My tips for the IMD 2012 MBA application 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. (maximum 2000 characters)
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 offers and how you will use and supplement those services.
2) Most important achievement
What do you consider to be your single most important achievement and why? (maximum 1230 characters)
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. 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 2 (maximum 1230 characters)
Then choose two experiences that demonstrate the qualities IMD seeks and that complement each other, the other essays, and the other elements in your application.
Realize that you can translate that character limit to approximately 200 words — not a lot to work with. 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
Please comment on a situation where you failed to reach an objective and what you learned from it. (maximum 1230 characters)
Briefly describe the failure — and make it a real one — a time when you blew it. Take responsibility for your actions and show self-awareness. Discuss lessons learned and how you implemented those lessons successfully in similar, 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 involves 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 similar or even better 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 manager. You will probably find good material 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. 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 else could you earn what you want to learn?
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. Are you going to take out loans, use your own money, turn to your parents? Remember to include a succinct budget.
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 essays and two questions preceding the “real” essays, 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. — or something to add, 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.
- Apply for the February 1st or April 1st deadline to have the option of being interviewed in Singapore.
- Apply by the August 1st deadline to have the option of being interviewed in Sao Paulo.
- Citizens of countries requiring a longer visa process should apply for one of the first four deadlines.
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.
Found these tips helpful? Check out the rest of our MBA application tips here!
By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of Accepted.com, co-author of MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.