This year, Georgetown requires two essays from all its applicants. Sharing the same structure as last year, the first required essay allows you to choose to answer one of three prompts. The prompts have changed from last year’s, however. The program’s second required essay is again a video essay, with a different prompt this year. The admissions office also provides an optional essay and a reapplicant essay.
Don’t forget to take advantage of the opportunity to be granted an application fee waiver. You’ll find the details about how to do so in the Application Fee section of McDonough’s Applications Component page.
Ready to get to work on your McDonough application? Read on.
McDonough application essay tips
Our goal at Georgetown McDonough is to craft a diverse class with people who have had varying personal and professional life experiences. As such, we want to give our applicants the opportunity to select one essay (from a list of three) that allows them the ability to best highlight their experiences, characteristics, and values that showcase the value proposition that they can bring to the McDonough community. Please select one of the following three essays to complete in 500 words (approximately two pages, double spaced) and include the essay prompt and your first/last name at the top of your submission.
Each prompt provides a different perspective on your candidacy. When deciding which option to respond to, consider which one resonates with you most and will allow you to showcase yourself best.
Essay Option One – Georgetown Community
Our mission is rooted in Jesuit principles of equality and respect for everyone and an ethos of caring for the whole person. Inclusivity and diversity are core to supporting a community of people with an intersectional understanding of themselves and the world around them. Share how your educational, familial, cultural, economic, social, and/or other individual life experiences will contribute to the diversity of perspectives and ideas at Georgetown University.
Community is a vital aspect of any MBA program experience, and Georgetown’s Jesuit values underscore the importance of contributing to this community. Throughout your life, you have had many experiences that have shaped who you are and are the basis for your unique perspectives and ideas. This essay provides an opportunity to consider your most impactful experiences, how they influenced you, and how you will add value to your community because of them. Consider how your presence and contributions to the community will enrich your classmates.
Essay Option Two – Leave Your Legacy
Commitment to service and community is an important value that Hoyas share across Georgetown McDonough’s 40+ MBA student-run clubs and organizations, nine centers and initiatives, and various other co-curricular activities. What do you want your legacy to be as a McDonough student and alumni? Be as specific as possible.
Perhaps when you were talking with a McDonough graduate or student about an activity they were involved in, you immediately thought, “That is absolutely something I want to be a part of and would like to take it to the next level.” Or, maybe the conversation sparked an idea of something you could introduce to the community. Either way, can you see yourself making a sustainable impact long after you leave the Hilltop? Share your proposed activity or idea, and explain how you came to learn about it. Focus your answer on what your legacy will be, and provide details about how you will make your mark on the McDonough MBA experience.
Essay Option Three – Magis
Magis is a Jesuit value that instills the sense of achieving “more” or “greater” excellence. Share how you achieved magis during a professional experience as evidenced on your resume. Describe why this experience exemplified excellence and what about your involvement (i.e. strengths or skills) contributed to the excellence.
This essay option allows you to showcase professional excellence from a personal perspective. Not only will you share the experience referenced in the prompt, but you will also describe in detail how you contributed to achieving excellence. Consider whether you want to share an example of a time when you worked with a team versus one in which you were an individual contributor. What does one communicate versus the other? Make sure you share specifics about what YOU did. What motivated you to take the action you took? Did you consider any options? How did you include others in the process? How did you decide to pursue the direction that led to achieving excellence? As the prompt indicates, share strengths, skills, and ideas – and don’t forget to describe the outcome and impact on your organization.
Building a cohort of diverse and unique individuals is important to the admissions team. We want you to bring your whole self to Georgetown McDonough. Throughout the application, we’ve learned about what you would add as a professional and leader. Just as important is learning about your interests outside of work. In one minute, please share 5-10 random facts about yourself that are not on your resume and how these facts contribute to who you are as a professional and leader.
- You may use your phone, computer, or other means to record the video, but please ensure all audio and visual components are clear. We recommend a well-lit room and minimal noise distraction.
- The admissions committee would like for you to appear in person during part of your video.
- We recommend unscripted, conversational videos – help us get to know the real you!
- Upload your video to an accessible website (such as YouTube, Vimeo, Youku, or Tudou), and submit the direct video URL into your online application.
- Please note that all videos must remain active and accessible to the admissions committee online for a minimum of five years for record retention purposes.
- For your privacy: Do not include your name in the title of your video. You may submit “unlisted” videos via YouTube or password protected videos through Vimeo. If using a password, please include immediately after your link in the text box below. [Ex: www.youtube.com/123, password: Hoyas]
The great thing about the video essay is that you get to present yourself to the admissions committee. For some, this might be intimidating. But, with preparation and practice, you can confidently submit your video essay. This essay is an opportunity to share facts about your life outside of work and connect them to how you show up professionally and as a leader. As the essay prompt states, your resume does not include the facts you will share in this essay response. There is no wrong answer here, as long as you can tie the fact to how it has shaped you as a professional and a leader.
The essay allows various adcom members to view your video. Start your essay by briefly introducing yourself, and remember to smile! While it might feel strange, given that you are talking to the camera, smiling will help you come across as warm and friendly. If it helps, imagine you are sharing your facts with a friend instead of the admissions committee. Remember, you want the recording to capture your authenticity so the viewer can imagine you as a member of the McDonough community!
For example: “I work with a local youth group, and each summer, we take the group on a white water rafting trip on the Youghiogheny River. I enjoy working with kids unsure of their ability to complete the journey. I enjoy coaching them and helping them realize that they can learn how to work with the others in their group to maneuver that raft on the rapids. I take this same approach at work, supporting new hires on my team to find their footing in a new environment and helping them achieve success in their roles.”
Here are some practical tips to remember when recording your video:
- Prepare at least five and no more than ten facts to share in the 60 seconds.
- Write a few bullet points to help you recall the experience you will discuss.
- Do not read from a script. You want to come across as relaxed and conversational.
- Start the essay by briefly introducing yourself – and remember to smile!
- Practice your essay, recording yourself, and review the recording to make note of how you sound and appear. Make adjustments before recording your next practice video. Do this as many times as it takes for you to feel comfortable!
- Follow all the instructions that the admissions office outlined.
Please provide any information you would like to add to your application that you have not otherwise included (300-350 words, approximately one page, double spaced).
Is there an experience, circumstance, or information you couldn’t convey in other parts of your application? The optional essay is the place to do it. Here are some topics to consider:
- Do you have a gap in your employment, or are you currently unemployed?
Provide the details of the period of unemployment, including ways you were or are engaged in your community or otherwise enhancing your skills or preparing for business school.
- Did your grades suffer during a period in college?
You might have had a difficult period during undergrad for many reasons. Perhaps you were a first-generation college student and didn’t have sufficient parental guidance, or you were ill during a given semester. Whatever the reason, rest assured that the admissions committee took note when reviewing your transcripts. Use this space to explain the circumstances of the situation.
- Have you overcome difficult personal circumstances?
Often, situations we have overcome personally impact how we view the world and interact with others. Share information demonstrating “grit” or your ability to succeed despite the circumstances.
- Have you been involved in supporting others who are less fortunate, with the goal of providing opportunities and the chance for a better life?
Georgetown University is committed to social justice and life-changing service. Your work in this area aligns with the Jesuit identity of the university and will resonate with the adcom.
One important thing to remember is that if the information you want to share is deeply personal, ensure that you provide enough detail to convey the situation but aren’t oversharing. Part of what the admissions committee will consider is your judgment regarding what you include in the essay.
If you feel you have thoroughly communicated your candidacy in other areas of the application, you needn’t feel compelled to provide this essay.
Required for reapplicants. How have you strengthened your candidacy since your last application? We are particularly interested in hearing about how you have grown professionally and personally (300-350 words, approximately one page, double spaced).
This essay is straightforward. Update the committee about how you have improved your candidacy since you last applied. In addition to having another year of work experience, what achievement can you share? Did you work on any special projects? Learn new skills? What interesting things have you done outside of work that might impact your contributions to the community? If you retook a test and improved your score or took additional classes to prepare for the MBA, note that in this essay, even if there is another place to include the information in the application as a data point. The reapplicant essay should comprehensively summarize what you have done to strengthen your candidacy.
McDonough application deadlines
|Application deadline||Decision notification|
|Round 1||October 2, 2023||December 7, 2023|
|Round 2||January 4, 2024||March 18, 2024|
|Round 3||March 26, 2024||May 1, 2024|
|Round 4||April 30, 2024||May 29, 2024|
Source: Georgetown McDonough website
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with Georgetown McDonough directly to verify its essay questions, instructions, and deadlines.***
McDonough class profile
Here is a look at the McDonough MBA Class of 2024 (data taken from the McDonough website):
Applications received: 1,537
U.S. diversity: 38%
Underrepresented minorities: 17%
Countries represented: 39
Average years of work experience: 5.7
Average age: 29
Average GPA: 3.29
Mid 80% GPA range: 2.82-3.77
Average GMAT: 697
Mid 80% GMAT range: 640-740
Average GRE: 317
Mid 80% GRE range: 307-327
Percentage taking GRE: 48.6%
Undergrad fields of study:
- Business: 31.7%
- Engineering: 19.7%
- Economics: 16.9%
- Humanities: 13.7%
- Social sciences: 6.8%
- Government & international studies: 4.8%
- Financial services: 20.1%
- Consulting: 10.4%
- Tech & media: 8%
- Government: 4.8%
- Construction: 4.4%
- Healthcare: 4%
You’ve worked so hard to get to this point in your journey. Now that you’re ready for your next achievement, make sure you know how to present yourself to maximum advantage in your Georgetown McDonough application. In a hotly competitive season, you’ll want a member of Team Accepted in your corner, guiding you with expertise tailored specifically for you. Check out our flexible consulting packages today!
As the former executive director of admissions at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School and assistant dean of admissions at Georgetown’s McDonough School and the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz School,Kelly Wilson has 23 years’ experience overseeing admissions committees and has reviewed more than 38,000 applications for the MBA and master’s programs in management of information systems, computational finance, business analytics, and product management. Want Kelly to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!