We hope you enjoyed our recent Q&A with Cornell Johnson‘s Christine Sneva, Director of Admissions & Financial Aid, and Ann Richards, Associate Director of Admissions & Director of Financial Aid – we know we did! The following excerpt offers applicants advice on how to approach the MBA application essays, particularly those that may ask applicants to discuss a weakness:
Linda Abraham: “What are your suggestions on how a candidate should approach the application essays?” How would you advise them to approach the application essays, and would you change that approach at all, given this particular weakness [GPA], or some other weakness in the profile?
Ann Richards: [Y]ou really want to highlight your achievements and accomplishments. We’re looking for candidates who have drive, who are willing to take initiative, and who are willing to take calculated risks…you want to use your essays to highlight …the value you brought to your organization, your employer, your extracurricular activities, your university experience.
Now, if you do have a weak undergrad GPA, or a low GMAT score, or some gaps in your employment, for us, it’s best to explain that in the optional essay section. You can explain that you’re immature, you’re not a good test-taker, or whatever the circumstances are. Take the opportunity to explain that to us in the optional essay, because we have vivid imaginations. If you don’t explain gaps in your resume, or a bad undergraduate semester, we’ll use our imagination, and it won’t be in your favor. So you want to make sure that you take the opportunity to explain that to us.
Christine Sneva: I would also add…we ask obviously why you want to get an MBA. I think everybody has to ask that, because there’s really nowhere else in the application where you can really present yourself, your goals, and your focus, and what’s really driving you to start this application process. That’s something that we’re looking to learn from you.
Our second question is for you to write the chapter headings to your life story. We get wonderful feedback that this is an essay that most applicants are looking forward to writing. It’s also probably one of the hardest ones that people have to write. We love to hear that, because it’s one of our favorite essays to read. It’s really the opportunity for people to express themselves in a different way that isn’t a typical essay format. You can be creative. We do encourage that, and it’s just a wonderful opportunity for us to get to really know you…
For the entire conversation, please view the transcript or listen to the complete audio file on our website.
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