News, advice and resources for business school applicants

Essay Topics

A listing of business school application essay topics posted as they are announced by leading MBA programs. Check back frequently during the summer months for updates!


Northwestern / Kellogg Essay Topics 2014-2015

Northwestern / Kellogg Essay Topics 2014-2015

Northwestern/Kellogg has announced its essay topics for the 2014-2015 admissions season, which are as follows:

Essay One: Resilience. Perseverance. Grit. Call it what you will…. Challenges can build character. Describe a challenging experience you’ve had. How were you tested? What did you learn? (450 words)

Essay Two: Leadership requires an ability to collaborate with and motivate others. Describe a professional experience that required you to influence people. What did this experience teach you about working with others, and how will it make you a better leader? (450 words)

Re-applicant Essay: Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 word limit)

Optional Essay/Additional Information: If needed, use this section to briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.) (no word count)

Visit Northwestern/Kellogg’s admissions website for more information.

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Chicago Booth 2014-2015 Essay Topic

Chicago Booth 2014-2015 Essay Topic

Along with the application deadlines for the 2014-2015 admissions season, the Chicago Booth adcom has announced its 2014-2015 presentation/essay topic, which is as follows:

Presentation/Essay: Chicago Booth values adventurous inquiry, diverse perspectives, and a collaborative exchange of ideas.  This is us.  Who are you?

Presentation/Essay Guidelines

  • Be reflective. We’ve learned a lot about you throughout the application, but what more should we know?
  • Interpret broadly.  “Who are you?” can be interpreted in many different ways.  We encourage you to think critically and broadly about who you are, and how your values, passions and experiences have influenced you.
  • Determine your own length.  There is no prescribed minimum or maximum length.  We trust that you will use your best judgment in determining how long your submission should be, but we recommend that you think strategically about how to best allocate the space.
  • Choose the format that works for you.  You can design your presentation or compose your essay in the format that you feel best captures your response. However, please consider the specific technical restrictions noted below.
  • Think about you, not us.  Rather than focusing on what you think we want to hear, focus on what is essential for us to know about you. Simply put, be genuine.

Technical Guidelines

  • File Size: Maximum file size is 16 MB.
  • Accepted Upload Formats:  Acceptable formats are PDF, Word and Powerpoint.
  • Multimedia Restrictions: We will be viewing your submission electronically and in full color, but all submissions will be converted to PDF files, so animation, video, music, etc. will not translate over.
  • Preserve Your Formatting: We strongly recommend converting your piece to a PDF file prior to submitting to ensure that everything you see matches what we see.

Chicago Booth also requires that reapplicants to its program complete the following essay question:

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

For more information, visit Booth’s admissions website.

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Cambridge / Judge Essay Topics 2014-2015

Cambridge / Judge Essay Topics 2014-2015

The 2014-2015 Cambridge / Judge essay topics have been announced!  The two essays are as follows:

Essay 1: What did you learn from your most spectacular failure? (200 words)

Essay 2: What are your short and long term career objectives? What skills/characteristics do you already have that will help you to 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? (please do not exceed 500 words)

Cambridge / Judge released their 2014-2015 application deadlines earlier this month.  For more information, visit the school’s admissions website.

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Georgetown / McDonough Essay Topics 2014-2015

Georgetown / McDonough Essay Topics 2014-2015

The 2014-2015 Georgetown / McDonough essay topics have been posted, following the announcement of the 2014-2015 application deadlines.  The essay questions are as follows:

Essay 1: Why You? (Hint: we are looking for an answer that cannot be found from research on our website) – 750 words or fewer

Optional Essay 1: If you are not currently employed full-time, use this space to provide information about your current activities. (250 words or fewer)

Optional Essay 2: Please provide any information you would like to add to your application that you have not otherwise included. (500 words or fewer)

For more information, visit McDonough’s admissions website.

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Oxford / Saïd Essay Topics 2014-2015

Oxford / Saïd Essay Topics 2014-2015

Oxford/Saïd has announced its essay topics for 2014-2015!  They are as follows:

Essay 1: What should Oxford expect from you? (Maximum 500 words)

Essay 2: How do you hope to see your career developing over the next 5 years?  How will the MBA and Oxford assist you in the development of these ambitions? (Maximum 500 words)

Essay 3: Please choose and answer one of the two essays below:

- Sport is pure competition.  What does it teach us about companies, individuals, and markets? (Maximum 500 words)

OR

- The business of business is business.  Is this true? (Maximum 500 words)

Reapplicant Essay: What improvements have you made in your candidacy since you last applied to the Oxford MBA? (250 words)

Additional Essay for 1+1 Scheme Applicants: Explain why you see this as particularly beneficial for you and how it fits with your careers and personal development aims (Maximum 250 words)

For more information, visit Oxford / Saïd’s admissions website.

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Cornell / Johnson Essay Topics 2014-2015

Cornell / Johnson Essay Topics 2014-2015

Cornell/Johnson has announced its essay topics for 2014-2015! There are five required essays with maximum character counts of 800 and one optional essay with this same length requirement. The essays are posted in Johnson’s online application and are as follows:

Creative Submission: You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. In 800 characters or less, please write the table of contents for the book in the space provided or upload it as an attachment. Note: approach this essay with your unique style. We value creativity and authenticity.

Targeted Job Type: What is the job that you would like to have immediately upon graduating with your MBA? (800 characters)

Post-Collegiate Activities: List community activities (clubs, church, civic, etc.) and professional associations you contributed to since graduation from college. Please include the organization name, your role, hours dedicated, elected offices held, and dates of participation (800 character limit).

Collegiate Activities and Employment: List your extracurricular activities while in college in order of importance to you. You may include details about your positions and the time commitment, honors or awards received, and dates of participation. The list may also include part-time and summer employment held while in college. Please list your employer, job title, responsibilities, hours per week, and the dates for each position (800 character limit).

Hobbies and Activities: Please describe any hobbies or activities that hold special significance for you (800 character limit).

Optional Essay: Complete this essay if you would like to add additional details regarding your candidacy. For instance, if you believe one or more aspects of your application (e.g., undergraduate record or test scores) do not accurately reflect your potential for success at the Johnson School. (800 character limit)

For more information, visit Cornell/Johnson’s admissions website.

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UNC / Kenan-Flagler Essay Topics 2014-2015

UNC / Kenan-Flagler Essay Topics 2014-2015

UNC / Kenan-Flagler has posted their essay topics for the 2014-2015 admissions season!  The essay questions are as follows:

Essay One (Required): Please describe your short and long term goals post-MBA. Explain how: your professional experience has shaped these goals; why this career option appeals to you; and how you arrived at the decision that now is the time and the MBA is the appropriate degree. (500 words maximum)

Essay Two (Optional): What personal qualities or life experiences distinguish you from other applicants? How do these qualities or experiences equip you to contribute to UNC Kenan-Flagler? (300 words maximum)

Essay Three (Optional): If your standardized test scores are low, or if you have not had coursework in core business subjects (calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting), please tell us how you plan to prepare yourself for the quantitative rigor of the MBA curriculum. (300 words maximum)

Essay Four (Optional): Is there any other information you would like to share that is not presented elsewhere in the application? (300 words maximum)

Kenan-Flagler’s 2014-2015 application deadlines were announced earlier this June.  For more information, visit the school’s admissions website.

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Duke / Fuqua Essay Topics 2014-2015

Duke / Fuqua Essay Topics 2014-2015

The essay topics for the 2014-2015 admissions season at Fuqua have been released!  They are posted below:

Required Short Answer Questions: Answer all 3 questions. Respond in 250 characters only (the equivalent of about 50 words).

1.  What are your short-term goals, post-MBA?

2.  What are your long-term goals?

3.  Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize what alternative directions have you considered?

First Required Essay

1.  The “Team Fuqua” spirit and community is one of the things that sets The Duke MBA experience apart, and it is a concept that extends beyond the student body to include faculty, staff, and administration. When a new person joins the Admissions Team, we ask that person to share with everyone in the office a list of “25 Random Things About Yourself.” As an Admissions team, we already know the new hire’s professional and academic background, so learning these “25 Random Things” helps us get to know someone’s personality, background, special talents, and more. In this spirit, the Admissions Committee also wants to get to know you – beyond the professional and academic achievements listed in your resume and transcript. You can share with us important life experiences, your likes/dislikes, hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps us understand what makes you who you are. Share with us your list of “25 Random Things” about YOU.

Please present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may be only a few words, while others may be longer. Your complete list should not exceed 2 pages.

Second Required Essay

Choose only 1 of the following 2 essay questions to answer. Your response should be no more than 2 pages in length.

1. When asked by your family, friends, and colleagues why you want to go to Duke, what do you tell them? Share the reasons that are most meaningful to you.
2. The Team Fuqua community is as unique as the individuals who comprise it. Underlying our individuality are a number of shared ideas and principles that we live out in our own ways. Our students have identified and defined 6 “Team Fuqua Principles” that we feel are the guiding philosophies that make our community special. At the end of your 2 years at Fuqua, if you were to receive an award for exemplifying one of the 6 Principles listed below, which one would it be and why? Your response should reflect the research you have done, your knowledge of Fuqua and the Daytime MBA program and experience, and the types of activities and leadership you would engage in as a Fuqua student.
(1) Authentic Engagement: We care and we take action. We each make a difference to Team Fuqua by being ourselves and engaging in and supporting activities about which we are passionate.
(2) Supportive Ambition: We support each other to achieve great things, because your success is my success. The success of each individual member of Team Fuqua makes the whole of Team Fuqua better.
(3) Collective Diversity:  We embrace all of our classmates because our individuality is better and stronger together.
(4) Impactful Stewardship: We are leaders who focus on solutions to improve our communities both now and in the future. We aren’t satisfied with just maintaining the status quo.
(5) Loyal Community: We are a family who looks out for each other. Team Fuqua supports you when you need it the most.
(6) Uncompromising Integrity: We internalize and live the honor code in the classroom and beyond. We conduct ourselves with integrity within Fuqua, within Duke, and within all communities of which we are a part.

Optional Essay
If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware, please explain them in an optional essay (e.g. unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, or any significant weakness in your application).
•Do NOT upload additional essays nor additional recommendations in this area of the application.
•The Optional Essay is intended to provide the Admissions Committee with insight into your extenuating circumstances only.
•Limit your response to two pages.

Re-applicant Essay
It is not uncommon for it to take more than one try to achieve a goal. Please share with us the self-reflection process that you underwent after last year’s application and how you have grown as a result. How did it shape your commitment to Fuqua and inspire your decision to reapply?

Responses should be no more than 2 pages, using 1.5 line spacing and a font size no smaller than 10-point.
Make sure you address any gaps in your application and that you show progress.

Fuqua also announced its 2014-2015 application deadlines.  For more information, visit Fuqua’s admissions website.

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Yale SOM Essay Topic 2014-2015

Yale SOM Essay Topic 2014-2015

Following up on the earlier release of its 2014-2015 deadlines, Yale SOM has announced its 2014-2015 essay topic on its official blog.

This year’s essay topic is as follows:

The Yale School of Management educates individuals who will have deep and lasting impact on the organizations they lead. Describe how you have positively influenced an organization—as an employee, a member, or an outside constituent. (500 words maximum.)

Yale SOM also published optional and reapplicant essays inside its application. They are as follows:

Optional Essay
If any aspect of your candidacy needs further explanation (unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, promotions or recognitions, etc.), please provide a brief description here. (200 words maximum).

Reapplicant Essay
Since your last application, please discuss any updates to your candidacy, including changes in your personal or professional life, additional coursework, or extracurricular/volunteer activities. (200 words maximum).

For more information, visit Yale SOM’s admissions website.

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Berkeley / Haas Essay Topics 2014-2015

Berkeley / Haas Essay Topics 2014-2015

Following up on this spring’s announcement of the application deadlines for the 2014-2015 admissions season, the Haas adcom has also released its 2014-2015 essay topics.  Applicants this year must respond to three essay questions, down from four prompts last year. The required questions are as follows:

Essay 1: Describe an experience that has fundamentally changed the way you see the world. How did this transform you? (400-500 word maximum)

Essay 2: What is your most significant professional accomplishment? (200-300 word maximum)

Essay 3: What is your desired post-MBA role and at what company or organization? In your response, please specifically address sub-questions a., b., and c.
a. How is your background compelling to this company?
 b. What is something you would do better for this company than any other employee?
c. Why is an MBA necessary and how will Haas specifically help you succeed at this company?
(500-600 word maximum for 3a, 3b, and 3c combined)

Optional Essays:

1.Please feel free to provide a statement concerning any information you would like to add to your application that you haven’t addressed elsewhere. (500 word maximum)
2.If not clearly evident, please discuss ways in which you have demonstrated strong quantitative abilities, or plan to strengthen quantitative abilities. You do not need to list courses that appear on your transcript. (250 word maximum)

For more information, visit the Haas admissions website.

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MIT / Sloan Essay Topics 2014-2015

MIT / Sloan Essay Topics 2014-2015

After posting the application deadlines for the 2014-2015 admissions season online last month, the MIT / Sloan adcom has announced its 2014-2015 essay topics, which are as follows:

We are interested in learning more about you. In each of the essays, please describe in detail what you thought, felt, said, and did. Please draw upon experiences which have occurred in the past three years.

Essay 1:

The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and generate ideas that advance management practice.  Discuss how you will contribute toward advancing the mission based on examples of past work and activities.   (500 words or fewer, limited to one page)

Essay 2:

Write a professional letter of recommendation on behalf of yourself.  Answer the following questions as if you were your most recent supervisor recommending yourself for admission to the MIT Sloan MBA Program: (750 words or fewer)

• How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant?
• How does the applicant stand out from others in a similar capacity?
• Please give an example of the applicant’s impact on a person, group, or organization.
• Please give a representative example of how the applicant interacts with other people.
• Which of the applicant’s personal or professional characteristics would you change?
• Please tell us anything else you think we should know about this applicant.

Optional Essay:

The Admissions Committee invites you to share anything else you would like us to know about you, in any format. If you choose to use a multimedia format, please host the information on a website and provide us the URL.

For more information, visit Sloan’s admissions website.

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