MBA Essay Questions for 2021-22 Admissions: Complete List for Top U.S. Programs

MBA Essay Questions for 2021-22 Admissions: Complete List for Top U.S. Programs

By now you’ve probably done a TON of school research and narrowed down your list of target MBA programs. That means it’s time for one of the most challenging parts of the MBA application process: tackling those darn admissions essays!!! 

Your MBA Essays Matter. Here’s why.

The essays are a critical component of your MBA application. They allow the admissions committee to get a better sense of your character, values, career goals, and vision. Adcoms want to know more about the kind of people who might be coming to campus if admitted into their program, and the essays are their main way to find out. Do you share the same core values as the school? Will you contribute to the vitality of the community? The adcom is also learning more about your ability to communicate in these essays. Can you share who you are and what you’re passionate about in a manner that is clear, heartfelt, and inspiring?

Understanding the school’s mission and values is key to deciphering their essay questions.

Many applicants are daunted by the essay writing process, especially since every school requires different essays. If you’re applying to 6-8 MBA programs, you could be writing as many as 10-20 different essays. Unsuccessful applicants are typically those who try to recycle the same essay for several schools, so here at Career Protocol we caution against a one-size-fits-all approach to MBA admissions essays.

Take the time to really research the mission and values of the schools you’re applying to. Those pages on the school websites aren’t just marketing ploys. They offer valuable clues to help you decipher what qualities each school is looking for with their carefully crafted essay prompts.

Now that we’re on the subject, wouldn’t it be nice to have all those different bschool essay prompts in one place for reference? Spare yourself the trouble of hunting, copying, and pasting every essay question into an Excel spreadsheet, because we’ve done something really handy…

That’s right. We’ve collected all the essay questions for the top U.S. MBA programs!

Career Protocol has your back! Below is a one-stop reference guide for all the essay prompts used by top U.S. MBA programs in the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. We’ve also provided some free resources for each school to help you get started on brainstorming. Now you can use the time we saved you to focus on writing!

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

You've got this!!! Talk to us about working together.

 

U.S. Business Schools

Required

  1. As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?

There is no word limit for this question. Don’t overthink, overcraft and overwrite. Just answer the question in clear language that those of us who don’t know your world can understand.

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Stanford GSB essays (Video)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Stanford GSB essays (Blog Posts)

HBS Resources

Required

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

For this essay, we would like you to reflect deeply and write from the heart. Once you’ve identified what matters most to you, help us understand why. You might consider, for example, what makes this so important to you? What people, insights, or experiences have shaped your perspectives?

  1. Essay B: Why Stanford?

Describe your aspirations and how your Stanford GSB experience will help you realize them. If you are applying to both the MBA and MSx programs, use Essay B to address your interest in both programs.

Instructions: Both essays combined may not exceed 1,050 words. We recommend up to 650 words for Essay A and up to 400 words for Essay B.

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Stanford GSB essays (Video)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Stanford GSB essays (Blog Posts)

GSB Resources

Required

  1. How will a Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term post-MBA career goals? (Minimum 250 words, no maximum.)
  2. An MBA is as much about personal growth as it is about professional development. In addition to sharing your experience and goals in terms of career, we’d like to learn more about you outside of the office. Use this opportunity to tell us something about who you are… (Minimum 250 words, no maximum.)

Optional

  1. Is there any unclear information in your application that needs further explanation? (Maximum 300 words.)

Reapplicant Essay (required for reapplicants)

  1. Upon reflection, how has your perspective regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (Maximum 300 words.)

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Chicago Booth essays (Video)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Chicago Booth essays (Blog Posts)

Booth Resources

Required

  1. How do you plan to use the Wharton MBA program to help you achieve your future professional goals? You might consider your past experience, short and long-term goals, and resources available at Wharton. (500 words)
  2. Taking into consideration your background – personal, professional, and/or academic – how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community? (400 words)

Optional

  1. Please use this space to share any additional information about yourself that cannot be found elsewhere in your application and that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee. This space can also be used to address any extenuating circumstances (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, areas of weakness, etc.) that you would like the Admissions Committee to consider. (500 words)

Reapplicant Essay (required for reapplicants)

  1. Please use this space to share with the Admissions Committee how you have reflected and grown since your previous application and discuss any relevant updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, and extracurricular/volunteer engagements). (250 words)

Admissions Website:

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Wharton essays (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Wharton essays (Blog Posts)

Wharton Resources

Required

  1. Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip and inspire brave leaders who create lasting value. Provide a recent example where you have demonstrated leadership and created value. What challenges did you face and what did you learn? (450 words)
  2. Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you and how have they influenced you? (450 words)

Additional Essays (for certain applicants)

  • One-Year applicants: Please discuss your post-MBA career goal, the current experience you will leverage to support the transition, and the Kellogg 1Y opportunities that will help you reach this goal. (250 words)
  • MBAi applicants: The Kellogg McCormick MBAi program is designed to train the next generation of leaders who can help businesses deliver successful outcomes through AI-driven technology. This requires leaders who have both strong technical and business skills; many firms struggle to find leaders with these skills. Tell us about your firsthand experience with this disconnect between business and technology and how MBAi will prepare you to successfully lead businesses at the intersection. (450 words)
  • MMM applicants: The five core values of the MMM Program are curiosity, creativity, empathy, open-mindedness and a learning mindset. Describe a situation in which you demonstrated one of these values. Why is this value an important part of the MMM experience for you? (250 words)
  • JD-MBA applicants: Please discuss your post-JD-MBA career goals and why the JD-MBA Program is the right program to help you reach those goals. (250 words)

Reapplicant Essay (required for reapplicants)

  1. Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 words)

Required Video Essays

We've read your essays, we've read your resume — now we want you to bring all that to life in a video. Show us the person behind all those carefully crafted words. The video will be comprised of three questions, each designed to help you showcase your personality and share some of the experiences that brought you here today.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare to complete this section:

  • Video Essays are due 96 hours after the application deadline
  • A video essay link will appear on your application status page after you submit your application and payment
  • You will need an internet-connected computer with a webcam and microphone
  • The video should take about 20-25 minutes to complete, which includes time for setup

After submitting your application and payment, you will be able to access the video essay through your application status page. You will be asked to answer three questions:

  1. Video essay 1: Please introduce yourself to the admissions committee. – Consider this your opportunity to share what you would want your future Kellogg classmates and our admissions committee to know about you. What makes you, you?
  2. Video essay 2: What path are you interested in pursuing, how will you get there, and why is this program right for you? – This is an intentionally broad question so you can answer honestly and meaningfully. We want to know why you’re pursuing an MBA and why you’re choosing a particular Kellogg Full-Time Program
  3. Video essay 3: This question will be based on a challenge you've faced and what you've learned from it.

Here are some additional tips:

  • There are practice questions that you may complete as many times as you like to get comfortable with the format and technology. The practice questions and experience will simulate the actual video essay experience, so this is meant to be a useful tool to help you feel prepared
  • We encourage you to practice so you are comfortable with the format once it is time to complete the official questions. You will not have an opportunity to re-do the answer to the official video essay questions
  • You will have 20 seconds to think about the question and up to one minute to give your response

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Kellogg essays (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Kellogg essays (Blog Posts)

Kellogg Resources

Required Cover Letter

MIT Sloan seeks students whose personal characteristics demonstrate that they will make the most of the incredible opportunities at MIT, both academic and non-academic. We are on a quest to find those whose presence will enhance the experience of other students. We seek thoughtful leaders with exceptional intellectual abilities and the drive and determination to put their stamp on the world. We welcome people who are independent, authentic, and fearlessly creative — true doers. We want people who can redefine solutions to conventional problems, and strive to preempt unconventional dilemmas with cutting-edge ideas. We demand integrity and respect passion.

  1. Taking the above into consideration, please submit a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA program. Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence, include one or more professional examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria above, and be addressed to the Admissions Committee (300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation).

Required Video Statement

You will also need to submit a video statement as part of your Sloan MBA application. Check out the requirements below.

  1. Introduce yourself to your future classmates. Here’s your chance to put a face with a name, let your personality shine through, be conversational, be yourself. We can’t wait to meet you!

Videos should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • No more than 1 minute (60 second) in length
  • Single take (no editing) 
  • Speaking directly to the camera
  • Do not include background music or subtitles

Required Organizational Chart

To help us better understand your current role and the impact that you have on your team and department, please submit an organizational chart. We should be able to clearly understand the internal structure of your organization, where you sit in your organization, and your line of reporting.

Organizational charts should not be more than two pages and keep the following in mind:

  • Give us as much detail as possible (names, titles, etc.) but it’s ok to redact names if you need to.
  • Make sure we can easily identify where you are, to whom you report, and if applicable, who reports to you.
  • If your recommender or references are on your organizational chart (they may not be, and that’s ok!), please highlight them for us.
  • Most applicants only submit one page. However, you are welcome to submit a second if you recently changed positions or companies.
  • If you are a consultant, entrepreneur, or affiliated with the military review our FAQs for suggestions on how to approach the organizational chart.

Interview-only Essays

If you get past the initial round, Sloan asks the following of its applicants.

  1. The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice. We believe that a commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and well-being is a key component of both principled leadership and sound management practice. In 250 words or less, please describe how you, as a member of the MIT Sloan community, would work to create a campus that is welcoming, inclusive and increasingly diverse. Details for submitting your essay will be included in the interview invitation.
  2. We are interested in learning more about how you use data to make decisions and analyze results. Please select one of the following prompts to respond to:

Option 1: Please select an existing data visualization and in 250 words or less explain why it matters to you. The data visualization should be uploaded as a PDF. Examples may come from current events, a business analysis, or personal research.

Option 2: In 250 words or less, please describe a recent data driven decision you had to make, and include one slide (PDF) presenting your analysis. The slide may include a data visualization example and should present data used in a professional context.

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the MIT cover letter and video statement (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the MIT cover letter and video statement (Blog Posts)

Sloan Resources

Required Short Answer Question 

  1. What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)

Required Essay 1

  1. Through your resume and recommendation, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next three to five years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)

Essays 2 and 3: Please respond to 2 of the 3 essay questions listed below:

  1. The Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership (PPIL) is a new co-curricular program designed to ensure that every CBS student develops the skills to become an ethical and inclusive leader. Through PPIL, students attend programming focused on five essential diversity, equity, and inclusion skills: Creating an Inclusive Environment, Mitigating Bias, Communicating Across Identities, Addressing Systemic Inequity, and Managing Difficult Conversations. Tell us about a time you were challenged around one of these five skills. Describe the situation, the actions you took, and the outcome. (250 words)
  2. Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you? (250 words)
  3. Tell us about your favorite book, movie, or song and why it resonates with you. (250 words)

Optional

  1. If you wish to provide further information or additional context around your application to the Admissions Committee, please upload a brief explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or personal history. This does not need to be a formal essay. You may submit bullet points. (Maximum 500 words)

Deferred Enrollment Program

Deferred Enrollment candidates will answer three short essay questions instead of the essays listed above.

  1. How is a Columbia MBA going to help you? (250 words maximum)
  2. What has been your favorite class, and why? (250 words maximum)
  3. Who is a leader you admire, and why? (250 words maximum)

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Columbia essays (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Columbia essays (Blog Posts)

Columbia Resources

Required

Our distinctive culture is defined by four key principles – Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself. We encourage you to reflect on your experiences, values, and passions so that you may craft thoughtful and authentic responses that demonstrate your alignment with our principles. 

  1. What makes you feel alive when you are doing it, and why? (300 words maximum)
  2. The definition of successful leadership has evolved over the last decade and will continue to change. What do you need to develop to become a successful leader?  (300 words maximum)

Optional Essay Topics

The admissions team takes a holistic approach to application review and seeks to understand all aspects of a candidate’s character, qualifications, and experiences. We will consider achievements in the context of the opportunities available to a candidate. Some applicants may have faced hardships or unusual life circumstances, and we will consider the maturity, perseverance, and thoughtfulness with which they have responded to and/or overcome them.

Optional Information #1

We invite you to help us better understand the context of your opportunities and achievements:

1. What is the highest level of education completed by your parent(s) or guardian(s)?

  • Did not complete high school
  • High school diploma or equivalency (GED)
  • Associate's degree (junior college) or vocational degree/license
  • Bachelor's degree (BA, BS)
  • Master's degree (MA, MS)
  • Doctorate or professional degree (MD, JD, DDS)

2. What is the most recent occupation of your parent(s) or guardian(s)?

  • Unemployed
  • Homemaker
  • Laborer
  • Skilled worker
  • Professional

3. If you were raised in one of the following household types, please indicate:

  • Raised by a single parent
  • Raised by an extended family member (grandparent, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, cousin)
  • Raised in a multi-generational home
  • Raised in foster care

4. What was the primary language spoken in your childhood home?

5. If you have you ever been responsible for providing significant and continuing financial or supervisory support for someone else, please indicate:

  • Child
  • Spouse
  • Sibling
  • Parent
  • Extended family member (grandparent, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, cousin)
  • Other

6. Please elaborate on any of your above responses. Alternatively, you may use this opportunity to expand on other hardships or unusual life circumstances that may help us understand the context of your opportunities, achievements, and impact. (300 words maximum)

Optional Information #2

This section should only be used to convey relevant information not addressed elsewhere in your application. This may include explanation of employment gaps, academic aberrations, supplemental coursework, etc. You are encouraged to use bullet points where appropriate.

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Berkeley Haas essays

Haas Resources

Required Short Answer Question

  1. Share your short-term goals.

Required Essay Questions

  1. Tuck students can articulate how the distinctive Tuck MBA will advance their aspirations. Why are you pursuing an MBA and why Tuck? (300 words)
  2. Tuck students recognize how their individuality adds to the fabric of Tuck. Tell us who you are. (300 words)
  3. Tuck students are encouraging, collaborative and empathetic, even when it is not convenient or easy. Describe a meaningful experience in which you exemplified one or more of these attributes. (300 words)

Optional Essay Question

  1. Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere (e.g., atypical choice of evaluators, factors affecting academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application. (300 words)

Reapplicant Essay (required of all reapplicants)

  1. How have you strengthened your candidacy since you last applied? Please reflect on how you have grown personally and professionally. (300 words)

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Tuck essays (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Tuck essays (Blog Posts)

Tuck Resources

Required Short Answer Question

  1. How did you arrive at [your] career interests? How have you or how will you position yourself to pursue them? (250 words maximum)

Required Essay

  1. Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words)

Video Essays

There is also a video component to the Yale SOM application. You will not receive the questions in advance, and they vary depending on the applicant.

Behavioral Assessment

Yale requires a Behavioral Assessment, which is an online, adaptive test administered by ETS that measures an applicant’s interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. The test uses a multiple-choice format and typically takes around 20-25 minutes to complete. Applicants are presented with 120 pairs of statements and will need to select the statement within the pair that best corresponds with their own behaviors. For more on Yale SOM’s Behavioral Assessment, please check out their website.

Admissions Website 

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Yale essay (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Yale essay (Blog Posts)

Yale SOM Resources

Required Short Answer Question

  1. Tell us what you would want your Learning Team to know about you that is not on your resume. (150 words)

Required Leadership & Impact Essay

  1. Darden strives to identify and cultivate responsible leaders who follow their purpose. Please respond to one of the following prompts. (200 words)

Option 1: Tell us about a time when you acted with a team to solve a problem or seize an opportunity. What role did you play? What did you learn from this experience?

Option 2: Tell us about a time you acted to solve a problem for the greater good. What drew you to this issue? What did you learn from this experience?

Required Diversity & Inclusion Essay

Diversity and inclusion are critical to our mission, and they work best when they are an integral and celebrated part of our community. Review the University of Virginia's Commitment to Diversity.

Diversity stands with ethics, integrity, and academic excellence as a cornerstone of university culture. The University promotes an inclusive and welcoming environment that embraces the full spectrum of human attributes, perspectives, and disciplines. When people of different backgrounds come together, they exchange ideas, question assumptions (including their own), and broaden the horizons for us all. A University of Virginia community rich in diversity affords every member equal respect and provides a forum for understanding our differences as well as our commonalities.

The Darden School develops practices and cultivates a culture that reflects and incorporates the worldviews of its many community members. In this inclusive culture, the community learns important—and sometimes uncomfortable—lessons from one another, resulting in more conscientious global leaders and citizens.

  1. Select the prompt to which you will respond. (200 words)

Option 1: Share a time when you learned something related to diversity, equity, or inclusion that was previously unknown to you? How did this experience impact your perspective?

Option 2: Share a time when you advocated for a perspective, identity, or community different from your own. How did this experience impact your worldview?

Required Career Goal Essay

  1. What is your short-term, post-MBA goal and how does it align with the long-term vision you have for your career? (150 words)

Required Darden Worldwide Essay

The Batten Foundation Worldwide Scholarship provides all Darden students in our full-time MBA program with an opportunity to participate in a Darden Worldwide course.

Click here for the Worldwide video.

  1. Darden has an incredible network of alumni and partners around the world, and, in a typical year, the School connects with over 80 countries. If you could choose any location in the world, where would you want to travel? (5 words). And why? (50 words)

Darden expects its students to participate in at least one global opportunity during their two years of MBA. In 55 words, identify the name of the country that you would choose for your global assignment, explain reasons for your choice, and how your choice will enhance your learning and the learning of your peers. This super short question not only reveals your knowledge of Darden but also speaks about your personality and interest. You may use this essay to show a different side of you that you have not presented elsewhere in the application.

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Darden essays (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Darden essays (Blog Posts)

Darden Resources

Required Short Answer – Goals Statement

A statement of your goals will begin a conversation that will last throughout the admissions process and guide your steps during the MBA program and experience. To the best of your understanding today, please share your short- and long-term goals by completing the following sentences and answering the enclosed short answer question (350 words maximum):

  • Immediately post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Targeted Job Role]____ at ___[Targeted JobCompany]___within___[Industry]___.
  • In 5 – 10 years post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Targeted Job Role]____ at ___[Targeted Job Company]___within___[Industry]___.
  • How has your experience prepared and encouraged you to pursue these goals?

Required Impact Essay

  1. At Cornell, our students and alumni share a desire to positively impact the organizations and communities they serve. Taking into consideration your background, how do you intend to make a meaningful impact on an elite MBA community? (350 words maximum)

Optional Essay (required for all reapplicants)*

  1. If you are reapplying for admission, please use this essay to indicate how you have strengthened your application and candidacy since the last time you applied for admission. Please also review our Application Guide for additional information about reapplying. (350 words maximum)

*If you are not reapplying, you can use this section to clarify and add details about aspects of your application which you feel do not accurately reflect your potential for success at Johnson. 

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Cornell essays (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Cornell essays (Blog Posts)

Required Short Answer Questions

Select one prompt from each group of the two groups below. Respond to each selected prompt in 100 words or less.

Group 1

  • I want people to know that I:
  • I made a difference when I:
  • I was aware that I was different when:

Group 2

  • I am out of my comfort zone when:
  • I was humbled when:
  • I was challenged when: 

Required Career Goal Essay

  1. What is your short-term career goal and why? (200 words)

Admissions Website 

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Ross essays (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Ross essays (Blog Posts)

Ross Resources

Instructions for all written submissions

  • Responses should use 1.5-line spacing and a font size no smaller than 10-point.
  • Do not repeat the question in the document you upload with your application as this will cause the essay to be flagged for plagiarism.
  • Respond fully and concisely.
  • Length requirements vary by question and are detailed below.
  • Responses must be completed before submitting your application.
  • All submissions are scanned using plagiarism detection software. Plagiarism is considered a cheating violation within the Honor Code and will not be tolerated in the admissions process.

Required Short Answer Question 

Instructions: Answer the following question in 100 words.

  1. What are your post-MBA career goals? Share with us your first-choice career plan and your alternate plan.

Required Essay Questions 

  1. The ‘Team Fuqua' spirit and community is one of the things that sets the MBA experience apart, and it is a concept that extends beyond the student body to include faculty, staff, and administration. Please share with us “25 Random Things” about you. The Admissions Committee wants to get to know YOU – beyond the professional and academic achievements listed in your resume and transcript. Share with us important life experiences, your hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps us understand what makes you who you are. Your list will be limited to 2 pages (750 words maximum). Please present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may be brief, while others may be longer.
  2. Fuqua prides itself on cultivating a culture of engagement. Our students enjoy a wide range of student-led organizations that provide opportunities for leadership development and personal fulfillment, as well as an outlet for contributing to society. Our student-led government, clubs, centers, and events are an integral part of the student culture and to the development of leaders. Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, what are 3 ways you expect to contribute at Fuqua? Your response will be limited to 1 page (500 words maximum).

Optional Essay

If you feel there are 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). Note that you should NOT upload additional essays nor additional recommendations in this area. The Optional Information section is intended to provide the admissions committee with insight into your circumstances only. Your response will be limited to 1 page (500 words maximum).

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Fuqua essays (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Fuqua essays (Blog Posts)

Fuqua Resources

Required Short Answer Question: Professional Aspirations

  1. What are your short-term career goals? (150 words maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

Required Essays

1. Change: _________ it

(350 words maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

In today’s global business environment, the only constant is change. Using NYU Stern’s brand call to action, we want to know how you view change. Change: _____ it. Fill in the blank with a word of your choice. Why does this word resonate with you? How will you embrace your own personal tagline while at Stern? Examples:

  • Change: Dare it.
  • Change: Dream it.
  • Change: Drive it.
  • Change: Empower it.
  • Change: Manifest it.
  • Change: [Any word of your choice.]

2. Personal Expression (a.k.a. “Pick Six”)

Describe yourself to the Admissions Committee and to your future classmates using six images and corresponding captions. Your uploaded PDF should contain all of the following elements:

  • A brief introduction or overview of your “Pick Six” (no more than 3 sentences).
  • Six images that help illustrate who you are.
  • A one-sentence caption for each of the six images that helps explain why they were selected and are significant to you.

Note: Your visuals may include photos, infographics, drawings, or any other images that best describe you. Your document must be uploaded as a single PDF. The essay cannot be sent in physical form or be linked to a website.

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, GRE, Executive Assessment, IELTS or TOEFL, or any other relevant information. (250 words maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Stern essays (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Stern essays (Blog Posts)

Required (optional for reapplicants)

  1. For the 2021-2022 application year, we have one essay question that is required for first-time applicants and optional for re-applicants*:

How have recent events influenced the impact you would like to make in your community, career, or both? (250 words maximum) We welcome reflection on any events that influenced you in your personal or professional lives, or in society in general, and look forward to learning about specific ways you want to leave your mark.

Optional

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

*Reapplicants are those who applied to the MBA program within the last two application years, so those who applied three or more years ago are considered new applicants. Reapplicants may answer one or both of the essay questions above as options, and they must provide additional updates within text boxes given in the application for any new test scores, career developments, or other changes since their last application.

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Anderson essays (Blog Posts)

UCLA Anderson Resources

Required

  1. The Tepper community is dynamic and unique. Each community member’s individual journey has shaped them into classmates who are collaborative, supportive, and inclusive. Describe how you have overcome adversity during your journey. What did you learn about yourself and how has that shaped who you are? (Maximum 350-500 words)

Optional

There also is an optional essay for additional information about your candidacy that you may wish to share with the admissions committee. Use this essay to convey important information that you may not have otherwise been able to convey. This may include unexplained resume gaps, context for recommender selection, etc. However, do not feel obligated to complete the optional essay.

*Reapplicants should use the optional essay to discuss how their candidacy has strengthened since their last application.

Deferred Admissions

College Seniors applying through the Tepper Future Business Leaders should answer the essays provided in the Deferred Admission for College Seniors section.

  1. What are your post-undergraduate career plans? What company are you joining? What will be your role? (150 words)
  2. Why is our Tepper Future Business Leaders format a good fit for your MBA program? (350-500 words)

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Tepper essay

CMU Tepper Resources

Required

  1. What is your specific, immediate short-term career goal upon completion of your MBA? Please include an intended position, function, and industry in your response.
    (word limit: 100)
  2. Please draft a letter that begins with “Dear Admissions Committee.” (word limit: 600)

Optional

Please provide any additional information you would like the admissions committee to consider. (word limit: 250)

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Marshall essays (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Marshall essays (Blog Posts)

Required

1. Your response should be no longer than 500 words and should address the following questions:

  • What are your immediate career goals and how will you benefit from earning an MBA at Kenan-Flagler Business School?
  • As the business world continues to evolve, circumstances can change and guide you in a different direction. Should your goals that you provided above not transpire, what other opportunities would you explore?

2. Your response should be no longer than 500 words and should address the following question:

We all belong to different communities representing various aspects of who we are, including groups we belong to, where we come from, how we think, what we believe, and how we see and experience the world. The process of discovery is strengthened when people with diverse perspectives and life experiences come together to share and learn from one another, negotiate differences, and engage in diplomacy.

  • How have you dealt with differences in your personal or professional relationships? In what ways will you contribute to the community and learning environment by embracing your authentic self while respecting others? How do you envision furthering your growth in inclusive leadership as an MBA student and as a business leader?

Optional

We encourage you to tell us more about who you are so we can get to know you as a person and potential member of the Carolina community. Use this essay to convey information that you may not have otherwise been able to in the application. Your response should be no longer than 200 words. Optional topics:

  • Personal or professional accomplishments
  • Interests and passions
  • Gaps in work experience or inconsistent academic performance
  • Context for recommender selection
  • A fun fact about yourself

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Kenan-Flagler essays (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Kenan-Flagler essays (Blog Posts)

Required

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

Optional

  1. Please provide any additional information you believe is important or address any areas of concern that you believe will be beneficial to MBA Admissions in considering your application (e.g., gaps in work experience, choice of recommender, academic performance, or extenuating personal circumstances). (250 words) 

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the McCombs essays (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the McCombs essays (Blog Posts)

Required

  1. Post-MBA Plans (750 words maximum) – Tell us your ideas about what lies ahead for you in your career. What are the gaps or deficiencies currently preventing you from pursuing these potential career paths? How do you plan to use your time in the Foster MBA program to fill these gaps and advance your career?
  2. Inspiring Experience Essay (500 words maximum) – Tell us about an experience that inspired or confirmed your decision to pursue the MBA.

Optional 

  1. Optional essay (500 words maximum) – Include this essay if you have additional information you believe would be helpful to the admissions committee in considering your application.
  2. Optional Diversity, Equity & Inclusion essay (500 words maximum) – At the Foster School of Business, we embrace diversity as one of the foundations of both successful business strategy and a world-class educational experience. We share the University’s dedication to promoting the understanding and appreciation of human differences, and the constructive expression of ideas. We welcome you to share some of the ways you have practiced inclusion, promoted equity or supported the advancement of underrepresented groups.

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Foster Essays (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Foster essays (Blog Posts)

Required

  1. Post-MBA Career GoalsDefine your short-term post-MBA career goals. How are your professional strengths, past experience, and personal attributes aligned with these goals? (300-word limit)
  2. Leadership in BusinessThe business school is named for Roberto C. Goizueta, former Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, who led the organization for 16 years, extending its global reach, quadrupling consumption, building brand responsibility, creating unprecedented shareholder wealth, and demonstrating a commitment to values and positive impact on society. Roberto Goizueta's core values guide us in educating principled leaders to have a positive influence on business and society. Provide a specific example of your leadership and explain what you learned about yourself through the experience. (300-word limit)
  3. Why Goizueta? What are you looking to gain from Goizueta's MBA degree and how do you see yourself contributing to the Goizueta community? (200-word limit)

Required Video Essay

Telling your story in the written essays is an important part of the application process, but we also want to hear you tell some of your story. The video essay lets every candidate talk to the MBA Admissions Committee and we enjoy getting to know you through the “small talk” questions.

Optional Essay

  1. If there is an important part of your story missing from your MBA application (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic probation issues), please use this section to provide a brief explanation. Please use bullets if you need to address more than one topic. (200-word limit)

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Goizueta essays (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Goizueta essays (Blog Posts)

Required

1. Discuss your immediate post-MBA professional goals. How will your professional experience, when combined with a Kelley MBA degree, allow you to achieve these goals? Should the short-term goals you have identified not materialize, what alternate career paths might you consider? (500 words)

2. Respond to one of the following short essay prompts. (300 words)

  • My greatest memory is…
  • I'm most afraid of…
  • My greatest challenge has been…
  • I'm most proud of…

3. Share a brief fact about yourself that your classmates would find interesting, surprising, or noteworthy. (25 words)

Optional

  1. 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. (300 words)

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Kelley essays (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Kelly essays (Blog Posts)

Required

Please select one of the following essays to complete in 300-350 words (approximately one page, double spaced) and include the essay prompt and your first/last name at the top of your submission.

  1. Principled Leadership: Georgetown McDonough places a strong emphasis on principled leadership, providing both curricular and co-curricular opportunities to strengthen your leadership skills. Describe a time when you have led a team in a professional environment to implement a new idea or process. What leadership characteristics did you utilize? What could you have done to be more effective? And most importantly, what skills will you be able to bring to the teams you lead at McDonough?
  2. Hoyas for the Common Good: Georgetown McDonough embodies the ethos that people and organizations can and should contribute to the greater good. The admissions committee would like to better understand how you have demonstrated these values during uniquely challenging times. Describe a time where you have put the needs of others ahead of your own or ahead of the bottom line. We look forward to learning more about the challenge you faced, what unique characteristics you brought to that scenario, and what you learned from it.
  3. Personal Brand: Think of a business leader or role model you admire or aspire to be. What are the defining characteristics of his or her personal brand that you see in yourself? Give an example of how you have been able to emulate these characteristics in your professional career and how your personal brand will enrich the McDonough community.
  4. The Georgetown Community: Georgetown McDonough is a diverse, global community. We look to understand the contribution that your personal background would make to our community. As appropriate, you may wish to address any obstacles or challenges you have overcome; any educational, familial, cultural, economic, and social experiences that have helped to shape your educational and professional goals; or how your background (e.g. first-generation student, resident outside the U.S.) or activities (e.g. community service and leadership) will contribute to our community.

Optional

  1. Please provide any information you would like to add to your application that you have not otherwise included (300-350 words, approximately one page, double spaced).

Reapplicant Essay (required for all reapplicants)

  1. How have you strengthened your candidacy since your last application? We are particularly interested in hearing about how you have grown professionally and personally (500 words or fewer).

Required Video Essay

What makes you unique? In a one-minute video, describe the most compelling aspects of yourself that you believe make you unique from other MBA candidates. (Hint: one minute goes fast! We already have your resume and goals – share something new!) Use this video as an opportunity to bring life to your application.

  • You may use your phone, computer, or other means to record the video, but please ensure all audio and visual components are clear. We recommend a well-lit room and minimal noise distraction. 
  • The admissions committee would like for you to appear in person during part of your video.
  • We recommend unscripted, conversational videos – help us get to know the real you!
  • Upload your video to an accessible website (such as YouTube, Vimeo, Youku, or Tudou), and submit the direct video URL into your online application. 
  • Please note that all videos must remain active and accessible to the admissions committee online for a minimum of five years for record retention purposes.
  • For your privacy: Do not include your name in the title of your video. You may submit “unlisted” videos via YouTube or password protected videos through Vimeo. If using a password, please include immediately after your link in the text box below. [Ex: www.youtube.com/123, password: Hoyas]

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the McDonough essays (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the McDonough essays (Blog Posts)

Required

  1. Why an MBA and why Georgia Tech?Describe how your experiences, both professional and personal, have led you to the decision to pursue an MBA at Georgia Tech. (2,000 character maximum, including spaces)
  2. Short- and long-term career goals: Discuss your short- and long-term career goals and how Georgia Tech is best suited to help you achieve your goals. (2,000 character maximum, including spaces)
  3. Ten Facts: List 10 facts about yourself that will help your future classmates get to know you. (2,000 character maximum, including spaces)

Optional

  1. The admissions committee believes that the required essays address issues that help us learn about you and understand your candidacy for the MBA program; however, you may provide us with any additional information pertinent to your admission that has not been previously covered in the rest of the application. Feel free to discuss any unique aspects of your candidacy or any perceived weaknesses. (2,000 character maximum, including spaces)

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Scheller essays

Required Short Answer Questions

  1. “In 100 words or less, please share your short-term goals.”
  2. “In 100 words or less, please share your long-term goals.”

Creative Essay (required for Full-Time MBA & Professional MBA Applicants)

Please choose to answer one of the following prompts. (Choose one topic and response format.)

  • What movie, song, or book has most influenced your life and the way you view the world? Why?
  • While we know a picture is worth 1000 words, in 500 words or less tell us the story of a photo of your choosing that has significant value in your life experiences. Please feel free to share your photo!
  • Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the United States and food is a large element of culture. If you had to design a 3-course menu to prepare for your future MBA Core Team, what would be on the menu that showcases more about who you are?

Please choose only one method of communication that you would like to use for your response:

  • Write an essay (500-word limit)
  • Share a video (one to three-minute time limit)

Executive MBA Required Essay

As you evaluate where you are today, how have your educational, professional, and personal endeavors brought you to this point? In addition, please explain how the Rice EMBA is part of your future plan. (750-word limit)

Optional Essay

  1. If you have any additional information for the admissions committee or if you wish to clarify any aspect of your application (including breaks in employment, your choice of recommendation providers, your past academic performance, etc.), you may submit an additional, optional essay. (750-word limit)

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Jones essays (Video)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Jones essays (Blog Posts)

Required Short Answer Question

  1. Please share your short-term professional goals. What role does a Notre Dame MBA play in helping you achieve these goals? (100 words or less)

Required Essays

  1. Cardinal O’Hara established the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame in 1921, firmly committed to the idea that “the primary function of commerce is service to mankind”. As the world economy continues to grow and change, how do you see business acting as a positive force in the world? (500 words or less)
  2. The University of Notre Dame was founded in 1842, by Father Edward Sorin, C.S.C, with a mission to become “one of the most powerful means for doing good in this country”. In 1879, Father Sorin’s vision for Notre Dame appeared to be at a sudden, abrupt end. A massive fire destroyed the building that housed virtually the entire University. Instead of giving up, Father Sorin interpreted the fire as a sign that he had dreamed too small, and decided to rebuild, bigger and better than ever. That Main Building still stands today, topped by the gleaming Golden Dome, not only as an iconic campus building, but as an ongoing symbol of perseverance and vision. Tell us the story of a time in your own life or career when you had to overcome an obstacle, start over, or rebuild. (500 words or less)

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Mendoza essays (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Mendoza essays (Blog Posts)

Video Response

The video response is a chance for you to provide a glimpse of the authentic you, speaking without a script. The video questions are designed to be easy to answer and help us to get to know you as a person. You will have time to prepare your response and the application will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to record your answers.

Required Short Answer Questions

  1. What are your short-term career goals after obtaining your MBA and what functional area do you plan to study while in the MBA program? What are some specific skills that you want to develop during your time in business school to help you achieve your career goals? (150-word limit)
  2. Please highlight something about yourself that isn’t already captured in the application. (150-word limit)

Optional

  1. You may provide an additional statement to explain anything that you think is important for the Admissions Committee to know about you that is not already addressed elsewhere in your application. Many applicants use this statement to explain significant gaps in full-time employment, lack of recommendation from a current supervisor, or subpar academic performance.

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Owen essays

Required

  1. Share with us one of your strongest values. Help us understand how that value connects to your career aspirations. Please include the following in your response: Target function and/or industry; Desired company or organization; Skills you will need to develop; Necessary connections and/or experiences. (350-500 words maximum)
  2. The confidence to operate beyond one’s comfort zone is grounded in understanding who you are, what you value and how you uniquely contribute. Share your story. Describe who you are and the impact you wish to have. (350-500 words maximum)

Optional

  1. Is there anything else you would like to share? If so, please provide any additional information not previously addressed in the application that would help the admissions committee assess your candidacy. (250-word maximum)

Admissions Website

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Olin essays (Videos)

Career Protocol resources for tackling the Olin essays (Blog Posts)

BYU Marriott requires different essays, depending on the degree:

Each of the degrees offered at BYU Marriott require a different application essay. This is a very important part of the application. Regardless of your GPA, we recommend that you spend a considerable amount of time answering the questions.

You can find the essay topics for each degree here. 

  • Accounting
  • Entrepreneurial Management
  • Experience Design & Management
  • Finance
  • Global Supply Chain Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Information Systems
  • Marketing
  • Strategic Management

And there you have it! Our comprehensive guide to the essay questions that top U.S. MBA programs asked in the 2021-2022 cycle. We’re sure you’ll put your best foot forward when it comes to your MBA admissions essays, especially if you dedicate ample time to school research (its importance can’t be overestimated!!) and take advantage of the incredible resources linked in this guide. 

Chat with a member of our team about how Career Protocol can make your MBA journey more awesome.

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Angela Guido

Angela Guido

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

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