The Ross EMBA essay questions are straightforward and succinct. Your essays should embody these qualities – and indeed they’ll have to be succinct, given the 400-word length limits. Taken together, the questions are actually holistic, encompassing both professional and personal dimensions. Each question focuses on one of these dimensions, and each gives a specific lens through which to focus and shape your answer. Thus, while you address each of the two questions’ particular points, also have you answers reflect and portray the larger picture of your career and your character/personality.
1. What are you most proud of? How does it shape who you are today? (400 words max)
Whether you select a topic for this essay from work or from outside of work, the gist of the essay will be personal, because you must explain how the chosen experience shaped you. The wording “who you are” implies fundamentally as a person, not just professionally. Select the topic with an eye to where your application strategy and your heart converge. The “heart” element gives your essay immediacy and authenticity. Finally, show action on your part in discussing what you’re most proud of – adcoms want doers, people who make things happen. Maybe you’re most proud of resolving an issue or address a challenge or helping someone – all actions. But if you’re most proud of a cultural or religious affiliation or something else not inherently an action, add in some activity or action you took (or take) related to that affiliation. In discussing how the experience shapes who you are, don’t just explain but also include a brief example (a sentence or even a phrase may suffice) as concrete evidence of this shaping influence.
2. What are your career goals and how will a Ross MBA help you achieve these? (400 words max)
You may want to start by discussing, briefly and engagingly, your current career situation as a starting point. Then explain how you’ll move on to your future goals. In describing your goals at any given point, indicate why you are taking that step or pursuing that role. Give more detail about the roles you plan immediately post-MBA and the several years following; it should include specific positions, company, scope of responsibilities, and desired impact (i.e. what your desired “footprint” in that role would be). Longer-term goals need less detail, but they should present a clear direction, building on the earlier roles.
In discussing how the program will benefit you, be specific: describe what skills and knowledge you need, and how the program meets those needs. Also refer to the structure and special features of the program that are most important to you, detailing how they will support you and your goals.
By Cindy Tokumitsu, 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!