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Posted by Chioma Isiadinso
MBA applicants focusing on Cambridge’s Judge Business School have two MBA admission essays to contend with – one addressing rebounding from failure and one addressing your career trajectory. Here are our experts’ MBA essay tips for each question.
Essay 1: What did you learn from your most spectacular failure? (200 words)
Notice the word choice here- “spectacular”. The MBA admissions board does not want to hear about everyday failures. They want to hear about a time when you really messed up, and then- this is the important part- how you reacted, redeemed yourself and grew as a leader. You need to choose an example of genuine failure, but pair it with genuine recovery.
I would begin the essay by recounting your failure. Be concise, precise, and candid about how your weaknesses hurt you. Then, turn the essay to focus on your strengths. How did you react from this failure? How did you recover? Even if you were not able to rectify the mistake itself, you should share an example of extra effort that you put in, to regain trust or make up lost ground.
Devote the final half of the essay- about 100 words- to describing what you learned. Make sure that the lessons learned fit with your overall personal brand. If possible, give an example of how you have applied those lessons, or how you might apply them in the future.
Essay 2: What are your short- and long-term career objectives? What skills/characteristics do you already have that will help you achieve them? What do you hope to gain from the degree and how do you feel it will help you achieve the career objectives you have? (500 words)
This question has many parts, so make sure that you address each and every one. You should be as detailed as possible and give the MBA admissions committee a clear outline of your post-graduation trajectory. I would begin with your short-term goal. Keep it realistic, but ambitious. You want to show how Cambridge’s program will help you leapfrog to another level in your career. Then, show how those short-term goals logically connect to your long-term goals.
When explaining your current skills, do not assume that the MBA admissions board will look at your resume and connect the dots. Give them a full picture of what you have learned, both from your professional work and from extracurricular activities. This part is particularly key for career-changers. You need to show both your aptitude for your current career, and how your skills will apply to your next career.
Finally, you must show that you have done your homework. Use your research on Cambridge Judge to explain how you will become involved on campus and why it is the best fit for your career ambitions. Be very specific about the classes, professors and clubs that fit with your goals. Vague answers could earn you a rejection letter very quickly.
For more information, visit the Cambridge Judge website.
Deadlines: Round 1- September 19; Round 2- October 24; Round 3-January 9; Round 4- March 6; Round 5- May 1