• Texas McCombs School of Business Essay Tips and Examples

July 11, 2023

Jeremy Shinewald

Texas McCombs Essay Analysis - mbaMission

The McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin asks for just one relatively brief yet still revelatory essay from its applicants. Applicants are asked to write a cover letter to the admissions committee essentially making a pitch for why they want (or need) to earn a Texas McCombs MBA. Anyone with a potential problem area or unclear element in their profile can also submit an optional essay to address the issue(s). While minimal, the Texas McCombs essay still gives applicants ample opportunity to provide meaningful insight into their characters and strengths. Our more in-depth analysis of the program’s essay prompt(s) for 2023–2024 follows.

Texas McCombs Essay Analysis, 2023–2024

Essay 1: please write an application cover letter summarizing your aspirations, qualifications, and personal and professional experiences that make you a strong candidate for the texas full-time mba program. (limit: 500 words).

We can understand that this essay prompt might initially be intimidating for some candidates, but once we break things down for you, we hope you will feel more confident in your ability to write a strong essay in response. Along with this prompt, McCombs offers the following elaboration: “The application cover letter is a critical means of assessing an applicant’s motivation for attending the McCombs School of Business, their background and goals, and their communication and writing skills. Strong applications convey careful research on Texas McCombs and enthusiasm for the program.” In short, the admissions committee wants to know (1)what your professional path and goals are, (2) why you feel you need an MBA, and (3) why you want to earn your MBA at McCombs. These are all just basic components of a traditional personal statement that most schools ask for. Not so scary now, right? 

The broad scope of this essay prompt allows you a great amount of freedom to choose and share the information you believe is most important for your candidacy. And the 500-word maximum is equal to roughly four or five short paragraphs. Basically, McCombs wants to know about your professional past, your goals, and why you need its MBA program to facilitate or accelerate your career. Be sure to relate your strengths to your professional aspirations, sharing illustrative examples. Definitely take the time to research your desired path and potential firms, if you have not done so already, to understand what is involved and the skills and qualities required. 

After discussing your accomplishments along with any other elements of your profile that you feel make you a strong candidate for the Texas McCombs MBA program, strive to relate these achievements and qualities to the school’s offerings and community. Without using the actual words “why McCombs?” and “how do you expect to engage with our community?,” the school is nevertheless asking you for precisely this line of information. The admissions committee essentially wants to know what has compelled you to choose McCombs in particular for your MBA and how you will take advantage of specific resources and experiences it offers. The assumption is that something you have learned about McCombs leads you to believe that its MBA program will provide the experience, knowledge, skills, exposure, and/or other element you need to reach your goals. Likewise, something makes you feel you would fit well with the McCombs environment and be comfortable there. So what has given you that impression? All the top MBA programs want reassurance that the candidates they admit have not applied simply because of the school’s reputation or ranking but rather because they are truly excited to be a part of the community and to benefit from that specific learning experience. McCombs is not simply seeking warm bodies with which to fill its classrooms; it is striving to add to a long history of effective global business leaders and a network of alumni dedicated to the school and each other. Demonstrating your authentic interest in the program by offering concrete examples and drawing clear connections between who you want to be and what the school offers is key to crafting a compelling essay response.

If you have targeted McCombs because you feel it is the right program for you, you likely already have an idea of why that is true and how you would function as part of its community. If you do not yet have a handle on these points, you definitely need to start (now!) researching the school thoroughly, including interacting directly with students and/or alumni. Identify at least one (ideally more) resource, offering, or quality that McCombs has that is unique or that it excels in that directly relates to what you need to attain your post-MBA goals. And do not just offer a list—you must explain how the identified element(s) will fulfill particular needs for you.  

As we noted earlier, this essay covers the core components of a traditional personal statement, just presented in a different form. To better prepare yourself to write your essay response, download a free copy of our Personal Statement Guide , which offers more in-depth advice on addressing these topics, along with illustrative examples. 

Optional Statement: Please provide any additional information you believe is important or address any areas of concern that you believe will be beneficial to MBA Admissions in considering your application (e.g., gaps in work experience, choice of recommender, academic performance, or extenuating personal circumstances). (250 words)

We tend to believe that the best use of the optional essay is to explain confusing or problematic issues in your candidacy, and this prompt offers an opportunity to do just that. So, if you need to, this is your chance to address any questions an admissions officer might have about your profile. Consider downloading a free copy of our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide , in which we offer detailed advice on deciding whether to submit an optional essay and on how best to approach writing such a submission, with multiple examples.

However, because McCombs does not stipulate that you can only discuss a problem area in this essay, you have some leeway to share anything you think might be pivotal or particularly compelling. We caution you against trying to fill this space simply because you fear that not doing so would somehow count against you. Remember, by submitting an additional essay, you are asking the admissions committee to do extra work on your behalf, so you need to make sure that time is warranted. If you are using the essay to emphasize something that if omitted would render your application incomplete, take this opportunity to write a very brief narrative that reveals this key new aspect of your candidacy.

To learn more about the essays for other top business schools, visit our  MBA Essay Tips and Examples Resources Page .

2023-2024 B-Schools Outside the Top 15 Business School Essays MBA Essay Tips University of Texas at Austin (McCombs)

Tags: business school essay MBA application essays optional essay Texas McCombs

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Upcoming Deadlines

  • Feb 22, 2024 Duke Fuqua (Round 3)
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  • Mar 20, 2024 Oxford Saïd (Round 3)
  • Mar 21, 2024 IESE (Round 3)
  • Mar 25, 2024 Dartmouth Tuck (Round 3)
  • Mar 25, 2024 London Business School (Round 3)
  • Mar 26, 2024 Texas McCombs (Round 3)
  • Mar 26, 2024 Vanderbilt Owen (Round 4)
  • Mar 28, 2024 Berkeley Haas (Round 4)

Click here to see the complete deadlines

2023–2024 MBA Essay Tips

  • Berkeley Haas School of Business Essay Tips and Examples
  • BU Questrom School of Business Essay Tips and Examples
  • Cambridge Judge Business School Essay Tips and Examples
  • Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business Essay Tips and Examples
  • Chicago Booth School of Business Essay Tips and Examples
  • Columbia Business School Essay Tips and Examples
  • Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management Essay and Examples
  • Dartmouth Tuck School of Business Essay Tips and Examples
  • Duke Fuqua School of Business Essay Tips and Examples
  • Emory Goizueta Business School Essay Tips and Examples
  • Esade Essay Tips and Examples
  • Georgetown McDonough School of Business Essay Tips and Examples
  • Harvard Business School 2+2 Deferred MBA Program Essay Analysis 2024
  • Harvard Business School Essay Tips and Examples
  • HEC Paris Essay Tips and Examples
  • HKUST Business School Essay Tips and Examples
  • IE Business School Essay Tips and Examples
  • IESE Business School Essay Tips and Examples
  • INSEAD Essay Tips and Examples
  • International Institute for Management Development (IMD) Essay Tips and Examples
  • Ivey Business School Essay Tips and Examples
  • London Business School Essay Tips and Examples
  • Michigan Ross School of Business Essay Tips and Examples
  • MIT Sloan School of Management Essay Tips and Examples
  • Northwestern Kellogg School of Management Essay Tips and Examples
  • Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business Essay Tips and Examples
  • NYU Stern School of Business Essay Tips and Examples
  • Ohio Fisher College of Business Essay Tips and Examples
  • Oxford Saïd Business School Essay Tips and Examples
  • SMU Cox School of Business Essay Tips and Examples
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business Application Essay Tips and Examples
  • The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Essay Tips and Examples
  • The Wharton School Essay Tips and Examples
  • Toronto Rotman School of Management Essay Tips and Examples
  • UCLA Anderson School of Management Essay Tips and Examples
  • UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Essay Tips and Examples
  • USC Marshall School of Business Essay Tips and Examples
  • UVA Darden School of Business Essay Tips and Examples
  • UW Foster School of Business Essay Tips and Examples
  • Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management Essay Analysis, 2023–2024
  • Villanova School of Business Essay Tips and Examples
  • Yale School of Management Essay Tips and Examples

Click here for the 2022–2023 MBA Essay Tips

MBA Program Updates

  • Berkeley-Haas
  • Boston University (Questrom)
  • Cambridge Judge Business School
  • Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
  • Columbia University (Columbia Business School)
  • Consortium for Graduate Study in Management
  • Cornell University (Johnson)
  • Dartmouth College (Tuck)
  • Duke University (Fuqua)
  • Emory University (Goizueta)
  • George Washington University (GWSB)
  • Georgetown University (McDonough)
  • Harvard University (Harvard Business School)
  • IE Business School
  • IESE Business School
  • Indian School of Business
  • Indiana University (Kelley)
  • Ivey Business School
  • London Business School
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
  • New York University (Stern)
  • Northwestern University (Kellogg)
  • Notre Dame (Mendoza)
  • Ohio State University (Fisher College)
  • Oxford University (Saïd Business School)
  • Penn State Smeal College of Business
  • Rotman School of Management
  • Saïd Business School
  • Southern Methodist University (Cox School of Business)
  • Stanford University (Stanford Graduate School of Business)
  • University of California Los Angeles (Anderson)
  • University of Cambridge (Judge)
  • University of Chicago (Booth)
  • University of London (London Business School)
  • University of Michigan (Ross)
  • University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)
  • University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  • University of Southern California (Marshall)
  • University of Texas at Austin (McCombs)
  • University of Virginia (Darden)
  • Vanderbilt University (Owen)
  • Villanova School of Business
  • Yale University (School of Management)

UT Austin McCombs MBA Essays Guide: Overview, Tips & Examples

Looking to ace your UT Austin McCombs MBA application? Our comprehensive guide provides an overview, valuable tips, and real examples to help you craft compelling essays that stand out.

Posted March 1, 2024

ut austin mba essays

Featuring John K.

Financing Your MBA

Tuesday, march 19.

10:00 PM UTC · 60 minutes

The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business offers a highly regarded MBA program that attracts students from all over the world. As part of the application process, prospective students are required to submit essays that provide insights into their background, experiences, goals, and why they believe they are a good fit for the McCombs MBA program.

UT Austin McCombs Application and the Role of Essays

Applying to the UT Austin McCombs MBA program is a multi-step process that starts with completing the online application form. The application form requires you to provide personal information, academic history, professional experience, and contact details. Additionally, you will be required to submit a resume, transcripts, and letters of recommendation.

One crucial component of the application process is the essays. The essays provide an opportunity for applicants to showcase their unique stories and stand out from the competition. The admissions committee uses the essays to gain insights into the applicants' personality, motivations, and potential contributions to the McCombs community.

When it comes to writing the essays, it is important to approach them with careful thought and consideration. The prompts provided by the McCombs MBA program are designed to elicit thoughtful responses that go beyond a simple reiteration of your resume or academic achievements. Instead, they aim to uncover your values, passions, and goals, allowing the admissions committee to understand what drives you and how you align with the program's mission and values.

One of the essay prompts may ask you to describe a challenging situation you have faced and how you overcame it. This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your problem-solving skills , resilience, and ability to learn from adversity. You can delve into the details of the situation, explaining the obstacles you encountered and the steps you took to overcome them. By sharing your thought process and the lessons you learned, you can provide the admissions committee with a deeper understanding of your ability to handle challenges and grow from them.

Another essay prompt may ask you to discuss your short-term and long-term career goals. This is your chance to articulate your aspirations and demonstrate your understanding of how the McCombs MBA program can help you achieve those goals. You can discuss the specific skills, knowledge, and resources offered by the program that align with your career aspirations. Additionally, you can highlight any relevant experiences or skills you have gained in your professional journey that will contribute to your success in achieving your goals.

Furthermore, the essays provide an opportunity for you to showcase your fit with the McCombs community . You can research the program's values, initiatives, and extracurricular activities to identify aspects that resonate with you. By demonstrating an understanding of the program's culture and how you can contribute to it, you can convey your genuine interest in being a part of the McCombs community.

It is important to approach the essays with authenticity and honesty. The admissions committee is looking for applicants who are genuine and self-aware, as these qualities are essential for success in the MBA program. Take the time to reflect on your experiences, values, and goals, and craft your essays in a way that reflects your true self.

In conclusion, the essays play a vital role in the UT Austin McCombs MBA application process. They provide an opportunity for applicants to showcase their unique stories, demonstrate their fit with the program, and convey their aspirations and motivations. By approaching the essays with thoughtfulness, authenticity, and a deep understanding of the program, applicants can increase their chances of standing out and securing a spot in the prestigious McCombs MBA program.

UT Austin McCombs Essay Prompts (2023-2024)

The UT Austin McCombs MBA program typically releases essay prompts for each application cycle. The essay prompts for the 2023-2024 application cycle are as follows:

Essay Prompt 1: Describe a defining moment in your personal or professional life and explain how it shaped you.

Essay prompt 2: choose a current event or issue that you believe is significant to your future as a business leader. discuss why it is important to you and how you intend to make an impact., essay prompt 3: reflecting on your past experiences, discuss a time when you faced a challenge or setback. what did you learn from the experience, and how did it contribute to your personal growth.

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List of Expert Tips for Each McCombs Essay Prompt

Writing compelling essays that effectively address the prompts is essential to create a strong application. Here are some expert tips for each of the McCombs MBA essay prompts:

- Start with a captivating anecdote that illustrates the defining moment.

- Reflect on the impact of the defining moment on your values, beliefs, and goals.

- Share specific examples of how the defining moment influenced your decision-making or leadership abilities.

- Clearly articulate why this defining moment is relevant to your MBA application.

- Select a current event or issue that aligns with your passions and career goals.

- Demonstrate a deep understanding of the event or issue and its implications for the business world.

- Discuss your personal connection to the event or issue and how it aligns with your values and aspirations.

- Outline specific actions or initiatives you plan to take to make a meaningful impact in this area.

- Choose a significant challenge or setback that allowed you to demonstrate resilience and growth.

- Describe the specific circumstances and obstacles you faced during the experience.

- Reflect on the lessons and insights you gained from overcoming the challenge or setback.

- Explain how this experience has shaped your character, decision-making, or leadership skills.

MBA Essay Tips: How to Write Compelling Essays

Writing compelling MBA essays requires careful planning and thoughtful execution. Here are some tips to help you craft essays that leave a lasting impression:

  • Understand the prompts: Take the time to thoroughly understand the essay prompts and what the admissions committee is looking for.
  • Reflect on your experiences: Spend time reflecting on your personal and professional experiences to identify compelling stories and examples that align with the essay prompts.
  • Focus on authenticity: Be true to yourself and showcase your unique perspective, values, and goals in your essays.
  • Structure your essays: Organize your essays in a clear and coherent manner, with a captivating introduction, well-developed body paragraphs, and a strong conclusion.
  • Show, don't tell: Use vivid and specific examples to illustrate your points and bring your essays to life.
  • Edit and proofread: Take the time to review and edit your essays for clarity, grammar, and spelling errors. Consider seeking feedback from trusted friends or professionals.

UT Austin McCombs Essay Examples From Success Admits — With Analysis

Looking for inspiration? Success Admits is a valuable resource that provides UT Austin McCombs essay examples from successful applicants. These examples, along with expert analysis, can help you understand the elements that make a strong essay and how to effectively structure your own essays.

UT Austin McCombs Essay FAQs

Still have questions about the UT Austin McCombs MBA essays? Here are some frequently asked questions:

  • Q: How long should the essays be?
  • A: The recommended length for each essay is typically around 500 words. However, it's important to focus on quality over quantity.
  • Q: Can I exceed the word limit?
  • A: It is generally advisable to adhere to the word limit provided. Admissions committees appreciate concise and well-crafted essays.
  • Q: Should I address all the essay prompts?
  • A: It is highly recommended to address all the essay prompts to provide a comprehensive view of your experiences and aspirations.

By following these guidelines and investing time in crafting compelling essays, you can increase your chances of securing a spot in the UT Austin McCombs MBA program. Let your unique story shine through and demonstrate why you are a perfect fit for this renowned program.

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ut austin mba essays

June 29, 2023

University of Texas McCombs MBA Essay Tips and Deadlines [2023 – 2024]

ut austin mba essays

Texas McCombs combines rigor with a passionate community, including passion for the MBA program. The school’s single required question reflects this value; the adcom invites you to demonstrate deep familiarity with the program , connected to your unique vision for the future. It has a practical slant. Convey concrete goals, and make a case for how the McCombs program is ideally suited to prepare you to achieve them.

The school has introduced some significant changes to its essays this season. It has gone from two required essays to one required essay and dropped the “Please introduce yourself” question/video. 

Ready to get to work on your Texas McCombs application? Read on. 

■ McCombs application essay tips

■ McCombs application deadlines

■ McCombs class profile

For great advice, listen to Get Accepted to UT Austin McCombs , a podcast interview with Rodrigo Malta, managing director of MBA Marketing, Recruiting, and Admissions at Texas McCombs.

McCombs application essay tips

Mccombs required essay.

Please write an application cover letter summarizing your aspirations, qualifications, and personal and professional experiences that make you a strong candidate for the Texas Full-Time MBA program.

LIMIT: 500 words 

The cover letter is a new essay format for Texas. MIT Sloan also uses a similar cover letter instead of a traditional essay. The purpose for this approach is twofold. First, the adcom wants to see what information you consider most pertinent about yourself and how you present that information, and second, it wants evidence that you have truly researched their program. What you say in this letter can reveal a lot about you and your reasons for wanting to earn an MBA at McCombs, so don’t just copy and paste sentences from your resume! Your answer should be thoughtful and concise.

Yes, “summarizing your aspirations” is essentially asking you about your goals. How do you see your short-term plan leading to your long-term plan?  Be as specific as possible. For example, if you are changing careers, state why you are attracted to a different path, what you know about it, who you know who works in the industry, and most importantly, what skills you already possess that are relevant to this new position. Don’t just say, for example, that you want to be a consultant. Why? Which area of consulting? With what company? And why would a consulting firm want to hire you? What do you know, and what impact have you made in the past? The MBA is not a magic wand – admissions wants to see that your expectations are realistic and feasible. 

The best way to show what you can do is to give specific examples of what you have already done. Don’t just say, “I’m a good problem solver.” Prove it! And note that the adcom is also requesting “personal experiences.” This will give them a good idea of your fit for their program. Texas has a very close-knit and intensely loyal community, so based on your hobbies and interests, what specific clubs or organizations would you be involved with? And what would you share with your classmates that might be special? McCombs wants to be sure you understand what the program offers and why it is the one that will best prepare you for your desired career path. 

To reiterate, the purpose of the cover letter is to elicit specific information about you and your goals and how the Texas McCombs MBA will prepare you to attain those goals. The adcom doesn’t want generalizations. Make sure you really know the program well – explore the website, connect with students, and above all, attend in-person or virtual admission events to learn more and ask questions that you can’t find answers for anywhere else.

A Note about applying to b-school from Rodrigo Malta, managing director of MBA Marketing, Recruiting, and Admissions at Texas McCombs

McCombs Optional Essay

If applicable, applicants can provide an optional statement in the essay section of the application. Applicants should only provide an optional statement if there is something they wish to address about their candidacy that is not addressed elsewhere.

If you write the optional essay , present information that is essential for the adcom to have to be able to fully understand your candidacy. If you do not have any concerns to address, you could explore a RELEVANT topic not addressed in your application. Be succinct; don’t take the lack of word limit as an invitation to write a book. If you believe your candidacy is well represented without the optional essay, that is totally fine; don’t write an optional essay just to write one.

McCombs application deadlines

Source: Texas McCombs website

***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with Texas McCombs directly to verify its essay questions, instructions, and deadlines.***

McCombs Class Profile

Here is a look at the Texas McCombs MBA Class of 2024 (data taken from the McCombs website ):

Class size: 220

Average age: 29

Middle 80% of age range: 26-32

Female students: 35%

International students: 28%

U.S. minority students: 36%

Underrepresented minority students: 17%

Consortium members: 29

Forte MBA fellows: 38

Dual degree students (MD, JD, Master of Public Affairs): 21

Average years of work experience: 5.7

Middle 80% range of years of work experience: 3-8.5

U.S. military service: 13%

Average undergrad GPA: 3.48

Undergrad institutions: 149

First-generation college: 11%

Advanced degree holders: 13%

Undergraduate majors:

  • Business/economics: 33%
  • Humanities: 15%
  • Other majors: 13%

Average GMAT score: 706

Middle 80% range of GMAT scores: 660-750

Average GRE Verbal score: 160

Middle 80% range of GRE Verbal scores: 155-167

Average GRE Quant score: 159

Middle 80% range of GRE Quant scores: 152-166 

Has this blog post helped you feel more confident about approaching your McCombs application? We hope so. It’s our mission to help smart, talented applicants like you gain acceptance to your target schools. With so much at stake, why not hire a consultant whose expertise and personalized guidance can help you make your dream come true? We have several flexible consulting options. Click here to get started today!

Christie St John

Dr. Christie St-John has more than 25 years of higher ed and admissions experience, including ten years in admissions at Dartmouth Tuck. She was formerly the director of MBA recruiting and admissions, director of international relations, and an adjunct faculty member at Vanderbilt University. Having also served on the board of directors of the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance and the Consortium for Graduate Studies in Management, Christie has a deep knowledge of MBA and other graduate admissions. Want Christie to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!

Related Resources:

  • Why MBA? , a guide to writing the goals essay
  • Get Accepted to UT Austin McCombs , podcast Episode 452
  • Top MBA Essay Questions: How to Answer Them Right

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How to Write the UT Austin Essays 2023-2024

ut austin mba essays

The University of Texas, Austin is a large public research university with an enrollment of over 51,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. UT Austin is the flagship institution of the University of Texas system, and is the home to some of the best engineering, architecture, and business programs in the nation.

Since UT Austin is a selective school, writing strong essays is essential for making your application stand out. UT Austin’s application involves one long essay and four short essay questions (one of which is optional), with additional writing requirements for students applying to these programs: Art/Art History, Architecture, Nursing, and Social Work.

Read this UT Austin essay example to inspire your own writing.

UT Austin Essay Prompts

Tell us your story. what unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today (500-700 words), short answer.

Prompt 1 : Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major? (250-300 words)

Prompt 2 : Describe how your experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities (at your school, job, community, or within your family) will help you to make an impact both in and out of the classroom while enrolled at UT. (250-300 words)

Prompt 3 : The core purpose of The University of Texas at Austin is, “To Transform Lives for the Benefit of Society.” Please share how you believe your experience at UT-Austin will prepare you to “Change the World” after you graduate. (250-300 words)

Prompt 4 (Optional): Please share background on events or special circumstances that you feel may have impacted your high school academic performance. If your response to this question is similar to one of the Common App Personal Essays, feel free to simply copy and paste the important parts of your essay here. (250-300 words)

Art/Art History Applicants

Prompt 1 : In 500 words or less, please tell us about a time when an artwork, artist or art teacher impacted your life. How did this inspire you to pursue an education in the arts?

Architecture Applicants

Prompt 1 : Inherent in the design disciplines the capacity to impact the world around us. What does the opportunity to develop such capacity mean to you and you approach to your college education? Please limit your response to 250-300 words.

Prompt 2 : Please provide and upload three images total that demonstrate your creativity. The three images may all be of one option type, or varied amongst the two following options:

Option 1 – Either an original photograph or photographs from a camera, smart phone/mobile device, OR

Option 2 – images of an original art or design project that you have produced and authored yourself., for all, describe how the three images are representative of how you see creativity as a way to describe, reflect on, or change the world. please limit your response to 50-75 words..

Discuss the factors that have influenced your motivation and deep desire to pursue a career in Nursing. Please include any activities and/or life experiences that are related. (250-300 words).

Social Work

Discuss the reasons you chose Social Work as your first—choice major and how a Social Work degree from UT will prepare you for the future. (450-500 words)

Long Essay—All Applicants

This is Topic A of the ApplyTexas Essays . The long essay is the space to tell your story and let the admissions office know something about you that does not appear on your high school resume or transcript. The long word limit gives you time to develop and reflect on an important experience. It’s not enough to just tell a story of an opportunity or challenge; you need to dive into what aspects of your experience influenced you to be the person you are currently.

This prompt is very open-ended, so it is important to take time before you start writing to think about what subject matter you want to talk about. Make sure all elements in your essay tie together and don’t overwhelm the reader with too much information. Focus on only a few, or even just one, experiences within your essay, and dive into good detail on how your experience has shaped you as a person.

The prompt asks you to describe “unique opportunities or challenges” that you have experienced. While brainstorming ideas for your essay, don’t get too caught up in thinking that you must find something that is an obvious opportunity or challenge; think about hobbies, extracurriculars, or personal experiences that have influenced you to this day.

Here are some examples:

  • A chance job opportunity that allowed you to push yourself — Maybe you grew up in a rural area and you spent part of your time in high school tending to cows and goats. You’d wake up early before school to tend to the animals, and through that you learned to be reliable and developed a passion for caring for animals. Or maybe an acquaintance runs a small business and you were given the opportunity to run their social media to promote the business. This opportunity taught you the difficulties of running a small business, and also helped you find a creative outlet through advertising design. Either of those examples, or more unique job opportunities that you may have stumbled upon in high school, requires time and dedication, and teaches responsibility.
  • Creative hobbies — You like to design and sew clothing for yourself. While designing your prom dress, you came across an intricate bodice design that you wanted to emulate. Figuring out how the pattern came together was like solving a complex puzzle, and because of all of the challenges you have come across while attempting to translate a 2D idea into real life, you have become better at visualizing how different things around you come together, and it’s a skill you’ve carried through all parts of your life. It’s helped you visualize difficult math concepts, or organize your desk and closet space to optimize your productivity.

Short Answers—All Applicants

For your UT Austin application, you are required to respond to the first three prompts. There is also an additional prompt to let the committee know about any extenuating circumstances that may have affected your high school performance.

Short Answer 1—All Applicants

Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major (250-300 words).

Ah, the common “Why This Major” college application essay. This essay is important to demonstrate to the admissions committee that you are passionate about the area of study you are interested in. Whatever major is your first choice, you need to take time to reflect and think about what drew you to pursue this field of study.

As detailed in CollegeVine’s article about writing the “Why This Major” essay, a couple key topics to cover are how you developed this interest, and your goals in studying this major. 

Show how you’ve looked into research or career opportunities that appeal to you, and the steps you have taken to pursue your interest, whether it be through hobbies, jobs, research opportunities, readings, etc. Do you have personal reasons for choosing this major? Detail those reasons, and explain how either a personal experience, inspirational character, or more have impacted your life and decision to study your major.

  • Biology — You have been a passionate bird-watcher for most of your life. Your father would take you around to various parks and teach you how to identify various bird calls, differentiate between males and females within a species, and more. This has developed into an interest in the evolutionary and migratory behavior of birds, and you wish to pursue biology as the stepping stone to further graduate studies specializing in birds.
  • Radio-Television-Film — Growing up, you’ve always had a fascination with movies and have become a huge movie buff. You’ve been especially interested in how the creative team creates and rig up the physical special effects and props. In your spare time, you and your friends make your own home films, and you are often the one who researches and creates any special effects and props with your available budget and resources. Though your home productions are not the most well-refined, you have had fun, and you want to pursue Film to get a better understanding of how to professionally create crazy shots and break into the film industry.
  • Linguistics — Your family moved around a lot throughout your childhood, and in every new town or city you lived in, you were fascinated by the different slang and accents of the people around you. You’ve lived everywhere — Louisiana, Vancouver, Long Island, South Dakota, Southern California, and more, and you want to further understand how these regional quirks developed and how they affect the culture of an area today.

ut austin mba essays

Short Answer 2—All Applicants

Describe how your experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities (at your school, job, community, or within your family) will help you to make an impact both in and out of the classroom while enrolled at ut. (250-300 words).

This is the classic Diversity Essay , which allows colleges to get to know you better and how you’ll impact their campus community.

Reflect on the things that make you truly unique. If you choose to go down the talent route, keep in mind that “talent” is a broad term that can apply to anything. It’s not just about whether or not you can juggle; perhaps your talent is your ability to lead vocal warmups before the school musical – you can write about how you’ve learned to build a sense of community using your talent.

And speaking on leadership, leadership isn’t just becoming an officer in a school organization or a captain of an athletic team. Leadership can also be demonstrated by taking charge and caring for your siblings while your parents are busy, organizing your friend group’s yearly Secret Santa, or coaching your neighborhood swim team. Even if something you did isn’t explicitly a “leadership role,” you can demonstrate guidance and management skills in other ways. 

Avoid just listing off all leadership positions you have held. This information is most likely already elsewhere in your application, and doesn’t give the admissions committee a more in-depth view of why you are passionate about the areas you have shown leadership in and what you did to better the group/environment/area around you. Pick 1-3 related experiences, and tie together how you took initiative to shape things around you. The admissions committee wants to make sure they are accepting students with initiative and determination to impact their environment. 

  • Family Responsibility — Your parents had to work late hours a lot to earn enough for your family when you were younger. Though you and your siblings have always been responsible, you’ve noticed that it’s been difficult for your younger brother with special needs when your parents were away in the evenings, so you took the time to create different activities for him. You had your brother explore various hobbies that were accessible to you, such as drawing or tree climbing around your neighborhood, to keep him busy, mentally stimulated, and help your parents. This has taught you a lot of responsibility and you would love to continue to work with children who have special needs through some of UT Austin’s organizations like the Student Council for Exceptional Children.
  • Friend Group Activities — You have a small group of friends who enjoy spending time with each other, but are terrible at planning larger, more ambitious activities. You decided that you were sick of just doing the same old thing, hanging out in the park or a parent’s basement. You started organizing day trips to the city nearby, Secret Santa gift exchanges, a day kayaking trip, and more to help you and your friends explore different activities. You coordinated everyone’s schedule and made sure to accommodate all your friends’ likes and dislikes, and have become the unofficial “leader” of your friend group. You now hope to take these experiences and work as an orientation advisor to help incoming freshmen find their group as well.
  • School/Extracurricular Events – You stepped up to the plate this year to plan the school’s Homecoming dance, and you wanted to make sure your senior dance could be as fun, inclusive, and well-planned as possible. As such, you organized a committee, delegated responsibilities, and implemented strategies to increase attendance, emphasize safety, and organize different activities that appealed to the wider school community. You gained event planning experience and hope to bring that same passion to UT Austin and assist UT Austin’s Events + Entertainment organization with bringing student-focused events to campus.

The common thread between these three examples is that they all write about a personal experience that eventually ties to how you’ll bring your gained knowledge to UT Austin. You won’t just want to name drop organizations that you hope to join at UT Austin, rather you’ll want to explain why—particularly with a personal connection. 

Short Answer 3—All Applicants

The core purpose of the university of texas at austin is, “to transform lives for the benefit of society.” please share how you believe your experience at ut-austin will prepare you to “change the world” after you graduate. (250-300 words).

UT Austin wants its students to work for the betterment of the world. This prompt requires students to reflect on their personal goals and think about their impact on society. Your response should explain how UT Austin will help you reach those goals using the “Why This College?” essay format. 

First, consider the field of study you want to pursue and what sort of impact you want to make. Maybe you want to go into public health to improve the health outcomes of underrepresented communities. Or perhaps you want to study English and Environmental Science to become an environmental lawyer. 

Keep in mind that its impact doesn’t have to be directly related to community service or altruism. For example, computer science majors can change the world by making processes more efficient. Economics majors can become financial advisors and improve the lives of others. 

If you’re not sure how your work can impact others, see if you can find alumni stories on the website of your department. Here’s the Public Health one , for example. These real-life stories can give you some inspiration on your wide range of options after graduation.

Your goals can be both big and small, but they need to be personal. The “what” doesn’t matter if you don’t write about the “why.” 

Finally, be sure to mention specific UT Austin resources that will help you change the world. Using the public health example, that student may mention how UT Austin offers a student internship program that allows students to conduct their own semester-long research projects and how that will prepare them to conduct independent public health research on minority health outcomes in the future.

It’s also important to mention relevant extracurriculars. Continuing that example, the public health student may want to join Texas Public Health, an on-campus organization, to volunteer in the Austin community and get hands-on experience in public health initiatives. 

Short Answer 4—All Applicants (optional)

Please share background on events or special circumstances that you feel may have impacted your high school academic performance. if your response to this question is similar to one of the common app personal essays, feel free to simply copy and paste the important parts of your essay here. (250-300 words).

This essay is optional and provides you the opportunity to explain extenuating circumstances that have affected your education during high school. This is not necessarily a space where you would include a creative essay about your passion for math or make a political statement. Rather this is room for you to let the UT Austin admissions committee know about any extenuating circumstances that may have affected your academic performance. 

Although in the near-past, the COVID-19 pandemic has and is still affecting many students across the world in various ways. This could be a situation that you may want to explain to the admissions committees.

Other non-COVID-related experiences may have also impacted you. If there is a circumstance, such as a loss of job, sickness of a close relative, mental health, or more that has affected your school performance, let UT Austin know here so the admissions committee may take it into consideration while reading your application. 

If any of these extenuating circumstances are written in your Common App personal statement, more likely from prompt 1 or prompt 2 , then you can include an excerpt here.

However, do not use this space as a way to excuse poor performances. Be direct, and let the circumstances speak for themselves. Also keep in mind that many students were disrupted by COVID-19 in similar ways, so you should only write about circumstances that went beyond those common experiences. 

There’s no need to take up the full allotted space or even really write a whole essay; just use as much space as needed to explain your situation.

Major-Specific Short Answer Questions

Certain majors at UT Austin require submitting 1-2 additional short responses. These prompts are brief and dive deeper into showing your passion for your intended area of study.

Art/Art History

In 500 words or less, please tell us about a meaningful way in which an artwork, or artist, has changed your life. how has this prompted your ambitions for a life in the arts.

For the art/art history major at UT Austin, the admissions committee wants to see a commitment to the arts in your everyday life. Dive deep and think about what artists inspired you, or what specific art pieces you find yourself going back to. 

Think across various mediums of art. Painters, sculptors, cinematographers, poets, or more can serve as inspiration to you. Maybe a piece of art inspired you to create your own art and got you interested in different painting techniques across different cultures, inspired you to change habits within your life, or start a band. Whatever inspired you, make sure to relate how your inspiration directly impacted you. Don’t get caught up in just describing your favorite artist or work; tie it into your own life experiences and goals.

Architecture

Inherent in the design disciplines the capacity to impact the world around us. what does the opportunity to develop such capacity mean to you and your approach to your college education please limit your response to 250-300 words..

The admissions committee is hoping to get a sense of your goals and reasons for applying to the Architecture program at UT Austin.

While impacting the world sounds like a weighty topic, UT Austin isn’t looking for you to embellish. The admissions committee wants to hear how you would apply an education in architecture to help the world in any capacity, and that goes for anything from your local community to the globe. 

First define your reasons for pursuing architecture. This is important since the prompt asks what the capacity to impact the world means to you , so you need to reflect on how you’ll impact the world and why you want to do it in that way.

Do you want to design houses in low-income neighborhoods since you grew up in low-income housing that wasn’t efficient or livable? Or do you want to design apartments with sustainability in mind since you’re from Hawaii and have seen how construction can disrupt the environment? 

When possible, mention specific UT Austin resources that will help you achieve your goals, as the prompt asks how your goals shape your approach to your college education. For the student who wants to create sustainable architecture, they may mention courses like Modern History of Sustainable Architecture or wanting to be in one of the fastest-growing cities in the US (Austin), offering many opportunities for hands-on experience in sustainable development.

Please provide and upload three images total that demonstrate your creativity. The three images may all be of one option type, or varied amongst the two following options:

This is a short prompt! The admissions committee wants to see through your eyes and get an idea of your vision of the world. Be concise in your statement, and make sure your photos have a common thread, even if it’s not initially obvious. For example, you could submit photos of the skyline at important locations or times to you, or you could submit photos of various objects that inspire you. This is a very open-ended prompt, and you can spin it to really show the admissions committee your unique outlook on life and the environment around you.

This is also a chance to showcase your creativity and artistic skill. While the program doesn’t require you to submit a portfolio, submitting some of your artwork would give you more of an opportunity to stand out, particularly because UT Austin allows you to mix and match the format of your submissions.

Another way to make your response more cohesive and concise is to submit work with an overarching theme, whether that’s various pictures of your neighborhood at sunset, or artwork you made in response to a specific topic. Tying the three submissions together with a bow will give the admissions committee a stronger sense of how you think about the big picture.

While neither of these prompts have a defined word limit, make sure to answer the question thoroughly while also keeping it brief — remember, the admissions committee is reading many applications and you want to keep them engaged! We recommend no more than 500 words.

Discuss the factors that have influenced your desire to pursue a career in Nursing. Please include any activities and/or life experiences that are related (250-300 words)

This question allows you to discuss why you chose Nursing as your first choice program. Although you have already answered why you want to pursue your first choice major in the short answers section of the application, this extra space really allows you to dive deeper into why you decided to pursue nursing as a career and allows you to show off your work towards your goal. You can add additional anecdotes about why you chose nursing that you might not have had space to include in your short answer prompt.

Before beginning this essay, write down the qualities you feel a good nurse would have. Are they compassionate, culturally aware, patient, knowledgeable, etc.?

Then, write down the activities you did that correspond with those qualities. Did you volunteer for your local Red Cross, or organize a fundraiser for your local care facilities? Did you work in a nursing home, or at a daycare to gain experience working with people with varying needs? What academic classes did you take in high school to prepare yourself for a college nursing program? 

Maybe instead, your motivations to pursue a career in nursing are more related to your own life experiences. Is someone close to you in that occupation? Have you previously worked in a healthcare-related role? Or have you had your own medical issue where a nurse meaningfully changed your perspective on medicine?

Be specific, and dive into details on how your activities or life experiences relate to developing an interest in nursing and a nursing career. Chances are, you have already listed your activities out in another section of your application. Using anecdotes about specific instances or events is crucial in offering new information that will keep admissions officers engaged, and teach them about your passion for nursing.

Discuss the reasons you chose Social Work as your first-choice major and how a Social Work degree from UT will prepare you for the future.

Similar to the nursing prompt, the UT Austin admissions committee is looking for additional information that may not have fit into previous essay answers. How do you want to give back to your community by doing social work? What specific area of social work do you want to work in? Do you want to work with mental health, child protection, human rights, or other aspects of social work? For example, if you grew up in the foster care system and you want to help children who grew up in a similar situation to you, elaborate on that.

The second part of this question asks you how specifically an UT Austin degree can help you with your future goals and career. Make sure to show that you have researched the program itself. Name specific research institutes you may want to work in, such as the Addiction Research Institute, and elaborate what issues you want to study. Relate these to the work you want to do in your future.

If you’re unsure of the specific specialization of social work you want to do, narrow it down to 2-3 interests, and talk about how you can explore various subjects through courses or clubs at UT Austin. Show the admissions committee that you have done your research on the school and truly believe that it is the best place for you to achieve your goals. For instance, someone interested in working with seniors might want to join the research team for the project Telehealth treatments for depression with low-income homebound seniors .

Where to Get Your University of Texas at Austin Essays Edited

Do you want feedback on your UT Austin essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school.

Related CollegeVine Blog Posts

ut austin mba essays

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Advice, tips and insights from the admissions dream team., table of contents, texas mccombs mba essays: tips & strategy.

  • By Sharon Joyce

To offer a more inclusive and accessible application process, The McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas in Austin continues to shift away from traditional written essays.

After introducing a required required video assessment in the 2022–23 cycle, McCombs has reduced the video questions from seven to five. McCombs has also  replaced its required essay with a cover letter. The videos replace interviews, although McCombs also invites applicants to participate in a short, optional peer interview with a current Full-Time MBA student.

The school introduced the video interview l as a more accessible, personal alternative to more traditional essays and an interview. The video is designed to reduce bias in the admissions process by providing all applicants with a structured and consistent assessment experience. It helps the admissions committee experience the “real you,” beyond a resume, test scores, and transcripts, while applicants can share their story in their own voice.

Consider the new video assessment as an opportunity to showcase your personality and character, in addition to your verbal and presentation skills. As Fortuna Director Caroline Diarte Edwards says in her related article on how to prepare for the MBA video essays , “The MBA admissions committee wants a peek into who you are in an unscripted way – your motivations, your personality, your communication style. They want to know how you think on your feet (a vital skill in the MBA classroom).”

Read on for insights on what McCombs is looking for in its interview, and how you can best maximize your chances of admissions success.

The Video Assessment

After you submit your application and pay your fee, you will receive a link to complete the video assessment online. All candidates will respond to a total of five questions, and you’ll have seven days from receiving the invitation to complete the videos.

First comes a fun, get-to-know-you question that the admissions committee will not score. Then you will record a response to four questions, with a 90-second time limit for each question. You can practice as many times as you wish before completing the final video assessment. You’ll have up to 30 seconds to think, then up to 90 seconds to respond to each question.

McCombs advises you to prepare for these videos much like you would for an interview. Be prepared to answer behavioral-based questions steeped in competencies that McCombs views as central to success in business school and beyond. These top three are:

  • Adaptability/Resilience
  • Empathy/Inclusivity

The Admissions Committee is also looking for evidence of motivation, career goals, well-roundedness, verbal communications skills, poise and professionalism.

An example behavioral question is: “Tell me about a time you faced a challenge at work and how you influenced the outcome.” With behavioral style questions, you can expect prompts on very specific examples of what you did – along with why, what was going through your mind at the time, the impact on others, and the outcome. With only 90 seconds to work with, it’s essential to make your answers clear and concise.

It’s also smart to anticipate questions rooted in the characteristics McCombs cares about. Some possible questions that might map to the McCombs stated values include:

  • Human-Centered: Tell us about a time when you helped to promote diversity and inclusion.
  • Future Focused: Tell us about a time you’ve used technology to be more effective.
  • Innovator Connected: Tell us about a time you gained buy-in from others on a new idea.
  • Collaboratively Minded: Tell us about a time when you dealt with someone who was difficult. How did you handle that situation?

Finally, as you prepare, think about how to convey what’s not obvious in your resume, credentials, or LinkedIn profile. What will help make your application memorable, adding to your overall narrative? Reflect on the stories you want to tell and offer dimensions that might be missing from elsewhere in your application.

Optional Peer Interview

In keeping with its “Human-Centered, Future-Focused” culture, McCombs invites all MBA applicants to complete their application process in a human-centered way with a short, optional peer interview with a current student.

We encourage you to sign up for this interview. They are brief — usually 30 minutes or less with  just two or three questions, followed by an opportunity for you to ask questions from the real experts: the students going through the real MBA experience right now. These interviews let you connect with potential classmates, and add another positive, personal  impression of the “real you”  that can cap off a winning application.

Let’s Get You In.

Fortuna Admissions is a dream team of former MBA Admissions Directors and Officers from 18 of the top 20 business schools, including Texas McCombs . With our unparalleled collective expertise, we are able to coach you to develop a clear vision of your goals for business school and beyond. We work closely with you throughout the application process and provide expert guidance at every stage to maximize your chances of admission to a top school.

Our free consultations are consistently rated as the best in the industry. To learn more about Fortuna and assess your chances of admission to Wharton and other top programs, request a  free consultation .

Want More Advice? 

For a deeper dive on how to shine in your MBA video assessment, including tips for preparing and sample questions, view MBA Video Essay Tips , by Fortuna’s Caroline Diarte Edwards.

  • Texas McCombs New Video Assessment: What to expect & how to prepare
  • 7-minute video on strategy for video essays from Melissa Jones
  • B-School Profile for Texas McCombs
  • Request a copy of Fortuna’s Insider Tips Report for Texas McCombs

Updated September 2023

Fortuna’s  Sharon Joyce is an MBA Admissions Coach and former Berkeley Haas Associate Director of Admissions. For a candid assessment of your chances of admission success at a top MBA program, sign up for a  free consultation .

  • Posted on September 27, 2022

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2 MBA Admissions Essays That Worked

These outstanding MBA personal statements resulted in admissions offers.

2 MBA Essays That Worked

ut austin mba essays

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MBA admissions officials say they prefer personal statements that convey personality and demonstrate grit.

There is no secret formula to writing a compelling personal statement for an MBA application, university admissions officials say.

The key, they say, is to write a statement that feels authentic and makes your case.

Bruce DelMonico, assistant dean for admissions at the Yale University School of Management , is wary of personal statements that tell dramatic stories and stretch the truth. He says he is not looking for students to have exotic experiences, but for evidence of resilience, introspection and initiative.

Yale's business school recruits students identified as unselfish leaders – those who strive to improve the circumstances of others and help themselves rather than those who exploit others for personal gain, DelMonico says.

"We are looking to bring in students who will be inclusive leaders and who will bring people together," DelMonico says.

William Rieth, former senior director with the Fox School of Business at Temple University , says applicants sometimes struggle to write a memorable personal statement, but being memorable is vital.

"Students need to remember their audience," he says. "Schools are reading thousands of essays."

He says a solid personal statement requires a "compelling story" and an honest writing voice. "It should reflect your personality and sound like you."

How to Write an MBA Application Essay: A Few Tips

MBA admissions experts say a business school application essay should offer a convincing argument about why a candidate belongs in an MBA program at that particular school.

Wayne Hutchison, managing director for the MBA program at Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business , urges prospective MBA students to explain their reasons for applying to B-school and to describe whatever incidents spurred their interest in graduate business education.

"In addition, applicants should discuss the skills and abilities they have that will translate to academic and professional success," Hutchison wrote in an email, noting that failing to include this information can lead admissions officers to question an MBA hopeful's competitiveness.

Aaron Burch, who earned his MBA degree from the University of Texas—Austin's McCombs School of Business , says MBA essays should address the following questions:

  • "What do you want to accomplish career-wise that either requires an MBA or will be accelerated by an MBA?"
  • "Why is this the exact point in your career where an MBA would be most impactful?"
  • "What about this particular school is especially important for your career plans?"
  • "How will you contribute?"

Burch, owner of DiscoverContainers.com – a website that provides information about shipping container houses – suggests that MBA students convey that they are at a point in their careers where they can "pivot without being pigeonholed" while having meaningful accomplishments, including "real responsibility."

It's also essential for MBA candidates to showcase what they have to offer a B-school, Burch wrote in an email. "You want to demonstrate that you're not just a taker and you want to add to the prestige and reputation of the school, add to the experience your future classmates will have, etc."

MBA alumni say it's crucial for prospective MBA students to describe how they intend to use an MBA .

"Admissions officers will want to understand your vision behind why an MBA might help you, so it's incumbent upon you to articulate the plan you have for yourself, and how their institution is going to help your journey," MBA degree recipient Taylor Constantine – the partner channel lead with Rain, a financial services company – wrote in an email.

Margo Bell, senior assistant director of admissions with Pepperdine University's Graziadio Business School in California, notes that MBA essays are influential factors in the MBA admissions process. Application essays help B-school admissions committees gauge the compatibility of a prospective student with the culture and values of the institution.

"As applicants begin to write their MBA applicant essays, it’s important for prospective students to share who they are as an individual," Bell wrote in an email. "The essay allows MBA admission officers to get a better understanding of who you are, what you wish to accomplish and why you deserve to be accepted."

Michal Strahilevitz, associate professor of marketing with St. Mary's College of California , advises MBA applicants to view the application essay as an opportunity to provide context for deficits in their admissions profile. "For example, if your undergraduate grades were not great because you worked full time to pay for school, write about it," Strahilevitz explained in an email.

What to Keep in Mind About MBA Essay Prompts

MBA admissions consultants note that business schools often have distinctive essay prompts, so it's important for applicants to tailor their essay to every school where they apply.

"Each school asks a specific question in the essay, and one of the most important things you can do as an applicant is to answer that question – not the question you wished we asked or the one you want to answer," DelMonico wrote in an email. "The various elements of the application fit together, and we’re looking to get very specific pieces of information from the essay. So please follow the essay instructions you’re given and don’t feel as though you need to or should make the essay broader in scope."

Barbara Coward, founder of the MBA 360° Admissions Consulting firm based in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, notes that the first step in the essay writing process should be meticulously reading the question prompt. Think about the question for a few days while going about routine tasks so that ideas can "marinate."

Coward says that once prospective students have decided what they'd like to write about, they should let the words flow without filtering them because too much self-editing at the beginning of the creative process can interfere with productivity. Revisions and tweaks can come after an applicant has fully expressed his or her ideas.

Admissions experts note that MBA hopefuls who are struggling to figure out how to describe themselves may want to ask friends and family for advice. Prospective MBA students can also gain self-awareness by keeping a diary or creating a storyboard of their life.

Mistakes to Avoid in MBA Admission Essays

Taking too long to express the main idea or central thesis of an essay is a no-no, Coward says. Applicants should directly respond to a question and ensure that their essay is easily understood by an admissions officer. "Keep in mind that somebody is not reading a novel," she says. "They're going to be glancing through."

Excessively verbose essays don't make a good impression, Coward adds. Applicants should respect word limits and be concise, because doing otherwise creates extra work for admissions officers under time pressure, she explains.

Two other errors to avoid in MBA essays, Coward says, are being monotonous or melodramatic . It's important to have an introductory sentence that strikes the right tone, she adds. "You're not trying to create drama, but you don't want to put the person to sleep either," Coward says.

Examples of Outstanding MBA Essays

Here are two MBA essays that made the cut. The first is from the Fox School of Business and the second is from Yale. These essays are annotated with comments that explain why the essays charmed admissions committees.

Searching for a business school? Get our complete rankings of Best Business Schools .

Tags: graduate schools , business school , MBAs , students

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