This ESADE 2011 MBA Application tip post is one of a series of posts providing MBA application and essay advice for applicants to top MBA programs around the world. You can access the entire series at https://blog.accepted.com/acceptedcom_blog/tag/2011-mba-application-tips. The tips for answering ESADE’s essay questions are in blue below.
Known for its humanistic approach to business, Spanish business school Esade pays equal attention to the development of a just society and producing business leaders. Unsurprisingly, the school is strong in Social Enterprise and Green tech.
Consistently ranked among the top European business schools, a key strength is its flexibility: you can do the program in 12, 15, or 18 months. With agreements signed with over 100 universities worldwide, the program also offers a wide range of exchanges/ internships.
The teaching method is a mix of classic case-study techniques and a more personalized approach, depending on students’ needs. An extremely collaborative atmosphere and intimate class size engenders close relationships with both professors –approximately 20% from outside of Spain— and students –at least 70% international. Classes are taught in both Spanish and English.
Q1. Write a brief explanation of your most important professional and personal achievements to date. (2000 characters maximum, 30 lines approximately)
Note that the school asks about your most important achievements, and not just the professional ones. Ideally, I would aim for one professional, one community, and one personal accomplishment. Though the question does not explicitly ask “why” the accomplishment was important, I do suggest incorporating this into your answer. For example, what did the accomplishment teach you about yourself? Did it impact the choices you made in life? And so on.
Q2. What do you consider your most powerful strength or asset? Describe a situation where you demonstrated this strength or asset. (2000 characters maximum, 30 lines approximately)
Choose one strength or asset and describe a time when you demonstrated it in spades. Once again, if there is room, subtly show why this is a positive. (Ask yourself: what does this strength/asset say about me and my potential to be a good business leader?)
Q3. If you could pick the one quality that characterizes a good leader, which would you choose and why? (2000 characters maximum, 30 lines approximately)
Obviously, you don’t want to repeat what you wrote in Q2, but the two could nicely dovetail. Choose the quality. Explain why it is important. If possible, extrapolate with a situation in which you demonstrated this trait and how it led to success.
Q4. What are your mid- and long-term goals after doing the MBA? (2000 characters maximum, 30 lines approximately)
This is a forward-looking question. There is no need to explain what you have done in the past, nor what you are doing now, other than to anchor your future goals, if necessary. Just map out your plan. More importantly: how will you get there? What is Esade’s role in that plan? Get as specific as you can.
Q5. Is there anything you have not mentioned in the essays that you would like the Admissions Committee to know? (2000 characters maximum, 30 lines approximately)
Never let an optional question go to waste! This is where you can explain any gaps or perceived weaknesses in your profile. This is also a great space to share another aspect to your profile, like a hobby, a passion, community activity, and so on.