This IMD 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. My tips for answering IMD’s essay questions are in blue below.
The Two Questions Before the Essay Questions:
1) Position sought after graduation
Please give us your short term career goal post MBA (up to 5 years). Describe how the IMD MBA will help you achieve this goal and how you will approach your job search.
Forward-looking, connect-the-dots MBA goals question with a twist. To answer this question, you need to know what you want to do after you complete IMD’s short, intense programs, and you also need to relate how that program will help you achieve your MBA goal. Finally, you have to show that you have a plan for your job search. That last element implies that you know what IMD career services provides and how you intend to use and supplement it.
2) Most important achievement
What do you consider to be your single most important achievement and why?
Your single most important achievement should ideally show impact, leadership, and cross-cultural and cross-functional savvy. If you can’t have all the above, make sure you have at least two.
You have room here for a story. Don’t think for an instant that IMD wants the great American novel for this essay. Keep it succinct, but this essay should engage the reader. Afterall, it is your most important achievement. You may want to review a few of these resources before writing:
- Five Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your MBA Essay.
- Essays That Stick, an on-demand webinar.
- Roadmap to Bold & Brilliant MBA Essays, an on-demand webinar.
Finally, realize that the “why” is as important as the “what.” Convey those reasons in your response.
Essay 1: Two situations of importance to you
Situation 1 (maximum 1230 characters)
Situation 1 (maximum 1230 characters)
Then choose two experiences that demonstrate the qualities IMD seeks and complement each other, the other essays, and the other elements in your application.
Realize that the character limits work out to around 200 words, and that is not a lot of room. Be succinct, and include both the challenge and why you think it is worth including in your IMD application. Why do you care about it?
Essay 2: Failure to reach objective
Briefly describe the failure — and make it a real one, taking responsibility for your actions and showing self-awareness. Bring out what you learned and how you have implemented those lessons successfully in more recent situations.
Essay 3: Leadership
Describe a situation where you had to demonstrate strong leadership skills. Explain how effective you were and what you learned. (maximum 1230 characters)
Leadership takes many forms, but it usually involved persuasion and motivation of others. What did you do? What was the impact? And what did you learn — what worked and why? Have you had occasional to repeat the experiment subsequently with equally beneficial results?
Essay 4: Describe yourself
How do you imagine your superior would describe your strengths and weaknesses to someone who does not know you. (maximum 1230 characters)
Take a look as a recent review from your boss. You will probably find a good source there. You may also want to review:
- Evaluating weaknesses in your MBA candidacy holistically
- Weakness, what weakness?
- Strengths and Weakness Essays: Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Essay 5: International Exposure
Describe a situation where you successfully worked across cultures and/or nations. (maximum 1230 characters)
This is a very important essay for IMD, a school that values its global culture and cross-cultural experience. Describe the situation briefly, a challenge unique to international work environments, and how you met it. If you have room, lessons learned are always good to include.
Essay 6: Differentiators
IMD receives numerous applications per year. Give us four bullet points that clearly differentiate you from this applicant pool. (maximum 1230 characters)
Your essays up to this point are probably very professionally focused. Several of the bullet points could be personal. Think about that IMD video I suggested you watch. IMD wants to know about you as a person, as well as you as a professional. This may be a great place to inform the reader of distinctive features in your background or personal life. Your resume and the other essays will have already told them about unusual aspects of your professional life.
Essay 7: Alternatives
If you are not admitted, what alternatives will you consider? (maximum 1230 characters)
How will you achieve your professional goals discussed earlier in the IMD application if you are not admitted to an MBA program? How would you acquire the skills you seek?
Essay 8: Finance
Please explain how you intend to finance your studies at IMD. What would be your budget? (maximum 1230 characters)
Just answer it. Loans, your own funds, parental assistance? Whatever it is, provide the answers. The same is true of the budget question.
Essay 9: Disability / illness
Do you have a disability or illness that could affect your performance at IMD? If so, please explain. (maximum 1230 characters)
If necessary, describe the disability and how you intend to compensate for it. Also show that you have compensated successfully for this illness or disability in the past.
Essay 10: Additional Information
Optional question: Is there any additional information that is critical for the Admissions Committee to know which has not been covered elsewhere in this application? (maximum 1230 characters)
Between IMD’s nine essay questions and two questions preceding the essay questions, this may be the one application where the optional essay is really unnecessary. Nonetheless, if you have something to explain — a low GPA, a gap in employment, etc. — this is the place to do it.
February 1; April 1; June 1; August 1; September 1
While you can choose any of the above deadlines, we encourage you to apply as early as possible.
Our rolling admissions process helps us to assemble a unique mix of participants who will maximize your learning. After each deadline, the IMD MBA admissions committee reviews all the complete applications and performs an initial evaluation.
Within 6 weeks, we inform you if we would like to meet you for the on-campus assessment day.
If you would like help with your IMD MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and admissions consulting or an IMD MBA School Package, which includes advising, essay editing, and a resume edit for the IMD MBA application.