Tag Archives: MBA Essays

Ex-Harvard admissions expert tells you what turns the top b-schools off

This blog was first published by Chioma Isiadinso on Business Because MBA Application Blog

There are a lot of mistakes you can make when it comes to writing your MBA application essays: Not giving yourself enough time to go through the whole process.

Not brainstorming before you get started. Not proofreading before you hit “submit”, and realising too late that you wrote…

The essay questions for the 2015-2016 MBA program at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business are now available, and they are not following the trend of schools requiring only a single essay for all applicants.

Instead, the Tuck MBA application requires two essays of approximately 500 words, as well as an optional essay for students to explain any weak spots in their application and an essay to be completed by reapplicants.

Tuck 2016 MBA Essay Tips

Tuck does have some interesting information available for applicants this year. As a part of their…

For their 2015-2016 MBA admissions process, Yale School of Management has just one essay question, and it’s a familiar one.

In a blog post published in late May 2015, Yale Assistant Dean for Admissions Bruce DelMonico confirmed that the 2015-2016 essay question would be the same as the previous year’s.

He also described the essay question as one that “really gets to the core of what Yale SOM is about and embodies our founding mission of educating leaders for business and society.”

Yale SOM 2016 MBA Essay Tips

Yale applicants only have…

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business has released the essay prompts for their 2015-2016 MBA application.

Unlike many schools, which are paring down the required number of essays for their MBA applicants, Duke requires five separate responses in their MBA application essay section.

There are three short answer questions which should be answered in 500 characters (approximately 100 words) or less, as well as two full essay questions to be answered in two pages or less apiece.

Duke Fuqua 2016 MBA Essay Tips

How to Write Your 2015-2016 Fuqua MBA Application Short Answer…

The 2015-2016 Kellogg School of Business MBA essay prompts have been released, and one thing is clear: Kellogg wants applicants to demonstrate that they have put in a lot of time and thought to prepare for their essays.

For their application, Kellogg requires two 450-word written essays, as well as two 20-second video essays, from all students. Additional essay questions are required for re-applicants and students pursuing dual degrees.

Kellogg 2016 MBA Essay Tips

There is a lot of ground to cover for the Kellogg MBA essays, so let’s look at it…

The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business has a brand focused on diversity and individuality. They value students who are able to be the drivers of their own educational path, and who are able to bring something unique and powerful to the school’s community.

So it is no surprise that the Booth MBA application essay stands out among other top business schools.

Chicago Booth 2016 MBA Essay Tips

There is only one question, and no maximum word limit. In fact, applicants don’t actually have to…

Want to know how to write your MIT Sloan 2015-2016 MBA essays?

Looking for some MIT Sloan MBA essay tips?

For their 2016 MBA application, MIT Sloan School of Business is once again doing something unexpected: they’re changing up most of the requirements for their MBA application.

This is the first time in a while that the school has included only one essay question for their MBA applicants

How to Write Your MIT Sloan 2015-2016 MBA Essays

(although they do technically still have two: one that all applicants are required to complete, and…

The Wharton School of Management will only require one essay for the 2015-2016 admissions cycle, and it features the same question as the previous MBA cycle.

What do you hope to gain both personally and professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

It is a pretty straightforward question, but not one that cannot be tackled without doing some substantial planning and research on your part.


Because the school only requires one essay – although there is an optional, more open-ended essay – it is important that your essay be memorable.

If you want…

Columbia Business School has released its 2015-2016 admissions cycle essay questions. The essay questions are very goal-oriented.

So it is important to think through your answers to ensure that you have clearly identified your career goals and how an MBA from the school will help you achieve these goals.

Let’s take a look at this year’s essays, which have been tweaked compared to last year’s requirements.

Last year, the school asked candidates in the first essay why they were pursuing an MBA at this particular point in their lives; this year the focus in more honed to applicant career goals.

There are three…

Are you looking for tips on how to navigate your 2016 Stanford GSB essays? Have you seen Stanford’s 2016 MBA application deadlines?

You’ve probably checked out our Stanford MBA profile which shows that Stanford’s MBA program  is one of the best in the world.

The Stanford GSB MBA essay is one of the most challenging essays you’ll face in your MBA application process.

Developing a winning set of MBA essays can make all the difference between getting accepted to Stanford for your MBA.

Or not.

So, here are a few tips to help you in building…

Are you looking for tips on how to write a great HBS 2016 MBA essay? Have you checked out our Harvard Business School profile lately?

Writing your MBA essays can be a stressful and difficult process.

However, there are ways you can create write a great HBS essay without all the stress and difficulty that most MBA applicants face.

How can you do that?

In this post, I’ll give you a few tips to write a great HBS essay without all the stress and difficulty.

hbs 2016 mba essay

Stanford Campus

Stanford GSB essay tasks MBA applicants with a pretty intimidating MBA essay question:

What matters most to you and why?

Learn how to distill and put down on paper what matters most in your life, and in the process, improve your chances of getting into Stanford Business School.

Stanford GSB Essay

Stanford GSB Essay : What matters most !!!

It’s been a busy year in b-school admissions, and, for some MBA applicants there is still much left to do. As you take a well-deserved break and enjoy the holidays, I wanted to share some of the guides that our MBA applicants have found most helpful this year.

MBA Essay Guide

MBA Essay GuideOur MBA Essay Guide provides practical essay-writing advice for all of the top MBA programs, with a question-by-question breakdown of each school’s topics.

You’ll find…

mba essaysAre you struggling to make a start on your admissions essays?
The MBA essays are a crucial part of your application and can be daunting to say the least.

With the big changes to this year’s HBS questions,  it’s tougher than ever to know how to start.

In this video we’ve given some practical advice on how to beat your writer’s block and get down to work.

So, click here to watch the video now.

Tackling the Harvard Business School Essays If you’re applying to Harvard Business School in round one, you’ve already delved into the essay questions.
However, before you submit your responses, take a moment to review my notes on what each question is truly driving at and what the Board hopes to discover about you.

Understanding the Board’s interests and expectations will allow you to craft responses that excite readers about your candidacy.

 – Achievements. As you consider your achievements, attempt to share stories from a variety of areas in your life (ie. work, personal, community, etc).


Mollie WolinThe entire EXPARTUS team is pleased to welcome Mollie Wolin as our newest consultant.

Mollie is a former Harvard Business School admissions board member who believes in the power of personal branding and marketing to make candidates stand out from their competition during the admissions process.
Mollie will be working out of the NYC office.

As Mollie begins her work with EXPARTUS, we thought it would be nice for you to get to know a bit about her.  We pulled these three answers from our brief interview with her.

Chioma: Tell us a bit…

Three Mistakes That Can Derail Your MBA Application

Mistake Two: Skipping Over Self-Reflection

reflectionIf you are applying to top MBA programs, schools know you write well.  Evaluating writing ability is NOT why they require essays as part of your MBA application.

Rather, schools pose their questions out of a genuine interest in getting to know candidates on a personal level: they seek to understand who a candidate is, what they value, how they learn, and how self-aware they are.

They want to understand your personal brand.  Your personal brand is your life story, tied together by various themes to…

Stanford GSB essaysStanford GSB essays are by far one of the most challenging essays out there. There are two required essays and four optional essays of which applicants can choose two.

This year, again, Stanford has chosen not to change its essay questions except for a minor change in wording for the second essay.

Last year their career essay question was: What are your career aspirations? What do you need to learn at Stanford to achieve them?

This year it is: What do you want to do—REALLY—and why Stanford? The most important advice to applicants…

Columbia essaysSo Columbia GSB’s essays are out and they have made several changes to them this year.

Unlike last year, where applicants were required to answer two questions (What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals?

How will Columbia Business School (CBS) help you achieve these goals? (Recommended 750-word limit) and Please tell us about yourself and your personal interests.

The goal of this essay is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have achieved professionally. (Recommended 500-word limit).

This year, applicants have to write one additional short essay (250 words)…

MBA admissions essaysNumerous books have been written on the subject of writing winning MBA admissions essays. An Internet search brings up a bewildering array of blogs, articles, consultancies, and essay-writing guides.

With such a breadth of information available, it’s enough to make your head spin.  So let’s keep it simple.   These are the universal ‘must haves’ for your essays, as well as the ‘avoid at all costs’ tips.

What role does the essay play?

Before the tips, it’s important to understand why the essays are such a critical piece of the admission application.

One of the roles…

personal brandingI just got off the phone speaking with my mentor and friend whom I just adore and she reminded me of why I am so focused on stressing to clients the importance of living their passion and creating an authentic brand.

During the call my friend shared with me that her daughter, who is a successful engineer at a global software company, was looking for more creative outlets.

Creativity mattered a great deal to her and she realized that she needed to find ways to infuse that into her life beyond her job….

Harvard Business School essayI was reading the essays of one of our clients who was a re-applicant to Harvard Business School and was reminded of the core ingredients that successful essays to HBS have.

While her work experience did not change fundamentally, what resulted in her admission to HBS, this time, was the way she repositioned her stories and the key elements that she focused on when tackling her essays.

Here are the main ingredients to writing essays that will win the hearts and minds of the admissions board at Harvard:


Harvard Business School Application EssaySo Harvard Business School application essays are out and a few changes are worth noting. The standard accomplishment essay is back with one slight variation.

Last year they asked you “What are your three most substantial accomplishments, and why do you view them as such?” This year HBS asks you to “Tell us about three of your accomplishments” (600 words).

The school changed last year’s mistake essay, “What have you learned from a mistake?”to this year’s “Tell us three setbacks you have faced” (600 words).

Last year’s career essay is back…

The Harvard Business School admission questions for the class of 2014 are now out. Here are the questions:

HBS Essay (MBA applicants only):

All application questions below are required.

– Tell us about three of your accomplishments. (600 words)

– Tell us three setbacks you have faced. (600 words)

– Why do you want an MBA? (400 words)

– Answer a question you wish we’d asked. (400 words)

Joint degree applicants:

– How do you expect the joint degree experience to benefit you on both a professional and a personal level? (400 words)

hbs 2+2 essaysHBS has changed its essay questions for the 2+2 program. This year’s applicants won’t have the flexibility of having some optional essays. This time, all four essay questions are required.

– Tell us about three of your accomplishments. (600 words)

– Tell us three setbacks you have faced. (600 words)

– Why do you want an MBA? (400 words)

– What would you like the MBA Admissions Board to know about your undergraduate academic experience? (400 words)

Here are some tips on how to tackle the challenge of the HBS 2+2 essays:

Tell us about…

Risk and the MBA Application: Risk. A four letter word that has a major role this year in the MBA application process. The admission climate is such today that candidates who remotely look too risky are likely not to be admitted to a top school.

Everyone’s appetite for risk has been curtailed. Gone are the days when candidates with top scores and grades but sketchy career plan are admitted.

The same holds true for candidates who think they can slip in despite GMAT scores that are below the range published by the school.

Even weak grades will get an additional scrutiny and…

The Value of Diversity in the MBA Admission Process:

In The National, the first English-language publication in Abu Dhabi, incoming Insead Dean, Dipak Jain signals where his key attention will be: expanding the cultural diversity of Insead.

During his visit to Abu Dhabi, Dean Jain stressed the fact that Insead is a school that values diversity across the globe.

He highlighted plans to leverage the program’s innovative approach towards helping to develop the Middle East.

Dean Jain went on to say: “We don’t want a room where 70 per cent of the students are from China because people learn together.

“When people are…

HBS essays are out and it isn’t even Memorial Day yet. This is great for applicants, especially those applying round one–you have a full four months to really reflect and bask in any introspection necessary to create great essays. No excuses!

The two required essays, Accomplishments and Mistakes remain the same. They offer insight into your achievements, what you value, and your judgment.

Last year, you had five questions from which you were to select two. This year, you have four questions and have the option to select two essays.

Some of the questions have changed. The two new questions about professional…

Without a doubt, the essay remains a critical part of the application process.

Applicants have to find creative ways of sharing their brand but schools are also becoming creative with the types of essay questions they are asking.

But they are not stopping there. Applicants now have the option to write a cover letter as one of the essays at Harvard Business School.

Chicago has for the past few years required applicants to provide 4 slides to showcase who they are.

UCLA’s Anderson program with its audio essay question has definitely raised the bar for applicants.

What’s next? Applicants have to turn in a…