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UT Austin / McCombs Essay Topic Analysis 2014-2015

Today we’ll be offering some pointers on UT Austin McCombs’s 2014-2015 application essays.

While McCombs has reduced the number of required essays for this admissions season – down from three prompts last year to just two this cycle – the changes aren’t quite as drastic as we’ve seen with some other programs. The school has retained its creative introduction essay that it introduced last year, and appears to have combined two of last year’s 250-word prompts, one about fit with McCombs and another about what the applicant sought from the UT Austin MBA, into a single 500-word response for this year. These prompts seem to reflect a continued interest in the qualities that an applicant would bring to his or her classmates and the larger McCombs community, as well as his or her reasons for seeking an MBA from this particular program.

Let’s take a closer look at each of McComb’s essays:

Essay 1: Imagine that you are at the Texas MBA Orientation for the Class of 2017. Please introduce yourself to your new classmates, and include any personal and/or professional aspects that you believe to be significant. Select only one communication method that you would like to use for your response.
• Write an essay (250 words)
• Share a video introduction (one minute)
• Share your about.me profile

Appearing on the McCombs MBA application for a second year in a row, this prompt affords applicants two new media options to go beyond the traditional written essay. No matter which of these three is the best fit with your background, there are a few themes to keep in mind as you plot out your approach. This essay looks to see how applicants present themselves to their peers, requiring applicants to reflect carefully on the aspects of their backgrounds that would be most interesting and valuable to their future classmates. While a brief mention of your professional background and career goals may be appropriate, we also encourage applicants to use this opportunity to showcase elements of their personalities and candidacies that they will not have the chance to address in their responses to the other application essay. Perhaps you have a particularly interesting work or extracurricular experience to share, or a personal accomplishment or aspect of your heritage of which you’re especially proud. If any of these lend themselves to a video presentation, you could consider how to visually convey more personal information in addition to any script you may draft. The 250-word limit does give applicants some flexibility for describing a range of qualities and characteristics in order to demonstrate the well-rounded nature of their candidacies, while applicants with a robust (and admissions-appropriate) social media presence might opt to synthesize text and visuals in an about.me profile.

Essay 2: In the Texas MBA program, we promote a diverse and collaborative community by providing opportunities for growth in an academically rigorous environment. Please discuss why McCombs is the right program for you, what you hope to gain from your time in the Texas MBA Program both personally and professionally, and how you will contribute to your classmates’ experiences. (500 words)
Rather than asking about these topics in isolated essays as they did last season, the adcom has combined the “why MBA” and “fit with McCombs” topics into a single prompt this year, giving applicants a bit more freedom in structuring their responses and allocating words among these subjects (that said, last year’s structure may provide a cue that applicants should aim to devote roughly equal parts of the essay to each topic). Applicants will naturally want to discuss their professional goals and the ways the McCombs MBA would position them for success, as well as the more personal growth they hope to experience and soft skills they wish to gain during their time on campus.

At the same time, they’ll also want to be clear about how they would enhance the experience of their fellow students, whether through in-class participation, leadership of a student organization, or other avenues. Throughout, it will be important to demonstrate one’s fit with and knowledge of the McCombs program and school community, going into some detail about specific classes and clubs that are appealing. Taking the time to learn about the school’s special programs and extracurricular activities – whether through a visit to campus, conversation with alumni or reading the Clear Admit School Guide to McCombs School of Business – will pay dividends here.

Optional Essay: Please provide any additional information to the Admissions Committee that you believe is important and/or will address any areas of concern that will be beneficial to the Admissions Committee in considering your application. (200 words)
This essay will be best used to address liabilities in one’s application rather than to provide “bonus” information to the adcom. Candidates with questionable quantitative records, gaps in employment, or unusual recommenders should take advantage of this opportunity to offer explanations or outline plans to address potential issues.

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Posted in: Essay Topic Analysis, Essays

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