Skip to content

MBA Essay Questions for 2021-22 Admissions: Complete List for Top European Programs

You’ve been doing your business school research and finalizing that list of target MBA programs. The next step is getting all those b-school applications ready, and you know what that means… It’s time to think about the dreaded admissions essays. (But there’s actually no need to dream them – really!)

If you’re applying to MBA programs in the U.S., check out our comprehensive list of 2021-2022 essay prompts for the top U.S. programs. And if you’ve got some European schools on your list, look no further! We’ve collected all the 2021-2022 essay prompts for schools like INSEAD, LBS, and ESADE.

So how important are the MBA admissions essays?

Whether you’re applying to programs in the U.S., Europe, or both, the essays are pretty darn important. Your resume, test scores, and academic record tell the admissions committee a lot of what they want to know about your professional track record and aptitude, but the essays tell them who you are. (Or they should, anyway.) Business schools want to know about the kind of person you are – the values that drive you, the ideas that excite you, and how you will make a mark on their community – and the essays are their main source of insight into that crucial piece of the puzzle.

Successful admissions essays take each program’s mission and values into account.

If you want to write essays that reflect who you are and how you’re a fit for the program of your dreams, you need to learn as much as you can about the school’s mission and core values. What kinds of leaders do they want to shape? What changes or improvements do they hope to realize in the world? Once you have a good sense of the program culture, you can show them how your own personal values and goals are a match for that culture. If you feel out of your depth when it comes to school research, watch our MBA Monday video on the best way to research business schools. 

Here are the 2021-2022 essay prompts for the top European MBA programs.

That’s right! We collected the essay questions for many of the top MBA programs in Europe and put them all in one place so you don’t have to do all that digging! Use the time we saved you to check out some of the free essay-writing resources tagged below, and get started on those rock-solid essays! 

You've got this!!! Drop us a line to discuss working together.

Applying to programs in the U.S.?
Check out our comprehensive list of essay questions from U.S. MBA programs.

European Business Schools

Required Job Description Essays

  1. Briefly summarise your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of budget, clients/products and results achieved. (200 words maximum)
  2. What would be your next step in terms of position if you were to remain in the same company instead of going to business school? (200 words maximum)
  3. Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. Describe your career path with the rationale behind your choices. (300 words maximum)
  4. Discuss your short- and long-term career aspirations with an MBA from INSEAD. (100 words maximum)

Required Motivational Essays

  1. Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person), stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary. (maximum 500 words)
  2. Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and explain why. In addition, describe a situation where you failed. How did these experiences impact your relationships with others? Comment on what you learned. (maximum 400 words)
  3. Describe all types of extra-professional activities in which you have been or are still involved for a significant amount of time (clubs, sports, music, arts, etc.). How are you enriched by these activities? (maximum 300 words)

Optional Essay

Is there anything else that was not covered in your application that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee? (maximum 300 words)

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the INSEAD essays


  1. What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School programme contribute towards these? (500 words)


Is there any other information you believe the Admissions Committee should know about you and your application to London Business School? (500 words)

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the LBS essay


  1. Who do you admire the most and why? Help us to understand who has played a pivotal role in shaping you to be the person you are or the person you aspire to be. Please provide specific examples of how they have shaped or inspired you. (300 words max)
  2. What are your post-MBA career goals right after graduation and five years after? What kind of resources or opportunities offered by IESE will help you achieve them? (300 words max)


What would you like to highlight about yourself or your journey which may have not been captured in your application? (300 words max)

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the IESE essays


1. Why are you applying to the HEC MBA Program now? What is the professional objective that will guide your career choice after your MBA, and how will the HEC MBA contribute to the achievement of this objective? (500 words max)

2. What do you consider your most significant life achievement? (250 words max)

3. Leadership and ethics are inevitably intertwined in the business world. Describe a situation in which you have dealt with these issues and how they have influenced you. (250 words max)

4. Imagine a life entirely different from the one you now lead, what would it be? (250 words max)

5. Please choose from one of the following essays (250 words max):

  •  What monument or site would you advise a first-time visitor to your country or city to discover, and why?
  • Certain books, movies or plays have had an international success that you believe to be undeserved. Choose an example and analyse it.
  • What figure do you most admire and why? You may choose from any field (arts, literature, politics, business, etc).


Is there any additional information you would like to share with us?

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the HEC Paris essays


Each answer should not exceed 280 words.

  1. What interests and occupations do you pursue in your free time?
  2. What do you think you gained from your university studies? Conversely, what important things do you think your studies lacked?
  3. Explain the most significant goals you think you have achieved so far and the reasons for their importance in your personal growth.
  4. Describe your strong points, personal and professional, explaining why you see them as such.
  5. Describe your weak points, personal and professional, explaining why you see them as such.
  6. What are the reasons that lead you to apply to the Program at this point in your life?
  7. What other possibilities have you seriously considered, apart from the Program, for reaching your goals of personal and professional growth?
  8. Where do you wish to pursue your profession after receiving the MBA? Where? Why?
  9. Have you applied to other Business Schools in Italy or elsewhere? (Yes or No)
  10. What are your short-term professional goals (within the next 3-5 years)?
  11. What are your long-term professional goals?
  12. How do you expect to finance your Program studies?
  13. Are you including the application of a sponsor company? (Yes or No)

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the SDA Bocconi essays


1. Please provide details of your post-MBA career plans. The statement should not exceed 500 words and must address the following:

  • What are your short- and long-term career objectives? How will the Cambridge MBA equip you to achieve these?
  • Looking at your short-term career goal, describe the research you have done to understand how this industry/role/location recruits MBA talent and what they are looking for in a candidate?
  • How do you meet the requirements of your short-term career goal? What preparation are you doing now?
  • Describe a difficult decision that you had to make. What did you learn from this and how have you changed as a result? (up to 200 words)

2. Describe a time where you worked with a team on a project. What did you learn from the experience and how might you approach it differently today? (up to 200 words)

3. If you could give one piece of advice to your 18-year-old self, what would it be? (up to 200 words)

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Cambridge essays


  1. Tell us something that is not covered in your application which you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you. (Maximum 250 words)

Oxford 1+1 Scheme

If you are applying under the Oxford 1+1 MBA scheme you also need to submit the following essay:

  1. Explain why you see this as particularly beneficial for you and how it fits with your career and personal development aims. (Maximum 250 words)

Reapplicant Essay (required of all reapplicants)

Re-applicants will need to submit an additional essay as below:

  1. What improvements have you made in your candidacy since you last applied to the Oxford MBA? (Maximum 250 words)

When reviewing your essays, the admissions committee will be looking for evidence of the following: good communication skills, leadership potential, analytical skills, fit with the Oxford MBA community, among other characteristics.

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Oxford essay


  1. Describe a situation in which you failed as a leader. What did you learn from it? (Word limit 300)


Is there any additional information that is critical for the Admissions Committee which has not been covered elsewhere in this application? (i.e., re-application, health, grades, etc.) (Word limit 50)

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the IMD essay


1. Are you applying to other Schools? Please provide detail of Schools and Programmes. This information is for our own records; it will not affect the Admissions Committee’s decision. Max 255 characters (including spaces).

2. Did you learn about this programme through an Alumnus recommendation? If so please provide us with the name and graduation year. Max 255 characters (including spaces).

3. Which aspects have you improved on during your academic and professional career so far? Which tools or values have helped you achieve this? Max 3000 characters (including spaces).

4. How will your background, values and non-work-related activities enhance the experience of other ESADE MBA students and add to the diverse culture we strive for at ESADE? (Note: The goal of this essay is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have accomplished). Max 3000 characters (including spaces).

5. What are your motivations in pursuing a full-time MBA at this point in your life? Describe your mid-term and long-term visions for your post-MBA career path. What is it about ESADE you think will help you reach your goals? Max 3000 characters (including spaces).

6. Complete two of the following four questions or statements Max 3000 characters (including spaces).

  • I am most proud of…
  • People may be surprised to learn that I…
  • What has your biggest challenge been and what did it help you learn about yourself?
  • Which historical figure do you most identify with and why

7. Please, provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee. This may include gaps in employment, your undergraduate record, plans to retake the GMAT or any other relevant information. Max 3000 characters (including spaces).

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the ESADE essays


In your essay, please include information about the following (max 1 A4 page):

  • Why do you feel it is the right time in your career to study an MBA and why would you like to gain a place on the Manchester MBA?
  • What are your immediate goals after you complete the programme?
  • How do you believe your previous experience and transferable skills, combined with the Manchester MBA, will help you to achieve your goals?
  • Which industry sector(s) and companies are your preferred target and which country/region would you like to work in?
  • What is your plan B if you are unable to achieve your preferred goals immediately?
  • What are your longer-term aspirations?

Online Video Assessment

This year, we are including a video assessment as part of our application process.  

Why are we introducing a video assessment? We understand that the traditional essays and test scores only tell us part of your ‘story’. The video assessment provides you with an opportunity to share what you will bring to our unique MBA in a more personal way. We hope the video assessment will bring to life the person we have learned about on paper from your application.

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Alliance Manchester essay

There you have it. Essay questions for the top European MBA programs all in one handy place. Chat with a member of our team about how Career Protocol can make your MBA journey more awesome.

Now get writing! And HAVE FUN with it! 

Connect with a Career Protocol team member to discuss working with us:

Free Strategy Call

Angela Guido

Angela Guido

Student of Human Nature| Founder and
Chief Education Officer of Career Protocol

All Posts

Let’s help this Bob figure out how to use an MBA to make the world a better place in this MBA profile assessment video!

Read More

Can targeting European Business Schools lead to a better life and career in Europe? Find out in this MBA profile assessment video!

Read More

This Bob has an incredibly impressive sales resume – but what else do they need to get into business school? Tune in to this MBA profile assessment video to learn more.

Read More
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap