MIT Sloan 2015 Executive MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

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This set of essay questions shows that MIT seeks applicants who have a vision for the career they are building, who understand the impacts of their actions, and who have the judgment and practical skills to effectively handle the challenges that will come at them like fastballs in a World Series.  The essays are your main means to show that you possess, as MIT’s website states, “strong leadership performance, global perspective, functional expertise, and innovation.”  While the statement of purpose challenges you to succinctly create your portrait as an applicant, the three essay questions, each in its own way, probe how you create value while responding to various types of challenges.

In an overall plan for the essays, the statement of purpose works as a context, a positioner, an opening pitch, a frame.  You will describe specific experiences in each of the three essays, so strategically try to select experiences that are different, to give a comprehensive view.  Also, usually it’s advisable to discuss recent experiences, to allow the adcom to see you working at a high level and showing what you’ll bring to the table.

Statement of purpose:

Please provide a statement indicating your qualifications, why you are pursuing the MIT Executive MBA Program, and what you will contribute to the program. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

This is your portrait – your candidacy at a glance.  It should convey a vivid, immediate sense of you as a person and as a candidate.  It should go beyond just facts to present a point of view and a message.  Decide your message first, before drafting the essay, and let it guide you in selecting and elaborating the content details.

Beware of a potential pitfall: in discussing qualifications, do not repeat your resume in prose format.  Also, don’t present all your qualifications.  Select carefully, focusing on those that (a) are really distinctive and relevant to the MBA and/or (b) support your goals directly or indirectly and also (c) reflect your message. Make a short, meaningful point about each qualification, such as the insight it lends or its influence on you, supported by a fact or example.

For why you are pursuing the MBA, of course you’ll discuss your professional goals and objectives.  Focus not only on what you want to do, but also on what you want to accomplish for the organization and/or its customers/market.

The contributions you mention should reference your own experience from work or outside work; think of what about you would be most meaningful and interesting to prospective classmates.  This element of your response is an opportunity to show that you understand the program.

Essays:

1. The educational mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to “develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world.” Please discuss how you will contribute toward advancing this mission based on examples of past work and activities. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

In answering this question, clarify what “principled, innovative leader” and “improving the world” mean to you.  These points represent your point of view, your “vision” – they should be short, but without them this essay lacks focus.  The bulk of the essay will focus on action – your examples of past work and activities that make the case for how you have been and will continue to be a principled, innovative leader who improves the world.  They key to making this a gripping, memorable essay is strong experiences and examples combined with your reflection on them pertaining to the essay’s theme.  End by briefly discussing how you will build on these experiences to be such a leader in the future.

2. During your career, what is the hardest challenge that you have had to solve? Consider examples when more than one viable solution was present. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

There are really two points this question asks about: how you define and respond to a major challenge, and your decision-making process in selecting the solution.  Choose your topic accordingly.  With just 500 words, structure the essay simply: narrate the challenge as a brief story, portraying your thought process as you encounter it.  As you approach the solution part of the story, describe the solution options and your determination of which to take.  In writing the essay, clarify why you consider it the “hardest challenge” – is it one that was extraordinarily complex, one that had no desirable solution, one that had huge stakes, etc.? 

3. Tell us about a time within the past three years when you had to give difficult feedback to a peer. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

This question is a straightforward inquiry into your interpersonal skills, judgment, leadership, and (again) decision making.  It’s one thing to give difficult feedback to a subordinate – something you probably do as part of your supervisory role.  It’s another thing altogether to give such feedback to a peer – someone you don’t manage and whose performance you aren’t accountable for.  If possible, make the essay do “double duty” by selecting a story that also portrays you performing at a high level in a significant role.   Think about the topic and how your actions align with and complement the other essays.

Optional Essay.

As part of the MIT Executive MBA curriculum, you will participate in Organizations Lab (O-Lab). This Action Learning course focuses on making a substantive improvement in the performance of your organization, usually by fixing one of its processes.

Identify something, within your organization, upon which to improve. (This does not have to be a large change initiative, small improvements to a process can have a big impact). Please describe the change and why you might choose it? This can be something you have tried to improve in the past and has yet to be realized (whether based on lack of expertise or tools).

Should you do this optional essay? I believe yes. It’s an opportunity to further demonstrate your organizational awareness, possibly highlight important elements of your role, and show your perceptiveness. A key element here will be your perspective on change and its potential impact(s). Select an issue that has an interesting, challenging dimension. Consider the experiences you describe in the other essays and make sure this one isn’t redundant – it should reflect a new facet of your experience. Keep it short – certainly under 500 words. And keep it simple: describe the issue you’d like to improve (and why), and then very briefly reflect on why it’s challenging. You may suggest a possible solution or approaches to solutions, but you don’t have to “solve” it. MIT is interested in your thought process here.

Deadlines:

Application Opens: November 14, 2014

Round 1 Deadline: February 17, 2015 (11:59pm EST)

Round 2 Deadline: June 1, 2015 (11:59pm EDT)

If you would like help with MIT Sloan’s executive MBA essays, please consider Accepted.com’s Executive MBA packages or our hourly consulting/editing services.

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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!

Related Resources:

• School-Specific Executive MBA Essay Tips
• Tips for Executive MBA Reapplicants
• The GMAT and EMBA Programs

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

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!

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!

A Transformational Year: The MIT Sloan Fellows Program

Listen to the show!What is the solution for a seasoned manager who is too experienced for an MBA, but not so enthusiastic about the idea of a part-time EMBA?

Listen to the recording of our conversation with Stephen Sacca for the low down on an 84 year-old secret that just might change your life: The MIT Sloan Fellows Program in Innovation and Global Leadership.

00:02:44 – What is the MIT Sloan Fellows program?

00:04:32 – Experienced candidates only.

00:05:22 – Overview of an intensive year.

00:07:48 – A great idea: The April orientation.

00:11:10 –The MIT Sloan Fellows Program in Innovation and Global Leadership: What is in a name?

00:15:56 – Integration with the various MIT Sloan programs.

00:17:59 – The common denominator among Sloan fellows.

00:19:52 – Trips: not just for fun.

00:25:41 – Why career changers need not apply.

00:28:55 – The most common feedback from graduates.

00:32:39 – Advice for applicants.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

MIT Sloan Fellows Program in Innovation and Global Leadership
MIT Sloan School of Management
• Ace the EMBA
• Top Executive MBA Program Essay Questions: How to Answer Them Right!

Related Shows:

The Stanford MSx Program for Experienced Leaders
Business, Law and Beyond: An Interview with John Engelman
• Dr. Douglas Stayman Shares the Scoop on Cornell Tech NYC 

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Chicago Booth 2015 Executive MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Check out more school-specific EMBA application essay tips!

Chicago Booth

The Chicago Booth EMBA questions are challenging because they separate your need for the MBA and your interest in the program – the first question asks, among other things, “Why are you seeking an MBA from Chicago Booth” and the second question asks “what you hope to gain from the MBA.” One could reasonably see these two questions as being basically the same. While the first question is wide ranging and includes what you’ll contribute to the program, the second question focuses on your goals – it’s the why-MBA part that overlaps. I suggest writing essay 2 first, because the goals discussion will provide context for what you hope to gain specifically from Chicago Booth. Taken together, these two questions allow you to create a well-rounded picture, with sharp focus on career in essay 2, and an opportunity to present selected highlights of your career (and non-work activities as well) in essay 1.

Essays:

1. Why are you seeking an MBA from Chicago Booth and what unique knowledge and experiences do you hope to contribute to the program? (maximum 2 pages, 12 pt. Times New Roman)

Let’s break this question into two parts. Part 1: why you’re seeking the MBA from Chicago Booth. This section should address the specific education you seek as dictated by your goals, which you will discuss in #2. It can also address other desired benefits, such as the chance to interact with accomplished peers from diverse industries. In answering this part, be specific about Booth’s offerings and add insight or reflection based on your perspective and situation. If you can cite conversations with students or alumni, that’s fantastic; give examples of insights you’ve gained from them.

Part 2: what you hope to contribute. Note the word “unique” – it does not mean that you should dredge up some exotic experience that no other applicant could possibly have done; it does mean particularizing your knowledge and experience to yourself, your perspective, your individual lens. This is a chance to showcase aspects of your career and your personal experience that distinguish and differentiate you. You can discuss work points exclusively or work and non-work. Select a few events or activities that complement each other and provide some depth and detail about each. Also, think strategically about what Chicago Booth values and what the rest of your application doesn’t reveal.

 2. Chicago Booth Career Services delivers innovative educational programming, offers one-on-one coaching, provides numerous networking opportunities, and provides access to job search tools in order to support your own career management. We would like to learn more about your career strategy and objectives. Please outline your career objectives, how you hope to achieve them, and what you hope to gain from the MBA to help you achieve them.  (maximum 2 pages, 12 pt. Times New Roman)

By listing its career resources, the Chicago adcom is showing that the program is invested in your career success. You should demonstrate your worthiness by delivering a thoughtful and detailed portrayal of your career objectives. Discuss not just general aspirations but specifics: industry, likely positions, which companies, possibly where, what you expect to actually do, possibly challenges you anticipate – and, as the question says, how. To transcend mere competence and make the essay compelling, also show how your goals are rooted in your experience, what motivates your goals, and your vision for your goals. Finally, discuss the educational needs these goals create that necessitate an MBA. You may also be interested in The Art of a Gripping MBA Goals Essay, an on-demand webinar.

Optional essay: If there is anything else you would like the admissions committee to know about you, please share that information here.  (maximum 2 pages, 12 pt. Times New Roman)

This question invites you to present new material that will enhance your application, as well as to explain anything that needs explaining (e.g., gap in employment, choice of recommender if not using a direct supervisor, etc.). As far as enhancement points, keep in mind that since you are making the adcom read more, there should be a clear value to the information you’re sharing. Also, such points should avoid material that more appropriately belongs in essay 1 (unique knowledge and experiences).

If you would like professional guidance with your Chicago Booth EMBA application, please consider Accepted’s EMBA essay editing and EMBA admissions consulting or our EMBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Chicago Booth EMBA application

Deadlines:

Round Application Deadline
Early Action October 3, 2014
Round 1 December 1, 2014
Round 2 February 2, 2015
Round 3 April 1, 2015

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!