MBA Essays: Topics from the Top 10 Business Schools - Masters in Business Administration or MBA has been the most looked up to programme for candidates seeking a boost in their professional career. With its rigorous selection process, the top programs demand a lot from the students in terms of work experience, academic performance, and expendable skills. This is why selection to the MBA programs offered by the top 10 business schools in the world is highly competitive with thousands of aspirants from all over the world applying for the programs. The selection process for these programs differs from other postgraduate programs in a single dominant feature – the MBA essay. These essay type questions are used by the admissions committee to evaluate an applicant on both a personal, social and intuitional level.
The top 10 business schools according to the QS World Subject Ranking for 2018 are the most sought after institutions for MBA aspirants. These top business schools have a rigorous selection procedure for prospective candidates which includes MBA essays, letters of recommendations, and other academic and professional records. These institutions offer top-notch education in the domain of business and management.
The top 10 business schools are:
London Business School
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of Pennsylvania
University of Cambridge
University of Oxford
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
The MBA selection process is based on a detailed application procedure which includes a number of supporting and constituent documents such as the CV or resume, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose or personal statement and MBA essays. The MBA essays are one of the most integral components of an MBA application and the questions generally focus on highlighting the everyday experiences and qualities of the aspirants. Essay topics commonly revolve around leadership, ethical issues and goals. These essays enable the admissions committee members to judge the aspirants on a social level and personal level. The admissions committee looks for good communication skills, leadership potential, and exceptional analytical skills in the MBA aspirants.
Click here to find out more about the MBA essay topics for the top 20 business schools.
The MBA essay questions for the top 10 business schools in the world are:
1. Harvard Business School, Harvard University (USA)
MBA aspirants for Harvard Business School are required to submit a single MBA essay as a part of their application. Applicants for the joint program (2+2) are also required to submit an additional essay apart from common requirements such as letters of recommendation, statement of purpose and a CV. The MBA essay question for Harvard University is:
As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program? (no word limit)
The joint program (2+2) applicants have to answer an additional essay question as a part of the MBA application:
How do you expect the joint degree experience to benefit you on both a professional and a personal level? (400 words)
Application fee: USD $250 or USD $100 for 2+2 program.
Harvard Application Deadlines for Fall 2019 Intake
5 September, 2018
11 December, 2018
4 January, 2019
26 March, 2019
9 April, 2019
29 May, 2019
2. INSEAD (France)
For admission to INSEAD’s MBA program, applicants need to submit various essay type answers which fall into two categories: job description and motivation essays.
The various job description MBA essay questions to be answered include four compulsory questions and one optional question:
Briefly summarize your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of budget, clients/products and results achieved. (short answer)
What would be your next step in terms of position if you were to remain in the same company? (short answer)
Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. Describe your career path with the rationale behind your choices. (short answer)
Discuss your short and long-term career aspirations with an MBA from INSEAD. (short answer)
If you are currently not working or if you plan to leave your current employer more than 2 months before the programme starts, please explain your activities and occupations between leaving your job and the start of the programme. (optional)
The motivation essays required for application to the MBA program at INSEAD are:
Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person), stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary. (500 words)
Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and explain why. In addition, describe a situation where you failed. How did these experiences impact your relationships with others? Comment on what you learned. (400 words)
Describe all types of extra-professional activities in which you have been or are still involved for a significant amount of time (clubs, sports, music, arts, politics, etc). How are you enriched by these activities? (300 words)
Is there anything else that was not covered in your application that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee? (300 words)
Application Fee: €250
INSEAD Application Deadlines for January 2020 Intake
Interview Decision Notification
Final Decision Notification
20 February, 2019
22 March, 2019
26 April, 2019
17 April, 2019
17 May, 2019
21 June, 2019
5 June, 2019
5 July, 2019
9 August, 2019
24 July, 2019
23 August, 2019
27 September, 2019
3. London Business School (UK)
For application to London Business School’s MBA programs, applicants are required to submit two compulsory essays. The MBA essay questions are:
What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School programme contribute towards these? (500 words)
Is there any other information you believe the Admissions Committee should know about you and your application to the London Business School? (Optional) (500 words)
Application Fee: £200.
London Business School Application Deadlines for August 2019 Intake
14 September, 2018
11 October, 2018
21 November, 2018
3 January, 2019
5 February, 2019
28 March, 2019
1 March, 2019
4 April, 2019
22 May, 2019
14 May, 2019
19 June, 2019
2. MIT Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA)
The MBA program at MIT Sloan School of Management requires a Video Statement instead of an MBA essay which is a 60 second self introductory video to be submitted by the applicant. The program also requires a cover letter enlisted why the applicant satisfies the candidature for the MBA program. Additionally, applicants may submit the optional essay question. The optional MBA essay question for MIT Sloan is:
Please provide any additional information you would like the Admissions Committee to know that may be helpful in evaluating your candidacy (i.e. choice of recommenders, areas of concern in your academic record, other extenuating circumstances, etc.). (200 words)
Application Fee: USD $250.
MIT Sloan MBA Application Deadlines for Fall 2019 Intake
September 25, 2018
December 19, 2018
January 22, 2019
April 2, 2019
April 8, 2019
May 8, 2019
5. The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (USA)
Applicants to Wharton’s MBA program are required to submit two essay questions as a part of the application material. The MBA essay questions are:
What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
Describe an impactful experience or accomplishment that is not reflected elsewhere in your application. How will you use what you learned through that experience to contribute to the Wharton community? (500 words)
Application Fee: USD $265.
University of Pennsylvania MBA Application Deadlines for Fall 2019 Intake
September 18, 2018
October 30, 2018
December 13, 2018
January 3, 2019
February 7, 2019
March 21, 2019
April 18, 2019
May 9, 2019
6. Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University (USA)
For admission to Stanford’s MBA program, applicants are required to submit two essays as a part of their application and the combined limit for both of the essays is 1,150 words. The MBA essay questions are:
What matters most to you, and why?
Application Fee: USD $275.
Stanford MBA Application Deadlines for Fall 2019 Intake
18 September, 2018
12 December, 2018
10 January, 2019
3 April, 2019
16 May, 2019
7. Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge (UK)
The MBA program at the University of Cambridge requires applicants to submit a total of three essays. The first essay or the personal statement is essentially similar (though not identical) to a statement of purpose (SOP). The MBA essay questions are:
A Personal Statement (500 words)
What did you learn from your most spectacular failure? (200 words)
Describe a situation where you had to work jointly with others to achieve a common goal. What did you learn from the experience? (200 words)
Application Fee: £150.
University of Cambridge MBA Application Deadlines for Fall 2019 Intake
7 September, 2018
21 & 22 October, 2018
26 October, 2018
9 & 10 December, 2018
11 January, 2019
24 & 25 February/ 3 & 4 March, 2019
8 March, 2019
28 & 29 April, 2019
3 May, 2019
9 & 10 June, 2019
8. Said Business School, University of Oxford (UK)
There are two compulsory MBA essays which fresh applicants to the MBA program offered by University of Oxford are required to submit. Reapplicants for the MBA program are required to submit the two compulsory essays along with an additional essay. The compulsory MBA essay questions are:
Consider a statistic or trend that shocks you. Why it is important to you and how could it be changed for the better? (500 words)
Is there anything not covered in the application form which you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you? (250 words)
The additional MBA essay question for reapplicants is:
What improvements have you made in your candidacy since you last applied to the Oxford MBA? (250 words)
Oxford University MBA Application Deadlines for Fall 2019 Intake
International Interview Locations
21 September, 2018
Delhi, New York, Shanghai
2 November, 2018
16 November, 2018
Johannesburg, Mumbai, New York, Singapore
11 January, 2018
1 February, 2018
Bangalore, New York, Shanghai, Singapore
5 April, 2019
26 April, 2018
9. Department of Management, London School of Economics and Political Science (UK)
LSE or London School of Economics and Political Science offers a Global Masters in Management program as an alternative to an MBA. Admission to this program does not require the candidate to submit any additional essays apart from the personal statement as a part of the application material.
There are also no specific deadlines for application to the program as applications are considered by the Admissions Committee on a rolling basis.
Application Assessment Fee: £65.
10. SDA Bocconi School of Management, Bocconi University (Italy)
For admission to the MBA program offered by SDA Bocconi, applicants are required to submit a video pre-interview instead of the traditional MBA essay questions. The video is to be self recorded by the applicant and requires the applicant to provide basic information which will integrate the candidate’s written application.
Application Fee: €100.
The application deadline for the fall 2019 intake of Bocconi University’s MBA program is April 10, 2019.
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