MBA Essays: Topics from Top 20 business schools

MBA-question-top-20MBA applications require mandatory as well as optional essays to be answered crisply. Top Business schools come up with innovative ways to know if the candidate fits their bill or if they fit the candidate’s bill. Taking the series Top MBA Essay Questions further, here is a list of MBA Essay questions from Top Business Schools ranked 11–20 by QS rating for 2018–2019.


Click here to know the MBA essay questions of the Top 10 Business Schools.

 Download MBA Application Essays Guide E-book

The following business schools rank 11 – 20 positions in the QS ranking

QS Rank

Business School



SDA Bocconi School of Management

Bocconi University



HEC Paris School of Management


Copenhagen Business School

Copenhagen Business School


Kellogg School of Management

Northwestern University


NUS Business School

National University of Singapore (NUS)


Anderson School Management

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)


NYU Stern School of Business

New York University (NYU)


Booth School of Business

University of Chicago


Columbia Business School

Columbia University


HKUST Business School

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

SDA Bocconi School of Management1. SDA Bocconi School of Management, Bocconi University

MBA Essays

Essay 1: What interests and occupations do you pursue in your free time?

Essay 2: What do you think you gained from your university studies? Conversely what important things do you think your studies lacked?

Essay 3: Explain the most significant goals you think you have achieved so far and the reasons for their importance in your personal growth.

Essay 4: Describe your strong points, personal and professional, explaining why you see them such

Essay 5: Describe you weak points, personal and professional, explaining why you see them such

What are the reasons that lead you to apply to the MBA program?

Essay 6 :What other possibilities have your seriously considered, apart from MBA program, for reaching your goals of personal  and professional growth?

Essay 7:Have you applied to other business schools in Italy and elsewhere? If yes, which ones, why?

Essay 8:Where do you wish to pursue your profession after receiving the MBA? Italy, My home country, Elsewhere?

Essay 9: What are your short-term professional goals (within the next four years)?

Essay10: What are your long-term professional goals?


Questionnaire: Give specifics, how, in your mind, might we improve our communication?

Questionnaire: What are the least effective aspects of how we communicate our program?


Video Pre-interview

The video pre-interview integrates your application form, providing us a better understanding of your profile. You will be asked to answer a series of questions by recording a video of yourself; the on-line platform will be guiding you through easy steps.


The pre-interview  video is a prelimnary requirement which precedes the admissions interview. It should be submitted during the application process and in any case not later than one week after submitting the online application.


Application fee:Euro 100

Application Deadlines:10 April 2018.


Click here to apply


HEC Paris2.HEC Paris School of Management


MBA Essays:


Essay 1: Why are you applying to the HEC MBA Program now? What is the professional objective that will guide your career choice after your MBA, and how will the HEC MBA contribute to the achievement of this objective? 500 words


Essay 2: What do you consider your most significant life achievement? 250 words


Essay 3: Leadership and ethics are inevitably intertwined in the business world. Describe a situation in which you have dealt with these issues and how they have influenced you.


Essay 4:  Imagine a life entirely different from the one you now lead, what would it be? 250 words


Essay 5: Please choose from one of the following essays:

  1. What monument or site would you advise a first-time visitor to your country or city to discover, and why?

  2. Certain books, movies or plays have had an international success that you believe to be undeserved. Choose an example and analyse it.

  3. What figure do you most admire and why? You may choose from any field (arts, literature, politics, business, etc)

Essay 6: (Optional) Is there any additional information you would like to share with us?


Application Fee: €200



Intake: Jan 2018 Full-time

Application Deadline*

Decision Date**

15th September 2017

13th October 2017

15th October 2017

17th November 2017

15th November 2017

15th December 2017

Intake: Sept 2018 Full-time

Application Deadline*

Decision Date**

15th August 2017

14th September 2017

15th September 2017

12th October 2017

15th October 2017

16th November 2017

15th November 2017

14th December 2017

1st January 2018

8th February 2018

1st February 2018

8th March 2018

1st March 2018

5th April 2018

1st April 2018

3rd May 2018

1st May 2018

7th June 2018

1st June 2018

5th July 2018

1st July 2018

26th July 2018

* Application Deadlines are subject to change

** Decision date may be affected by interviewer availability


Click here to apply


Copenhagen Business School3. Copenhagen Business School, Denmark


MBA Essays:


Essay 1: Discuss the relevance of "Responsible Management" in a modern business context? (Maximum 500 words)

Essay 2: How will studying an MBA in Copenhagen uniquely impact your career? (Maximum 200 words)

Essay 3: VIDEO ESSAY – Take 10-15 minutes to answer a few questions that will give us a chance to meet you virtually, get insight into your personality and an understanding of your true potential. Most importantly, we want to know how you think on your feet.


September 2018 Intake

January 10, 2018

May 2, 2018

Click here to apply


Kellogg Business School4. Kellogg Business School, Northwestern University


MBA Essays:

Essay1: Kellogg's purpose is to educate, equip & inspire brave leaders who create lasting value. Tell us about a time you have demonstrated leadership and created lasting value. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (approximately 450 words)


Essay 2: Pursuing an MBA is a catalyst for personal and professional growth. How have you grown in the past? How do you intend to grow at Kellogg? (approximately 450 words)


Additional Information

If needed, use this section to briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.).


Video Essay

The Video Essay is one component of the application and provides you with an additional opportunity to demonstrate what you will bring to our vibrant Kellogg community – in an interactive way. You will respond to three short video essay questions. The questions are designed to bring to life the person we have learned about on paper.

  • Video Essays are due 48 hours after the application deadline.

  • After submitting an application you will receive an email that will include directions on how to complete the three video essay questions. One question will be a “getting to know you," icebreaker type of question. The second question will be an opportunity to describe your plans for the future and how Kellogg will help you on that journey. The third question will focus on a challenge you have faced.

Application Deadlines





Application Deadline

September 20, 2017

January 10, 2018

April 11, 2018

On-Campus Interviews Tentative Scheduled by

September 22, 2017

January 12, 2018

April 13, 2018

Decision Released

December 13, 2017

March 28, 2018

May 16, 2018

Deposit Due




Click here to apply.


NUS Business School5. NUS Business School, National University of Singapore (NUS)


MBA Essays:


Essay1: Please answer ONE of the following short essay prompts. (300 words)      
            a. I am passionate about…
            b. My greatest challenge has been…
            c. My biggest failure was ….


Essay 2: Briefly describe your immediate post-MBA career goal including your industry, function and country of choice and how have your prior experiences motivated and prepared you to pursue these goals? (300 words)*


Essay 3: If there is anything else you would like to share with the Admissions Committee that was not covered in your application, please include here. (300 words)*


Essay 4: (Only applicable to re-applicants)

Please provide an update on any new aspects of your professional, international, academic or personal profile that would not have been included in your previous application. Please also explain your motivation for re-applying to NUS. (Maximum: 300 words)


Application Fee:

  • Round 1 (31 Jan 2018) - $50 (50% waiver for early submission)

  • Round 2 (1 Feb - 31 Mar 2018) - $100

Application Deadlines

Round I: Now – 31 January 2018 (Scholarship Qualifying Period)
Round II: 01 February 2018 – 31 March 2018

Click here to apply.


Anderson School of Management6. Anderson School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)


MBA Essays:


Essay Question: Describe your short-term and long-term career goals. How can the UCLA Anderson experience add value to your professional development? (500 words maximum)

Short Answer Question: Describe how you would contribute to the UCLA Anderson community. (250 words maximum)


Reapplicants Essay (For applicants who applied for the MBA program in the previous two years)

Please describe your career progress since you last applied and how you have enhanced your candidacy. Include updates on short-term and long-term career goals, as well as your continued interest in UCLA Anderson. (750 words maximum)


Optional Question: Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? Please use your best judgment. (250 words maximum)


Application Fee: $200


Application Deadline:



Decision Release

Round 1

October 6, 2017

December 15, 2017

Round 2

January 5, 2018

March 29, 2018

Round 3

April 12, 2018

May 24, 2018

NYU Stern Business School7. NYU Stern Business School, New York University (NYU)


MBA Essays:


Essay 1: Professional Aspirations (500 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

  • What are your short and long-term career goals?

  • How will the MBA help you achieve them?

Essay 2: Program Preferences
NYU Stern offers a portfolio of MBA programs designed to meet the needs of our applicants. Your program preferences are very important as you will be admitted to only one program. You cannot switch your program option after receiving your admissions decision.


A. Primary Program Preference (250 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

  • Please indicate the primary MBA program for which you would like to be considered, as indicated in the Primary Program Selection section of the application.

  • Explain why the program you have selected is the best program for you.

B. Alternative Program Preference(s) (250 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

  • Please indicate any alternative program(s) for which you would also like to be considered, as indicated in the Alternative Program Selection section of the application and why you would also like to be considered for this/these program(s).

  • An alternate program does not need to be selected. If you have no alternate programs you do not need to complete this essay, just indicate "N/A".

Essay 3: Personal Expression (a.k.a. "Pick Six")
Describe yourself to the Admissions Committee and to your future classmates using six images and corresponding captions. Your uploaded PDF should contain all of the following elements:

  • A brief introduction or overview of your "Pick Six" (no more than 3 sentences).

  • Six images that help illustrate who you are.

  • A one-sentence caption for each of the six images that helps explain why they were selected and are significant to you.

Note: Your visuals may include photos, infographics, drawings, or any other images that best describe you. Your document must be uploaded as a single PDF. The essay cannot be sent in physical form or be linked to a website.

Essay 4: Additional Information (optional) (250 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee. This may include current or past gaps in employment, further explanation of your undergraduate record or self-reported academic transcript(s), plans to retake the GMAT, GRE, IELTS or TOEFL or any other relevant information.


Application Fee: $50


Application Deadlines:



Notification By

1st Deadline

October 15, 2017

January 1, 2018

2nd Deadline

January 15, 2018

April 1, 2018

3rd Deadline

March 15, 2018

June 1, 2018

University of Chicago Booth School of Business8. University of Chicago Booth School of Business, USA


MBA Essays:


2017-2018 Chicago Booth Full-Time MBA Essay Question:


View this collection of shared Booth moments. Choose the moment that best resonates with you and tell us why.


Presentation/Essay Guidelines:

  • Choose the format that works for you. Want to illustrate your response visually? Submit a slide presentation. Like to express yourself with words? Write a traditional essay. Use the format that you feel best captures your response, the Admissions Committee has no preference.
  • Determine your own length. There is no prescribed minimum or maximum length. We trust that you will use your best judgment in determining how long your submission should be, but we recommend that you think strategically about how to best allocate the space.

Optional Essay:
Is there any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know? If so, please address in an optional essay. (300 words maximum)


Re-applicant Essay:

Upon reflection, how has your perspective regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (300 words maximum)


Application Fee:$250


Application Deadline


Submission Deadline

Final Decision Notification

Round 1

September 21, 2017
11:59pm CT

December 7, 2017

Round 2

January 3, 2018
11:59pm CT

March 15, 2018

Round 3

April 3, 2018
11:59pm CT

May 17, 2018

Click here to apply.


 Columbia Business School9. Columbia Business School, Columbia University, USA


MBA Essays:

Applicants must complete one short answer question and three essays.


Short Answer Question:
What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)

Examples of possible responses:
“Work in business development for a media company.”
“Join a strategy consulting firm.”
“Launch a data-management start-up.”


Essay 1: Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)


Essay 2: The full-time MBA experience includes academics, recruiting, and networking. What are your personal priorities and how do you anticipate allocating your time at Columbia Business School? (250 words)


Essay 3: Please select and answer one of the following essay questions: (250 words)
a. Please tell us what you feel most passionate about in life.
b. If you were given a free day and could spend it anywhere, in any way you choose, what would you do?


Optional Essay: Is there any further information that you wish to provide the Admissions Committee? If so, use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history. This does not need to be a formal essay. You may submit bullet points. (Maximum 500 Words)


Knight-Bagehot Fellows:
Rather than answer Essay 1, current Knight-Bagehot Fellows applying to Columbia Business School should use the space allocated to the first essay (500 words) to complete the Wiegers Fellowship application essay.


Wiegers Fellowship Essay Question:
What are your career goals? How has the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship affected these goals? How will an MBA help you achieve these goals? (500 words maximum)


Application Fee: US$250


Application Deadlines




Oct 4, 2017

Merit Fellowship Deadline

Jan 5, 2018


Apr 11, 2018

Click here to apply.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology10. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology


MBA Essays:


Essay 1: The HKUST MBA mission is to inspire and transform individuals to be future business leaders for Asia and the world. We embrace diversity, and are looking for ambitious and open-minded candidates with a passion to contribute. It is the first day of orientation. Please introduce yourself to your classmates, highlighting what drives you in your personal and professional life. (500 words)


Essay 2: Tell us about your post-MBA goals and based on that, why is the HKUST MBA the ideal program for you and how do you plan to engage and enrich our community? (500 words)


Application Fee: HK$1,560


Application Deadline



First Deadline

8 Nov 2017

Second Deadline

10 Jan 2018

Third Deadline

7 Mar 2018

Click here to apply.


Also read,

Top Universities in the World 2018

MBA Essays: Topics from Top 10 Business Schools


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First Published On : 10 Oct 2017 05:14 PM IST

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