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Successfully Answering the MBA Essay Questions

The essays in your MBA application are an important part of sharing your unique story. The most successful essays thoughtfully address the prompts, clearly communicate why you want to attend Texas McCombs, and authentically share who you are. We’ve shared some tips below to aid you in submitting a strong set of essays.

Texas McCombs MBA Essay 1

We will learn a lot about your professional background through your resume and letter of recommendation, but we want to get to know you further. Please introduce yourself. Select only one communication method for your response

a. Write an essay (250 words)
b. Share a video introduction (one minute in length)

First, this prompt is purposely open-ended. It grants you the freedom to introduce yourself in a way that is genuinely “you.” Think about what gives you energy and recharges you. When you first meet someone, what’s your personal elevator pitch? How does it share your values? Give us a well-rounded mix of information in this essay so we can better understand you beyond your work life.

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.” The admissions committee already read your resume, letter of recommendation, education history, and goals. While your professional life is important, this essay is your opportunity to share who you are outside of those components.

Finally, the choice is yours: written essay or video. We have seen significant success with both mediums and do not have a preference of one over the other. Therefore, play to your strengths! If your skill is in writing, focus on the essay. If you’re not shy in front of a camera, then record a video. However, if you do submit a video, keep in mind that sending us a photo slideshow isn’t advisable. These slideshow submissions don’t grant the admissions committee the chance to actually see and hear from you, which is really what we are looking for in a video submission. 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 and creating another great impression.

Texas McCombs MBA Essay 2

Picture yourself at the completion of your MBA journey. Describe how you spent your time as a Texas McCombs MBA student to achieve your personal and professional goals. (500 words)

Essay Two provides an opportunity to explain why you’re applying to Texas McCombs. By describing what you’re excited for and your plans as an MBA, we will understand your career plan, learn what you’re passionate about, and discover how you want to develop yourself both in and out of the classroom.

What classes, organizations, and experiential opportunities specifically relate to your career plan? Personally, how do you envision yourself becoming an active member of our community? Connect the dots between your goals and how McCombs will get you there.

Make sure to give us specifics. If you’ve engaged with the program, 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…the list goes on. Illustrate what attributes of the program you plan to take full advantage of and how you plan to make a positive impact while you are a student. What will be your MBA legacy? Convince us that you are indispensable to our community.

MBA Optional Statement

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Who Should Write Your MBA Recommendation?

The Texas McCombs MBA application requires one professional letter of recommendation from a person who has supervised your work and/or has assessed your performance during your career.

A recommendation letter is one of the only things you rely on someone else to provide in your application. Circumstances differ for every applicant and deciding who you should ask will vary.  Below are some scenarios to help guide you in choosing the best recommender your application.

Your Supervisor

Your current direct supervisor is traditionally the best choice. This is likely the person in your network that knows your strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else. However, this may not be a viable option for you.  Perhaps you aren’t able to communicate to your employer that you’re applying to business school or you do not work with your direct boss that closely. It could also be that you attained a new role recently and your current supervisor has not had a chance to work with you very much. Or,  you’re an entrepreneur & don’t have a supervisor.

All of these are valid reasons to look for other recommendation sources, but remember that if you do not ask your current supervisor to write your recommendation letter, we do ask that you explain your choice in the Optional Statement.

Your Former Supervisor

If you cannot ask your current direct supervisor to write your recommendation, maybe you can ask a previous supervisor? Depending on how recently you worked with them, the “old boss” may be the best choice, especially if you had a strong professional relationship with that person. This is also a very common option.

Your Indirect Supervisor

Asking an indirect supervisor can another option, especially if you’ve worked with this person closely on past assignments or long-term projects.  This is a nice alternative to a supervisor that you may not work with closely.

Your Client or Vendor

This type of recommendation source is especially useful for entrepreneurs or for applicants who work for a family business.

If you work for a family business, it is preferred that you ask an individual outside of your family to write your letter of recommendation.

Your Mentor

Mentors inside or outside of your workplace are great to have in your corner when it comes time to apply to business school. However, be sure that your mentor has a clear understanding of your current professional value, not just your potential or future goals. Select a mentor with whom you have worked with on measurable tasks to ensure that they will provide a recommendation with depth. Often, mentor recommendations are submitted as an optional secondary recommendation. Keep in mind that the admissions committee is looking for someone who has worked with you professionally.

Other Options

There are many individuals who may fall in the category of “other recommenders.” For example, a former professor, a colleague or a coach.

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eQual MBAs #Pride Stories

As Pride Month comes to an end, Texas McCombs would like to highlight how our Engaged Queer & Ally (eQual) MBAs organization has continued to support the McCombs and Austin communities, share resources and organize exclusively in a digital platform to celebrate Pride this year. Despite being in the middle of a global pandemic, McCombs students continue to stay engaged, as world-changing leaders committed to serving our many diverse communities.

Equal MBA team photo

eQual MBA students at Texas McCombs

Who are eQual MBAs?

Engaged Queer & Ally (eQual) MBAs, McCombs’ LGBTQ+ affinity group, is dedicated to promoting diversity & inclusion in the @utexasmba program & community at large. Every year, they’re committed to recruiting more LGBTQ+ prospective students, organizing regular events, connecting to alumni, and building relationships with allies and sponsors. Furthermore, through their efforts, eQual MBAs bring forth educational discussions to McCombs about gender and sexuality, advocate for allyship and inclusion, and connect members to the larger Austin LQBTQ+ community. Overall, the group is divided into three different pillars: allyship, alumni, and service.

Aside from being full-time MBA students, everyone involved in the organization has faced additional challenges throughout their eQual MBA journey. Despite being the smallest affinity group at Texas McCombs, they continue to grow. Currently, they hold 14 LGBTQ+ members — a record high for the club – along with many allies as members. 2020-2021 co-presidents Andie Parazo and Matt Mason look forward to continuing to grow membership and offering support and resources to the LGBTQ+ and ally community at McCombs.

The eQual MBAs organization, to me, means having a community that will always be there to support me. The members of eQual are not only the people that I rely on to help organize events for the advancement of queer and all underrepresented people’s rights, but they are also some of my closest friends in the MBA program.

— Matt Mason, eQqual MBAs Co-President, MBA Class of 2021

Allyship, Intersectionality and the Importance of Showing Up

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The Working Professional and Executive MBA Admissions Team

Every year, our Working Professional and Executive (WPE) MBA Admissions Team hosts hundreds of events, answers your questions, and reviews applications with the goal of putting together an incoming class that showcases the strengths and values of Texas McCombs.

Our WPE Admissions Team team is dedicated to supporting you throughout your application process, really getting to know you and your goals, and helping you find your perfect fit within our programs. Get to know more about them below.

Dave Jackson
Senior MBA Admissions Officer, Texas McCombs MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth

Dave Jackson Headshot

Dave Jackson is the Senior Admissions Officer for our MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth program and is a proud McCombs MBA alumnus. He has 20 years of experience in journalism, public relations, and communication.

Dave graduated from the MBA program in 2010, amidst the Great Recession. He was inspired by a fellow alum to look at the economic situation with a fresh perspective. He recently shared his experience and insights: Considering an MBA in Uncertain Times

“An MBA is an investment that will pay off over a long time horizon, in ways both easy to measure and less tangible but still significant. So if you’re thinking about whether these turbulent times are right for making the MBA investment, it’s worth considering that this might be the best time of all to go for it.”

When considering making an investment in your MBA, Dave says you should look closely at the value an MBA program has to offer and consider whether waiting is worth the opportunity cost of missing out on the benefits you could start receiving sooner.

“A big part of that value comes from the network you build with your classmates and alumni. As a McCombs student, you instantly join a powerful and passionate network of 500,000+ University of Texas at Austin and 100,000+ McCombs alumni who are eager to help their fellow Longhorns.”

Connect with Dave to learn more about the MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth and the application process.

Christie Jenkins
Senior MBA Admissions Officer, Texas McCombs Evening MBA

Christie Jenkins HeadshotChristie Jenkins is our Senior Admissions Officer for the Evening MBA. She joined the team in April 2020 and is originally from Vernon, Texas. She studied Public Relations at The University of Oklahoma, and received her MBA from the University of Illinois.

Christie has worked in higher education for nearly a decade and plans to spend the rest of her career in the field. While it is non-traditional that she earned her MBA, given her career goals, she believes education in America is evolving significantly, and looks for candidates that are humble and eager to learn.

“Many of our candidates have impressive careers and academic accomplishments, but I am looking for candidates who recognize there is plenty they have left to learn and are open to being taught. The classroom is safe space to make mistakes and work on your areas of improvement. I like students who are willing to embrace this opportunity and make the most out of their MBA experience.”

Christie was attracted to Texas McCombs for its renowned reputation as the best MBA program in Texas. She joined the admissions team with the goal of increasing the number of women in our working professional programs and diversifying our classes.

I like working with the best and the brightest. Texas McCombs is the best MBA program in Texas, and the Evening MBA program is ranked #7 in the country (U.S. News, 2020). Rankings aren’t everything, but they do encompass many important factors like the quality of our curriculum, faculty, outside-the-classroom opportunities, career services, facilities, and more. I like being around people who are the best at what they do and students who are going to make a positive impact on society.”

“Like all business schools, we have more men than women. Texas McCombs is better than many top programs, but we still need to improve in this area. Diversity in the classroom is so important. It leads to more comprehensive discussions, better outcomes, and creates the next generation of business leaders that the following generation will look up to.”

Christie has advice for those pursuing their MBA degree.

“Go for it. A common refrain I hear from prospective students, and was true for me before I started my MBA, is that they have been considering getting an MBA for a long time. There is never a perfect time to go back to school; life will always be busy. Don’t wait for the ideal conditions or you will never act. Just take the first step. Come to an info session or start the application. You will be surprised at how energized you get by finally acting on your dream.”

Connect with Christie to learn more about the  Evening MBA and the application process.

Elizabeth (Beth) Martinez
Senior MBA Admissions Officer, Texas McCombs MBA at Houston

Headshot for Elizabeth MartinezBeth Martinez is our Senior Admissions Officer for the MBA at Houston. She is originally from Chatham, Illinois, and earned her BA in History at the University of Cincinnati and her MBA at Rice University in Houston. Beth wanted to work in corporate finance in oil and gas, so she decided to pursue her MBA to change her career. She now has industry experience in banking, the start-up world, publishing, and oil and gas.

“I have been fortunate enough to be involved in hiring and recruiting for many of the companies for which I have worked and the best people hands down are grads from McCombs. McCombs is clearly doing something right.”

Beth looks for candidates that are enthusiastic, open, and have a track record that highlights focus. She believes candidates should pay close attention to what is happening in the world of business, be curious, authentic, and clear about what they want.

“I want to help grow the Texas McCombs Houston program such that we are full to the max capacity every year, as I believe we have a fantastic opportunity here. Houston is the energy capital of the world and the Texas Medical Center is the largest medical center in the world. What’s not to like?”

Connect with Beth to learn more about the MBA at Houston and the application process.

Sharon Barrett
Director, Working Professional and Executive MBA Programs

Sharon Barrett Headshot

Sharon Barrett is the Director for Working Professional and Executive MBA Programs. She is a UT Alumna and double longhorn with both her BBA  in Marketing and MBA from Texas McCombs.

Sharon has a passion for education and has worked at Texas McCombs for over 10 years. She helps MBA candidates find the program that best fits their needs.

“If you are still deciding between leaving your job to attend an MBA full-time, or continuing to work while you earn your degree part-time, rest assured you’re not alone.”

Sharon also shares her insight and expertise on MBA planning, resume building, and decision-making with WPE MBA prospects. Her piece of advice when applying to McCombs is to highlight the quality of your work experience in your resume.

“Remember, your resume is important, but it’s only one data point for you as a candidate. Years of work experience give only one sense of you as a candidate, so use your resume to make the quality of those years really stand out.”

Connect with Sharon to learn more about the Executive MBA and the application process.

Rodrigo Malta
Managing Director, MBA Recruiting and Admissions
Rodrigo Malta Headshot

Rodrigo Malta, also known as Digo, grew up in Brazil and moved to the United States when he was in high school. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Management from Missouri State University and his MBA from Texas McCombs in 2007. Hook ’em!

During his time in the program, he was involved in the McCombs Ambassador Committee (MAC) and later used his MBA experience to transition from an internal audit career in the telecommunications industry to a marketing role in the technology industry with Dell. His passion for admissions and recruiting led him back to McCombs where he is the Managing Director of MBA Recruiting and Admissions, which he refers to as his “dream job.”

The diversity of students is “hands-down” his favorite thing about McCombs.

“We bring together students from all corners of the world with unique personal stories and varied professional backgrounds. Add in our award-winning faculty members and this is the perfect recipe for lively class discussions and an amazing learning environment.”


Visit Texas McCombs MBA to find out more about all our programs, events, and community, or take a peek into student life on Instagram. We encourage you to meet one of our team members at an event soon.

Student Spotlight: Rafael Flores, MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth Class of 2021

Rafael Flores Headshot

Rafael Flores, MBA Candidate, Class of 2021

Rafael Flores was 15 years into his career when he decided it was time to go back to school and pursue his MBA.

After graduating in 2005 from the University of Rochester with a degree in Economics, Rafael began his career in the finance and banking sector with Chase Bank and Northwestern Mutual. Eventually, he found his way to Allstate, where he’s worked for almost ten years.

 

“As I continued to develop in my career through various roles, I regretted not diving further in understanding the finance subject matter and strategy discussions from an executive level,” he says. “I found myself with enough work experience to where my MBA coursework can be directly applied to my job, such as challenging myself to take on broader roles and lead a larger scope of employees.”

Despite having a successful career with Allstate, Rafael kept looking back at his undergraduate experience wishing he could’ve done more as a student. Funding was in the way of a lot of his potential endeavors, and so he made it his mission to get his MBA as soon as he finished paying off his student loans.

This past year, he finally did.

Picture of McCombs sign on Rafael's first day with a caption saying "It's official. Day 1 of getting my MBA started. #mba #mccombs

Why McCombs?

While researching graduate business schools to attend, Rafael met with Dave Jackson, Senior Admissions Officer for the Weekend MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth program, and was impressed with both the network and recruitment opportunities at McCombs. He also appreciated the flexibility that the Working Professional program offers its students.

“I [chose] McCombs due to its strong network culture, career development resources and credibility as a top business school in the country,” Rafael says. “When I considered those factors alongside the benefits of being able to take advantage of everything as a working professional without having to leave my job or move away from the Dallas-Forth Worth Area, I realized McCombs was going to be my home.”

From Corporate to Campus

Rafael had to learn to navigate being a non-traditional student by deciding to get his MBA after ten years of working at a corporate level. Rafael learned more about time management and organization but says the biggest lesson that helped him overcome challenges was relying on his peers.

“There has to be a time for family, work, and most importantly yourself (not necessarily in that order at times). I still struggle at times to get everything done; however, my UT friends, study group, classmates are all a part of my extended family now, and we make it work,” he says. “I just keep remembering to adapt to changes and continue to move forward.”

Aside from his schoolwork, Rafael considers his position as McCombs Ambassador Committee (MAC) Chair Member as amazing to his overall MBA journey.

“My own admission process is what inspired me to get involved. I had a lot of questions and uncertainties about starting my MBA. The admissions process didn’t just walk me through how to showcase my personality and academic ability; it also introduced me to the structure and culture of McCombs, which I fell in love with.”

Group of people posing with Hook Em sign

Rafael and fellow MBA students at a McCombs event

Since the MBA schoolwork relies heavily on collaboration, Rafael says he is balancing out his work and student organization responsibilities a lot smoother. As MAC Chair, Rafael has maintained strong connections with his classmates and  UT friends.

“The experience I hope to gain is already becoming a reality. I wanted to make sure the future incoming candidates experience the culture of McCombs and fall in love with the program. Personally, I wanted to get involved in as many networking opportunities amongst the McCombs family.”

Look for a Boss, Not a Job

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