This Notre Dame Mendoza 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 Mendoza‘s essay questions are in blue below.
I. What are your career plans immediately after graduation? Explain how your past experiences prepare you for your desired position. What are your long-term career aspirations?
Translation: What are you short-term and long-term goals? How have your past experiences prepared you for your short-term goal?
Note: This question does not ask “Why Notre Dame?” You do not need to explicitly answer that question, but the excellent response to this question will reflect Notre Dame’s values, specifically its focus on ethical leadership. In addition, the long-term objective will be much more plausible if it flows organically from the short-term one.
II. Additionally, please complete any one of the following six essay questions.
The first question confronting you is which prompt to respond to. Please see “MBA Essays: You’ve Got Options!” for advice on choosing the right essay for you.
1. The MBA Values Statement is an important guide for our students and the bedrock of our shared community values at Notre Dame. Please review the MBA Values Statement and then choose the one value you believe has had the most impact on your professional career to date. Be sure to give a specific example of how you have lived out that value in your professional experience.
The key part of this question is the last sentence. Choose the value in the statement that allows you to demonstrate that you not only believe in this principle but live and breathe it. Ideally it will also complement — not duplicate — experiences discussed elsewhere in your application.
2. David R. Gergen, a senior political analyst for CNN and an adviser to four U.S. presidents, has been quoted as saying “A leaders role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.” Describe a time when you have played a role in helping a teammate or direct report achieve success. How did you specifically contribute to their accomplishment?
Gergen’s definition still has at its core motivation and inspiration. When did you inspire someone to strive and achieve? How did you support his or her efforts?
As you write this essay, keep in mind the view of leadership espoused in Mendoza’s Values Statement
3. Economist Milton Friedman wrote the following in his book Capitalism and Freedom: “There is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.” In your opinion, is it viable and/or valuable for corporations to invest profits in social causes that provide no direct “increase in profits” or benefit to shareholders? Why or why not?
This question is for those of you interested in social entrepreneurship. Realize that your reasoning is going to be more important than the side you take. .
4. In response to the recent financial crisis and the perception that many business leaders acted unethically, much attention has been given to various MBA Oaths. You can see one example here. In what ways do you feel an MBA Oath will impact ethical behavior by MBA graduates? Would you take such an oath yourself? Why or why not?
Choose this question is you have an opinion on it or have experience that relates to an MBA oath.
5. Social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and foursquare have become ubiquitous components of the marketing mix for brands all over the world. Are social media tools like these valid measurements for return on investment (ROI) in marketing, or just innovative ways for brands to connect with consumers?
As with all these questions, if you have relevant marketing experience, this could be a super question for you to answer. If your experience with social media is limited to posting your baby’s pictures on Facebook, choose a different question.
6. Are third-party rankings of business schools a valid selection criterion for MBA applicants? Why or why not?
I would have a lot of fun with this question. If you have thought deeply about the rankings, then perhaps you could too. However, choose this question if it can serve as a vehicle for displaying an achievement or aspect of your background that you want to spotlight. And again, your reasoning will be more important than your actual conclusion.
Effective business communication is a central skill for managers and visual presentations are an important and frequent method of communication.
Demonstrate your ability to clearly, concisely and persuasively communicate important information by telling us about yourself using a short slide presentation.
Please consider the following guidelines when creating your presentation.
- You are free to cover any material about yourself that you think would be of value to the Admissions Committee. Please use whatever software programs you like to develop your presentation but note that the only acceptable formats for upload in the online application system is Adobe PDF.
- There is a strict maximum of four slides, though you can provide fewer than four if you choose.
- The slides that you submit will be printed and added to your application file for review by the Admissions Committee. As a result, only text and static images will be seen. Videos, music, hyperlinks, etc will not be conveyed and should not be included. Color may be used.
- Your goal is to clearly, concisely and persuasively convey key information. Slides will be evaluated on these dimensions and not on graphic or presentation elements.
- Notes pages will not be accepted. You should plan to convey your entire message on the actual slides themselves.
- To assist MBA Applicants with the development of their slide presentation, please consult this PowerPoint Guide.
Deadline Received By: Decisions Released:
Early Sept. 13, 2010 Oct. 29, 2010
Round 2 Nov. 1, 2010 Dec. 17, 2010
Round 3 Jan. 10, 2011 Feb. 25, 2011
Final 1-Year Feb. 14, 2011 Apr. 1, 2011
Final 2-Year Mar. 21, 2011 May 6, 2011
Please feel free to join Accepted.com for an interactive admissions Q&A on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 10:00 AM PT / 1:00 PM ET / 5:00 PM GMT. If you’re attracted to Mendoza’s pursuit of the ideal leader and believe you possess all four of the qualifications—a broad perspective, an integrated mind, tenacity, and heart, then register now to meet Brian Lohr, Notre Dame’s Director of Admissions and find out more about this innovative, leadership-based program.