MBA Admissions Essays: The 5 Most Common Types

It is no secret that admissions officers use essays to evaluate applicants. The MBA essay is a good way to demonstrate your strength and potential to the business school of your choice. A properly written MBA essay gets you closer to admission. So, let's take a look at the 5 types of MBA essays you may expert to write while applying to a business school.

The most common are the following types:

  1. Purpose essay.
  2. Self-reflection essay.
  3. Personal contribution essay.
  4. Leadership essays.
  5. Video Essay.

Below, we'll look at each of the five MBA essay examples.

Purpose Essay

This is the type of assignment you can expect to see when applying to most business schools. The purpose of this work is to understand your motivation. What are you applying to business school for? What do you expect after you graduate from the program? Questions on this topic can be as varied as the desired number of words in your MBA essay.

For example, the Wharton School of Business has a 500-word goal paper, while the Dartmouth Tuck School of Business requires you to answer using no more than 300 words. And when applying to MIT at the MIT Sloan School of Management, it will not ask you about goals at all. Some schools ask you to write about why you are interested in that particular program.

Purpose MBA essay examples:

  1. Chicago Booth School: How will the Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term career goals? (250 words minimum).
  2. Darden School of Business: What short-term goal you set for yourself after your MBA and why? (150 words minimum).

Values, personality, personal qualities, self-reflection - self-reflection essay

This is a broad category that includes several types of MBA essays. For example, some schools ask you to talk about yourself to your classmates. You can't do without self-reflection to answer this question.

At the same time, for over a decade, Stanford GSB has required candidates to answer the question of what is most important to them in life and why. Such topics require deep introspection. This will allow you to get to the core of your personality and understand what influenced its formation.

This type of paper also includes an MBA essay that asks you to talk about some failure of yours. Or it may be a composition about a moral dilemma (that you have faced in reality or might have faced). Many schools have an option for this kind of writing assignment.

MBA personal statement examples:

  1. Kellogg School of Management: What values are important to you and how have they affected you? (450 words).
  2. Yale School of Management: Tell us about the most serious commitment you have ever made (500 words).
  3. Dartmouth Tuck School of Business: Tell us who you are (300 words).

Personal Contribution Essay

Active student life is an essential part of most schools' culture. Accordingly, a vibrant student body is essential to the success of student initiatives. Therefore, personal contribution essays in MBA applications are a great way for schools to understand what each candidate is willing to contribute.

Personal Contribution MBA essay examples:

  1. Wharton School of Business: Describe an impressive experience or accomplishment that you did not mention on your resume. How will you use the experience for the benefit of the Wharton community? (400 words).
  2. Indian School of Business (ISB): ISB will enroll 900 new students in 2021. Why should you be among them? (400 words).

Essays on Leadership, Achievement, and Influence

In this type of MBA essay, you have the opportunity to share a positive episode from your past with members of the admissions committee and communicate your future potential in that context.

Leadership MBA essay examples:

  1. Darden School of Business: Please provide an example of a situation in which you have made a significant impact (200 words).
  2. INSEAD Business School: Tell us about the achievement you are most proud of and why.

Video Essay

Video essays are a relatively new practice. This work can be seriously different from one another, depending on how much time you spend on them. A video essay can be well thought out when you have the opportunity to do new takes after reviewing and evaluating the previous result. But sometimes this type of assignment has to be recorded impromptu, and you become a participant in the improvisation.

Video can demonstrate your credibility as a potential leader and your ability to think quickly and make decisions. It also gives the committee a chance to evaluate aspects of your candidacy. These are body language, communication skills, and presence of mind.

Essay examples:

  1. MIT Sloan School of Management, pre-recorded work: Please introduce yourself to your future classmates in a short (60 second) video.
  2. Kellogg School of Management, impromptu work: Tell us about your career aspirations. How do you intend to pursue them, and how does Kellogg help you do that?

Of course, the above list is not exhaustive. But it gives an idea of the variety of applicant papers topics and questions that admissions representatives ask applicants to business schools.

Finally, the admissions committee does not recommend using the same writing to apply to different business schools. Even if the topic of the essay sounds almost identical. If the basis is the same story that happened to you, it is still better to write a new composition. It increases your chances of getting in.

Top 5 most common MBA essay mistakes to avoid

Business school admission directly depends on a masterfully written paper. Let's take a look at the top 5 mistakes that applicants make when writing an MBA application essay.

1. A contentless text

An essay that lacks the consistency of thought is tedious to read and is unlikely to merit a high grade. To create a better text, add:

  • elements of introspection;
  • examples of real-life, personal characteristics;
  • details expressing your personal thoughts and emotions.

Working with the text, try to be guided by your own judgments, the result of inner self-knowledge and comprehension of the main idea of the paper. Neither articles from the Internet, nor library materials will replace personal experience.

Stories from real life can act as excellent illustration material. They make a text more personal and provide a sense of a person's character and attitudes. It will be easier for the committee to understand the author's high goals and whether such aspirations are justified.

At the same time, an MBA essay cannot consist exclusively of examples; use them to maintain interest in the text, but no more than that, as the text may seem superficial. To prove your creativity and thinking abilities, maintain a balance between stories and elements of self-analysis, the ability to make logical connections.

2. The theme is not disclosed

This mistake is very common among students who do not have enough experience in essay writing on a given topic. Remember that the main task of writing is to demonstrate the ability to formulate a detailed answer to a question, everything else is secondary.

For example, if an essay asks you to describe a failure that happened in the past, devote most of the text to a real case that can be characterized as a failure. As a conclusion, state what conclusions you drew based on this failure, how you will try to cope with similar difficulties in the future. However, the basis of the text should be a description of the failure, answering the main question.

If the theme of the paper is not specified and contains only general guidelines, do not panic. You have an opportunity to describe your interests and personality in a broader way.

3. Using cliches

Precise answers and a logical chain of judgments are much better than verbose phrases that are not filled with specifics. Nothing spoils an MBA essay as much as the insertion of numerous clichés, high-sounding phrases, which in no way reveal the main meaning of the text. Try to write as clearly as possible, each paragraph should contain a complete thought. That is the only way to get a clear assessment of your talent.

4. Superficial judgments

The admissions committee rejects most of the students' works due to the superficiality of the submitted text. For some reason, not all authors realize the importance of the essay and its ability to distinguish the candidate from dozens of others.

First, abstract phrases and characteristics should be discarded. You need to add facts to support it, or it will seem unfounded. Provide an example of your past experiences in taking on leadership roles. Describe your own understanding of the role of a successful leader in a project.

5. Lack of logic

The last flaw in the list of common mistakes that is not often paid attention to. Its essence is that the composition often lacks the main feature of a quality paper. This is the logical development of the main idea from the introduction to the conclusion.

For your composition to be truly successful, use the matching technique. It can be used to compare the past and the future, current life interests, and the chosen professional field of activity. This technique provides the author with an inexhaustible source of ideas. Use them in the text and they will help you to formulate your thoughts more clearly. The ability to compare indicates a high intellectual development of the candidate, that an author is a mature person. Without this attribute, the committee members will not delve too deeply into another rather dull text. Most likely, they will deny admission.