at the brainstorming process of a hypothetical applicant who has a plan for showcasing personal and specific evidence for her “Why MBA” essay.

Our case study applicant “Cheryl” plans to start a luxury retail goods company long-term. In general, Cheryl wants to build marketing expertise through an MBA. Specifically, she wants to acquire expertise in building a brand in the luxury retail sector. During her school research, she discovered that Columbia had several courses, professors, and resources that matched her learning goals. She combined her career planning and school research to create sharp points for her “Why MBA” essay.

First of all, Cheryl will go beyond boilerplate answers such as “I need to learn about marketing” and plans to write about the “Design and Marketing of Luxury Products Course” offered by Columbia.

Second, instead of a generic point about building relationships with her fellow students, she will make the more specific point that Columbia is the ideal place to build relationships in the luxury retail sector because of its location in New York, a global fashion hub. Furthermore, Columbia is one of only a handful of programs with a Retail and Luxury Goods Club, and Cheryl aspires to be the President of the club.

Finally, whereas the flawed sample essay refers vaguely to the appeal of “Top-Notch Professors, ” Cheryl is going to write about her plans to conduct a field study with the former CEO of Saks 5th Avenue, who, she learned, is currently a visiting professor at Columbia.

In the sample essay below, you can see how Cheryl assembled her content building blocks into a compelling “Why MBA” essay.

We hope this example convinces you of the power of synthesizing your development goals with thorough school research. If you do that, you will have points for your “Why MBA” essay that describe your learning goals and illustrate how they link to the school’s unique attributes and resources.

“Why Our School” Essay Sample

Introduction One of the most valuable things I have learned in my two years founding and building an Internet retailer is what I don’t know. After successfully selling my start-up to a larger firm, I have decided to apply for an MBA from Columbia to learn how luxury brands are built.

Lead/Thesis Columbia’s courses, professors, location, and extracurricular organizations make the program an ideal place to prepare me for my career aspirations to build a luxury goods brand.

“Why Our School” Point #1 At Columbia, I can learn how a fashion brand is built. I was thrilled to discover Columbia’s “Design and Marketing of Luxury Products” Course – where I would have the chance to study cases of successful luxury brands and to collaborate on a class project with designers from the Parsons School of Design.

“Why Our School” Point #2 Only at Columbia will I have the opportunity to study with Professor John Smith, a recognized guru in the luxury goods world and former CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue. Furthermore, in the school’s innovative Master Class program, I can engage with a luxury goods retailer in my second year and apply what I have learned about luxury brand building in the Columbia classroom.

Final Thoughts

When you conduct school research to determine which MBA programs to apply to, assess the program’s “fit” with your goals and preferences. Your “Why Our Business School?” essay is your chance to present that evidence to admissions officers to persuade them that their school is the perfect match with your academic needs, career goals, and cultural expectations. Aligning your interests with the program’s strengths and resources in a personal and specific way will get you one step closer to an acceptance letter from a top MBA program.

Related Articles: Essay Examples

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20 Must-Read MBA Essay Tips

Business essay tips

Business school admissions committees care about more than (just) your  GMAT scores and GPA —they want to know who you are and why you belong in their program . Your MBA essays are your best chance to sell the person behind the résumé. They should tie all the pieces of your business school application together and create a comprehensive picture of who you are, what you've done, and what you bring to the table.  Here's a roundup of our best MBA essay tips to keep in mind as you begin to write.

How to Write an Unforgettable B-School Essay

1. communicate that you are a proactive, can-do sort of person..

Business schools want leaders, not applicants content with following the herd.

2. Put yourself on ego-alert.

Stress what makes you unique, not what makes you number one.

3. Communicate specific reasons why you're great fit for each school.

Simply stating "I am the ideal candidate for your program" won't convince the admission committee to push you into the admit pile.

Read More: Find Your Business School

4. Bring passion to your writing.

Admissions officers want to know what excites you. And if you'll bring a similar enthusiasm to the classroom.

5. Break the mold.

Challenge perceptions with unexpected essays that say, "There's more to me than you think."

6. If you've taken an unorthodox path to business school, play it up.

Admissions officers appreciate risk-takers.

7. Talk about your gender, ethnicity, minority status or foreign background....

But only if it has affected your outlook or experiences.

8. Fill your essays with plenty of real-life examples.

Specific anecdotes and vivid details make a much greater impact than general claims and broad summaries.

9. Demonstrate a sense of humor or vulnerability.

You're a real person, and it's okay to show it!

BONUS: Don't Make These MBA Essay Mistakes

1. write about your high school glory days. .

Admissions committees don't care if you were editor of the yearbook or captain of the varsity team. They expect their candidates to have moved onto more current, professional achievements.

2. Submit essays that don't answer the questions.

An off-topic essay, or one that merely restates your résumé, will frustrate and bore the admissions committee. More importantly, it won't lead to any new insight about you.

Attend UNC's top-ranked online MBA program without putting your career on hold. See how.

3. Fill essays with industry jargon.

Construct your essays with only enough detail about your job to frame your story and make your point.

4. Reveal half-baked reasons for wanting the MBA.

Admissions officers favor applicants who have well-defined goals. However unsure you are about your future, it's critical that you demonstrate that you have a plan.

5. Exceed the recommended word limits.

This suggests you don't know how to follow directions, operate within constraints or organize your thoughts.

6. Submit an application full of typos and grammatical errors.

A sloppy application suggests a sloppy attitude.

7. Send one school an essay intended for another—or forget to change the school name when using the same essay for several applications.

Admissions committees are (understandably) insulted when they see another school's name or forms.

8. Make excuses.

If your undergraduate experience was one long party, be honest. Discuss how you've matured, both personally and professionally.

9. Be impersonal in the personal statement.

Many applicants avoid the personal like the plague. Instead of talking about how putting themselves through school lowered their GPA, they talk about the rising cost of tuition in America. Admissions officers want to know about YOU.

Read More: How to Ace Your MBA Interview

10. Make too many generalizations.

An essay full of generalizations is a giveaway that you don't have anything to say.

11. Write in a vacuum.

Make sure that each of your essays reinforce and build on the others to present a consistent and compelling representation of who you are, what you've done, and what you bring to the table.

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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.

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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“Why do you want to pursue an MBA?” Essay Examples for

Why Do You Want to Pursue MBA

Article Contents 8 min read

“Why do you want to pursue an MBA?” essay is one of the most common supplemental or optional essays. Whether you are looking to apply to Harvard Business School or the Kellogg Business School , you will need to prepare to answer this question via essay or an MBA interview question .

Some schools may indeed state that the essay is optional, but any serious candidate would be well-advised to write it.

In this post, we will help you write the “Why do you want to pursue an MBA?” essay and increase your chances of landing that seat in the coveted program.

Note : If you want us to help you with your applications, interviews and/or standardized tests, book a free strategy call . If you are a university, business, or student organization representative and want to partner with us, visit our partnerships page .

Why business schools ask for the “Why do you want to pursue MBA?” essay

At this point, you’re probably wondering why business schools even bother with such an essay. Well, there are many reasons, including:

How an MBA will help your career goals

Universities don’t want to waste their time and resources on candidates who can’t fully commit to their studies. They need to select candidates who will graduate and pursue careers that will become a testimony to their alma mater.

Your essay will show them how much mettle and commitment you, the applicant, have. You can use this essay to show what getting an MBA will do for your career. It allows you to tell the admissions committee about why you’re going after an MBA – What are your motivations? What are your goals?

They can gauge your academic achievements by looking at your transcripts and GRE scores, for example. But, with this essay, you get a chance to reveal what drives you forward and what an MBA can help you with.

Insight into personal character

Personal character is an important indicator of what the candidate is “made” of. The essay gives them an insight into your eligibility as a well-rounded and reliable individual.

They are looking for characteristics that make a candidate a dependable, even honorable, individual that can be relied upon to make smart decisions both in life and in their career.

Most importantly, it offers a chance for you to show the admissions officers what it is that makes you stand out from other candidates who have similar or better academic achievements and extracurricular activities.

This essay is another chance for you to stand out and remind the admissions committee of your unique skills and experiences.

Shows how much the candidate wants the spot

More importantly, the admissions officers will be able to see how much you want to join the MBA program. A good “Why do you want to pursue an MBA?” essay conveys an applicant’s eagerness, passion, and even future dedication to a career in the business field.

There are some points to consider before you start writing. To begin with, don’t veer off-topic – the essay needs to lie within the school’s word-length requirements. For example, Harvard Business School has set its application essay length at 400, Yale asks for three required essays of 300 words or less, while Kellogg asks for two essays of 450 words each. This means that every word needs to contribute towards answering the question “Why do you want to pursue an MBA?” and nothing more.

Before you even start brainstorming, you need to do some research:

School history

Do thorough research on the school. Find out as much as you can about its history, alumni, awards, commendations, and recognition it may have earned.

Are there any courses and classes the business school is known for and that you are interested in? Are there any faculty members lecturing at the school with whom you would like to work?

Are there any famous internship programs that can help you with achieving your career goals? Do they have a curriculum you know will teach you about a specific niche of business?

You can openly express your interest in these aspects of your future education in your essay. Showing that there is something specific that interests you in your chosen program demonstrates that you have made a careful and calculated decision. For example, you can say that a lecturer at this school is a role model with whom you would like to study. Or you can express that a specific course curriculum interests you because it is directly tied to your future career goals.

If you know someone who has graduated from your chosen MBA program, reach out to them! Send them an email or try to meet in person to ask any questions you may have. Alumni can be a great insight into the inner workings of a program. They can indicate what qualities you may want to showcase in your application and interview. Having someone on the inside is a great advantage!

Extracurricular activities

University life doesn’t only involve life in the classroom. There are various on-campus activities for students to partake in. If your essay shows that you will contribute to life outside of the classroom, this may be your chance to stand out.

Business schools offer a wide range of sports, clubs, musical ensembles, theater groups, and student organizations. They always strive to enroll students with diverse interests so that they can effectively contribute to their collegial community.

What to include in a “Why do you want to pursue an MBA?” essay

Let us move on and delve into what makes up a “Why do you want to pursue an MBA?” essay. We will have a look at important components that help create a well-rounded essay.

Some suggestions include:


Your essay should demonstrate to the admissions officers the different accomplishments you have achieved in your education, profession, and other aspects of your life.

Proof of accomplishments can include academic awards, professional recognitions, or contests that you have entered and placed in, such as essay contests, art competitions or science fair competitions, work diplomas or awards.

To show a track record of excellence, initiative, and ambition. ","label":"Aim","title":"Aim"}]' code='tab1' template='BlogArticle'>

Your essay must demonstrate, via examples, that you can indeed be “creative”, “mature” or “skilled.” The key is to show, rather than tell the admissions committee what relevant strengths you possess that make you the perfect candidate for an MBA program. Make sure to include details and demonstrate, with examples, what makes you the right fit for your chosen MBA program and the business world in general.

To show with examples that you are a strong and suitable candidate for your chosen program. ","label":"Aim","title":"Aim"}]' code='tab2' template='BlogArticle'>

International experience

If you are an MBA candidate looking to pursue a career in international business, you might want to emphasize what steps you took to prepare yourself for this path so far.

You can use the “Why do you want to pursue an MBA” essay to demonstrate your exposure to a wider world beyond your country’s borders. Whether it’s an educational or a professional experience, you can include it in this essay to show that you are serious about a global career.

Additionally, your experience abroad will demonstrate that you can get along with, learn from, and grow with peers from various countries.

To show that you have taken the necessary steps to prepare yourself for a career in international business. ","label":"Aim","title":"Aim"}]' code='tab3' template='BlogArticle'>

A healthy individual will have a well-rounded life outside of the office. Your essay can demonstrate that you have hobbies and commit to non-work-related activities. Do not make the mistake of thinking that your extracurriculars are not interesting to the admissions committee! These may be precisely the details that make you stand out from the crowd. So, if you love dancing or tutoring children in math or science, you can feel free to incorporate this in your essay!

To demonstrate commitment and dedication to your community, as well as well-roundedness and curiosity.  ","label":"Aim","title":"Aim"}]' code='tab4' template='BlogArticle'>

Admissions officers want to know what the candidate is aiming for. They need to have a clear picture – even if you don’t exactly have one yet – that you are at least aiming for a few milestones in your career. Remember, you do not have to be specific. However, you can mention what aspect of the business world you want to grow in.

You can be as specific as you want to be about your goals post-MBA.

The candidate demonstrates that they have plans of putting their education to good use both in the short and long run. ","label":"Aim","title":"Aim"}]' code='tab5' template='BlogArticle'>

“Do’s and Don’ts”

Ok, we have come this far and the “Why do you want to pursue an MBA?” essay is almost complete. But, we also need to see what to do and not do in the essay.

Let’s have a look:

Include major milestones \u2013 draw a clear picture of the progress you made in education or a career. "}]' code='timeline1'>

Don\u2019t use clich\u00e9s and generalizations or include controversial topics in your essay. "}]' code='timeline2'>

Now, let’s have a look at a sample “Why do you want to pursue an MBA?” essay:

As a child, I was interested in how businesses were run. The idea of owning and growing a small business into an international conglomerate thrilled me. It is this passion that led me to want to join this esteemed institution.

My journey to pursue an MBA started during my first year in college, when I joined one of the largest banks in Canada as a Cash Counter Clerk.

Immediately, I loved that the work was demanding and required extra hours and even coming in on weekends. I learned and thrived in this environment. My communication and organizational skills that I applied in my role soon made me a reliable colleague. I managed to become Employee of the Month three times in a row without it affecting my college work. As a matter of fact, the experience at the bank helped me with creating a schedule for managing my time in college. I received several promotions at the bank while I was at college, and after graduation was also immediately offered a Supervisor position at the bank.

In my new role, I continued to develop my leadership abilities, which culminated in the $1billion move of our Finance and Auditing business from Memphis to Toronto – right in the middle of a financial system meltdown.

As a Supervisor, I used feedback from my team to make effective changes in my style of management. I allowed workers who wanted to work from home to do so as long as the deliverables and deadlines were met. This cut down on overhead in the office while also creating more relaxed, happier, and more efficient team members. My versatility and self-awareness resulted in a positive response from my team members, which was reflected in their attitudes and the quality of their work. They started putting in more hours and were more creative with their contributions. We cut costs but increased productivity.

Having worked as a Supervisor for over 4 years now, I have made the decision to pursue an MBA program to further develop my leadership and management skills. I have found that your MBA program, with its faculty and curriculum, is the exact tool I need to achieve my career goals. I hope to graduate and join the ranks of alumni like [INSERT NAME] who, after graduating from your business school went on to create ACME Intl. – one of the leaders in the business finance field. I am sure that with Professor [INSERT NAME], who teaches Leadership, Teamwork, Management, and Organizational Behavior, I will be able to build upon my experiences and take a step closer to making my dreams come true.

“Want to learn the secret to any admissions essay?”

Writing the “why do you want to pursue an MBA?” essay might understandably seem like a daunting task – after all, it is only your future career that is hanging in the balance. But, the trick to use is to imagine oneself telling a story and then trying to capture that story in writing. It is all about conveying the story intact.

Make sure to give yourself at least 6 weeks to draft and redraft your essay. Consider reaching out to an MBA essay consultant to help you. These professionals can help you brainstorm, edit, and finalize an essay that will perfectly reflect your strengths and suitability.

The rule of thumb is to avoid using fancy fonts. The best options are Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri in 12-point type. Also avoid using bold, italics or emojis.

Always check the university’s guidelines first. If there are none, make sure to structure your essay as an academic essay, with an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Additionally, make sure that your essay includes A 1” margin on all sides with 1.5 or double line spacing and left alignment with no justification.

Use transitional sentences to connect paragraphs. As you read your essay, it should flow from one paragraph to the next.

Always check the university’s guidelines for specific length requirements. DO NOT write more than the word limit. If there are no guidelines, stick to 400 words or so. . Remember, it’s always best to write a concise essay, so writing less than the word limit is a good strategy.

The best way to gauge if a story belongs in your essay is to imagine telling it to someone you just met a few minutes ago. How would they react? That’s probably exactly how the admissions officer reading it would react too.

If there is a teachable moment you have experienced or a lesson was learned while trying to right a wrong, then you should, by all means, include them to show that you can learn from your mistakes.

Only as much as necessary. Remember, you are submitting your essay alongside other educational documents. The admissions committee will have access to them. You, therefore, don’t need to dwell on it unless it helps with your essay – “I passed with distinction…” or “I graduated top of my class…” should be enough information.

A good way to edit your essay fully would be to spellcheck, use third-party apps to have a second run through it, read it aloud, and finally have someone else read it. 

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mba essay why this school


Sample MBA Essay - Why MBA from our business School

For this MBA essay, you have to list your short-term and long-term goals. You might also have to do a thorough research on your target Business School to answer these questions. Why MBA - Harvard Business School? Establish a clear strategy before you approach any set of MBA essays. For HBS, this is especially important because you can choose amongst several questions in order to illustrate your candidacy.  It’s a great idea to brainstorm to uncover your strongest stories so that you can best demonstrate important leadership, management, academic and personal qualities. Harvard is interested in knowing how you work as a person, how you think, and what kind of leader you are. Community involvement and a broad international perspective are certainly valued, as you can see by the topics. Most importantly, specific and concise examples are the best way to demonstrate who you are. Without specifics, a claim to be a leader is empty. Also make sure to answer the question completely, but do not add extra information if it is not relevant. You have to be decisive and strategic with your essays, interview and follow-up essay. Learn how to handle the Harvard MBA Admission process with HBS Essay Guide Download F1GMAT's Harvard MBA Essay Guide 2016-17 Why MBA - Wharton Business School? Wharton consistently seeks balanced and community minded applicants that can demonstrate innovative thinking, a record of accomplishment, and very solid career goals. The essays this year are consistent with the admissions goals, though very different from the previous years’ essays. The required essay asks for career objectives, and telling a cohesive story is key to success with this set of Wharton questions. When contemplating the optional essays, it will be important to choose topics that will allow you to demonstrate both achievements at work and your extracurricular or personal activities. In addition, refer back to your application strategy and strengths and weaknesses to determine which personal qualities you can highlight in these essays. Wharton MBA AdCom wants candidates who will   1) Get involved with the Community   2) Lead by Example   3) Take Risks   4) Inspire Others     Download F1GMAT's Wharton MBA Essay Guide 2016-17 Why MBA - NYU Stern? Fit is critical in the application process, and this is the place to demonstrate your fit with Stern. It will be important to discuss your passion for Stern and your interest in attending NYU’s MBA program in this essay. Certainly personal experience of the campus through visits or student touch points would be ideal, but even if you are halfway around the world you can illustrate the many ways in which you learned about the Stern experience. Download NYU Stern MBA Essay Guide 2016-17 Why MBA - MIT Sloan? If you had to describe the MIT Sloan MBA program in one word, that word would be innovation. Sloan is a place where practical business concerns intersect with vision and inspiration, often of the tech variety. As the website states: “Like MIT itself, MIT Sloan is a place for visionary pragmatists and for people with the determination to change the world with the passion to make it happen.” MIT wants to know how you work, think and act, especially when you face setbacks. They also want to know how persuasive you are when it comes to convincing your team about an idea. Download MIT Sloan MBA Essay Guide 2016-17 Why MBA - Kellogg School of Management? One thing that you have to focus while writing your application for Kellogg School of management is your ability to demonstrate your fit with the Kellogg community. The Kellogg community highly values leadership and teamwork. Demonstrate your diversity in experience and your unique background. Having done your research on Kellogg’s academics and resources will help you answer the question about your motivation to pursue a graduate degree at Kellogg. Choose specific classes, professors and programs that fit into your career goals. Think about clubs and conferences that are unique to Kellogg and will advance your career. Kellogg values diversity, teamwork, leadership, and sense of community. Your essays should clearly demonstrate these traits. Download Kellogg MBA Essay Guide 2016-17 Why MBA - Stanford Business School? Stanford wants to know what you specifically need that will be uniquely satisfied by the program at GSB, and research will help you determine the specifics of the academic program, community and students will be essential to demonstrating your knowledge and fit with the program. Your accomplishments and achievements are key to who you are today, however it’s far more important to explain your influences, values and motivations. Stanford asks for candid self-examination in essay. Stanford MBA AdCom wants to know who you are and what motivates you towards achieving your goals. You have to explain your influences, lessons learned and motivation through the essays. Download F1GMAT's Stanford MBA Essay Guide 2016-17 Why MBA - Chicago Booth? Why Chicago and Why Now are explicitly asked this year. Think about the specific classes and programs at Chicago that appeal to you. Are you looking for flexible program? International experiences? How will these aspects of the program fit with your future career goals? If you are reapplying, make sure you have done the work to evaluate your candidacy and have made changes this time around. Reflecting upon why you want to go to Chicago and the MBA process will certainly be part of that work. This is your opportunity to show the AdComm why Chicago is a great fit for your and your refined career goals. Chicago Booth AdCom is trying to evaluate your leadership qualities, team building skills, maturity in handling challenges, fit, academic rigor, creativity and motivation for an MBA. Download F1GMAT's Chicago Booth MBA Essay Guide Why MBA - Haas School of Business? Since the career goal question comes towards the end of the application, the AdCom wants to learn more about your personal story. Be consistent with your story and make sure that the career goals at the end is not a big surprise for the admissions committee. Your personality and experience should blend well with your career goals. Download F1GMAT's Haas MBA Essay Guide In what role do you see yourself working immediately after graduation?  Why?  How will your past and present experiences help you achieve this?  How will the London Business School MBA Programme contribute to this goal? For the first part of the question- what role do you see yourself working immediately after graduation?( After graduation what? ) In the near future, I see myself working as a management consultant in one of the firms like Johnson & Johnson, Mckinsey or BCG. I want to introduce processes that can potentially improve the productivity of the company. I also want to be involved with the strategy formulation of the company. Why? I want to ensure that the solutions and best practices that we provide to our clients would add value to their business.   How will your past and present experiences help you achieve this? Example: I believe that the experience that I would gain by working on a flexible course in London business school would provide me with the necessary skills to solve the myriads of real business issues that a company face. Also, being an Information Technology (IT) consultant for five years, I have instilled in me a structural approach to problem solving. I can improve my business-solving skills with my experience and the training that London Business School (LBS) would provide. How will the London Business School MBA Programme contribute to this goal? ( Why MBA from our business school? ) Note: 1) Refer the business school website and other forums to find out what members in the business community is saying about the Business school. Google would be your best friend. 2) Every business school has a unique selling proposition. It can be a list of distinguished speakers, networking clubs or a unique learning environment. 3) Align the unique selling proposition of the business school with the short term and long term goals that you have in such a way that the USP of the business school would be sufficient in achieving your goals. Q) In what role do you see yourself working immediately after graduation?  Why?  How will your past and present experiences help you achieve this?  How will the London Business School MBA Programme contribute to this goal? Sample MBA Essay Guidelines(Sample MBA Essay below the guidelines): This classic career goals question focuses more on your short-term goals than the typical school might. Make sure you can clearly demonstrate how your past and present career and personal experiences support your goals, and why you have settled on your particular aspirations. In addition, you will need to demonstrate why London Business School is the right MBA program for you and why you are planning to pursue an MBA at this point in your career and your life. In just 750 words to answer 5 distinct questions you will need to demonstrate your commitment and rationale for your decisions throughout the essay. Think about the narrative thread of your life and career and how LBS is going to fit in, then expand into the future you want to make a reality through this education. There should be a clear link between your immediate post-MBA goals and your short- and long-term goals, and all of them will flow from your current and past experiences. Your narrative thread should make it clear why you are pursuing an MBA, why now and how LBS will help you achieve your goals.   If you are planning to switch careers and do not have the track record to demonstrate you are serious about your goals, it will be helpful to show your commitment through research you have done, extracurricular activities you have been involved with, or relevant accomplishments in your current position. When researching the LBS difference for this essay, you might find some help in the form of the student blogs on the London website. Sample MBA Essay - Why MBA From our Business School How will you achieve your short term and long term goals by being part of our MBA programme? (Alignment of Business school USP and your goals) I believe an LBS MBA can provide me with the knowledge and tools necessary to open my business. I understand clearly that this career goal require skills such as business insight, management capabilities and networking skills. An MBA from LBS is a perfect choice since it will equip me with the skills and knowledge necessary to make a professional business plan, finance new ventures, assess the value of a company, and create a self-sustainable business. During my MBA course, I hope to discuss my business plan with my classmates. The innovative ideas and business insights that a diverse and talented group could generate would be of tremendous value for me. Furthermore, LBS has a unique educational philosophy that stresses on leadership and practical learning. A flexible exit scheme and relevant set of electives have ensured that the course remain action-oriented. The concentration on entrepreneurial management is what excites me the most, as this would be in alignment with my long-term goal of starting my own business. (USP of the Business School ) I choose LBS because its employment record shows a high percentage of students getting opportunity in business consulting and general management that perfectly bolster my short-term goal of pursuing a career in management consultancy. The work of consulting is rewarding, since it will call on critical skills, developed both in my course work and through my work experience, to complete consulting involvements that have senior executive visibility. These intensive involvements will deepen my understanding of the key elements that a company requires in order to succeed. Solving strategic problems in a team-based environment can significantly polish my teamwork and leadership experience that is invaluable for a startup company. (Conclusion) I believe that an LBS MBA, when combined with my experience, will provide the right skills and knowledge to pursue my short and long-term goals in management consulting, entrepreneurship and new venture creation If you want to know whether your essays satisfy the Critical success factors : Grammar, Spelling, Style, Tone, Uniqueness, Pace, Completeness and Coherence, submit your essays .

Winning MBA Essay Guide

List of F1GMAT's Sample Essays

20 Great MBA Application Essay Samples

MBA application essay samples - featured image

To improve your chances of getting accepted into your desired business school, writing a convincing MBA application essay is crucial.

To help you succeed, we have compiled a list of 20 great MBA application essay samples along with an explanation of “What makes them great”.

What is an MBA Application Essay?

What admission committee looks for in mba essay, what should be included in the mba application essay.

Key ingredients to include in your essay are:

What Makes a Great MBA Application Essay?

Here are a few tips that will make your essay stand out from the crowd:

20 Great MBA Applications Essays Samples

Now you have known that what makes a great MBA admission essay, the next step is to write one for yourself.

Sample 1: Leadership focused MBA application essay

Sample 2: self-focused mba application essay , sample 3: life-hardships focused mba application essay.

If you want to explain your life’s hardships and the events that turned you into an ambitious person, this sample is for you.

Sample 4: Continuous growth and learning-focused MBA application essay

A useful thing to remember about the MBA essays included in this list is that you can merge them into a single printable and perfectly formatted file with Sodapdf or other PDF editor. Having all of them stored in a single pdf is going to be quite helpful when it’s time to write your own piece.

Sample 5: Best MBA application essay for low scorers

This MBA essay was written by a student who obtained very low academic grades, yet got admitted to her desired business school. Her turning point? A powerful application essay.

Sample 6: A guitarist’s application essay for the MBA program

Sample 7: an engineer’s essay for mba application, sample 8: harvard business school mba essay, sample 9: wharton business school mba essay, sample 10: columbia business school mba essay.

The Columbia Business School’s admission committee shared this MBA essay. They explained why the applicant who wrote this was instantly accepted to the program and why they appreciated its content.

Sample 11: Stanford Graduate School of Business MBA essay

Sample 12: university of california business school mba essay, sample 13: university of oxford business school mba essay, sample 14: london business school mba essay, sample 15: a goal-oriented mba application essay.

Sometimes the MBA admission portal may demand an essay specifically focused on your future goals.

Sample 16: Executive MBA essay

This successful MBA application essay was submitted to the MIT Sloan Executive MBA Program. EMBA essay requires you to show strong potential, impact, leadership, and the ultimate need for the program.

Sample 17: MBA video essay

Sample 18: short-answer based mba application essay, sample 19: mit sloan school of management, sample 20:  michigan ross school of business mba program.

The Michigan Ross Business School asks a diverse range of questions from candidates to analyze their competencies from multiple perspectives.

The expert-vetted list of 20 great MBA application essay samples we cited here worked for the top business schools. Learn them by heart, and who knows, it may work for you too.

Rafal Reyzer


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Mba essay samples by school.

Click on a school logo to see samples of real essays that helped ARINGO clients get accepted to that school.

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

MBA Essay Samples by Topic

About Stanford GSB

About the Experience

Full-Time Degree Programs

Non-Degree & Certificate Programs

Faculty Research

Research Hub

Research Labs

Research Initiatives

Welcome, Alumni

Admission Events & Information Sessions

Essays help us learn about who you are rather than solely what you have done.

Other parts of the application give insight into your academic and professional accomplishments; the essays reveal the person behind those achievements.

Essay Questions

We request that you write two personal essays.

In each essay, we want to hear your genuine voice. Think carefully about your values, passions, aims, and dreams. There is no “right answer” to these questions — the best answer is the one that is truest for you.

Essay A: What matters most to you, and why?

For this essay, we would like you to reflect deeply and write from the heart. Once you’ve identified what matters most to you, help us understand why. You might consider, for example, what makes this so important to you? What people, insights, or experiences have shaped your perspectives?

Essay B: Why Stanford?

Describe your aspirations and how your Stanford GSB experience will help you realize them. If you are applying to both the MBA and MSx programs, use Essay B to address your interest in both programs.

Both essays combined may not exceed 1,050 words. We recommend up to 650 words for Essay A and up to 400 words for Essay B. We often read effective essays that are written in fewer words.

Editing Your Essays

Begin work on the essays early to give yourself time to reflect, write, and edit.

Feel free to ask friends or family members for feedback — especially about whether the tone and voice sound like you. Your family and friends know you better than anyone. If they think the essays do not capture who you are, what you believe, and what you aspire to do, then surely we will be unable to recognize what is distinctive about you.

Feedback vs. Coaching

There is a big difference between “feedback” and “coaching.” You cross that line when any part of the application (excluding the letters of recommendation ) ceases to be exclusively yours in either thought or word.

Appropriate feedback occurs when others review your completed application — perhaps once or twice — and apprise you of omissions, errors, or inaccuracies that you later correct or address. After editing is complete, your thoughts, voice, and style remain intact. Inappropriate coaching occurs when you allow others to craft any part of your application for you and, as a result, your application or self-presentation is not authentic.

It is improper and a violation of the terms of this application process to have someone else write your essays. Such behavior will result in denial of your application or revocation of your admission.

Additional Information

If there is any information that is critical for us to know and is not captured elsewhere, include it in the “Additional Information” section of the application. Pertinent examples include:

This section is not meant to be used as an additional essay.

Top Insightful Strategies to ace your "WHY MBA essay": A consultant review


I'm sure many of you reading this understand the significance of essays. They are the ultimate doorway to your dream business school since they provide the admissions committee with a comprehensive picture of you as a candidate. And one of the most prevalent and crucial Essays is 'Why MBA?'—why do you want to take an MBA? or why do you want to get an MBA from a particular school?

This essay is significant since it informs the adcom about your reasons for pursuing an MBA and about your employability to the employers who come to a business school to hire. If your 'Why MBA' does not have conviction, collinearity, or a strong fit, you will not get admitted, no matter how exceptional your achievements are.

An excellent 'Why MBA' Essay requires many strong aspects to weave your story together. That is why, together with our experts, we are here to provide some premium tips on how to develop a killer 'Why MBA' story.

Here is a snapshot of the article:

- Why should you ace the “WHY MBA essay” 

- Structure of a Killer MBA essay

- Do's and Don't while writing an MBA essay.

- Example of Essays

- Frequently asked questions.

Why should you ace the “WHY MBA essay”?


This question addresses the majority of the questions that the adcom may have about you, which is why 'WHY MBA' is critical to answer in order to gain the attention of the adcoms that are reading your essay.

While the question is good, the information provided by applicants is generic. The goals they mention are vague and ineffective. You want to make money, learn new things, and become a leader. So, who doesn't like it?  The question is w what motivates you to pursue an MBA?

Now, what are the reasons why you should ace the 'WHY MBA' essay?

- Control/Responsibility - Control and responsibility come only when the firm's top management is confident that you understand the business principles and can handle them; this comes from prior experience and knowledge obtained while pursuing the MBA; this is " WHY MBA. "

-Connections - MBA allows you to connect with a broad and intelligent group of individuals you are unlikely to meet in your day-to-day job. For example, if you are a tech enthusiast, you will meet people with similar skillsets in a tech company rather than a hardware shop. A great MBA program will try to build this network for you by putting you in the company of smart individuals from various backgrounds. This learning can be incomparable.

While the reasons for applicants differ, the main goal of the WHY MBA is to address how an MBA can help you grow as an individual and how an MBA can cover gaps that no other degree can; this is a tricky question that requires much thought before putting your views on paper.

While answering the why MBA question, it is critical to consider the post-MBA objectives and get to know them. We have a full essay on Strong Post-MBA Goals Essay Sample.

How to frame practical post MBA goals essays? 

Structure of a Killer WHY MBA essay


Creating a structure is a huge assist in gathering all of the material that a candidate can on their background, MBA and beyond designed this basic structure for individuals wishing to write a killer MBA essay

1) Strength -The admission committee assesses your personality, credibility, and fit in their b-school community through your strong stories. It is vital and challenging to convey your true self in essays. This section will assist you in writing about your Strength, fascinatingly and engagingly, that will appeal to admission officers.

How to address your strengths? Click here to know more!

2) Achievements - The most common reason that good applicants do not get into a top business school is that they cannot convey the significance of their story. This section will assist you in selecting your most compelling stories and conveying them in a way that maximizes your potential in all of your applications.

3)Weakness - Writing about your weakness is the most challenging element of your application. Most candidates fail here because they do not comprehend what admissions authorities want to know about their weaknesses. Weakness stories are about how you coped with a circumstance rather than the context or what happened.

How to address your weaknesses? Click here to know more!

Try to incorporate no more than one or two weaknesses. Simply mentioning your weakness is not enough; you must provide a reasonable justification based on your future aspirations. Ask yourself why you want to alter something and how this change will make you a better person.

4) Failure - Do you realize there's a fine line between weakness and failure? What is that fine line, and how can you explain your shortcomings so that you project a good and influential personality in your essays? Weaknesses are more dynamic and change over time, whereas failure is more fixed. It reflects the difficulties you have overcome and demonstrates your unique qualities.

5) International experience - In a business school, you learn more from your classmates than from the professors. These batchmates come from various backgrounds, and admission authorities want to know if you can exhibit your worth in a varied setting.

Suggested Reading: What do Business schools mean by International Experience?

6) Extracurricular activities - The extracurricular area provides a chance to demonstrate the colorful, dynamic personality that b-schools want. However, what should you mention here if you are not involved in any organizational activities? Even if you have, which ones should you choose to make the greatest influence on the admissions committee? 

Extracurricular activities should have two characteristics:

-For starters, it personally enriches you.

-Second, your ECs should have some communal effect.

What is the role of Extracurriculars activities in your MBA applications? Click here to learn more

7) Goals - Your post-MBA short-term and long-term ambitions are critical in creating a cohesive picture for the admissions committee.

Suppose you cannot draw the connections between your job experience, short-term goals, and long-term ambitions. In that case, you risk jeopardizing your admission prospects to a top MBA program, even if your profile is stellar.

Suggested reading: How to frame practical post MBA goals essays? Strong Post MBA goals essays Sample

Why MBA? - Every business school asks this question, and just a few MBA candidates can answer it. We have divided this into two parts: checklist 1.0 and checklist 2.0. 

The Checklist 1.0 relates to your current version, your current abilities, and the relevant skills to your current employment description. The Checklist 2.0 refers to the version you anticipate becoming with a worldwide MBA. 

MBA is required to bridge the gap between version 1.0 and version 2.0.

This gap becomes your response to the question, "Why MBA?" This response will assist you in understanding the need for MBA and acquiring the abilities required to become version 2.0.

Suggested Reading: How to build your MBA application ?

Let's look at an example.

Our product assists applicants in writing a powerful essay by filling in the holes that applicants overlook. Our product is free to use and provides a framework that anybody can use.


Do's and Don't while writing a ‘WHY MBA’ essay


Writing essays is a critical step in which you must calculate and then put your thoughts on paper. They will create the image that the admissions committee will see before meeting you at your interview and this essay should represent the true answer to your ‘WHY MBA’ question rather than your academic achievements

1) Tell your own story - Everyone wishes to be seen and remembered. And that should only be done when you act as yourself in the story, not someone else. Remember that this is your essay at the end of the day; it needs to be in tune with your distinct voice, which only you have the best sense of. If you are adamant about retaining something in your essay, if there is a term, sentence, or detail that you believe should be in the original form as you wrote it – then go ahead and include it. 2) Be truthful-  Admissions officials, like it or not, are like lie detectors. They can readily detect the difference between an honest candidate and one faking it. If they catch a liar, their essay will be sent straight to the rejected pile. 3) Tell them about the Goals - Tell them about your objective and how an MBA can help you to achieve those goals. Your objectives are a part of who you are. That is exactly what the admissions committee is looking for in your essay. 

4) Why you are the best fit for the school -  Admissions officers will want to know why after you've selected to attend a specific business school. What do you have to give them in terms of experience and knowledge? In what ways do you suit the program into which you intend to enroll? When discussing why you want to go to business school, create clear and motivating professional goals.

5) Research - Research offers you an advantage, and there are various expert guidance websites (like Mba and Beyond) where you can research the important information and suggestions for writing a ‘WHY MBA’ essay. 6) Practice your essay- Don't worry about the word restriction when writing your essay. Get everything out first, and then worry about refining afterward put everything on the paper which is in your mind related to the essay. Practicing your essay will make it even much better and it will give you a better idea of what to include and exclude at the end of your essay. 


1) CV is not your essay. - It's not a good idea to turn your CV into an essay. They already know about your academic and professional accomplishments thanks to your resume, and now they want to learn more about you as a person and why you want to pursue and MBA. 2) A sob story is not always an option - Telling a sob story to generate sympathy is not a good way to get attention unless it answers the question; otherwise, it will give the admission committee a negative image of you.

Example of ‘WHY MBA’ Essays

Even after mentioning the do's and don'ts, applicants make mistakes in their essays; this is why we have a few examples of applicants who have already made it through the top B-schools; these examples will help you figure out where you stand and how to apply the things mentioned above systematically.

INSEAD Success story essays

This is an example in which we requested candidates to compose the essay without any aid and then assisted them in identifying gaps and filling those gaps with appropriate remarks. Click here to access

Various colleges have distinct essay questions, and uniquely responding to them will get you through the process; for example, Kellogg, insead, and Darden all have different aspects that they emphasize.

Examples of good “WHY MBA” answers


*An MBA will help me grasp how firms operate and are controlled. My long-term objective is to become a company’s CFO with a whole perspective of the entire firm. My Undergraduate degree has given me a solid foundation in accounting and finance. An MBA will teach me strategy, marketing, international business, law, and the necessary soft skills to be a successful corporate leader.*

Though grades, courses, and test scores are likely to be the most important components of your application, an essay can help you stand out. Essays allow for direct connection with admissions officers, answering questions such as "Why MBA?"—why do you want to pursue an MBA? Alternatively, why do you want to pursue your MBA from a specific school? It has a significant influence on the Adcoms and demonstrates how committed you will be to the program once admitted to the school


We believe in every applicant's ability to complete the application process, which is why we created a product that assists applicants in writing an essay and having their gaps identified by experts, and assisting them in curating a killer essay.

So, schedule a call with us today and have our experts point out your gaps so you can fill them with something concrete. Book a free evaluation call with our experts now.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Why are you doing an MBA answer?

This is a question that every business school asks, and only a few MBA applicants can answer it. This has been broken into two sections: checklist 1.0 and checklist 2.0. MBA is necessary to bridge the version 1.0-to-version 2.0 gap. This gap serves as your answer to the question, "Why MBA?" This response will help you realize the necessity for an MBA and acquire the skills needed to become version 2.0.

2) How do you conclude an MBA essay?

While everyone recalls a great finish, a confusing or unclear ending may completely derail a good story, remember these points 

- Link your conclusion and your introduction.

- Include a surprising twist.

- Be unique to stand out.

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WHY MBA?? How to answer this common MBA essay question

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Why MBA Essay

why mba essay

Table of Contents

Today, the economy and working environment have become highly competitive. To stay in the running, one needs to have a strong academic background. As a result, many people opt for a master’s in business administration. It helps create a balanced foundation for a person irrespective of the field or career they wish to pursue.

How to Answer the Question Why MBA Program?

Due to its versatility, a multitude of universities offers a degree in MBA. The selection process is very similar across different educational institutions. After the preliminary scanning process and test, they will conduct an interview. The most popular and jarring question is why to get an MBA and an essay about it.

why mba

Writing a “why” MBA essay is very time-consuming and nerve-wracking. Not everyone has the time to write one, so you can always opt for an MBA essay writing service . These services aim to make your life easier and help you get into the program of your choice.

The interview is a vital part of the admission process as it helps the selection committee determine whether you are the right fit for an MBA degree or not. To ace that interview, we have a few tips and tricks you may want to remember.

Give an Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a marketing technique where you market something in a limited period. In the why an MBA question, you have to give an elevator pitch about yourself and your plan. It would help if you kept your answer brief and limited to two or three sentences.

It is good to research a bit about the program beforehand and determine what major you want. You should be honest and talk about how the field is what you want to pursue. You do not have to go on a long tangent about it, but rather keep it simple. Even if you do not know what major you want, talk about how further studies will help you determine it. You can even talk about how you want to do an MBA to broaden your career options and help you advance in the career ladder.

Create Links

It would be best if you were authentic with your why to pursue an MBA answer and believe in them. The admission committee will interview dozens of students. To set yourself apart, try to give them a personalized answer. You can even link them to your:

If you have prior work experience, you can talk about skills you thought were needed for a particular position and how an MBA will help you achieve that. You can even refer to your academic background. If you have a business-related bachelor’s degree, you can say that you want to specialize further. For example, you can talk about how to want to expand and specialize more in marketing or human resource majors with an economics degree.

If you have a non-business background, such as an engineering degree, then you can talk about how you want to do an MBA to broaden your horizons and create a balance in your academic qualifications. In addition to technical skills, MBA also teaches skills that efficiently teach how to operate in a workplace. These skills are relevant and helpful in every field. For example, if you have an engineering degree, you can link it to your career goals. You can talk about how the MBA degree coupled with your technical degree can increase your career options and how you can venture into the management side.

Skill Acquisition

During your interview preparation, try to list down all the skills you may lack or any you wish to acquire. You can cross-reference these with the skills taught to MBA students. If any of these align, you can talk about them when answering the why MBA question. A good candidate for MBA is aware of their shortcomings and wants to overcome them.

To personalize it, you can talk about any situation that requires particular skills. It does not have to be a situation you were a part of, but it can also be something you witnessed. A few skills you can talk about in your interview are;

These 3 points will help articulate an impressive answer for your interview. You have to make sure it includes the three points;

Why MBA Degree Essay You Need to Include?

Why MBA essay is as important as the interview question. Your admission depends on how you write and compose this essay. Due to the sheer significance, you cannot write it on a whim like a college essay. It requires you to put in a lot of time and effort. Many students find it challenging to write because of the pressure associated with it. To ease the process, we have compiled a list of what you can include in the essay. It can serve as an outline for you.


When writing the essay, be sure to mention how it may benefit you. It will help the reader understand why the program is important to you. The admission committee will read hundreds of essays, so you need to distinguish yourself. In addition to this, you may want to write it as if you are talking to someone and add personalized elements before writing the essay . Research thoroughly about the MBA degree and admission process at the university of your choice. It will allow you to tailor the essay to its specifications.

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250 Words Essay Example of MBA Essay On Why MBA

I have always been interested in the business side of things. It seems contradictory then that I did my bachelor’s in software engineering. I realized that you need to have balanced qualifications at a young age if you wish to succeed in the long run. So, I chose a technical field for myself. It also aligned with my interest in app development.

People would always be shocked to learn that my interest was IT and business. Being good at monopoly as a child did help grow my business interest. Although I learned early on that, it was quite different from the real world, which only motivated me more. So, I decided that the end goal is to have a software development company that could one day compete against Microsoft.

While working at a software house after graduating, I realized technical skill is not enough. If I wanted to become the owner of a tech giant, then I needed to learn more, and MBA is my saving grace. The degree will help acquire skills that are detrimental to running a business.

The technical qualifications have allowed me to advance in the career ladder at my current job. Still, it does not teach the management aspects of interpersonal skills needed to run and lead an organization. Post-MBA, I want to start my firm; it will become a tech giant. Although I think with the assets acquired from this degree, I will be one step closer to achieving my goal.

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MBA Essay Tips: The 4 Admissions Essays You’ll Likely Encounter When Applying to Business School

It can seem like there are an infinite variety of MBA admissions essays. With famous examples, like the Stanford GSB application’s “What Matters Most to You, and Why?” or the Duke Fuqua application’s “25 Random Things”, it is easy to get overwhelmed thinking that you will have to write a completely different essay with a different subject for every question on every one of your business school applications. While each type of MBA essay does need to be tailored to each b-school, you can simplify and streamline the process of essay writing by embracing the idea that most admission essay prompts can be categorized into core themes.

Let’s get to know them below:

MBA Application Essay #1: The Personal Statement

MBA admissions committees care about your core values, your moral character, and the passions that motivate you. For example, UC Berkeley’s Haas Business School has four stated defining principles :

Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business is interested in accepting genuinely nice people . Duke’s Fuqua School of Business is interested in people’s “ decency quotient .” These business schools look to recruit people with worldviews that are compatible with these values and it is your job, in this category of essay, to make sure that comes across.

Students at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

Luckily, you can talk about almost anything in these personal essays. Applicants will often discuss relationships with friends and mentors. Others might talk about the hardships they overcame or difficult experiences. However, there are some things to avoid which we discus here: 4 Mistakes Applicants Make when Writing the Personal Essay .

At the core, your business school personal statement should serve to illuminate who you are as a person and demonstrate that you live according to a code that is in line with your target business school’s own approach to education.

Yaron Dahan on the Importance of Your Story:

Mba application essay #2: the career goals essay.

Business school admissions committees want you to have a good job when you graduate from their MBA program. This is for three reasons:

Even though getting a good job is important, this isn’t everything. In order to stand out from other candidates, the job needs to be a bit inspiring as well. If you are not ambitious enough in outlining your goals and the impact you want to make in your future career, it is possible to come across as a boring candidate who is more or less content to stay in their current position with slightly better pay. Business schools will likely take a hard pass on those applicants. That said, if you are not somewhat realistic with what you want to accomplish, you can end up sounding naïve or unserious.

The goal here is to walk the line between the two. It is your job to convince the school that you have goals which are meaningful, but also grounded in your past experiences and considered enough that your success is assured.

To hear more on this, check out: Career Goals for MBA Essay Writing and More .

Demonstrating School Fit

After you state your goals, you’ll also need to explain how the MBA is a necessary part of achieving those goals. This is a chance to show that not only do you need an MBA , but that the particular program you’re applying to is exactly the right fit with your development needs.

What MBA programs really want to know is that you have done your homework and researched the school in detail. Admissions officers DON’T want to see copy/paste from the course catalogue. It is important to network with schools beforehand and then use what you learned to show that only their institution really has the resources to make your goals a reality.

MBA admissions officer

Rebecca Heath Anderson on Researching Career Goals:

Mba application essay #3: school participation essay.

Business schools are selfish! They want to know that you will add something to their institution by attending. Schools rely on students to run many programs, such as professional clubs, and want to know that you will be an active participant in the campus culture. In fact, MBA programs tend to do almost every class and activity in groups.

In order to answer questions like these effectively, you will need to map out the kinds of school-sponsored clubs, conferences, and activities in which you are interested in participating. Consider where you can make helpful contributions to campus life: how can you benefit your classmates as well as the school as a whole?

MBA alumni network

MBA Application Essay #4: Behavioral Essays

An MBA program might ask about your previous experiences, both to gauge whether you’re ready to benefit from the school’s leadership development programs and to know your moral values as a leader. These questions can come in a number of forms.

They might prompt you by saying “Tell us about a time when you led a team” or even “Tell us about a time when you failed.”

What schools really are looking for, in this instance, is some sign that you are self-reflective. They want to understand that you have experienced some leadership setbacks that have made you interested in and prepared to take in the knowledge they have to offer.

Discover Your Path To Success

Get expert mba admissions advice delivered straight to your inbox. 📨, mba leadership essays and how to write them.

What makes you a strong leader? This can be a difficult question to answer. If you have a lot of leadership experience, your challenge is to tell your story in a compelling and authentic way. And if you don’t have a lot of leadership experience, your task is to be creative about how you answer the prompt, so that you can demonstrate to admissions committees the type of leader you’ll be.

In both cases it’s important not to exaggerate the truth. As soon as you inflate what your actual experience was, you call into question not only your response to the leadership question, but also the truthfulness of the rest of your application.

When shaping a response to the leadership question, you should first think about all of the people you interact with at your job: your manager, colleagues, team members of other departments, office staff, and HR. Consider your role on this team, and what your contributions were.

If you truly had a leadership role, reflect upon your experiences—good and bad—in leading a team. Admissions committees want to see not just your successes, but also your resilience and ability to learn from mistakes. If you weren’t the leader, you can pull from examples of good leadership that you have encountered, and demonstrate how you embody those skills, perhaps by describing non-work-related leadership positions you have held.

Questions to Consider for Leadership Essays

When developing your response to the leadership question, it is important to provide as many specifics as possible—particularly in your earliest drafts. Here are some questions that can help you make your essay convincing and engaging. (You don’t necessarily need to answer all of them; they are just a starting point.)

Writing about Difficulties, Failures and Weaknesses

A common question in MBA essay prompts concerns a failure or setback in your career. These are a few examples of essay prompts that top MBA programs have used to ask about this topic:

These can be unpleasant topics to write about. How should an applicant respond to questions like these?

Pick a Genuine Failure or Weakness

Although it may seem tempting to tell a story in which your own failures are minimized, this type of response is unlikely to be effective, because it does not give you the chance to show self-reflection and personal growth. Moreover, an example where you give a ‘faux failure’ is much less likely to engage the reader than one where you describe a genuine failure of setback.

For example, imagine that you decided to write about an important project that failed due to an error by someone in the team you supervised. You may be tempted to write that “the team member was unable to take the responsibility and should have been monitored more closely.” Although this may be part of the story, a better response would include some reflection on your personal contribution to the problem. Instead of giving the trite insight that you should have monitored the team more carefully, you could write about the shortcomings in your management style and ability to motivate the team. By doing this, you show that you are honest and able to to reflect on failures, and you give yourself the chance to go on to describe what you have learned.

Don’t Turn a Failure Essay Into an Achievement Essay

For instance, in the above example, do not draw the attention away from your failure in managing the team by pointing out how hard you worked on the project yourself. You do not want to give the application committee the impression that you only want to talk about your successes, but are reluctant to reflect on your weaknesses.

Describe What You Learned

End your essay by describing what you have learned from your failure or setback and give an example of how you used your new insight. This is an expected topic even if it is not mentioned in the text of the prompt.

An average essay draws trite lessons. Sticking again with the example above, you might write that “each team member has a unique style and should be motivated accordingly.” A better response includes more details: Why did you fail to connect with the problem team member? Were there warning signs that you could have seen? A great response includes an example where you put your fix into action: you can mention, for instance, how you worked successfully with the same team member on a later project or were able to spot a potential problem early on in another team you managed afterwards.

By taking the courage to write honestly and directly about your failures, and then showing how you have put your learnings into action after the failure, you will have tackled this difficult essay topic successfully.

Now that we have looked at the main categories of MBA essays, let’s talk about one of the persistent myths about the MBA application process: using example essays and templates.

MBA Essay Examples and Templates–A Bad Idea

It is tempting to think that you can model your business school essay off of someone else’s successful essay. People spend time and money searching for “the perfect MBA essay sample” to use as a guide. First, you may hope to avoid the effort of having to write the essay yourself. Second, this is the sort of cargo cult thinking that says: if I copy what a successful applicant did, then I will also be admitted.

The truth of the matter is that sample essays don’t work. People get admitted to MBA programs for many reasons. Menlo Coaching has bought and reviewed several editions of the Harbus Essay Guide , which contains a number of successful HBS essays… and some of the essays therein are absolutely terrible. One essay spent its entire length bragging about the writer’s vast family wealth and all the celebrities the writer knew. Clearly, that applicant did not get in on the merits of their essay-writing skills.

Former HBS director of admissions Dee Leopold famously said that “Applying to Harvard is not an essay writing contest.” As per our MBA applications and admissions guide , people are accepted to MBA programs not on the quality of the writing, but on the quality of the thinking that went into the essay. As a result, “the perfect essay” is actually the one that answers the question based on your perspective and experiences.

MBA admissions director reading an MBA application essay

By focusing on these broad categories, you can avoid some of the pitfalls of the essay writing process. Try to keep in mind what your overall MBA story is and don’t get lost in some of the things that don’t matter, such as “sample essays” or figuring out the exact language you are going to use.

Remember, the best application essay is the one that addresses the question in a way that is tied in to your personal experience.

Read more on MBA essays

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Essay Service Examples Education MBA

Reflective Essay on MBA Program

I was searching for the complete online program and CMU stuck out. My Web-based learning involvement with CMU has been positive. The MBA program coursework has been careful and has surpassed my desires.

The staff and educators have been proficient and accommodating with opportune supportive responses to questions. The staff is uncommon in their reaction when I have an inquiry. They were proficient in getting me selected and evaluating my credits from a junior college I had recently joined in.

I would energetically prescribe CMU to grown-up students whose timetables request the adaptability that CMU gives, and have oneself drive and order important to pursue accomplishing a top-notch training

I went to the CMUs Achievement Meeting occasion which gave some truly incredible tips on the best way to get ready and act at a meeting. The speaker was incredible and the staff at CMU is extremely excited. CMU is 1 of every 1,000,000. It’s ‘Stunning’ in reverse and advances. This MBA program has transformed me. There’s nothing similar to it! So pleased to be an understudy at California Miramar College.

They keep on offering magnificent help. I locate the online material clear yet provoking enough to make me burrow further to complete tasks, tests, and papers. I prescribe CMU to any individual who is searching for an online program.

I have made the most of my time consequently for California Miramar. I began my MBA program a couple of months back, however, I LOVE it up until now. I have discovered that it is reasonable. I like that they were proactive with my enrollment cycle. I would propose this school.

Offline | Hospitality Management

I as of late went to CMU’s Organizing Gathering and Workshop with Global Neighborliness Mentor. CMU’s occasion was extraordinary! I have cited Nancy Drew throughout the week because of the gathering that I joined. Key topics and thoughts and ‘on the off chance that you are on the top you are on an inappropriate stepping stool’ have been motivating mantras in my psyche as I start another profession and endeavor to fabricate a personal business.

The occasion itself was warm and inviting, fun and persuading. Also the extraordinary endowments, food, and spirits. I was moved by the gathering and roused by the occasion to go for the stars as Nancy has made it understood, anything in life is conceivable! This school has an extraordinary staff and they truly make a special effort to ensure that you are finding your classes.

Every one of my teachers was extremely rational, which cultivated an extraordinary learning climate since everybody was urged to offer their thoughts and criticism. A significant number of my schoolmates and I met after school and at end of the week to talk about the course material and just to hang out.

I’ve been going to this school for right around a year now and I’m satisfied with the exertion that they put into their understudy’s prosperity. Even though The classes were testing and caused me to remain alert however didn’t perplex me, which was significant because I made some full-memories work. That is the excellence of this college, however, with one of the top online MBA programs, it guarantees solid scholastics that will assist you with development yet won’t separate you and thwart future accomplishment by over-burdening you with pointless work

Online | Bachelor of Science in Business Administration: Sports Management

Gain While You Learn With Online Four-year education in science in Business Organization: Sports The board from CalMU

mba essay why this school

Following a couple of years in the ‘genuine’ world, I chose a year ago to apply for an MBA. I needed to keep my activity as a result of monetary and family commitments, so I realized I needed to go for an online MBA or one of the online administration degrees.

After a great deal of examination, I arrived at one of the top online Games The board in San Diego, California Miramar College. They have moving affirmations so I had the option to apply in the semester… truly gave me significant serenity to realize that I could apply at whatever point and still get conceded.

I just began my second semester at California Miramar College and truly couldn’t be more joyful. The online perspective lets me learn about my movement and keep my activity. So not exclusively is their educational cost entirely moderate, yet I can likewise save my activity for both assisting with educational costs and important work insight, tremendous after finishing my MBA degree.

The staff is astonishing – they all have viable true insight and know precisely how to assault each circumstance as well as issue. I was somewhat dubious of online MBA programs from the outset, however, most of the managers esteem them as equivalent to customary MBA degrees insofar as they are certified MBA degrees from a trustworthy school, which California Miramar University fits impeccably. I am so cheerful and blessed I discovered this school and can hardly wait to perceive what lies ahead

Online | Master of Science in Computer Information Systems

A couple of years back I was selecting low-maintenance Ace of Science in PC Data Frameworks since I wasn’t focused on getting myself through an all-out Experts program. An old buddy and partner of mine at the group alluded me to California Miramar College and that reference was the single greatest thing that transformed me.

Of the apparent multitude of online projects out there, and particularly of those that are right now springing up the world over, CalMU offers outstanding other educational programs, educators, and course material I discovered during my research. My four years of involvement with CalMU, are about information, experience, and very much idea out arranging.

These appear to be major however the procedures have assumed a crucial part in my work and I can’t express gratitude toward CalMU enough for intriguing these into my life. I acquired my Lords in Promoting from California Miramar College in 2017, and it is presumably probably the most ideal decision I have ever constructed in my scholarly vocation.

The personnel was astonishing, the online MBA program I tried out was custom-made toward my instructive needs and it imparted in me the hard-working attitude and dedicated mindset that has moved me in my profession. I currently hold an extremely unmistakable situation at an enormous organization in Southern California and owe a ton of it to the magnificent instruction I got with my online MBA.

I am an alumni understudy at CMU and I am intrigued by their MBA program. CMU has quality educators that are equipped in their particular fields. The program is testing and instructive. Contrasted with other private colleges, CMUs educational cost is prudent and gives extraordinary worth

Online | Master of Science in Strategic Leadership

Getting a high-flying profession with a licensed online Master of Science in Strategic Leadership – I’ve been catching wind of it a ton and have been contemplating selecting low maintenance MBA program. I can’t leave my place of employment as a result of monetary and companion/family reasons, yet one of my cousins moved on from California Miramar College and has just praised its excitedly.

He has unfathomable employment since he has everything except qualities to her CalMU degree and endlessly urges me to apply there. I am as yet taking a gander at a similar online program, yet after a ton of examination, California Miramar College is certainly the leader. They have a list of elite educators showing their classes and have a high pace of graduates turning out to be extremely ‘esteemed’ workers. my teachers are exceptionally qualified and excellent in introducing what we’re contemplating, and I have learned more than I suspected conceivable in a year. I will apply in the following couple of weeks and truly trust I get into calm. I realize it will be an astonishing encounter!

It’s been a year and I am extremely cheerful about choosing to concentrate here. My experience has been only sure – I find convenient solutions to any inquiries I have, I am anticipating finishing the program one year from now and right now realize that my business degree from CalMU will truly assist me with pursuing whatever it is I choose to.

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Homepage > MBA Admissions > MBA essay – 5 types of essays explained with examples

MBA essay – 5 types of essays explained with examples

Posted by Suheb Hussain | Aug 2, 2022 | MBA Admissions , MBA Application Process

MBA essay – 5 types of essays explained with examples

MBA essay is a powerful means for you to showcase your worth to your target business school. It holds a 15% weightage in your application. The essay in MBA applications gives you a chance to showcase those aspects that you’re unable to show in your resume.

But, what are the various ways in which admissions officers use the MBA essay to evaluate your candidacy?

In this article, we’ll explore the 5 types of MBA essays that you can expect to answer through your MBA applications.

Here are the 5 types of MBA essays typically asked in a business school application:

different types of mba essays

Let’s look at each one of these five types of MBA essays:

Goals Essay

This is one essay that you can expect to see in most schools’ MBA applications. The purpose of this essay is to understand your motivations for coming to business school and your plans thereafter. The question comes in all kinds of variants and word limits.

mba essay on goals

For example, Wharton has a 500-word question on this, whereas Tuck has a 300-word question on this. MIT Sloan , on the other hand, does not ask you about your goals at all. Some schools ask you to also talk about why you are interested in their specific program, as part of the same prompt.

Some examples of such MBA essays include:

Here are articles on MBA essay analysis for 2021 admissions for a few top US business schools:

Values, Identity, Personal Qualities, and Self-Reflection Essay

This is a broad category that encompasses several different kinds of MBA essays. For example, some schools ask you to introduce yourself to your classmates (e.g. HBS, UT Austin). Answering such a question would require you to introspect.

mba essay introspection

On the other hand, for over a decade, Stanford GSB required applicants to talk about what matters most to them and why. Such questions require deep introspection in order for you to get to the core of your personality and influences. Such essays could also include failure essays or essays that ask you to talk about an ethical dilemma that you might have faced. Many schools have a variant of this kind of essay.

Here are detailed articles on MBA essay analysis for 2019 – 2020 admissions for a few top European business schools:

Contribution Essay

Student-led activities are at the forefront of most schools’ culture. Consequently, an active student body is imperative for the success of student life initiatives.

mba essay on contribution

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

Leadership, Achievements & Impact Essay

mba essay on leadership

In this type of MBA essay, you usually have an opportunity to share a positive anecdote from your past to communicate your future potential to the admissions committee.

Video Essay

Video essays have been a relatively new innovation. These essays have an important distinction in that you may either have an opportunity to do retakes and submit your response in a considered manner or record your video impromptu.

These essays could demonstrate your executive presence and ability to think on your feet. These could give the admissions committee a chance to assess softer aspects of your candidacy like body language, communication skills, and presence of mind.

video mba essay

Helpful MBA Essay tips

The above list is not a mutually exclusive cumulatively exhaustive (MECE) list of MBA essays. The idea here is to introduce you to the different kinds of MBA essay questions.

I have seen cases where an applicant can come across as a totally different person from one school to another simply on the basis of the essay questions asked and the responses to those questions.

While applying, you may experience that the application process can be taxing. In this time of duress, you may be tempted to recycle content from one school’s MBA essay in another place.

In those cases, I recommend that you resist the temptation and write a new response, catered to the specific essay prompt for the business school, even if leveraging the same anecdote. This would allow you to put your best foot forward.

About the author

why mba

Nupur Gupta is a Wharton graduate and also the recipient of the Wharton India fellowship. She serves on the board of the US-based non-profit AIGAC, i.e. the Association for International Graduate Admissions Consultants. Nupur is also the founder of  Crack The MBA , an MBA consulting firm that has a 95% success rate to leading business schools globally. To get in touch, please send your profile details to [email protected]

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mba essay why this school

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Student holding a pen ready to write their MBA essay

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: 

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: 

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 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 .

sample essay

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.

sample essay

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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Crafting Your Admissions Essay

Even seasoned professionals can be intimidated with a blank page, especially when trying to write an admissions essay for a top executive mba program..

Booth alum, Rick Weiland, offers you seven helpful hints on how to write your Booth application essay.

Rick Weiland started the Executive MBA Program in 1978, about a week after he got married. Fortunately, his wife Karen was in the middle of nursing studies, so they spent their nights cozying up to his Micro Economics text and her Gross Anatomy book. Rick also holds a BS from The University of Michigan (Math & Communication Science) and an MS from UChicago (Information Sciences). He spent his career in a variety of technical, managerial, and executive roles mostly at a software consultancy that transformed into a starter of new technology businesses, including two that ended up traded on the NYSE. Now retired for 10+ years, Rick volunteers at Chicago Booth and the Art Institute of Chicago, attends guitar classes at the Old Town School, and travels for fun both domestically and abroad. He and Karen have three grown sons and make their home in Evanston. 


Even successful mid-career professionals can be daunted by the sight of a blank page on which they have to write an essay to help get them admitted to the Chicago Booth Executive MBA program. The purpose of this blog posting is to give you helpful hints and strategies and some friendly encouragement for getting those essays (a) started, and (b) finished.

In this post, we’ll mainly be talking about the required essay :  “Why are you seeking an MBA from Chicago Booth and what do you hope to contribute to the program?” We’ll talk about the Optional Essay briefly at the end.  


Helpful Hint #1:   Relax. 

The reason you’re writing the essay, as with most aspects of the admissions process, is to help you and Chicago Booth determine if you are a good fit for one another. There’s nothing sneaky or mysterious about it. So take it seriously, but don’t let it paralyze you!

Helpful Hint #2:   Remember to answer the whole question!

In my experience, a lot of draft essays devote almost all of their time and space to answering the first part of the question (Why are you seeking the Executive MBA from Booth) and give little or no attention to the second part (What will you contribute). Don’t forget to explain why other students will find it interesting and useful to have you as a classmate. 

Helpful Hint #3:   Minimize the applesauce.

There is no need for you to devote space to heaping praise on Booth and telling the Admissions Team how wonderful Booth is; they already know. There’s no need to sell them on this, and you don’t want to sound like you’re piling on flattery. On the other hand, it is a good idea to spend a few sentences discussing why you and Booth are a good fit to one another.  

Helpful Hint #4:  Keep it simple!

Short punchy sentences made up of short punchy words will always be better than long, learned sentences filled with lots of adjectives. Disable the semicolon key on your keyboard. 

Compare “Keep it simple” to “Invariably maximize the simplicity of your written utterances, thereby effectuating successful communications.” See what I mean?

Helpful Hint #5:   Start from an outline.

Writing an outline helps you organize your sequence of thoughts.  It helps you make sure that all the things you want it to say get included, and the things you don’t need to say stay out. An outline makes the blank page a lot less scary. Key information for your outline could include:

A summary of your experiences, as well as your medium and long-term objectives

How the Booth Executive MBA Program will help you achieve your goals

An overview of what you bring to the program

Helpful Hint #6:  Refine your essay, and don’t be shy about getting some assistance.

Once you’ve written your essay, put it away for a day or two. Then come back and try reading it like it was written by someone else and see how it strikes you. Fix what you don’t like. Read it out loud and see how it sounds. (This is a great catcher of overly complicated or unclear sentences.) Have someone else read and critique your essay. Make sure this person will be frank and up front with you. Have them read it out loud to you. 

If English is not your first language, find a native speaker to review and, if necessary, help you smooth the English. 

Helpful Hint #7:   It’s a challenge, but don’t leave your essay to the last minute. Try to get it done early in the process. Besides helping you avoid last minute panic, having the essay done early gives you another chance to read and reconsider it before you submit. 


The optional essay is an opportunity for you to tell the Admissions Committee things you think are important, but that didn’t fit anywhere else in the admissions process. Most particularly, if there are soft spots in your background, this is the place to address them. If your previous academic record is spotty, or if there are holes in your employment history, this essay provides the opportunity to provide an explanation, including what you’ve learned from difficult situations and how you’ve moved forward from them.  On a more positive note, this essay is also a good place to talk about special interests or accomplishments whose description didn’t fit in elsewhere.   

If, on consideration, you don’t see the need to write the optional essay, no worries—it’s optional!

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mba essay why this school

2 Clever Responses to MBA Short-Answer Essay Prompts

A great MBA short-answer essay typically includes personality, not just facts.

2 Clever MBA Short-Answer Essays

Laptop with blank notepad and pencil with sheets of crumpled paper on old wooden table. Workplace writer or designer.

Individuality is a key component of a compelling short-answer MBA essay, experts say. (iStockphoto)

MBA hopefuls who are filling out business school applications often feel intimidated by short-answer essay prompts with tight word limits. However, B-school admissions officers say that essay prompts with length restrictions help applicants hone in on the ways they can contribute to an MBA class .

Fitting a sales pitch into a tight space can help applicants discover their most attractive selling points, admissions officers say.

"You really do have to think about what are the must-communicates versus the nice-to-communicates," says Isser Gallogly, associate dean of MBA admissions and program innovation at New York University's Stern School of Business .

[See: 10 Mistakes to Avoid in MBA Applications .]

Gallogly says that Stern's "Pick Six" essay, which asks MBA applicants to select six images that represent their identity and briefly describe what each image symbolizes, allows applicants to highlight the reasons why they would be a valuable addition to an MBA cohort.

Here is an image and caption from a "Pick Six" essay that impressed Gallogly. The essay's author, Sebastian Hooker, is a student in Stern's Andre Koo Technology and Entrepreneurship MBA program.

Hooker, who enjoys skiing and mountain biking, says the reason he included this photograph and caption in his MBA application is because he wanted the admissions committee to know about his appreciation of nature. The photograph shows Hooker exploring an ice cave in Oregon.

mba essay why this school

"I have always lived my life with a, 'Work Hard, Play Hard' attitude and will continue to seek awe-inspiring experiences in the great outdoors," Hooker wrote. (Provided by NYU's Stern School of Business, created by NYU student Sebastian Hooker)

Hooker, who grew up in Utah, says he wanted to make clear that if he attended business school in New York City, he would continue pursuing his outdoor hobbies. "I'm not going to move to the concrete jungle and become a 100 percent city-driven person," he says.

Hooker says that outdoor adventures typically require careful planning, and that he's had to work hard professionally in order to earn the money necessary to fund these expeditions. "It's something that's really important to me, and it's something you have to make time for," Hooker says.

Individuality is a key component of a compelling short-answer MBA essay, experts say, because it ought to tell admissions officers something that they cannot learn from a candidate's transcript or resume.

[See: 10 Ways to Ace the MBA Admissions Interview .]

Ben Strickhouser, an incoming second-year MBA student at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business in Pittsburgh, says the key to answering a short-answer essay question effectively is staying true to your identity.

"You want to be authentic in the way that you answer the question, so most likely the first thing that comes to mind whenever you read this question is what you want to put, and then you just need to spend a little bit of time to make sure that it's put in an eloquent way," Strickhouser says.

Here is how Strickhouser responded to an essay prompt asking how he would introduce himself to an MBA admissions officer if he was sitting next that officer at an airport during a layover. The prompt indicated that the maximum word count for this essay was between 300 and 350.

I've spent the last five years working in operations. I’m ready to make a pivot in my career so that I will be in a position to affect organizational decisions and implement improvements.
Due to my obligation to the United States Merchant Marine Academy, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to numerous places during my short five year career. I've worked in nine countries on three continents and sailed the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Working in these different places has been an incredible experience. Even more incredible are the people with whom I’ve been able to work.
While seeing a foreign land and learning the culture are invaluable experiences, nothing compares to what you learn when you work with someone from another culture. This is a time when you learn how people truly act and feel. From the Philippines to Poland and the Ivory Coast to name just a few, I have had the pleasure to work with a truly diverse group of people. The most important thing that I’ve learned from them, something I could never have learned on my own, is perspective.
Pins on your travel map mean nothing if you don’t take the time to talk to the people who live there. Working and of course living onboard a ship in such close proximity to diverse individuals allowed me the opportunity have in depth conversations with them and understand why they feel the way they do.
The Navy has taught me many great lessons about leadership and allowed me to practice them on a daily basis, but it is my time in the private sector around the world that's truly shaped how I am as a leader. I know that these experiences have given me the empathy to be able to step back and consider all of the factors when confronted with a problem, not just the quick and easy solution. I believe this is my greatest strength to bring to Tepper.

Kelly R. Wilson, executive director of masters admissions at the Tepper School of Business, says this essay is excellent because it demonstrated that Strickhouser would have an interesting perspective to share and the capacity to learn from his classmates.

Wilson says that MBA applicants shouldn't worry about responding to a short-answer essay prompt correctly. "What I think is important for the candidate to remember is that there is no single right answer to these short-answer questions," she says. "Too often, the candidate thinks that there is the perfect answer and that there is a single ideal candidate. Neither of those is true."

Soojin Kwon, the managing director of full-time MBA admissions and program at the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor's Stephen M. Ross School of Business , says that B-school hopefuls can use short-answer essays to demonstrate their ability to write concisely.

Kwon says MBA admissions officers like to see evidence that MBA applicants can communicate succinctly and clearly, because MBA courses usually require brief, straightforward essays as opposed to lengthy, abstract treatises.

[Read: Learn From an Accepted MBA Applicant's Resume .]

"It's business writing," Kwon emphasizes. "It's getting to the point quickly, doing it clearly and having a good structure."

But Kwon warns that, even in very short MBA essays like the 100-word essays her school requires, it's important for MBA applicants to not only describe events in their lives, but also explain the lessons they have learned.

Some applicants make the mistake of simply recounting a life event without reflecting on why the event matters, Kwon says. "It will almost be like a grade-school essay," she warns.

Applicants should go beyond mere description and explain the significance of their experience, Kwon says. She suggests that MBA applicants write something along these lines: "This happened and here is what I learned from it, or here is how it has shaped me today.'"

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The MBA Essay is Usually Not Optional: Why You Should Write It

Lana Silanteva

Lana Silanteva - 700+CLUB

Lana Silanteva is an Featured Contributor and the Co-Founder and Head of Verbal at 700+CLUB . 

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You’ve already spent weeks preparing your application for business school – not to mention the months you put into studying for the GMAT exam.

Now, you have all the mandatory components of your application ready: a thorough required essay, a great GMAT score you’re happy with, a recommender who can tell a compelling story of why you’re a strong candidate, and a top-notch CV to boot.

All that’s left is the optional essay.

Before you get started on crafting your optional essay, you need to know whether the optional essay is – or isn’t – right for you, the purpose of the optional essay in the first place, and how to write a strong essay that will get you admitted into your dream business school.

All of your questions – and concerns – will be answered below.

Is the optional MBA essay really optional?

Well, it depends.

For some prospective business school students, the optional essay is a chance to explain any shortcomings in your application. For others, the optional essay can help set you apart from other applicants and strengthen your candidacy.

Part of determining whether an optional essay is right for you depends on what type of essay the admissions committee is looking for. There are two main types:

Explain extenuating circumstances

Some business schools ask applicants whether they should be aware of any extenuating circumstances that could affect a student’s application. Here, an applicant could address potential weaknesses, such as a low GPA, low GMAT score, employment or education gap, or an unlikely choice of recommender.

An applicant should write this type of optional essay if circumstances or challenges in a candidate’s life affected the strength of their application. For example, working part-time during school to support your family or dealing with an illness are extenuating circumstances that could have affected an applicant – such challenges could have lowered your GPA or GMAT score, or caused education or employment gaps in your CV. In such cases, the optional essay would allow the admissions committee to assess you more fairly.

If an applicant did not experience difficult circumstances that affected their application, then the optional essay is not necessary – instead, an applicant will be assessed purely on the merits of their application.

Provide additional information

Other business schools ask applicants open-ended questions about any other information that would be helpful for a student’s application. Essentially, business schools are asking if there is anything else they should know.

With this type of optional essay, applicants have the opportunity to tell their story. Every student is more than just numbers on a page – while a high GPA and GMAT score are impressive, business schools want to know more about why you want to attend their business school and how you can contribute to the learning community.

You can share achievements in your life, experiences, skills, or personality traits that haven’t yet been revealed in the other components of your application. Sharing these additional details will strengthen your application by painting a fuller picture for the admissions committee of more reasons to consider you as a future student.

It is highly recommended for all applicants to write the optional essay if the admissions committee is requesting additional information – after all, this type of essay is giving you the chance to shine and tell your story on your terms.

I’ve already taken my GMAT exam and submitted my CV, why should I write an optional essay?

There are many reasons to write the optional essay, depending on the type of information the admissions committee is looking for. Here are some reasons you should consider:

Academic weakness

A grade of C or lower on your academic record or a low GPA should be explained to the admissions committee. The optional essay is your chance to share why you may have academic weaknesses and, most importantly, how you worked to improve your academic performance.

Low GMAT score

The GMAT is a critical component of your application, but you can still be admitted if you provide a clear explanation for a lower score.

Any circumstances that made it challenging to excel at the GMAT should be discussed in your optional essay. Also, be sure to highlight how your other achievements and skills continue to make you a strong candidate.

Education gap

Taking time off during your studies won’t stop you from being admitted. With the right explanation for the admissions committee, you can show them why you would be a great fit for the MBA program.

Explain why you may have spent time on academic probation, for reasons such as personal hardship or family difficulties. 

Employment gaps or career changes

You may need to explain to the admissions committee why there are gaps of several months between experiences on your CV. Make sure to highlight positive experiences that you had during your time off, such as professional development courses, volunteer opportunities, or extenuating circumstances like having to care for a family member.

If you’re transitioning to the business field from another profession, the admissions committee will want to be sure you made a careful, thoughtful, and considered decision. Use the optional essay to explain why you think an MBA is right for you.

Recommender choice

Not all MBA applicants can comfortably approach their current employer for a recommendation. Perhaps your employer isn’t aware of your MBA plans yet or you haven’t worked at your present company for a long enough time to receive a stellar recommendation.

The optional essay can prevent the admissions committee from making negative assumptions about your relationship with your employer.

MBA preparedness

Not all applicants come from a business background. In fact, business schools would love to hear about the diverse experiences that draw applicants to their MBA program.

The admissions committee, however, still wants to be sure that you are prepared for the academic rigor required of an MBA program. Discuss courses that you took to get ready for business school, like calculus, economics, and statistics.

Additional valuable experiences

Beyond your GPA, GMAT score, and CV, you may have valuable personal experiences that make you stand out as a candidate.

Volunteer experiences, leadership roles, and other accomplishments might not fit into the other application components. The optional essay is your opportunity to add more value to your application and create a narrative of how your experiences brought you to the MBA program.

Delayed MBA

The MBA program attracts students with a wide array of experiences. For personal or professional reasons, some applicants only realize an MBA is right for them later in their careers – and that’s okay.

In the optional essay, show the admissions committee why you believe an MBA is the next step for you, regardless of where you started.

Can optional essays hurt my chances of being admitted?

As long as you’re providing the admissions committee with an honest picture of who you are as a candidate, then an optional essay will not hurt your chances of being admitted.

In most cases, an optional essay can strengthen your application, because it can explain any weaknesses and highlight additional skills or experiences that make you a top applicant. 

If your weaknesses are explained and all your strengths are communicated in your application, then your optional essay will serve to complement your candidacy.

How do I succeed at the optional essay?

The optional essay is a chance for you to explain any discrepancies and add value to your application by revealing more strengths and experiences.

To write a successful optional essay, make sure to leave it for last when you are preparing your application. Once all your other application components are ready, you can better assess whether you need to address weaknesses or give more details about why you belong in an MBA program.

Once you determine that an optional essay is going to help your application, ensure that the additional details you are providing can’t be included elsewhere in your application. The admissions committee has a lot of applications to consider, and you must be sure to include all the necessary details in each component of your application.

If instructions are provided, be sure to follow them. Each school may have a different word count or other expectations for the optional essay, so writing a different optional essay for each school is recommended.

Keep your essay focused and don’t use excessive space to get your point across. Add insights you gained from the experiences you are including and if discussing your weaknesses, explain how you worked to address them.

In writing your optional essay, it is vital to be as clear and concise as possible. You should avoid unnecessary details and information that is included in other parts of your application. Instead, focus on key points that make your application stronger.

The bottom line

The optional essay is – usually – not optional.

Most applicants will want to consider writing it to explain extenuating circumstances, address potential weaknesses, or add valuable details that strengthen their chance of being admitted.

The optional essay is your opportunity to shine – make sure the admissions committee knows all the facts to make the case that you are the MBA applicant that they’re looking for.

Lana Silanteva is an Featured Contributor and the Co-Founder and Head of Verbal at 700+CLUB . 700+Club is a student-centric, venture-backed online test prep and admission consulting company. Every year they help thousands of students achieve their best scores and get admitted to the top B-schools around the world. At 700+ Club, they believe that test preparation should be fun, engaging, innovative and result-oriented. With 99%-ile teachers, innovative  and digital learning tools, and a comprehensive methodology, they are certain that you will achieve your best test score. They say about themselves: "We are not a test prep company, we are your test prep support system."

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Sample MBA Essay for Wharton

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MBA essays can be hard to write, but they are one of the most important parts of the MBA application process . If you need help getting started, you may want to view a few sample MBA essays for inspiration. The sample MBA essay shown below has been reprinted (with permission) from . EssayEdge did not write or edit this sample MBA essay. It is a good example of how an MBA essay should be formatted.

Wharton Essay Prompt

Prompt: Describe how your experiences, both professional and personal, have led to your decision to pursue an MBA at the Wharton school this year. How does this decision relate to your career goals for the future? Throughout my life, I have observed two distinct career paths, my father's and my uncle's. My father completed his engineering degree and secured a government job in India, which he continues to hold to this day. My uncle's path began similarly; like my father, he earned an engineering degree. My uncle, on the other hand, continued his education by moving to the United States to earn an MBA, then started his own venture and became a successful businessman in Los Angeles. Evaluating their experiences helped me understand what I wanted from my life and create a master plan for my career. While I appreciate the excitement, flexibility, and independence my uncle has in his life, I value my father's proximity to his family and culture. I now realize that a career as an entrepreneur in India could provide me with the best of both worlds. With the objective of learning about business, I completed my bachelor's degree in Commerce and joined KPMG in the Audit & Business Advisory Department. I believed that a career with an accounting firm would serve me in two ways: first, by enhancing my knowledge of accounting -- the language of business -- and second, by providing me with an excellent introduction to the business world. My decision seemed to be a sound one; in my first two years at KPMG, I worked on a wide variety of assignments that not only strengthened my analytical and problem-solving skills, but also taught me how large businesses managed their sourcing, manufacturing, and distribution functions. After enjoying this productive and educational experience for two years, I decided I wanted greater opportunities than what the audit department could offer. Thus, when the Management Assurance Services (MAS) practice was established in India, the challenge of working in a new service line and the opportunity to help improve the risk management mechanisms of businesses influenced me to join it. In the last three years, I have improved risk management capabilities of clients by addressing strategic, enterprise and operational risk issues. I have also assisted the MAS practice in tailoring our international portfolio of services to the Indian marketplace by conducting risk management surveys, interacting with professionals in other developing economies, and conducting interviews with senior client management. Besides becoming skilled at process risk consulting, I have also significantly improved my project management and new service development abilities in the last three years.

During my tenure with the MAS department, I have encountered challenges that have motivated me to seek  a management degree . For example, last year, we conducted a process risk review for a cash-starved Indian auto ancillary that had expanded capacity without assessing sources of competitive advantage. It was clear that the company needed to rethink its business and operational strategy. Since the MAS department lacked the necessary skills to execute the project, we hired consultants to assist us in the assignment. Their approach of reviewing both the strategic and operational aspects of the business was an eye-opener for me. The pair of consultants used their knowledge of international business and macroeconomics to evaluate key industry trends and identify new markets for the company. In addition, they employed their understanding of supply chain management to benchmark key capabilities with competition and identify opportunities for improvement. As I witnessed the progress made by these two consultants, I realized that in order to achieve my long-term professional goals, I needed to return to school to expand my understanding of the fundamentals of corporate and industry analysis. I also believe that management education can help me develop other vital skills essential to my standing as a professional. For example, I will benefit from the opportunity to further polish my public speaking ability and hone my skills as a negotiator. Also, I have had limited experience working outside India, and I feel that an international education will equip me with the skills necessary to deal with foreign suppliers and customers. After graduating from Wharton, I will seek a position in a strategy consulting firm in its business building/growth practice. In addition to providing me with an opportunity to apply what I have learned, a position in the growth practice will expose me to the practical issues of new business creation. Three to five years after earning an MBA, I would expect to establish my own business venture. In the short-term, however, I may explore exciting business ideas and examine ways to build a  sustainable business  with the help of the Wharton Venture Initiation Program. The ideal education for me includes the Wharton Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management majors coupled with unique experiences like the Wharton Business Plan Competition and the Wharton Technology Entrepreneurship Internship. Perhaps even more importantly, I look to benefit from the Wharton environment -- an environment of boundless innovation. Wharton will give me the opportunity to apply the theory, models and techniques I learn in the classroom to the real world. I intend to join the 'entrepreneurs club' and consulting club, which will not only help me form lifelong friendships with fellow students but also give me exposure to  top consulting firms  and successful entrepreneurs. I would be proud to be a part of the Women in Business club and contribute to the 125 years of women at Penn. After five years of business experience, I believe that I am ready to take the next step toward my dream of being an entrepreneur. I also am confident that I am ready to participate actively as a member of the incoming Wharton class. At this point I am looking to gain the requisite skills and relationships to grow as a professional; I know that Wharton is the right place for me to accomplish this objective.

mba essay why this school

mba essay why this school

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    The MBA program attracts students with a wide array of experiences. For personal or professional reasons, some applicants only realize an MBA is right for them later in their careers - and that's okay. In the optional essay, show the admissions committee why you believe an MBA is the next step for you, regardless of where you started.

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    It is a good example of how an MBA essay should be formatted. Wharton Essay Prompt Prompt: Describe how your experiences, both professional and personal, have led to your decision to pursue an MBA at the Wharton school this year. How does this decision relate to your career goals for the future?