NUS MBA 2015 Essay Tips

See other school specific b-school essay tips! National University of Singapore (NUS) hosts approximately 100 students each year in its full-time MBA program – 91% of those students come from outside of Singapore, representing 18 countries. The curriculum concentrates on global business with a focus on Asia in particular, and the program successfully places graduates in a variety of functions: 22% of the class enters consulting, 24% finance/accounting, 14% general management, 22% sales/marketing (with the remainder entering HR, Operations, and other functions).

Contrary to the global trend, NUS has not reduced the number of essay questions it asks of applicants this year. My tips are below in blue.

NUS has some short answer questions that you need to address, including:

Why is it important for you to embark on your MBA now?  [500 characters]

This is a very brief (500 characters is about 5 lines of typical text) opportunity for you to explain what is happening in your professional and personal life that make now the right time to pursue this education and what business skills and knowledge you need to reach the goals you have set before you.

Essays

1.  We would like you to tell us about your post-MBA immediate career goals and how your professional experiences have prepared you to achieve these goals. You may do so by a 300 words written essay or a two-minute video.

If you feel comfortable in front of a camera or know how to create fun graphic videos, the two-minute video offers you an opportunity to say a lot more than the 300-word essay can (in a practice session, I was able to read 430+ words with a calm, storytelling demeanor in the 2 minutes).  Once you’ve decided on the delivery medium, the content of this essay will be straightforward: NUS wants to hear what job you will aiming for when you graduate and what skills and network you have already gained that have prepared you for that path.

2.  The mission of NUS Business School is to advance knowledge and develop leaders so as to serve business and society. Discuss how you will contribute toward advancing the mission based on examples of past work and activities.  [300 words]

The phrasing of this question can be confusing, but what they are really asking for here are examples from your past when you advanced the mission of a business, organization, or society at large. Ideally, your examples of advancing a business will also have some benefit to society – minimizing waste, improving relationships with the surrounding community, for example – but that isn’t a requirement.  

Given the word limit, you probably could provide 2-3 examples.

3.   (Only applicable to re-applicants) Please provide an update on any new aspects of your professional, international, academic or personal profile that would not have been included in your previous application. Please do also explain your motivation for re-applying to NUS. [300 words]

This is a gift to re-applicants: you’re being granted 300 extra words to make the case that you are ready for the NUS education. Briefly comment on any improvement in your GMAT score and/or GPA, then shine the spotlight on the ways in which you have developed your leadership skills and made a greater impact on your company or community since you last applied. How has this year helped you see ever more clearly how the NUS MBA will help you reach your goals more quickly and effectively?

4.  Tell us something interesting or unique about yourself which you think would be helpful for the Admission Committee to better evaluate your candidacy. [300 words]

I have a love-hate relationship with open-ended questions like this: on the one hand they are great for people with something truly unique in their background that doesn’t fit into any of the traditional MBA application essays; on the other hand, they strike intense fear in the hearts of most applicants in need of a more direct question!

As you analyze your profile, identify the one aspect that best distinguishes you from your peers: are you a great leader, community activist, analyst, athlete, or team builder? You may wish to ask your boss, peers, and friends what they think is really special about you, but you should only write the essay about a quality that is beneficial to the NUS program. Talking about something superfluous like your cooking skills or antique collection isn’t useful unless you use that skill to build community or make an impact in some way.

If you would like professional guidance with your NUS MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and consulting or our MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for the NUS application.  

Full-Time NUS MBA Application Dates

NUS deadlines

 
MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips - Download your free copy!

Jennifer Bloom By Jennifer Bloom who has been helping applicants to the top MBA programs draft their resumes, application forms, letters of recommendation, and essays for 15 years. She is happy to serve as your personal coach and hand-holder throughout the entire process. There’s no time like the present to begin!

Related Resources:

Top MBA Program Essay Questions: How to Answer Them Right
NUS: A Small But Mighty Academic Powerhouse in Asia
An NUS MBA Shares Her Story

ESADE MBA 2015 Essay Tips

Esade PicThe ESADE (pronounced eh-SAH-day) MBA program in Barcelona, Spain, is a great option for applicants looking for a program that requires fewer than 2 years out of the job market but also provides an internship and even an international exchange option. ESADE offers a 12-month MBA, a 15-month option that includes an internship or exchange program, and an 18-month option that includes both an internship and an international exchange opportunity. Graduates do well: 91% secure a position within 3 months of graduating, increasing their salaries by an average of 67% over their pre-MBA earnings. This really is an international student body: the 170 students in the class of 2013 hailed from 43 countries, and 60% of them choose to work outside of Spain upon graduation.

Attach your CV or Resume: The ESADE application form does not prompt the applicant to describe his/her accomplishments in each position, but allows space for a job description for each role. Savvy applicants will make sure that their resume/CV highlights the initiatives they led and the impact they made in each role.

Personal essays (Each question is limited to 2000 characters including spaces, 30 lines approximately.) Frankly, in my experience, 2000 characters is only approximately 20 lines, around 300 words for each essay. My tips are below in blue.

1.  Which aspects have you improved on during your academic and professional career so far? Which tools or values have helped you achieve this?
ESADE provides a “transformative” experience, but to benefit from it fully, students must be open to transforming. This essay provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you recognize areas in which you can improve, and then take action to do so. Among the most important aspects to ESADE are leadership, teamwork, and organizational skills. The second part of the question is asking for applicants to analyze what enabled them to make these improvements: personality traits, introspection, trusted mentors, and even a comprehensive professional evaluation system may be among the tools that applicants have found most useful. Sharing a story or two in this essay that show both the improvement and the tools/values at work will engage the reader and set a tone of interest for your entire application.

2.  How will your background, values and non work-related activities enhance the experience of other ESADE MBA students and add to the diverse culture we strive for at ESADE? (Note: The goal of this essay is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have accomplished)
ESADE has only 170 students in each class, so each of them must be active to create a lively campus. This essay offers applicants an opportunity to demonstrate how they have helped create community in the past – on campus, in professional and social organizations, in their neighborhood, even in their family life. If an example from a professional environment is the one that best illustrates a personal quality, then, yes, feel free to use it.

3.  What are your motivations in pursuing a full-time MBA at this point in your life? Describe your mid-term and long-term visions for your post-MBA career path. What is it about ESADE you think will help you reach your goals?
This is a standard goals question. Applicants need to demonstrate that their goals are ambitious but fully realizable. Anyone whose goals are not seen as reasonable cannot be accepted because they will graduate unhappy at the discovery of that reality – after losing 12-18 months of their lives and €60,000 of their hard-earned (or borrowed!) money.

4.  Complete two of the following four questions or statements (1000 characters per response)

a.  I am most proud of…
b.  People may be surprised to learn that I…
c.  What has your biggest challenge been and what did it help you learn about yourself?
d.  Which historical figure do you most identify with and why?
All of these essay prompts aim to discover any interesting aspects of your background, both professional and personal. These provide applicants a chance to round out the admissions committee’s understanding of who they are, what obstacles they have faced in their lives, and what they’ve accomplished. These are very brief essays of approximately 150 words each.

5.  Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee. This may include gaps in employment, your undergraduate record, plans to retake the GMAT or any other relevant information.
If you need to explain any of the standard issues – your direct manager doesn’t know you’re applying so you couldn’t ask him to write a recommendation, you completed your coursework in December but did not receive your diploma until the following May, etc. – then this is the place to make those clarifications. If you do not need to use this space for any of those mundane topics, then feel free to fill it with an example of your leadership, maturity, or innovation to provide further evidence of your fit with ESADE.

If you would like professional guidance with your ESADE MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and consulting or our MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for the ESADE application.  

THE MBA ADMISSIONS TIMELINE

In order to secure a place on the Full Time MBA and an ESADE Scholarship, we strongly recommend applying early. Taking the visa application process into consideration, we recommend that non-EU citizens submit their completed application no later than (15 June 2015).
Have our MBA admissions experts critique your ESADE application!

Applications should be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CET (Central European Time) on the date in question. Applications are considered complete once the Online Application and all supporting documents have been received.

Jennifer Bloom By Jennifer Bloom has been helping applicants to the top MBA programs with their resumes, application forms, letters of recommendation, and essays for 16 years. She is happy to serve as your personal coach and hand-holder throughout the entire process. There’s no time like the present to begin!

Related Resources:

Why ESADE: An Interview with An Admitted Student
Top MBA Program Essay Questions: How to Answer Them Right
Leadership in Admissions

CEIBS 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Click here for more school-specific MBA essay tips!

Demonstrate that your goals fit the range of outcomes for the CEIBS program.

CEIBS (China Europe International Business School, pronounced “Seebs”), located in Shanghai, is the longest-running MBA program in China, boasting the largest MBA alumni pool in China and over 10,000 alumni around the world. Ranked by the Financial Times 2nd in China (behind HKUST) and 17th in the world, the program focuses on endowing students with a global business perspective plus a local Chinese cultural understanding. The curriculum places a great emphasis on understanding international business and how to apply these skills in China, in particular on endowing students with soft skills like interpersonal communication, strategy development, and an integrated management perspective that allows graduates to solve challenging business problems across functional business lines. Program graduates seem to do quite well: the average salary for graduates in the past 3 years is over $127,000.

CEIBS’s essay questions can cause some anxiety because of the choices applicants have for questions 2 and 3.

My comments and advice are in blue below:

1. Discuss your post-MBA career aspirations and explain how you plan to achieve them. (300 words) *

This is a straightforward career goal question. You need to demonstrate that your goals fit the range of outcomes for the CEIBS program: if your expectations are not aligned, the admissions committee cannot accept you since you will graduate unhappy – and possibly unemployed!

The second part of the question about how you plan to achieve these goals is also critical: you must demonstrate your insight into the skills and knowledge you will gain from the CEIBS program and also your understanding of the network, pavement pounding, and ladder climbing that you will need to do to reach your goals.

2. For question 2(a) and 2(b), you only need to answer one of the two questions.

2(a). CEIBS is situated in Shanghai – a truly global city, and the economic center of the world’s fastest growing economy. Given its unique location, how do you anticipate that Shanghai will differentiate your MBA experience and contribute to your goals? (400 words) *

Applicants excited to learn in Shanghai will do well to answer this question since their passion will be reflected in their response. CEIBS’s location in Shanghai allows it to offer experiential learning programs with many companies that have corporate offices in the city. CEIBS also hosts many local companies for on-campus presentations and recruiting; professors are experts in the Chinese economy, finance, and politics; and important personages are able to speak on campus because of its location. Demonstrate not only your knowledge of these rich offerings but also how they will help you reach your learning and career goals.

2(b). Discuss a situation where you have demonstrated significant leadership ability. (400 words) *

This is a nice straightforward leadership question. Applicants who choose to answer this question should discuss a situation in which they summoned exceptional contributions from others to overcome challenging obstacles and produce extraordinary results. Given CEIBS’s focus on international business and China context, if you have a choice of a situation that took place in Asia – or required an understanding of cultural differences with team members from/in Asia, that might be the ideal anecdote to share.

3. For question 3(a) and 3(b), you only need to answer one of the two questions.

3(a). Many would argue that entrepreneurship is not necessarily a state of being, but a state of mind. Describe an entrepreneurial experience where you went against the grain or conventional way of thinking, to discover and create new value. (400 words). *

The premise of this essay is that entrepreneurship is a state of mind: it isn’t necessarily just starting a business but may also describe a situation in which you introduce something that didn’t exist before. People with entrepreneurial mindsets start new business streams in their current companies, they see opportunities and they seize them. Applicants who have an experience in which they thought outside of the box to generate value will do well to share those anecdotes here.

3(b). Identify up to 3 trends, big or small, that you see unfolding in the next decade. Discuss how the(se) trend(s) will affect you and how you plan to deal with them both on campus and in the future. (400 words) *

Look into your crystal ball – and/or read what global pundits are predicting – and choose three trends that will affect you professionally and/or personally. A strong answer to this question will not only discuss the trend but will try to determine the ways in which it will affect how consumers use products, how those products are distributed, and how the CEIBS curriculum and extracurricular programming will help prepare the applicant to thrive in these changing environments. This essay may also draw on past experiences in which you recognized and capitalized on an emerging trend.

4. (Optional) Is there any other information that you believe would be helpful to the MBA Admission Committee in evaluating your application?(200 words). Re-applicants are suggested to describe the progress you have made since your previous application.

If you feel that the above essays provide a full picture of your experiences, then there is no need to write anything here. However, I never like to leave space unfilled. Assess the answers you provide in the required essays and identify an area of your background that you weren’t able to include elsewhere: your intercultural ability, your success in an extracurricular activity – particularly since the application form only allows you to list the names of the activities you have taken part in with no description of your roles in them – or an explanation of decisions you have made in your career path are just some of the many interesting facets of your background you can share here. I encourage you to use this space fully.

Application Form:

Keep in mind that CEIBS does not request a copy of your current CV/resume in the application. The only area of the application where an applicant may describe his work experience is in the Work Experience section, which requests data about dates of employment and salary and allows 40 words each for 4 responsibilities to describe each position (that’s approximately 160 words to describe each role). This is actually a fine amount of space; just be sure to use it to describe your work and impact. Don’t make the mistake of simply filling in some general responsibilities and losing the opportunity to share details about your initiatives and impacts.

If you would like professional guidance with your CEIBS MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for the CEIBS application.

Application for entry into the MBA2017 is round based. The MBA Admissions Office will process applications according to the below dates. The final application deadline for admission is Mar. 23, 2015.

Round

Application Deadline

Decision by

1

Nov. 5, 2014

Dec. 10, 2014

2

Jan. 14, 2015

Mar. 11, 2015

3

Mar. 23, 2015

Apr. 29, 2015

Want more school specific MBA application essay tips? Click here!

Jennifer Bloom

By Jennifer Bloom who has been helping applicants to the top MBA programs draft their resumes, application forms, letters of recommendation, and essays for 15 years. She is happy to serve as your personal coach and hand-holder throughout the entire process. There’s no time like the present to begin!

Related Resources:

• School-Specific MBA Application Essay Tips
• Why MBA? 
• 7 Signs an Experience Belongs in Your Application Essays

HKUST 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

HKUST aims to educate global leaders with cultural insight and strong Chinese business understanding. HKUST prides itself on the large percentage of career function and industry changes that its graduates are able to make: 77% of grads switch job functions and 67% change industries from their pre-MBA role after HKUST. Its essay questions aim to understand your goals and what you can contribute to the class. My tips are in blue below:

Essay Questions: 

1. Tell us about your short-term and long-term career goals after the MBA, and why you think HKUST MBA would be a good fit for you. (max 7500 characters, ~500 words)

To answer this question well, you need to know what direction you want to take your career in after the MBA. While a career change is likely, applicants need to convey how their career and experiences until now have prepared them for these ambitions. They must also explain how the HKUST MBA will complement those experiences to enable them to succeed in reaching and performing well in their target roles. To explain why HKUST’s curriculum is a good fit for you will require an understanding of HKUST’s three-tiered core curriculum and insight into some of the areas you will want to explore in the 40+% of the HKUST MBA that are electives. And it will almost certainly require some discussion of why the Chinese context, global perspectives, and management insight that HKUST offers will be critical to your advancement.

2. Our mission is to inspire and transform individuals to be future business leaders for Asia and the world. We embrace diversity, and are looking for ambitious and open-minded candidates with a passion to contribute. With your background and professional experience, what unique values can you bring in to enrich the learning experience at HKUST MBA? (max 7500 characters, ~500 words)

With just 100-120 students each year, HKUST aims to include a diverse range of backgrounds and industries in the class. You don’t want to be pigeon-holed as a generic consultant or financier: you need to demonstrate in this essay that you are a worldly candidate with experiences that your classmates will be eager to hear about and learn from – and that you have the personal qualities that will allow you to share those experiences. The best essays will include two or three examples of values adhered to, experiences gained, and/or achievements accomplished that demonstrate that you are ambitious, possess a wealth of experience, and are personable.

Application form:

Keep in mind that HKUST does not have a place to upload your current CV/resume. The only area of the application where you may describe your work experience is in the Work Experience section of the application, which requests data about dates of employment and salary and allows 1000 characters to describe each position (that’s approximately 150 words to describe each role). This is actually a fine amount of space; just be sure to use it to describe your work and impact. Don’t make the mistake of simply filling in some general responsibilities and losing the opportunity to share details about your initiatives and impacts.

If you would like professional guidance with your HKUST 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 HKUST application.

The HKUST MBA program intake 2015 will start in August 2015.

Below is the admissions timetable:

Application Deadline Decision Notification
 Round 1  November 13, 2014  January 9, 2015
 Round 2  January 13, 2015  March 13, 2015
 Round 3  March 13, 2015  May 8, 2015

*International students requiring student visa to study in Hong Kong are strongly recommended to apply for the first or second round to allow sufficient time for visa application once they are admitted.

Download our free special report: Best MBA Programs

Jennifer Bloom By Jennifer Bloom who has been helping applicants to the top MBA programs draft their resumes, application forms, letters of recommendation, and essays for 15 years. She is happy to serve as your personal coach and hand-holder throughout the entire process. There’s no time like the present to begin!

Related Resources:

• Why MBA?
• 2015 MBA Application Essay Tips
• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your MBA Application Essays

Indian School of Business 2014 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Indian School of Business campus in Hyderabad

Indian School of Business campus in Hyderabad

The Indian School of Business has become one of the strongest graduate business programs in Asia. While it dropped from 20th to 34th in this year’s Financial Times’ Global MBA rankings – making it only the fifth best MBA program in Asia – 100% of its graduates secure job offers within 3 months of graduating and salary increases for graduates are still 152% over their pre-MBA pay! Competition for seats in this esteemed 1-year program is intense and the admissions process is highly competitive for native Indians. Here are ISB’s essay questions and my advice for how to answer them (in blue).

Essays:

1. Attitude, skills and knowledge differentiate people. Elaborate with two examples on how you would differentiate yourself from other applicants to the PGP. (300 words max)

To answer this well, you need to know what makes you special. Think about who you are and perhaps even ask your friends and mentors for input to gain some perspective. ISB recently revealed in a summary of Myth Busters that it is looking for applicants with a “thirst for knowledge, involvement in professional and personal pursuits, willingness to learn and eagerness to contribute, well balanced personality with thought-provoking ideas and ability to challenge status quo,” so think about examples of these in your own background.

Once you have selected the two qualities you wish to highlight, make them come alive by sharing examples  and/or evidence of them. While you certainly can split this essay into two 150-word sections of each quality, you do not have to be so even-handed: if one differentiating factor needs more space or just is more interesting, it’s worth giving it more room.

2. How does the ISB PGP tie-in with your career goals? (300 words max)

ISB’s Admissions Director has listed “Clarity of thought in terms of career aspirations and goals” as one of the three most important qualities sought in the ISB application essays. This goals essay is your opportunity to show that you possess that clarity. You must begin by explaining your goals. Keep in mind that these goals must “make sense” and stem in some way from your past. If entrepreneurship is in your future, it should really appear in your past as well. If you aim for a technology or consulting role, you’ll need to demonstrate that you know what qualities you will need to succeed in these and bring some proof as to your readiness for this career. You do not need an exact map of your future, but you do need to reveal a thought process, reasoning, and evidence of your ability to reach your goals through the ISB program. Highlight in this essay what makes ISB the perfect stepping stone to those goals. 

3. Pick the most significant achievement (professional or personal) you have had and elaborate on the key learning you took away from it. (300 words max)

ISB is looking for leadership potential in its applicants, the ability to take responsibility then collaborate with, motivate and drive others to produce results. This essay is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that you have these skills. An ideal achievement essay will show the obstacles that were in your way and how you used creativity, interpersonal skills, and intellect to surpass them and make an impact.

Optional Essay:

Please provide additional information, if any, that will significantly affect the consideration of your application to the ISB. (300 words max)

The open-ended nature of this question causes infinite hand-wringing, but it should really be viewed as a gift: here is your opportunity to share whatever makes you special. This could be from your work, community service, education, or travels. Don’t make the mistake of just listing an experience or award that is mentioned elsewhere in the application form. Instead, use this space to share why the experience was meaningful, what you gained from it, how you grew, and why you are better prepared for ISB and your future career or leadership as a result.

If you would like professional guidance with your Indian School of Business 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 ISB application.

ISB 2014 MBA Application Deadlines:

International applicants (Non Indian Passport Holders) to the Indian School of Business (ISB) have a rolling application process. If you are shortlisted, you are likely to be interviewed within one month of submission of a complete application. However, in exceptional situations it might take more than a month. You will be informed about the decision within three weeks from the date of the interview.

As an international candidate, you might need additional time to arrange for visas, housing and financial aid, and to work on their English Language proficiency if necessary. Hence, you are encouraged to apply early.

Application for PGP 2014-15 is now open. It will close on January 15, 2014.

Application Deadline for Early Entry Option candidates is January 15, 2014. Offers will be made on March 31, 2014.







Jennifer Bloom By Jennifer Bloom who has been helping applicants to the top MBA programs draft their resumes, application forms, letters of recommendation, and essays for 14 years. She is happy to serve as your personal coach and hand-holder throughout the entire process. There’s no time like the present to begin!