Tips for your Georgetown McDonough 2023–2024 Application Essays
Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business’s 2023–2024 application is one of the most flexible, with one required video essay, plus three options for your main essay. Which one should you choose? The answer will be different for everyone, so focus on the question that you can most passionately respond to while providing insight into material you have not yet shared in the rest of your application. The adcom should walk away with confidence that you are an essential part of their next incoming class, and precisely the type of leader they want representing Georgetown after graduation. To that end, ensure that your example exemplifies tenets of McDonough’s Jesuit mission.
Select one of the following three essays (500 words, approximately two pages, double spaced):
Essay Option One – Georgetown community: Our mission is rooted in Jesuit principles of equality and respect for everyone and an ethos of caring for the whole person. Inclusivity and diversity are core to supporting a community of people with an intersectional understanding of themselves and the world around them. Share how your educational, familial, cultural, economic, social, and/or other individual life experiences will contribute to the diversity of perspectives and ideas at Georgetown University.
With this essay question, McDonough wants to hear about how your unique perspective will help unify — and significantly contribute to — your class. This is your chance to share your deepest values and most arduous crucibles, and to explain where they came from. With each example, be sure to also highlight how it’s affected your actions and life today. Specificity is credibility here; concrete examples will make this essay more memorable than platitudes will.
Before choosing what to share, put yourself in the adcom’s shoes. Consider how your essay will help them visualize where your presence will uplevel the McDonough experience for your classmates. Give enough background on what you choose to share so the reader understands how core the examples are to your character.
Given your unique perspective(s), you might also wish to share examples of specific roles you plan to take on or teams you anticipate leading while at McDonough, whether academic or club related. Use the space to connect the dots for the adcom so they can easily visualize you as an integral, exceptional, contributing member of the class. These examples can and should extend beyond the tenets in the story you shared.
Essay Option Two – Leave Your Legacy: Commitment to service and community is an important value that Hoyas share across Georgetown McDonough’s 40+ MBA student-run clubs and organizations, nine centers and initiatives, and various other co-curricular activities. What do you want your legacy to be as a McDonough student and alumni? Be as specific as possible.
Before sitting down to write this essay, you should complete extensive research on McDonough’s clubs, classes, and organizations that you wish to get involved with, along with how you plan on sharing your unique gifts with your classmates, both officially and unofficially.
Once you’ve done the research and thinking, consider your legacy as a whole, then with respect to McDonough. This essay should showcase both elements — give and take — so be sure to get specific about how you’d grow and contribute to your class and community.
As a final note, because the essay question mentions “alumni,” consider how you’ll continue staying involved with the McDonough family after graduation. Is there a local chapter you plan to keep up with or even take a leadership role in? You can also provide considerable value as an alumnus/alumna through myriad ways in your long-term goal(s). Don’t be afraid to get creative in sharing how you’d be a lifelong, active part of the community!
Essay Option Three – Magis: Magis is a Jesuit value that instills the sense of achieving “more” or “greater” excellence. Share how you achieved magis during a professional experience as evidenced on your resume. Describe why this experience exemplified excellence and what about your involvement (i.e. strengths or skills) contributed to the excellence.
For this essay, ensure that you are following the prompt by sticking to an example from your professional experience. Pull out your resume and take note of all the examples that showcase you performing far above average. Before you even begin writing, narrow your list down to example(s) that you can directly connect to enriching the McDonough experience for yourself and your future classmates.
You can structure your essay with a simple CAR framework (Context, Action, Result[s]). If your results are both quantitative and qualitative, be sure to mention both. And don’t shy away from sharing how you could have been even more effective. The fact that you are able to identify ways to take the idea to the next level, even in retrospect, is a powerful indicator of the rigorous analysis you’re willing and able to apply. You could also use this opportunity to highlight how a McDonough MBA would help you offer an even better solution to a similar problem you encounter in the future.
Complete a Video Essay (1 min):
Building a cohort of diverse and unique individuals is important to the admissions team. We want you to bring your whole self to Georgetown McDonough. Throughout the application, we’ve learned about what you would add as a professional and leader. Just as important is learning about your interests outside of work. In one minute, please share 5-10 random facts about yourself that are not on your resume and how these facts contribute to who you are as a professional and leader.
Before you jump into planning your video essay, take a look at these tips. The video might feel “easier” than the written essays at first glance because it is only one minute, but there is a great deal of planning that should lead up to that minute. At the same time, a video essay offers a unique opportunity for you to showcase a side of you that does not necessarily come to life in the rest of your application.
The video essay is a chance for you to show an unscripted (but methodically planned), fun aspect of who you are beyond your resume. What lights you up? What makes you stand out? Be sure that your authentic passion comes through as you are recording. Once again, connect the dots for the adcom to show how this aspect of your personality and leadership will make meaningful contributions to your future MBA class. In a lot of ways, this video essay serves as insight into how you would perform in an interview; be sure it feels natural and represents you well.
Optional Essay: Please provide any information you would like to add to your application that you have not otherwise included (300-350 words, approximately one page, double spaced).
The optional essay is one that should always be used judiciously. If you feel your application conveys a complete, accurate picture of who you are as a strong McDonough candidate, then you’re likely best off not submitting this optional essay. There’s little to be gained from adding to the admissions committee’s workload by asking them to read another essay that doesn’t add anything crucial to your profile.
However, if you do have an issue of some sort in your candidacy that could benefit from additional explanation (e.g., a difficult undergrad semester, a significant gap on your resume, not having your current supervisor as a recommender, etc.), then this is your chance to expound on and clarify it as necessary. Check out our article on .
Re-Applicant Essay: Required for re-applicants. How have you strengthened your candidacy since your last application? We are particularly interested in hearing about how you have grown professionally and personally (300-350 words, approximately one page, double spaced).
As a reapplicant, you should provide specific examples of how you have strengthened your profile from the last time you applied, whether you have taken on additional responsibilities at work, earned a promotion, improved your test score(s), learned a new skill, or picked up a new activity that has helped you grow. Be sure to express your continued interest in the McDonough MBA program by sharing any steps you have taken to learn more about the school and its community.
Remember, Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business is all about collaboration. It is a place where lifelong relationships are built between classmates and between students and professors. Each student is there to help one another succeed. Your ability to show how you can help do this in your essays might be the difference between being invited into this highly collaborative, service-committed, internationally focused community… or not.
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