This post shares essay prompts for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle. Click here to view our collection of MBA admissions deadlines and notification dates.
The schools are listed in the order they appear on US News & World Report’s 2020 Best Business Schools. Schools highlighted in red have not released their essay prompts for this admissions cycle. (*This article will be updated as prompts are updated on school websites.)
What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
Taking into consideration your background – personal, professional, and/or academic – how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community? (400 words)
Additional Question (required for all Reapplicants):
Please use this space to share with the Admissions Committee how you have reflected [on] and grown since your previous application and discuss any relevant updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, and extracurricular/volunteer engagements). (250 words)
What matters most to you, and why?
(Your answers for both essay questions combined may not exceed 1,150 words.)
As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA Program?
MIT Sloan seeks students whose personal characteristics demonstrate that they will make the most of the incredible opportunities at MIT, both academic and non-academic. We are on a quest to find those whose presence will enhance the experience of other students. We seek thoughtful leaders with exceptional intellectual abilities and the drive and determination to put their stamp on the world. We welcome people who are independent, authentic, and fearlessly creative—true doers. We want people who can redefine solutions to conventional problems, and strive to preempt unconventional dilemmas with cutting-edge ideas. We demand integrity and respect passion.
Taking the above into consideration, please submit a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA Program. Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence, include one or more examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria above, and be addressed to the Assistant Deans of Admissions, Rod Garcia and Dawna Levenson (300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation).
Please take a minute to introduce yourself to your future classmates via video. Include a bit on your past experience and why MIT Sloan is the best place for you to pursue your MBA. Videos should be a single take (no editing) lasting no more than one minute and consisting of you speaking directly to the camera. We recommend using an application such as QuickTime or iMovie to record yourself.
Upload the video file according to the detailed instructions within the application. We support the following file formats: .avi, .flv, .m1v, .m2v, .m4v, .mkv, .mov, .mpeg, .mpg, .mp4, .webm, .wmv
How will the Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term post-MBA career goals? (250 word minimum)
An MBA is as much about personal growth as it is about professional development. In addition to sharing your experience and goals in terms of career, we’d like to learn more about you outside of the office. Use this opportunity to tell us something about who you are… (Minimum 250 words, no maximum.)
Short Answer Question
What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)
Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)
Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you? (250 words)
Tell us about your favorite book, movie or song and why it resonates with you. (250 Words)
Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip & inspire brave leaders who create lasting value. Tell us about a time you have demonstrated leadership and created lasting value. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (450 words)
Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you and how have they influenced you? (450 words).
What makes you feel alive when you are doing it, and why?
At Berkeley Haas, we are redefining leadership. We value different opinions and perspectives, recognizing that we always have more to learn about others’ lived experiences and histories. We encourage speaking up and listening, and courageously use our power to address barriers and drive change for positive impact.
Tell us how a Berkeley Haas MBA would enhance your leadership profile, incorporating specific examples.
Haas Essay Hacks
Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words)
Short Answer Question
Answer the following question in 500 characters only (the equivalent of about 100 words).
What are your post-MBA career goals? Share with us your first choice career plan and your alternate plan.
25 random things about yourself. 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 two pages.
Your response should be no more than 300 words.
Fuqua prides itself on cultivating a culture of engagement. Our students enjoy a wide range of student-led organizations that provide opportunities for leadership development and personal fulfillment, as well as an outlet for contributing to society. Our student-led government, clubs, centers, and events are an integral part of the student culture and are vital to providing you with a range of experiential learning and individual development experiences.
Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, what are the three most meaningful ways you expect to engage and contribute to our community outside of the classroom?
Short Answer Questions (choose one from each group; 100 words each)
I want people to know that I:
I made a difference when I:
I was aware that I was different when:
I was out of my comfort zone when:
I was humbled when:
I was challenged when:
Career Goal Essay
Michigan Ross is a place where people from all backgrounds with different career goals can thrive. What is your short-term career goal and why? (200 words)
Michigan Ross Essay Tips
Tuck students can articulate how the distinctive Tuck MBA will advance their aspirations. Why are you pursuing an MBA and why Tuck? (300 words)
Tuck students recognize how their individuality adds to the fabric of Tuck. Tell us who you are. (300 words)
Tuck students invest generously in the success of others even when it is not convenient or easy. Tell us about a time when you helped someone else succeed. (300 words)
Professional Aspirations (500 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
What are your short and long-term career goals?
How will the MBA help you achieve them?
Personal Expression (a.k.a. “Pick Six”)
Describe yourself to the Admissions Committee and to your future classmates using six images and corresponding captions. Your uploaded PDF should contain all of the following elements:
- A brief introduction or overview of your “Pick Six” (no more than 3 sentences).
- Six images that help illustrate who you are.
- A one-sentence caption for each of the six images that helps explain why they were selected and are significant to you.
Note: Your visuals may include photos, infographics, drawings, or any other images that best describe you. Your document must be uploaded as a single PDF. The essay cannot be sent in physical form or be linked to a website.
Essay 3: Additional Information (optional)
(250 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee. This may include current or past gaps in employment, further explanation of your undergraduate record or self-reported academic transcript(s), plans to retake the GMAT, GRE, IELTS or TOEFL, or any other relevant information.
Darden strives to identify and cultivate responsible leaders who follow their purpose. Please provide an example of a situation in which you have made a meaningful impact. (200 words)
Diversity and inclusion are critical to our mission, and they work best when they are an integral and celebrated part of our community. Read University of Virginia’s Diversity & Inclusion Vision Statement. Share a time in which you engaged with a perspective, identity, community or experience that was different from your own and how it impacted your worldview. (200 words)
The Batten Foundation Worldwide Scholarship provides all Darden students in our full-time MBA program with an opportunity to participate in a Darden Worldwide Course. Each year, Darden connects with over 80 countries.
If you could choose any location in the world, where would you want to travel? (5 words)
And why? (50 words)
Tell us what you would want your learning team to know about you – personally, professionally, or both? (100 words)
What is your short-term, post-MBA career goal and why? (150 words)
A statement of your goals will begin a conversation that will last throughout the admissions process and guide your steps during the MBA program and experience. To the best of your understanding today, please share your short and long-term goals by completing the following sentences and answering the enclosed short answer question:
Immediately post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.
Targeted Job Role:
Target Job Company:
In 5 – 10 years post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.
Targeted Job Role:
Target Job Company:
How has your experience prepared and encouraged you to pursue these goals?
At Cornell, we value students who create impact. Please indicate the opportunities for impact that you’ve identified through engagement with our community and describe how what you learned has influenced your decision to apply to Johnson.
Back of Your Resume Essay
The front page of your resume has given us a sense of your professional experience and accomplishments as well as your academic summary and extracurricular involvement. If the back page reflects “the rest of your story,” please help us get to know you better by sharing the experiences that will give us insight into your character, values, and interests.
How have events of the past year influenced the impact you would like to make in your community, career, or both? (250 words maximum)
Please select only ONE of the options below to complete the essay requirement (maximum 300–350 words).
Option 1: Carnegie Mellon University is an institution that never stops looking and moving ahead, pioneering the next way forward with technology, business and research to answer questions big and small. Personally or professionally, in what way have you been a pioneer?
Option 2: Amidst the ambiguous and unchartered nature of change, Carnegie Mellon University students and alumni rise above to envision and create. Discuss how you have anticipated change in your professional life. In what ways did you effectively collaborate to create your desired outcome?
Option 3: At Carnegie Mellon University, our difference is what we imagine for the world and how we answer its challenges. What impact have you had on the world around you?
USC Marshall School of Business
What is your specific, immediate short-term career goal upon completion of your MBA? Please include an intended position, function, and industry in your response. (word limit: 100)
Please draft a letter that begins with “Dear Admissions Committee” (word limit: 600)
This letter is meant to be your personal statement that provides the Admissions Committee with an understanding of your candidacy for Marshall beyond what is evident in other parts of your application. This essay is purposely open-ended. You are free to express yourself in whatever way you see fit. Our goal is to have an appreciation for and an understanding of each candidate in ways that are not captured by test scores, grades, and resumes.
(500 words) Please respond to the questions below that will assist us in learning more about you:
– Tell us what your immediate career goals are and how you will benefit personally and professionally from earning an MBA at Kenan-Flagler Business School.
– As the business world continues to evolve, circumstances can change and guide you in a different direction. Should your goals that you provided above not transpire, what other opportunities would you explore?
Please select one topic below and respond to the prompt. (250 words)
– Topic 1: What is one thing that we do not know about you that you want us to know?
– Topic 2: Provide us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it? Did you achieve the results you were looking for?
– Topic 3: Tell us about a time when you felt or witnessed someone being marginalized. How did you feel? What did you take away from the experience and how has it encouraged you to be an inclusive leader?
McCombs School of Business (The University of Texas at Austin)
We will learn a lot about your professional background through your resume and letter of recommendation, but we want to get to know you further. Please introduce yourself. Select only one communication method for your response.
- Write an essay (250 words)
- Share a video introduction (one minute in length)
Picture yourself at the completion of your MBA journey. Describe how you spent your time as a Texas McCombs MBA student to achieve your personal and professional goals. (500 words)
Goizueta Business School (Emory University)
Define your short-term post-MBA career goals. How are your professional strengths, past experience and personal attributes aligned with these goals? (300 word limit)
The business school is named for Roberto C. Goizueta, former Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, who led the organization for 16 years, extending its global reach, quadrupling consumption, building brand responsibility, and creating unprecedented shareholder wealth. Mr. Goizueta’s core values guide us in educating Principled Leaders for Global Enterprise. Provide an example of your leadership – professional or personal – and explain what you learned about yourself through the experience. (300 word limit)
Please select ONE of the following topics to share with us using the video essay feature. Your comments should last no more than 60 seconds and you have the option to re-record until you are satisfied, before submitting.
Of Goizueta Business School’s core values (Courage, Integrity, Accountability, Rigor, Diversity, Team, Community), which one resonates the most with you and why?
What is the best advice you have received and how have you used it in your life or career?
Outside of family and work, what is something that you are passionate about and why?
Foster School of Business
Post-MBA Plans (750 words maximum)
Tell us your ideas about what lies ahead for you in your career. What are the gaps or deficiencies currently preventing you from pursuing these potential career paths? How do you plan to use your time in the Foster MBA program to fill these gaps and advance your career?
Inspiring Experience Essay (500 words maximum)
Tell us about an experience that inspired or confirmed your decision to pursue the MBA.
Please select one of the following three essays to complete in 500 words or less and include the essay prompt and your first/last name at the top of your submission.
Essay Option One: It can be said that life begins outside your comfort zone. Describe a situation when you were asked to lead outside of your comfort zone. What leadership characteristics did you exemplify in this situation that allowed you to succeed?
Essay Option Two: “Failure is not something to be ashamed of, it’s something to be POWERED by. Failure is the high-octane fuel your life can run on. You’ve got to learn to make failure your fuel.” -Abby Wambach. Describe a situation when failure has been your fuel. What was your failure (or when did you not succeed to your full potential), and how did you use this as motivation to move forward and be successful in a future situation?
Essay Option Three: Your personal brand reflects your values and beliefs, and impacts your relationships and community. Describe the personal brand that you will bring to business school using examples or experiences that support how you’ve developed it. How do you believe your personal brand will strengthen the McDonough community? As you complete your MBA program, how do you hope to see your personal brand evolve through the transformative experience of business school?
Video Essay: We ask that you introduce yourself to your cohort in one minute or less. The Admissions Committee would like for you to appear in person during part of your video, and we strongly encourage you to speak outside of the experiences we can read on your resume. Use this video as an opportunity to bring life to your application. For more instructions, view our Video Essay Guide.
Job Description Essays
Essay 1: Briefly summarise your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of budget, clients/products and results achieved. (short answer)
Essay 2: What would be your next step in terms of position if you were to remain in the same company? (short answer)
Essay 3: Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. Describe your career path with the rationale behind your choices. (short answer)
Essay 4: Discuss your short and long term career aspirations with or without an MBA from INSEAD. (short answer)
Essay 1 Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person), stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary. (500 words max.)
Essay 2 Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and explain why. In addition, describe a situation where you failed. How did these experiences impact your relationships with others? Comment on what you learned. (400 words max.)
Essay 3 Tell us about an experience where you were significantly impacted by cultural diversity, in a positive or negative way. (300 words max.)
Essay 4 Describe all types of extra-professional activities in which you have been or are still involved for a significant amount of time (clubs, sports, music, arts, politics, etc). How are you enriched by these activities? (300 words max.)
What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School programme contribute towards these? (500 words)
Cambridge Judge Business School
Please provide a personal statement. It should not exceed 500 words and must address the following questions:
What are your short and long term career objectives and what skills/characteristics do you already have that will help you achieve them?
What actions will you take before and during the MBA to contribute to your career outcome?
If you are unsure of your post-MBA career path, how will the MBA equip you for the future?
What did you learn from your most spectacular failure? (200 words)
Describe a situation where you had to work jointly with others to achieve a common goal. What did you learn from the experience? (up to 200 words)
Why are you applying to the HEC MBA Program now? What is the professional objective that will guide your career choice after your MBA, and how will the HEC MBA contribute to the achievement of this objective? (500 words)
What do you consider your most significant life achievement? (250 words)
Leadership and ethics are inevitably intertwined in the business world. Describe a situation in which you have dealt with these issues and how they have influenced you. (250 words)
Imagine a life entirely different from the one you now lead, what would it be? (250 words)
Please choose from one of the following essays: (250 words)
A. What monument or site would you advise a first-time visitor to your country or city to discover, and why?
B. Certain books, movies or plays have had an international success that you believe to be undeserved. Choose an example and analyze it.
C. What figure do you most admire and why? You may choose from any field (arts, literature, politics, business, etc).
Oxford Saïd Business School
Consider a statistic or trend that shocks you. Why it is important to you and how could it be changed for the better? (Maximum 500 words)
Is there anything not covered in the application form which you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you? (Maximum 250 words)
Rotman School of Management
Please describe why you are pursuing an MBA? Why Rotman? Why now? (500 words)
Reflection Question: List 3-5 attributes or characteristics that best describe you. (5 words)
Required video interview (2 questions) with a new timed written response component. (10 minutes in length)