These questions are a mix of straightforward (the goals essay) and imaginative (the personal or open-topic essays). The adcom wants assurance that you have a clear professional focus and a solid plan for using the Kelley MBA resources. Beyond that, they’re looking for engaging applicants who have something to contribute. And you have a decision to make in selecting two questions out of three. Consider which two questions, together, will give you the best means to (a) present a well-rounded profile and (b) showcase interesting and relevant experiences.
Your essays will give us an idea of your personality, perspectives, and opinions and will let us know how closely your professional objectives match the objectives of the MBA program.
All applicants must answer essay number 1.
You must also choose two of the next three essay questions (questions 2 through 4).
Essay number 5 is optional.
Please limit each essay to no more than 500 words.
We encourage you to be informative, creative, and concise.
1. Please discuss your post-MBA short- and long-term professional goals. How will your professional experience, when combined with a Kelley MBA degree, allow you to achieve these goals?
This is a straight-forward MBA goals question. As always with this type of question, connect the dots. Let the reader see that your goals grow organically from your experience and are achievable given your past experience and an MBA from Indiana Kelley.
Choose two of the next three:
2. Describe a personal or professional challenge or set-back that you were able to overcome. What allowed you to persevere?
If you answer this question, choose a challenge or setback that will present a fresh dimension of your profile or convey a meaningful accomplishment (yes, setbacks and challenges can push you to do more than you ever thought you could!). Keep the structure simple; don’t give away the end of the story in an introduction. Rather, jump right in with the challenge or setback, narrate the story keeping focus on your actions and thought process, and at the end reflect on how the experience allowed you to persevere.
3. Suppose you had to choose three people—people alive now or people from another era—to travel with you on a cross-country automobile trip. Who would you choose and why? What would you hope to learn from them? (Think carefully about the company you want on those long stretches through Nebraska or Kansas.)
Have fun with this question and use it to show a non-professional side of you. What books, movies, sports, artists, or thought leaders would you love to spend time with? Who from the past has fascinated you. More important than the person you choose is why you picked these individuals and what you would like to learn in those endless stretches through Kansas and Nebraska.
4. Describe what there is about your background and your experiences that will contribute to the diversity of the entering class and enhance the educational experience of other students.
What is the distinctive stone or hue that you will add to the mosaic that is a Kelley class? Think about this diversity question broadly, not just in ethnic or professional terms. What are you going to add? Is it an enthusiastic commitment to Barak Obama, a local environmental cause, your church, or a hobby, sport, or art form? Is it an unusual personal background? Perhaps, overcoming distinctive challenges? And then, how will this unique facet cause you to contribute? Will it lead to involvement in a specific club or Kelley project? An active role in classroom discussions on a specific topic? Interest in a particular program? Show your knowledge of Indiana Kelley as well as your fit with this great MBA program.
5. Is there anything else that you think we should know as we evaluate your application? If you believe your credentials and essays represent you fairly, you shouldn’t feel obligated to answer this question.
It is almost impossible for three essays plus a bunch of boxes, a transcript, and a GMAT score to represent fully the uniqueness and talents of a truly impressive candidate. That comment has nothing to do with writing style and everything to do with the complexity of accomplished human beings. While I certainly agree that if you have nothing to say, you should say nothing, you should have something valuable to add in your optional essay.
If you would like professional guidance with your Indiana Kelley MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Indiana Kelley application.
|Application Deadline||Decision Notification|
|Early||October 15, 2013||Late December|
|Priority||January 5, 2014||Mid March|
|Third||March 1, 2014||Late April|
|Final||April 15, 2014||Late May|
By Cindy Tokumitsu, co-author of The Finance Professional’s Guide to MBA Admissions Success, and author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her last fifteen years with Accepted.com.