2015 University of Michigan Ross Executive MBA Admissions Tips

Click here for more school-specific EMBA application essay tips!Ross Executive MBA students have, on average, about ten years of “progressive work experience” that include about five years as a hands-on manager. Such students are people who know where they’re going and why. So this year the EMBA essays give you the benefit of the doubt in that regard – no goals essays. Rather, the essay questions enable the adcom to get to know you and to assess your fit with the program. In writing the essays, keep on your radar their stated desire for students “whose notion of leadership includes a willingness to be part of something larger than themselves, who are receptive to new ways of thinking, and who bring varied experiences to bear on how they tackle a challenge.”

Essays:

1. What are you most proud of professionally and why? What did you learn from that experience? (400 words)

This essay presents an opportunity to “zoom in” on you tackling challenging issues, having an impact, and succeeding in the workplace. Ideally select a story that is relatively recent, that directly or indirectly reflects at least one of the values quoted above, and that can be told fairly succinctly without a lot of backstory (given the word limit). Also select a story that has an external, concrete impact, to show that you are a doer, who makes things happen. With the short word count, keep the structure simple: tell the story and add a short, thoughtful statement at the end about what you learned.

The essay can also work with a slightly older story, if you have something particularly strong, but in that case add a sentence summarizing how you have actually acted on, and employed what you learned.

2.What are you most proud of personally and why? How does it shape who you are today? (400 words)

In selecting this essay topic, coordinate it with the first essay – ensure that it reflects a fresh point about you. Also select the topic with an eye to where application strategy and your heart converge. The “heart” element gives your essay immediacy and authenticity – things the adcoms are sensitive to. Again, I recommend a simple structure: tell the story, and then reflect on how the experience shaped you, with concrete evidence of the latter.

Deadlines:

Early deadline: February 1, 2015

Regular deadline: April 1, 2015

Final deadline: May 15, 2015

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Cindy Tokumitsu By , co-author of The EMBA Edge, and author of the free special report, Ace the EMBA. Cindy has helped MBA applicants get accepted to top EMBA programs around the world. She is delighted to help you too!

2015 Kellogg Executive MBA Admissions Tips

Want more EMBA essay tips? The Kellogg Executive MBA questions are among the most comprehensive, thorough, and numerous of any EMBA application. It takes significant effort to put together a strong set of Kellogg EMBA essays, and that fact weeds out potential students who are not seriously interested in this competitive program. Moreover, the questions encompass almost every basic type: goals, behavioral (the experience and your reflection on it), evaluative (greatest skills and talents). It offers more than one optional essay. This set of essays requires the writer to wear different hats and excel at different types of self-analysis. Not least, the messages and contents of the essays should be coordinated to strategically and holistically create a picture of you that is vivid, distinguishing, and multifaceted without being contradictory or jumbled. Note that there are no word limits, therefore use your judgment; don’t write all 1,000 word essays. Depending on the question and what you have to say, 400-750 is a good range to target.

ESSAYS:

JOB DESCRIPTION: Describe the unit for which you are responsible and relate it to the total organization in terms of size, scope, and autonomy of responsibility. What human resources, budget, and capital investment are you responsible for? Please describe your position.

A straightforward question – it contains several components, so be sure to answer all of them. Try to work in an anecdote or two somewhere, for example, if part of your role is to troubleshoot issues with global clients, give a brief example.

1. Why have you elected to apply to the Kellogg School Executive MBA Program?

This essay should discuss your interest in the Kellogg program as a means to acquire the learning you seek in light of your goals. Clarify why you are pursuing the executive program specifically. You can also discuss other benefits that relate to personal preferences such as environment and the program’s schedule, structure, and location. Be specific and add thoughtful discussion, don’t just reiterate points from the website. If possible, cite conversations with students or alumni, including relevant insights you’ve gained from them.

2. What are your goals and objectives and how will a Kellogg Executive MBA help you achieve these? Please feel free to discuss both personal and professional goals.

Discuss your goals in specific terms: industry, likely positions, which company or companies, possibly where, what you expect to do, possibly challenges you anticipate. Also discuss what you want to accomplish short- and long-term. To make the essay truly compelling, also show how your goals are rooted in your experience, what motivates your goals, and your vision for your goals. Finally, discuss the learning needs these goals engender and summarize how the Kellogg MBA meets them, saving the greater detail for essay 1.

3. Discuss a professional situation that did not end successfully. Why did you or your peers consider the situation to have negative results? How did you resolve the situation? Did it change your management style? If so, how?

In selecting the story to discuss, use something relatively recent (even though unsuccessful, it can still show you at work in an engaging context and at a decision making level with high accountability), and something substantive. Be frank about your role as it may have contributed to the lack of success. For structure, keep it simple: first tell the story, and then address the remaining questions. The last part, about how it may have changed your management style, is a good opportunity to show you’ve not only learned from the experience but applied the learning, by briefly citing a specific example of your improved management style.

4. What do you consider to be your greatest skills and talents? How will you use these to contribute to an Executive MBA class as well as to a study group?

First, what not to do: strain to find some unique skill or talent that no one else possesses in an effort to differentiate yourself. It doesn’t exist. Rather, look inward – whether it’s creativity, initiative, leadership, strategic thinking, interpersonal astuteness, analytic capability, mentoring/coaching – it’s the details and stories of how you manifest this quality that will make this essay exciting while strategically supporting and enhancing the other essays. Select 2-3 skills/talents that differ from each other (i.e., don’t do quant skills and analytic skills, or communication skills and interpersonal skills) and tell a quick story or anecdote illustrating each. Finally, for each, comment on how it will help you contribute by giving an example – these comments can be short, as they story itself will really convey how the skill or talent will let you contribute.

5. Describe how your relevant global experiences have influenced you professionally. (Optional)

This is a great essay for most people to answer – if you’ve had any global experience, it can only have influenced you professionally. If you’ve had a lot of global experiences, don’t just do a survey of them and don’t feel you must write about all of them. Select the most meaningful experiences and tell the stories, and then explaining the influence on you.

6. Is there anything else that you would like to add to help us in evaluating your candidacy? (Optional)

This question invites you to present new material that you think will enhance your application, as well as to explain anything that needs explaining (e.g., gap in employment). As far as non-necessary points, keep in mind that if you are making the adcom read more, there should be a clear value to the information. Finally, considering the many essays, keep it short.

7. Describe any major reports, instructional materials, or manuals that you have prepared or any research, inventions, or other creative work. (Optional)

Note, “major.” Do not wrack your brain for every report or training material you’ve contributed to. If you have numerous patents, ditto. Focus on the most important ones of whatever type of material you are describing. A nice format is an annotated bullet list.

8. Please list the business/professional/community organizations in which you are active. (Optional)

Note “are active.” Not “were active.”

Rolling admissionsSuggested deadlines are June 15th for programs beginning in September, andOctober 15th for programs beginning in January.

Download your free special report, 'Ace the EMBA.'

Cindy Tokumitsu By , co-author of The EMBA Edge, and author of the free special report, Ace the EMBA. Cindy has helped MBA applicants get accepted to top EMBA programs around the world. She is delighted to help you too!

Emory Goizueta 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Check out the rest of our school-specific application essay tips!

Emory Goizueta

To ace your Goizueta essays, you’ll need to show—not just tell—that you have the skills, passion, and motivation to excel in a rigorous academic environment, and in the business world at large. Illustrate who you are, what you want, and where you are going.

These essays are short – be prepared to make tough decisions about what key points to include and what to leave out. Write simply and directly to squeeze as much meaning and impact as possible out of each word.

Essays:

1. What is your short-term career goal and why is an MBA from Goizueta an important next step toward that goal? (200 word limit)

No room for backstory here. And notice the question is limited to short-term goal, i.e., the role you are targeting immediately upon graduating. Address in specific terms your desired position, an example of your desired company, what you expect to do in that role, and why you want it. Next, identify two to three aspects of the program most important to you and, for at least one point, note why you need a Goizueta MBA to achieve it.

2. If your initial career plans are not realized, what else are you considering? (200 word limit)

Present a credible “Plan B” short-term goal, noting why it’s still a good option and will be a viable path to your longer-term goals. Focus on the positive aspects of this other path, even if it is not ideal in your mind (i.e., avoid emphasizing why it’s not as good as your first choice).

3. 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. It is his legacy and the strength of his character that gives rise to our vision: Principled Leaders for Global Enterprise. Goizueta once said, “The cynics will tell you that the good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. I’m telling you, do it anyway.”

Provide an example of the good you have contributed to an organization and the impact of your actions. (300 word limit)

I suggest addressing this question as a story (a very succinct story): describe a time you contributed to an organization. Walk through it crisply, “zooming in” on relevant details and focusing on your actions. In a final, brief paragraph reflect on the impact and why it’s meaningful.

To select the best topic or experience to portray, look for something that is fairly recent and that has a clear impact. You can use a work or non-work experience, depending on what you strategically want to highlight, but most people should grab this opportunity to showcase their impact at work. Keep in mind that the contribution and impact should be to the organization.

4. Complete one of the following statements. (250 word limit)

I am unique because…
My most memorable cross-cultural experience…
I am passionate about…
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is…

This question is an opportunity for you to introduce a non-professional interest or aspect of your background. Show yourself off the job as an interesting human being.

Which should you respond to? The one you will find easiest to answer in an engaging, enthusiastic, and authentic way. The one that will best complement the rest of your application.

5.  Please share with the committee and your future classmates an interesting or fun fact about you. (25 word limit)

Align this short essay with essay 4 above – it’s another opportunity to round out your profile. This one can be work or non-work related. Be natural in your tone – don’t strain to sound “fun” if it doesn’t come naturally to you in writing, and don’t hold back if it does.

Optional Essay:

If you have additional information or feel there are extenuating circumstances which you would like to share with the MBA Admissions Committee (i.e. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance issues or areas of weakness in application).  (Please limit your response to 250 words)

You can of course use this essay solely to address an extenuating circumstance. If you don’t need it for that purpose, if there is something you believe would add to your case for admissions that is not covered in the rest of the application, write about it here. Focus on one facet of your life or an experience that is important to you, reveals the human being you are, and isn’t described in other parts of the application.

Re-Applicant Essays

Applicants who have applied to Goizueta Business School in the past are required to answer two questions:

Complete each of the following questions.

1. What is your short-term career goal and why is an MBA from Goizueta an important next step toward that goal? (200 word limit)

See tip above.

2. If your initial career plans are not realized, what else are you considering? (200 word limit)

See tip above.

3.  Explain how you have improved your candidacy for Goizueta Business School’s MBA Program since your last application. (250 word limit)

This is THE key question for all MBA reapplicants. Goizueta just asks it explicitly. Please see MBA Reapplicant 101 for more advice.

If you would like professional guidance with your Emory Goizueta 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 Emory Goizueta application. 

Emory Goizueta 2015 MBA Application Deadlines:

Application Deadline  Decision Notification 
 Round 1   October 10, 2014  December 4, 2014
 Round 2  November 14, 2014  January 29, 2015
 Round 3  January 9, 2015  March 5, 2015
 Round 4  March 13, 2015  May 1, 2015

 Learn How to Choose the Best MBA Program for You!

Cindy Tokumitsu By , author and co-author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports, including Why MBA and Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her fifteen years with Accepted.com.

 

Related Resources:

• Why MBA?: A Guide to Clarifying and Writing About Your Goals
• 2015 MBA Application Essay Tips
• Emory Goizueta B-School Zone

Harvard Kennedy School 2015 Application Essay Tips

Download your free copy of 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Grad School Statement of Purpose

“Ask what you can do.”

The HKS application serves applicants to the MPP and the various MPA programs (PhD applicants use the Harvard GSAS application). The essays discussed below are for the MPP and the two-year MPA applications (essay questions are different for the MPA/ID and mid-career MPA applications).

HKS seeks well-rounded master’s students – people with proven academic success, strong leadership and career potential, and “commitment to advancing the public interest” (quoting the dean). The school also wants the student body to be diverse. Your application overall will address these factors; the essays provide a valuable opportunity to underscore through specific detail how you meet these criteria and will be a unique contributor. Perhaps more important, use the essays to weave together these elements into a coherent story/presentation.

My tips are in blue below. 

The Harvard Kennedy School motto, echoing the President for whom the School is named, is “Ask what you can do.” Please share with the Admissions Committee your plans to create positive change through your leadership and service. (500 word limit)

This is in essence a goals question. I suggest a professional focus, though it could also include non-work plans. Three keys to making this essay work: (1) In describing your plans/goals, clarify what “positive change” looks like to you – it’s easy to forget that it looks different to different people.   (2) Discuss practical aspects – how you’ll execute those plans, focusing on your anticipated leadership and sense of service. (3) Root the plans in your experience, to lend credibility to what you say you will do in the future (easy to say, after all, but much more believable if you have a relevant track record).

There are many pathways one can pursue in order to make a difference in the world. Why is the MPP/MPA Program at HKS an appropriate pathway to achieving your goals? (500 word limit)

The adcom is clearly looking for applicants who will use this degree productively to make a difference. In a nutshell, in this essay, explain how you’ll do that. Go with the concept inferred by the word “pathway” – a way to get where you want to go. Resist the common (and understandable) impulse to list everything wonderful about the program. Rather, discuss a few or several elements that are most important to you and will, in practical terms, help you to pursue your goals.  

(Optional) If you have any concerns about your prior academic background, or if you believe the Admissions Committee may have concerns, please give a brief explanation of your performance in college, or your standardized test scores. (750 word limit)

This optional essay question specifically instructs you to write the optional essay only if there are potential concerns about your prior academic or test performance. If you do need to use it for that purpose, write a succinct, straightforward explanation – although they give you 750 words, a paragraph will often suffice. Don’t be defensive or evasive, just tell it straight. If you have evidence that the under-performance does not reflect your true ability, add a sentence or two stating that point with the evidence (e.g., maybe you did poorly overall in college, but in your last semester earned straight A’s in advanced courses).

Deadline: December 2, 2014

Grad 5 Fatal Flaws

Cindy Tokumitsu By , author and co-author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports, including Why MBA and Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her fifteen years with Accepted.com.

Related Resources:

Leadership in Admissions
4 Ways to Show How You’ll Contribute in the Future
How to Prove Character Traits in Essays

MIT Master in Finance – Is It the Right Fit for You (and Vice Versa)?

Listen to our Popular Podcast Episode - Masters in Finance: What You Need to KnowPracticality is the essence of MIT’s Master in Finance program. It’s just one year, as opposed to numerous MFin programs that are 1.5 to 2 years, and, as the website notes, it was developed “as a direct response to demand in the financial industry.” In spite of the short duration, the program offers flexibility to tailor it to your needs. Moreover, it’s an “early career” program – students’ pre-program experience averages 0-4 years, according to the website, with about 50% coming directly from undergrad.

Here are some additional distinguishing elements of the program:

• Its location in the business school deepens its opportunities; you’ll take some courses with MBA, PhD, and Sloan Fellows students, giving you direct access to people with deep experience and networks across many industries and functions. You can also participate in certain clubs such as Venture Capital and Private Equity Club.

• The flexibility extends to the option to take some courses at the School of Engineering and/or School of Science.

• The practical nature of the program includes a Finance Research Practicum, which addresses real-world situations and problems.

• The opportunity to build strong, enduring relationships arises from the extensive small-group work, which also prepares you to succeed in an increasingly interconnected and team-focused work environment.

• Career development is an ongoing focus from the first semester, with a “Career Core” curriculum. There are also career treks and opportunities to explore industry segments.

• About 88% of 2013 graduates received employment offers as of October 2013, notes the Employment Report.

• It’s a truly global program, with 84% of students from outside the US.

Now, what does it take to win access to these delectable resources and opportunities? With an acceptance rate of around 10%, a lot.

• Solid academic achievement and test scores, with average GPA of 3.7 (in programs spanning various disciplines, from economics and math to engineering and business to humanities and science), GMAT mid 80% range 700-770, with quant 48-51; GRE quant mid 80% range 161-170.

• Prerequisite quantitative coursework – if you click on the link, scroll down and take the self-assessment!

• Most desired personal qualities are ability to collaborate, willingness to think/look outside of the proverbial box (a classic MIT value), and high motivation (use your essays to demonstrate these qualities).

• While many students have no official professional experience, the adcom wants to see at least a related internship, so that students come with some practical exposure.

• Interviews are selective (about 30%) and by invitation only; every accepted applicant is interviewed (about 30% of those interviewed are admitted).

• Good news for internationals: a TOEFL score is not required!

By the way, on the program’s website there is an extensive and thorough discussion of recruiting, careers, etc. in the FAQ – I recommend perusing it.

Click here for the lowdown on one of the most up and coming specialized masters programs in the business world.

Cindy Tokumitsu By , author and co-author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports, including Why MBA and Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her fifteen years with Accepted.com.

Related Resources:

MIT Sloan B-School Zone
• Princeton University Master in Finance: Is It Right for You, and Are You Right for Princeton?
• The Facts About Financial Services