2010-2011 US MBA Essay Questions


ESSAY A*(Required)

What are your short term and long term goals? How will a Tepper MBA help you achieve these goals? (Please include any information regarding what steps you have taken to learn more about Tepper.)

ESSAY B*(Required)

The Tepper School’s culture relies on all members to be active contributors to our community. With your values, experiences, and interests, how will you make a unique contribution to the Tepper community? Your examples may include: classroom interaction, student activities, career development, community service, etc.

ESSAY C*(Required)

Please answer two of the following three questions or statements. Please clearly specify which questions you are answering. Your two answers should equal a total of two pages or less.

1. Describe an obstacle you have faced in your professional or academic life. How did you overcome this obstacle and how did it foster your development?

2. Describe a time in which your ethics were challenged. How did you deal with the situation and what did you learn from it?

3. One thing people would be surprised to know about me is…

Additional Essays


Is there anything else that you think we should know as we evaluate your application?

Note: If you believe your credentials and essays represent you fairly, you should not feel obligated to answer this question. This essay is intended to provide a place for you to add information that you think is important but is not covered elsewhere in the application.

Note: You must complete this essay if you answered 'yes' to either of the 'additional information' questions above.



Essay 1

What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals? How will Columbia Business School help you achieve these goals? (Recommended 750 word limit)

Essay 2

Please tell us about yourself and your personal interests. The goal of this essay is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have achieved professionally. (Recommended 500 word limit)

Optional Essay

Is there any further information that you wish to provide to the Admissions Committee? (Please use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history.)



Essay 1

Describe your greatest professional achievement and how you added value to your organization. (400 word limit)

Essay 2

What career do you plan to pursue upon completion of an MBA degree and why? How will the Johnson School help you achieve this goal? (400 word limit)

Essay 3

You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. Please write the table of contents for the book. (400 word limit)

Note: Approach this essay with your unique style. We value creativity and authenticity.

Optional Essay

Complete this essay if you would like to add additional details regarding your candidacy. For instance, if you believe one or more aspects of your application (e.g., undergraduate record or test scores) do not accurately reflect your potential for success at the Johnson School. (400 word limit)

Re-applicant Essay: How did you strengthen your application since you last applied to the Johnson School? (400 word limit)


Dartmouth (Tuck)

Essay 1:

Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals?

Why is Tuck the best MBA program for you? (If you are applying for a joint or dual degree,

please explain how the additional degree will contribute to those goals.)

Essay 2:

Discuss your most meaningful leadership experience. What did you learn about your own individual strengths and weaknesses through this experience?

Essay 3:

What is the greatest challenge or hurdle you have overcome, either personally or professionally, and how did you manage to do so?

Essay 4:

Tuck seeks candidates of various backgrounds who can bring new perspectives to our community. How will your unique personal history, values, and/or life experiences contribute to the culture at Tuck?

Essay 5 - Optional:

Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere that may be helpful in reviewing your application (e.g., unusual choice of evaluators, weaknesses in academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes, etc.). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.

Essay 6 - Reapplicant Essay:

(To be completed by all reapplicants) How have you strengthened your candidacy since you last applied? Please reflect on how you have grown personally and professionally.

Employment Question:

Have you had any gaps of longer than 2 months in your employment history? If yes, please explain (200 words maximum)



Applicant Essays : Answer all 3 essay questions.

1. Describe your vision for your career and your inspiration for pursuing this career path.

2. How will your background, values, and non-work activities enhance the experience of other Duke MBA students and add value to Fuqua's diverse culture?

3. Why Duke? (If you are interested in a specific concentration, joint degree, clubs or activities, please discuss how you would contribute to these in this essay.)

Optional Essay (not required)

If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware, please explain them here (e.g., unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, significant weakness in your application).

Re-applicant Essay (All re-applicants are required to complete the Re-applicant Essay. Please limit your response to two pages.)

Write an essay describing how you are now a stronger candidate for admission compared to the application you submitted the previous year.



Answer all essays (numbers 1 through 4), following the directions indicated in the questions.

1. Please answer each of the following four questions in a short paragraph of no more than 250 words each.

a. Why have you decided to pursue an MBA at this time?

b. What interested you in Goizueta Business School’s MBA program?

c. What are your short term post MBA goals?

d. What are your long term professional aspirations?

2. Share one of your most significant professional accomplishments. Describe your precise role in this activity and how it has helped to shape your management skills. Please limit your response to 1000 words.

3. Goizueta Business School takes pride in our Core Values: Courage, Integrity, Accountability, Rigor, Diversity, Team, and Community. These ideals drive principled, effective leaders in business, and are the values we seek to instill in all of our students, both during their education at Goizueta and beyond. Provide a specific example of how you have demonstrated one of these values in your professional experience. Please limit your response to 500 words.

4. Complete one of the following statements. Please limit your response to 500 words.

a. I am unique because...

b. My most memorable cross-cultural experience...

c. I am passionate about...

d. My personal brand is...

e. I took a risk when I...

Optional Essay: If you have additional information or feel there are extenuating circumstances which you would like to share with the MBA Admissions Committee (i.e. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance issues, areas of weakness in application), please complete this optional essay in 250 words or less.



ESSAY ONE (Required) - Limit: 750 words

A) What position do you plan to obtain upon graduation from the MBA program? Please include both industry and function in your explanation.

B) How will the combination of your past experiences and the Georgetown MBA position you for this new opportunity?

C) Please describe how you envision your career progression beyond your initial post-MBA position.

ESSAY TWO (Required) - Limit: 750 words

A) What does leadership mean to you? What are the personal characteristics and skills required to be an effective leader?

B) Provide a specific example of when you demonstrated leadership skills. Describe a challenge that you faced and the results that you achieved.

C) What areas do you wish to develop in order to become a more effective leader?

ESSAY THREE (Required) - Limit: 750 words

How will your classmates benefit from your presence in the Georgetown MBA program?


A) Please provide a bulleted list of your post-undergraduate involvement in the community. Indicate the nature of the activity or organization, dates of involvement, offices held, and average number of hours spent each month.

B) What motivates you to continue contributing to the community? Limit: 250 words

OPTIONAL ESSAY ONE - Limit: 500 words

If you are not currently employed full-time, use this space to provide information about your current activities.

OPTIONAL ESSAY TWO - Limit 500 words

Please provide any information you would like to add to your application that you have not otherwise included. Candidates wishing to be considered for a functional scholarship (finance, marketing, consulting, non-profit/government) will address their greatest accomplishment(s) in their chosen field and why they should be selected for this scholarship.



1. What are your three most substantial accomplishments and why do you view them as such? (600-word limit)

2. What have you learned from a mistake? (400-word limit)

3. Please respond to two of the following (400-word limit each):

- What would you like the MBA Admissions Board to know about your undergraduate academic experience?

- What is your career vision and why is this choice meaningful to you?

- Tell us about a time in your professional experience when you were frustrated or disappointed.

- When you join the HBS Class of 2013, how will you introduce yourself to your new classmates?


Indiana (Kelley)

1. Please discuss your post-MBA short- and long-term professional goals. How will your professional experience, when combined with a Kelley MBA degree, allow you to achieve these goals?

2. Choose two of the next three: (Note: Enter or upload response to first selected essay here.)

Describe an ethical dilemma that you faced in your professional career. How was it resolved and what did you learn from the experience?

Suppose you had to choose three people-people alive now or people from another era-to travel with you on a cross-country automobile trip. Who would you choose and why? What would you hope to learn from them? (Think carefully about the company you want on those long stretches through Nebraska and Kansas.)

Describe what there is about your background and your experiences that will contribute to the diversity of the entering class and enhance the educational experience of other students.

Optional: Is there anything else that you think we should know as we evaluate your application? If you believe your credentials and essays represent you fairly, you shouldn't feel obligated to answer this question.



Cover Letter

Prepare a cover letter (up to 500 words) seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA Program. Describe your accomplishments and include an example of how you had an impact on a group or organization. Your letter should conform to standard business correspondence and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Director of MBA Admissions.


Please limit the experiences you discuss to those which have occurred in the past three years.

Essay 1: Please describe a time when you went beyond what was defined, expected, established, or popular. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

Essay 2: Please describe a time when you convinced an individual or group to accept one of your ideas. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

Essay 3: Please describe a time when you took responsibility for achieving an objective. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

Supplemental Information (Optional)

You may use this section to address whatever else you want the Admissions Committee to know. (250 words or less, limited to one page)



Essay 1. Professional Aspirations

(750 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

Think about the decisions you have made in your life. Answer the following:

(a) What choices have you made that led you to your current position?

(b) Why pursue an MBA at this point in your life?

(c) What is your career goal upon graduation from NYU Stern? What is your long-term career goal?

Essay 2. Your Stern Experience

(500 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

We take great care to shape the Stern community with individuals who possess both intellectual and interpersonal strengths. We seek individuals who are highly intelligent, collaborative, and committed to flourishing as Stern leaders. Please answer the following questions:

(a) What is your personal experience with the Stern community? Tell us what actions you have taken to learn about us.

(b) Describe what most excites you about Stern from both an academic and extracurricular perspective.

(c) How do you anticipate making your mark on the Stern community? Be specific about the roles you will take on and the impact you hope to achieve.

Essay 3. Personal Expression

Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates. You may use almost any method to convey your message (e.g. words, illustrations). Feel free to be creative.

If you will submit Essay 3 via mail or by providing an online link, please provide a brief description of your submission and its relevance to your MBA application.

If you submit a written essay, it should be 500 words maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font.

If you have a multimedia submission, you may:

(a) Mail a CD, DVD or USB flash drive.

(b) Include an online link in your submission description.

The Admissions Committee reserves the right to request an alternate Essay 3 if we are unable to view your submission. Do not submit anything perishable (e.g. food).

Essay 4. Additional Information (optional)

Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee. This may include current or past gaps in employment, further explanation of your undergraduate record or self-reported academic transcript(s), plans to retake the GMAT and/or TOEFL or any other relevant information.

If you are unable to submit a recommendation from a current supervisor, you must explain your reason in Essay 4.

If you are a re-applicant from last year, please explain how your candidacy has improved since your last application.

If you are applying to a dual degree program, please explain your decision to pursue a dual degree.


Northwestern (Kellogg)

Essay #1

a) MBA Program applicants - Briefly assess your career progress to date. Elaborate on your future career plans and your motivation for pursuing an MBA. (600 word limit)

b) MMM Program applicants – Briefly assess your career progress to date. How does the MMM Program meet your educational needs and career goals? (600 word limit).

*MMM is a dual-degree program that combines the Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Kellogg School of Management and the Master of Engineering Management (MEM) from the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University.

Essay #2

Describe your key leadership experiences and evaluate what leadership areas you hope to develop through your MBA experiences (600 word limit).

Essay #3

Assume you are evaluating your application from the perspective of a student member of the Kellogg Admissions Committee. Why would you and your peers select you for admission, and what impact would you make as a member of the Kellogg community? (600 word limit).

Essay #4

Complete one of the following three questions or statements. (400 word limit)

Re-applicants have the option to answer a question from this grouping, but this is not required.

a) Describe an instance where you encountered resistance in a professional team setting. How did you address the situation?

b) People may be surprised to learn that I…..

c) The best mistake I ever made was…….

Additional Information

If needed, use this section to briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.)

Required essay for re-applicants only:

Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (400 word limit)



Essay Length: Your answers for all of the essay questions cannot exceed 1,800 words.

Essay 1: What matters most to you, and why?

Essay 2: What are your career aspirations? What do you need to learn at Stanford to achieve them?

Essay 3: Answer two of the four questions below. Tell us not only what you did but also how you did it. What was the outcome? How did people respond? Only describe experiences that have occurred during the last three years.

Option A: Tell us about a time when you built or developed a team whose performance exceeded expectations.

Option B: Tell us about a time when you made a lasting impact on your organization.

Option C: Tell us about a time when you generated support from others for an idea or initiative.

Option D: Tell us about a time when you went beyond what was defined, established, or expected.


UT-Texas at Austin (McCombs)

Essay 1

Describe how your experiences, both personal and professional, have led you to pursue an MBA at this time. What are your short- and long-term goals and how will a Texas MBA help you achieve them? (Limit: 900 words)

Essay 2

Discuss a defining experience in your leadership development. What did you learn from this experience about your strengths and weaknesses as a leader? (Limit: 650 words)

Essay 3

At the McCombs School of Business, you will be part of an active and diverse community. How will you use your personal strengths and unique experiences to enrich the McCombs community during your two years in the program? (Limit: 500 words)

Optional Essay

Please provide any additional information to the Admissions Committee that you believe is important and/or will address any areas of concern that will ultimately be beneficial to the committee in considering your application. (Limit: 350 words)


UC Berkeley (Haas)

Supplemental Information

1. If you have not provided a letter of recommendation from your current supervisor, please explain; otherwise, enter N/A.

2. List in order of importance all community & professional organizations and extracurricular activities in which you have been involved during or after university studies. Indicate the nature of the activity or organization, dates of involvement, offices held, & average number of hours spent per month.

3. List full-time and part-time jobs held during undergraduate or graduate studies, indicating the employer, job title, employment dates, location, and the number of hours worked per week for each position held prior to the completion of your degree.

4. Please explain all gaps in your employment since earning your university degree.

5. Please identify the course(s) you have taken or intend to take to demonstrate quantitative proficiency. Provide the course name and institution. Beyond courses, please discuss other ways in which you have demonstrated strong quantitative abilities.

6. If you have ever been subject to academic discipline, placed on probation, suspended or required to withdraw from any college or university, please explain. If not, please enter N/A. (An affirmative response to this question does not automatically disqualify you from admission.)

Short Answer Questions

1. What are you most passionate about? Why? (250-word maximum)

2. Tell us about your most significant accomplishment. (250-word maximum)

3. At Haas, our distinctive culture is defined by four key principles — question the status quo; confidence without attitude; students always; and beyond yourself. Give an example of when you have demonstrated one of these principles. (250 words maximum, Review Berkeley-Haas’ Defining Principles)

4. There are many ways to learn about our program, what steps have you taken to learn about the Berkeley MBA? (250-word maximum)

Required Essays

1. Give us an example of a situation in which you displayed leadership. (500 word maximum)

2. What are your post-MBA short-term and long-term career goals? How do your professional experiences relate to these goals? How will an MBA from Berkeley help you achieve these specific career goals? (1000 word maximum)

Optional Essays

Please feel free to provide a statement concerning any information you would like to add to your application that you haven't addressed elsewhere. (500 word maximum)



Required Essay Question

1. What event or life experience has had the greatest influence in shaping your character and why? (750 words)

2. Describe your short-term and long-term career goals. What is your motivation for pursuing an MBA now and how will UCLA Anderson help you to achieve your goals? (750 words)

Optional Essay

You may respond to optional essay #1 via written essay, audio, or video clip. No preference is given in the evaluation process to applicants who submit optional essays.

1. What is something people will find surprising about you?

2. Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words)

Reapplicant Essays

Reapplicant Essay

Reapplicants who applied for the entering Fall 2009 or 2010 class are required to complete the following essay.

- Please describe your career progress since you last applied and ways in which you have enhanced your candidacy. Include updates on short-term and long-term career goals, as well as your continued interest in UCLA Anderson. (750 words)

Optional Reaaplicant Essay

- Reapplicants who elect to submit optional essays, please refer to the Optional Essays section above.


U of Chicago (Chicago Booth)

1. The Admissions Committee is interested in learning more about you on both a personal and professional level. Please answer the following (maximum of 300 words for each section):

a. Why are you pursuing a full-time MBA at this point in your life?

b. Define your short and long term career goals post MBA.

c. What is it about Chicago Booth that is going to help you reach your goals?

d. RE-APPLICANTS ONLY: Upon reflection, how has your thinking regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application?

2. Chicago Booth is a place that challenges its students to stretch and take risks that they might not take elsewhere. Tell us about a time when you took a risk and what you learned from that experience (maximum of 750 words).

3. At Chicago Booth, we teach you HOW to think rather than what to think. With this in mind, we have provided you with “blank pages” in our application. Knowing that there is not a right or even a preferred answer allows you to demonstrate to the committee your ability to navigate ambiguity and provide information that you believe will support your candidacy for Chicago Booth.

The content is completely up to you. Acceptable file formats are PowerPoint or PDF.

There is a strict maximum of 4 pages, though you can provide fewer if you choose.

The document will be printed in color and added to your file for review; therefore, flash, hyperlinks, embedded videos, music, etc. will not be viewed by the committee. You are limited to text and static images to convey your points.

The file will be evaluated on the quality of content and ability to convey your ideas, not on technical expertise or presentation.

Files need to be less than 9 megabytes in order to upload. If your file is too large you may save your file as a PDF and upload your essay.

Optional Essay

If there is any important information that is relevant for your candidacy that you were unable to address elsewhere in the application, please share that information here.


U of Michigan (Ross)

1. Introduce yourself in 100 words or less.

2. Describe your career goals. How will the Ross MBA help you to achieve your goals? (500 word maximum)

3. Describe a time in your career when you were frustrated or disappointed. What did you learn from that experience? (500 word maximum)

4. Select one of the following questions:

• What are you most passionate about and why? (300 word maximum)

• We expect that Ross MBAs will not only be effective leaders, but also effective teachers. How will you contribute to the learning experience of your peers at Ross? (300 word maximum)

5. Optional question: Is there anything else you think the Admissions Committee should

know about you to evaluate your candidacy? (500 word maximum)


UNC (Kenan-Flagler)

Essay One (Required)

1. What are the 2 or 3 strengths or characteristics that have driven your career success thus far? Do you have other strengths that you would like to leverage in the future? Your response should not exceed 500 words.

Essay Two (Required)

2. Please describe your short and long term goals post-MBA. Explain how: your professional experience has shaped these goals; why this career option appeals to you; and how you arrived at the decision that now is the time and the MBA is the appropriate degree.

Your response should not exceed 500 words.

Essay Three (Required)

3. What personal qualities or life experiences distinguish you from other applicants? How do these qualities or experiences equip you to contribute to UNC Kenan-Flagler? Your response should not exceed 500 words.

Essay Four (Optional)

If your standardized test scores are low, or if you have not had coursework in core business subjects (calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting), please tell us how you plan to prepare yourself for the quantitative rigor of the MBA curriculum.

Your response should not exceed 300 words.

Essay Five (Optional)

5. Is there any other information you would like to share that is not presented elsewhere in the application? 300 words maximum.


U of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

Required Essay:

What are your professional objectives? (300 words)

Please respond to three of the following four essay questions.

1. Student and alumni engagement has at times led to the creation of innovative classes. For example, through extraordinary efforts, a small group of current students partnered with faculty to create a timely course entitled, Disaster Response: Haiti and Beyond, empowering students to leverage the talented Wharton community to improve the lives of the Haiti earthquake victims. Similarly, Wharton students and alumni helped to create the, Innovation and Indian Healthcare Industry, a course which took students to India where they studied the full range of healthcare issues. If you were able to create a Wharton course on any topic, what would it be? (700 words)

2. Reflect on a time when you turned down an opportunity. What was the thought process behind your decision? Would you make the same decision today? (600 words)

3. Describe a failure that you have experienced. What role did you play and what did you learn about yourself? How did this experience help to create your definition of failure? (600 words)

4. Discuss a time when you navigated a challenging experience in either a personal or professional relationship. (600 words)

Optional Essay:

If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Committee should be aware, please explain them here (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, significant weaknesses in your application). (250 words)


U of Rochester (Simon)

1. Describe your post-M.B.A. or post-M.S. career plans. How does your past education and experience support your career objectives? What aspects of the Simon School program make it a good choice for your graduate study? Why have you chosen to apply to the Simon School for graduate study?(500 word maximum)

2. (Optional) Share any information that you think is important in the evaluation of your application, including any concerns you think the Admissions Committee may have regarding your application. (500 word maximum)


USC (Marshall)

1) What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals? How will USC Marshall help you achieve these goals? (750 words) If interested in a dual-degree program, please address in this essay.

2) How will other USC Marshall MBA students benefit from your background, experience, leadership and teamwork skills? (500 words)

3) Select three from the following and describe: (250 words each)

a) A challenging international experience

b) A personal or professional setback

c) An entrepreneur you admire

d) Your family, including any ties to USC

e) Your most significant accomplishment

f) A situation where your professional ethics were challenged

4) Optional Essay: Please add any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to consider in evaluating your application. (250 words)


U of Virginia (Darden)

1. The Darden MBA program expects students to actively participate in learning teams, the classroom, and the broader community. Please share one or two examples from your past experience that best illustrate(s) how you will contribute to this highly engaging and hands-on learning environment. (500 words)

2. Please discuss how a global event that has taken place in the past two years has impacted the way you think about leadership broadly and personally. (500 words)

Additional Question

If you were on an elevator with someone representing the organization/industry you want to work for, what would you tell him/her about why you want to work there and what you want to do? (150 words maximum)


U of Washington (UW)


(750 words maximum)

Applicants with a plan for the future and a good grasp of what is expected of them as MBA students are the most likely to succeed as MBA graduates. We know plans change and that people often pursue an MBA to create new career options. That said, we ask that you give us a clear statement of your current career plans. Your essay should answer all the following questions: What do you expect to do immediately after completing the MBA program? What steps have you taken to assess the viability of your post-MBA goals given your experience to date combined with your intended MBA study plans? What do you anticipate will be the primary challenges to achieving your career goals? What is your lifetime career goal? What unique aspects of the Foster MBA Program would contribute the most towards achieving your short term and long term goals?

Essay 2 - OVERVIEW

PLANS FOR INVOLVEMENT (500 words maximum)

We consider a high level of involvement in student organizations, networking and career efforts to be a hallmark of the Foster MBA experience. Please describe your anticipated level of involvement as an MBA student beyond the MBA course requirements. In what specific organizations or activities will you participate? Where do you expect to make the greatest contribution to the overall MBA experience at the Foster School of Business? What aspects of your past or current life provide insights into your ability and willingness to consistently deliver more than the minimum effort required?

Essay 3

Please provide an essay response to ONE of the following question(s). (500 words maximum)

A. Describe a situation in a work environment that either severely strained your relationship with co-workers or challenged your personal values. How did you resolve the situation?

B. At this point in your career what do you consider your most significant professional accomplishments? How have these particular accomplishments affected the career choices you have made?


Please include any other information that you believe would be helpful to the admissions committee in considering your application. For example, applicants have used this essay to explain a stretch of weak grades in college, an unusual job change, travel or time off not explained in the resume, or some particularly interesting or unique characteristic or experience that they were unable to