LBS Executive MBA 2015 Essay Tips

Click here to learn more about LBSIn the LBS EMBA website landing page, a short introduction to the program includes the words “transform,” “transition,” and “catalyst.”  Also, “accelerate” and “propel.”  This is a clear message from the adcom: the program goes beyond conveying necessary skills for senior managers; it is for people who have a dynamic sense of their future and a willingness to change and grow, as well as to study and learn.  Your essays should mirror and convey this dynamic sense, this energy, this vigor.

Question 1: How has the scope of your management experience affected your career objectives? (500 word max)

This is a goals question, albeit rather indirect.  And the question itself reflects the dynamic perspective: rather than “what” your career goals are, it asks you to present them as a part of an ongoing process.  

It’s an essay for which the most work might come before you write it – in the preliminary thinking process.  Make it an exercise: FIRST, define your career objectives (short and longer term).  SECOND, identify what factors influenced the development of those objectives.  THIRD, of those factors, single out those related (directly and/or indirectly) to your management experience.  Now, you’ve got the raw material for your essay.

In the actual essay, you could start with career objectives and work back to portray the related management experience – or vice versa.  Either way, be specific in all aspects – make your goals concrete, and use anecdote and detail in describing the influential management experience.

Question 2: What was your response to a piece of feedback that you have received regarding an area of weakness?  (500 words max)

The adcom wants to see how frankly you portray the feedback and your own shortcoming, and how insightfully you contextualize your experience.  Secondarily, it’s about change –did you grow and change as a result of the feedback?

This essay will be most compelling and engaging if written as a story.  Start right in with the story’s setting – where, who, when (ideally make it a fairly recent experience, and one that holds some meaningful stakes).  Then progress through the story, highlighting not just what you and the other party said and did, but also your thinking as the story progresses.  Finally, give a short example of how you have applied this feedback (or your learning from this feedback experience) subsequently – in other words, how you grew.

Question 3 (500 words max):  Please choose ONE essay from the following two options:

If you could choose any three people who have ever lived to join you for dinner, who would you invite and why?

OR

If you were on the cover of any publication in 10 years, what would the headline and the content of the article be?

If the first two questions are rooted in real-world, concrete experience, this question urges you to “play” a little and use your imagination, wit, creativity, and possibly broader passions in answering.

Which should you answer?  Both are equally good; it depends on which serves your needs and interest best.

There are various viable and effective approaches to this essay. One is “gut instinct” and personal appeal.  I.e., if one of these questions strikes a chord with you, engages you, and you have an idea that you like, probably it will be an effective essay.   Go with it!  BUT, do apply some objective, focused analysis as well.  Ensure that your content truly illuminates you in some new and fresh way relevant to the application, and do use detail and example to make your essay credible and vivid.  

Another approach is strategic.  If your imagination isn’t tickled by these questions, instead analyze and plan.  What relevant and interesting aspects of your profile aren’t yet portrayed (or portrayed adequately) in the application?  Identify one or two such points, and work back from that to find suitable topics for one of the two questions.  BUT: don’t be too heavy handed with the essay, which wouldn’t align with the question’s tone.

Random pitfalls:

• If you choose the first question, please don’t use very obvious or overly angelic people (I’ve seen this essay answered with Gandhi and Mother Teresa more often than I can believe over 15 years.)  Rather, discuss people who show your creative thinking and/or are personally meaning to you.

• If you choose the second question, don’t turn the essay into a second goals essay.  Ensure that it extends the portrayal of you in some way.

 Deadlines:

For September 2015 and January 2016 start:  Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis within 2 weeks of receipt.  A final decision will come 6 to 8 weeks after submission.

Get clear, practical guidelines for answering the MBA goals essay question. Click here to download our free report.

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!

Related Resources:

Ace the EMBA
• School-Specific EMBA Application Essay Tips
• The GMAT and EMBA Programs

Cornell 2015 Executive MBA 2015 Essay Tips

Check out some more EMBA application essay tips!The Cornell Executive MBA Program has three required essay questions and one optional question in its application.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is brevity. While no one is going to be counting individual words, the guideline of short word count is a clear indicator to work on clarity of thought with all of your answers. Cornell interviews every applicant to its program, so if you are concerned that your answers are too concise in essay format, rest assured you will have the opportunity to discuss them further in the interview.

1. In a concise statement, indicate why you are seeking admission into an Executive MBA Program. Specifically, what are your short and long-term career goals? And, how will an MBA from Johnson at Cornell University help you achieve your goals? (Please limit your response to 1000 characters.)*

The first part of this question asks “Why EMBA?” By making the choice to go after an EMBA, you are of course signaling you will keep your job while going to school. Therefore, be sure to link your past/current career experience with your short and long term goals in the context of how (and why) this type of format works best for you. When answering the “Why Cornell?” portion of the question, be convincing about the reasons Cornell is the best choice for you, and show you have done your homework – “location” and “reputation” won’t cut it. The admissions committee wants to know what you anticipate the program will be like, what you will get out of it, how the program fits with your career vision, and what the entire experience means to you as a person.

2. A key benefit of being in an Executive MBA Program is having the ability to learn from your classmates, or peers. How will you contribute to this learning environment? Specifically, what unique strengths and experiences will you bring to both the class and your learning team? (Please limit your response to 1000 characters.)*

The admissions committee is looking for students who will enrich the class with their contributions as much as the curriculum taught. Focus on unique experiences you have had either in your professional or personal life, and if possible, link those experiences to how they will contribute to particular courses or topics.

Imagine that the admissions committee is reviewing your application side by side with someone with a similar basic profile to yours (technology consultant, for example) – what will make them choose you?

3. List your participation in civic, business, or professional organizations.

This question is purposely open to interpretation. If you would just like to list what organizations you are affiliated with that is fine, however if you would like to go into some detail about particular activities that are important to you, that is good, too. There is no word limit, however the more succinct, the better.

4. (Optional): Do you believe your academic record is an accurate reflection of your ability? If not, please explain, limiting the response to 1000 characters.

If you are hoping the admissions committee will miss the fact that you flunked algebra three times before passing, or you had to withdraw for a semester, think again. The committee WILL catch whatever that nagging something is that concerns you from your transcript, so here is the opportunity to talk about it. Be as candid as possible! It is much better to be upfront about the situation here than be on the defensive about it in an interview.

Application Timelines:  

Both of Cornell’s Executive MBA Programs operate on a rolling admissions basis. Therefore they do not adhere to strict application deadlines. With that said, they do encourage applicants to move forward at their earliest convenience to avoid potential seat capacity or timing restrictions.

Download your free copy of Ace the EMBA!

Jennifer Weld

worked as an admissions consultant and Former Asst. Dir. of Admissions at Cornell’s EMBA program (4 years) prior to joining Accepted.com. She has an additional 10 years of experience in higher ed and corporate marketing.

Related Resources:

•   EMBA 2015 Essay Tips
•   There is No Place Like Ithaca
•   The GMAT and EMBA Programs

UVA Darden Executive MBA Essay Tip 2015

Click here to learn more about what Darden has to offer!Given that the Darden EMBA application presents only one essay question to answer, the balance of your application – the online form, the resume, the recommendations, the interview – all carry more weight than they do in most EMBA applications that contain several questions (usually including one pertaining to your goals).  The Darden EMBA application as a whole must show that you are at the appropriate level organizationally and have sufficient quantity and quality of experience to both benefit from the Darden EMBA and contribute substantially as a student and classmate.  Moreover, to be competitive you should also show that you are a high performer relative to peers.  This essay is a precious opportunity to give the adcom insight into you as an individual that will complement, enhance, and illuminate the other factual information in the application.

Question:

Describe the most courageous professional decision you have made or most courageous action you have taken at work. What did you learn from that experience? (500 words maximum)

“The most.”  This superlative requires that the decision or action you choose to describe be truly significant – to you to others, to the organization.  Big stakes.  “Courageous” – why this specific value out of all the possible ones?  Because the adcom is interested not just in what you did or decided, but in your perception of what is important and your values.  A recent story would be preferable, but if you need to go with an older story, in the reflection section show how it influences you to this day and give an example.  If you have several potential stories to possibly use, since there is only one essay, select the topic strategically, to best showcase elements of your experience that are not elaborated elsewhere and are impressive and/or distinctive. 

Devote most of the essay to telling the story.  Conclude with the reflection about what you learned.  This learning should be meaningful and insightful – an effective discussion of the learning will show your ability to grow and to synthesize experience.

Deadlines:
Have our MBA admissions experts critique your Darden application!

Download your free copy of 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!

Cornell 2014 Executive MBA 2014 Essay Tips

Cornell JohnsonThe Cornell Executive MBA Program has three required essay questions and one optional question in its application.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is brevity. While no one is going to be counting individual words, the guideline of short word count is a clear indicator to work on clarity of thought with all of your answers. Cornell interviews every applicant to its program, so if you are concerned that your answers are too concise in essay format, rest assured you will have the opportunity to discuss them further in the interview.

1. In a concise statement, indicate why you are seeking admission into an Executive MBA Program. Specifically, what are your short and long-term career goals? And, how will an MBA from Johnson at Cornell University help you achieve your goals? (Please limit your response to 400 words.)*

The first part of this question asks “Why EMBA?” By making the choice to go after an EMBA, you are of course signaling you will keep your job while going to school. Therefore, be sure to link your past/current career experience with your short and long term goals in the context of how (and why) this type of format works best for you. When answering the “Why Cornell?” portion of the question, be convincing about the reasons Cornell is the best choice for you, and show you have done your homework – “location” and “reputation” won’t cut it. The admissions committee wants to know what you anticipate the program will be like, what you will get out of it, how the program fits with your career vision, and what the entire experience means to you as a person.

2. A key benefit of being in an Executive MBA Program is having the ability to learn from your classmates, or peers. How will you contribute to this learning environment? Specifically, what unique strengths and experiences will you bring to both the class and your learning team? (Please limit your response to 250 words.)*

The admissions committee is looking for students who will enrich the class with their contributions as much as the curriculum taught. Focus on unique experiences you have had either in your professional or personal life, and if possible, link those experiences to how they will contribute to particular courses or topics.

Imagine that the admissions committee is reviewing your application side by side with someone with a similar basic profile to yours (technology consultant, for example) – what will make them choose you?

3. List your participation in civic, business, or professional organizations.

This question is purposely open to interpretation. If you would just like to list what organizations you are affiliated with that is fine, however if you would like to go into some detail about particular activities that are important to you, that is good, too. There is no word limit, however the more succinct, the better.

4. (Optional): Do you believe your academic record is an accurate reflection of your ability? If not, please explain, limiting the response to 250 words or less.

If you are hoping the admissions committee will miss the fact that you flunked algebra three times before passing, or you had to withdraw for a semester, think again. The committee WILL catch whatever that nagging something is that concerns you from your transcript, so here is the opportunity to talk about it. Be as candid as possible! It is much better to be upfront about the situation here than be on the defensive about it in an interview.

Want to learn how to ace your EMBA applications?

Jennifer Weld worked as an admissions consultant and Former Asst. Dir. of Admissions at Cornell’s EMBA program (4 years) prior to joining Accepted.com. She has an additional 10 years of experience in higher ed and corporate marketing.

NYU Stern Executive MBA 2014 Essay Tips

NYU_SternReflecting the character of the university at large, NYU Stern has always sought applicants who bring not just requisite accomplishment, but also intellectual energy and engagement with the world – people who have a point of view and are willing to express it. Stern’s EMBA essay questions are consistent with these values. While they cover the standard concerns, they also draw out your ability to self-reflect and to understand yourself in relation to others. The key to acing these essays is not just to write competent and logical essays, but also to present a point of view, a message, a distinctive perspective that will enrich the EMBA community at NYU Stern. 

Essays:

Applicants are required to respond to essay prompts 1, 2 and 3. The following essay questions give you the opportunity to more fully present yourself to the Admissions Committee and to provide insight into your experiences, goals, and thought processes. Your essays should be written entirely by you. Please note the following:

Please adhere to the essay word limits provided for each question. Word limits apply to the total essay question. For example, your response to Essay 2 should answer both part (a) and part (b) with a maximum of 750 words.

1. Describe your short- and long-term career goals and how the NYU Stern Executive MBA program will help you accomplish them. (500-750 words, double-spaced) 

One simple, straightforward, and effective way to structure this essay is to start with where you are in your career now. This opening  sets the context and conveys a little about your current situation, emphasizing what is impressive and/or distinctive about it. Then discuss how the EMBA education will enable you to achieve your immediate goals in your current role and  later your intermediate and longer-term goals, which should logically flow out of this present role.

In describing your goals, clarify why you would take that step or pursue that role. In discussing how the program will benefit you, be specific: describe the skills and knowledge you need to acquire and how the program provides them. Also refer to the structure, curriculum, and/or special features of the program, noting how you will benefit from them. Finally, resist the temptation to detail your career progress — limit yourself to points relevant to your goals.

2. High functioning study groups help to navigate the academics of the NYU Stern Executive MBA program. Students are placed in groups of four to six students, each with a diverse mix of professional backgrounds and skill sets. (500-750 words, double-spaced)

a) What role(s) do you see yourself playing within your study group?

b) What can your group learn from you?

Think about your strengths as a team member – and identify a few actual, illustrative examples from your work (at least one fairly recent).  Use these examples as the basis for answering (a). 

Part (b) allows you to be more wide-ranging in your chosen points; i.e., you might discuss not just your team performance but other aspects of your work.  Perhaps the group can benefit from some specific aspects of your industry practices, or from your experience in a geographic region, as well as from things like your teamwork and leadership.  However, don’t just assert that they can learn from this or that experience; discuss the potential lessons.

3. The NYU Stern Executive MBA program’s curriculum is designed with a strong global focus. Stern is committed to helping students develop a deeper set of professional skills, and a broader perspective of the role of business in the world. (500-750 words, double-spaced)

a) What is a significant contemporary issue on which you, as a business leader, would like to have an impact?

b) Why is it important to you?

c) How could you leverage your skills and resources to address the issue?

The most important advice here: select an issue that you truly care and are knowledgeable about. You may research some fine points, but responses to this question that are entirely constructed of research on a topic don’t work.

A simple and effective structure for this essay is to follow the a-b-c points. First talk about the issue in personal as well as objective terms, i.e., how you came to learn and/or care about it, perhaps what experience you’ve had with it if relevant. Take a stand; avoid being bland or abstract. Then describe how as a business leader you can address this issue in concrete terms. This last part will vary greatly from person to person – for some your work will directly address this issue; for others work will be divorced from it, and you will indirectly use your business leadership role as a bully pulpit, as a prominent and influential community leader/volunteer, etc.

Optional Additional Essays:

Optional Additional Essay:

Please provide any additional information of which you would like the Admissions Committee to be aware. This may include additional details on your academic/quantitative preparedness through educational or professional experience, further explanation of academic history, current or past gaps in employment, or any other information relevant to your application. (500 word limit, double-spaced)

This question’s wording indicates that you can use it not just to explain a problem (low GMAT, employment gap) but also to present new material that you think will enhance your application. However, if you are making the adcom read more than is required, there should be a darn good reason; not just a nice-to-know.

First, succinctly explain any points that need explaining. Then, if there is something you feel is important that you haven’t had a chance to discuss elsewhere, write about it, noting why it’s essential to a full understanding of your candidacy.

Optional Scholarship Essay:

The NYU Stern Executive MBA program offers a limited number of scholarships each year to applicants receiving minimal or no financial sponsorship. There are many more qualified candidates than there are scholarships available. Scholarships are determined at the time of admission and communicated in the letter of admission if awarded. If you wish to be considered for a scholarship, please respond to the following:

Why should the Admissions Committee invest in you as a business leader?

This essay is essentially your portrait – your candidacy at a glance. Do not just list accomplishments that repeat your resume, repeat qualities described in essay 2, or repeat the goals in the goals essay. Also, don’t present every possible reason you think the adcom should invest in you.  Focus on points that (a) are really distinctive and relevant to the MBA and/or (b) support your goals directly or indirectly and also (c) enhance rather than repeat the application. Developing an overarching message or theme for this essay before you write it will help you shape and select the content.

If you would like help with these NYU EMBA essays, please consider Accepted’s EMBA admissions consulting and EMBA essay editing services.

DeadlinesApplications to Stern’s Executive MBA Program are considered on a rolling basis.

For the class beginning in August: early deadline is March 1, final deadline is May 1.

Cindy Tokumitsu By , 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.