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MBA Admission Essays: IESE Business School

Posted by Chioma Isiadinso

IESE Business School, based in Barcelona, asks applicants to complete three MBA admission essays. Below, I have listed my MBA essay tips for acing each question, from the straightforward career questions to the very open-ended third essay.

Essay 1: Describe your short-term and long-term career goals (post-MBA). (300 words)

Be as specific as possible, highlighting individual companies and roles where you can. I would begin by stating your short-term goals, and explaining how your current and past professional experiences have prepared you for those goals. Don’t just regurgitate your resume; explain why you have made the decisions that you have. Then, explain how an MBA from IESE will help you build towards your short-term goals.

In the second half of the essay, state your long-term goals. Make sure that you build a clear progression, demonstrating how each short-term goal will work towards your long-term goal. At the end of the essay, the reader should have a clear outline of the trajectory that you want to take, along with assurance that you have many of the necessary skills and have a plan for gaining the rest.
MBA Admission Essays
Essay 2: Describe a recent situation (1-2 years ago maximum) that demonstrates your fit with IESE’s mission and values. (300 words)

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IESE’s website states their mission as follows: IESE Business School is committed to the development of leaders who aspire to have a deep, positive and lasting impact on people, firms and society; to inspiring leaders to work with a spirit of service and integrity, basing their actions on the highest standards of professionalism and accountability; and to educating leaders to whom we can confidently entrust the future of business and society.

According to this mission statement, you need to demonstrate your fit with two broad values: positive impact on your professional and personal community and inspirational, service-focused leadership. Look for an example that shows how your professional talents have helped others, either at work or in your community. Make sure you can demonstrate what the problem was, how you took the lead, and how your actions positively impacted others in your organization or community.

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Conclude the essay by showing how this one example is representative of a pattern in your life, and how you hope to continue that pattern at IESE and beyond.
Essay 3: I wish that the application had asked me… (200 words)
This question gives you plenty of room to get creative. Think carefully about what you have not conveyed in your application. Is there a large part of your life that you have not been able to share? Any part of your personal brand you want to emphasize more? Are there any hobbies that you want to highlight? Any accomplishments that you are proud of and have not gotten to dwell on? Craft a question that will allow you to highlight what is missing. Some examples could include:

  • I wish this application had asked me, “How have past experiences shaped who you are today?”
  • “Name someone who has had a significant impact on your life. How have they shaped your choices and values?”
  • “What are some hobbies or interests that you will bring to our campus?”

Whatever question you choose, make sure that the examples and characteristics that you express are in line with IESE’s own brand, as expressed in question 2, and that they complement other personal brand themes expressed throughout your application.

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For more information, visit IESE’s website.
Deadlines: Round 1- October 7; Round 2- January 13; Round 3- March 3; Round 4- May 19