These MBA Insider tips were provided by Stacey Kammerdiener, Senior Full-Time MBA Admissions Officer.
Your best chance at successfully answering this year’s Full-Time MBA application essays comes from approaching them thoughtfully. The purpose of these essays is to understand why you want to attend Texas McCombs, and to learn more about you as an individual. With a genuine goal of authenticity and the tips below, you will be well on your way to submitting a strong application.
MBA Essay 1
We will learn a lot about your professional background through your resume and letter of
recommendation. We want to get to know you further. Please introduce yourself.
An essay of 250 words, OR a video introduction of one minute
You may be wondering, “How do I introduce myself in only 250 words or through a one minute clip?” Don’t worry– you’re not alone. Many applicants struggle with how to package their entire experience into a short essay.
First, this prompt is purposely open-ended. It grants you the freedom to introduce yourself in a way that is authentically you. When you first meet someone, what’s your elevator pitch? Give us a well-rounded mix of information, so that we better understand who you are in a more complete sense, and not only in one facet of your life. Think about what makes you tick.
But don’t forget about the first sentence of the prompt: “We will learn a lot about your professional background through your resume and letter of recommendation.” This is meant to remind you that the admissions committee will already know a lot about your background through other parts of the application. While your professional life is important, this essay is your opportunity to share who you are outside of the bullet points on your resume.
Finally, the choice is yours: written essay or video. We have seen significant success on both platforms and do not prefer one over the other. Therefore, play to your strengths! If your skill is in writing, focus on the essay. If you want to create a video and rely on your voice and video editing skills, then we are excited to see it. However, if you do submit a video, keep in mind that sending us a photo slideshow isn’t advisable. These clips do not grant the admissions committee the chance to actually see or hear you, and that is really what we are looking for, and what makes these videos so great. Have fun with either submission, and do not take this essay for granted— it can go a long way in setting the stage for your MBA application.
MBA Essay 2
Picture yourself at graduation. Describe how you spent your two years as a Texas McCombs MBA, and how that experience helped to prepare you for the post-MBA world.
This prompt allows you to explain to the admissions committee why you’re applying to Texas McCombs. By describing how you plan to spend your two years as an MBA, we will understand your career plan, learn what you’re passionate about, and find out how you want to develop yourself both in and out of the classroom.
Once again, keep in mind that by the time we read your essays, we have already seen your resume, scores and other basic elements of your MBA application. We have also already reviewed your short and long term goals. Essay two is meant to explain to us how you believe McCombs will help get you there. What classes, organizations, and experiential opportunities specifically relate to your career plan? Connect the dots for us. Personally, how do you envision yourself becoming an active contributor in our community? Texas MBA students are dynamic and engaged, and we are looking for applicants who are not only driven to succeed, but to make a positive impact on society.
Pause to think about how you would want to reflect on your two years while walking across the stage at graduation. Give us specifics. If you’ve read our website, attended events, and/or spoken to our admissions team, you know there is a lot to look forward to: challenging classes, concentrations, organizations, student/alumni networking, award-winning professors, unique career-oriented opportunities, a vibrant city, new graduate business school, and the list goes on. Illustrate what attributes of the program you plan to take full advantage of, and how that fits into your post-MBA self. In addition, how do you plan to give back while you are a student? What will be your lasting legacy? Convince us that you are indispensable to our community.
MBA Optional Statement
Please provide any additional information you believe is important and/or address any areas of concern that will be beneficial to the Admissions Committee in considering your application (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, or extenuating personal circumstances).
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Honestly, the most important piece of advice we can give you regarding this final prompt is to remember that the optional statement is just that– optional. Only applicants who feel that some piece of their profile deserves more explanation should submit an optional statement. This section of the application is not to be used to tell us more about your extracurricular activities, or to expand upon your personal introduction. While we love to see how excited you are to share more info with us, there are other ways to let the admissions committee know about additional projects or passions. The bottom of your resume or your interview are likely better forums for this. Optional statements should focus on filling gaps or answering questions we are likely to have about you.
Some Final Dos and Donts
- Practice patience. Take time to reflect and edit, edit, edit! It will likely take more than one draft to nail it.
- Be honest. These essays are our way to learn more about you. Our students value authenticity and we look for essays that reflect your authentic self.
- Have someone read over your essays. They can provide valuable feedback, and may give you a fresh take on what makes you special.
- Do not send the same essay (or parts of essays) to multiple business schools. We can always spot recycled content.
- Do not ignore the essay prompts. If you bypass the actual questions in an effort to tell us something you think we want to hear, you will not provide the information we are looking for.
- Do not dress up your experiences in extreme language (trying to be shocking or add a “wow factor”) or go past the word counts or time limits. We are looking to see if you can follow the instructions given and stay on prompt.
Please send us an email if you have any questions about your application. Good luck and happy applying!