MBA Essays: Topics from Top 30 Business Schools

MBA Essays: Topics from Top 30 Business SchoolsBusiness schools put their best brains behind formulating the MBA applications essays. The essays are designed to showcase the applicant’s creativity, goals, diversity as well as team spirit as clearly as possible. The questions force the students to be truthful yet innovative during answering them. Read on to know the MBA questions from Top Business Schools 21–30 by QS Rating for 2016–2017.

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

Click here to know the MBA essay questions of the Business Schools ranked 11–20.

columbia-university1. Columbia University—Rank21

Essay Questions:

Applicants must complete one short answer question and three essays.


Short Answer Question:

A. What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (51 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 going forward, and how will the Columbia MBA help you achieve them? (100-750 words)


Essay 2:

Columbia Business School’s students participate in industry focused New York immersion seminars; in project based Master Classes; and in school year internships. Most importantly, our students are taught by a combination of distinguished research faculty and accomplished practitioners. How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? (100-500 words)


Essay 3:

CBS Matters, a key element of the School’s culture, allows the people in your Cluster to learn more about you on a personal level. What will your Cluster mates be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (100-250 words)


Optional Essay:

An optional fourth essay will allow you to discuss any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays.


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:



Jan '17*

Oct 5, 2016

August '17*

Oct 5, 2016

Merit Fellowship Deadline: Jan 4, 2017

Apr 12, 2017

Anderson School of Management2.  Anderson School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)—Rank 22

Essay Questions:

A. We believe that the best results are achieved when you share success, think fearlessly and drive change. With this in mind, what are your goals at UCLA Anderson and in your short-term and long-term career? (750 words maximum)

B. REAPPLICATION: Reapplicants who applied for the class entering Fall 2015 or 2016 are required to complete the following essay: Please describe your career progress since you last applied and ways in which 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)

C. OPTIONAL: Are there any special circumstances or life experiences that you wish to share with the Admissions Committee? Please use your best judgment on what is pertinent to share. (250 words maximum)

D. If you wish to provide additional information about circumstances or qualifications not included in this application, please so do here.


Application Fee: $200


Application Deadlines




Round 1

October 6, 2016

December 15, 2016

Round 2

January 5, 2017

March 29, 2017

Round 3

April 12, 2017

May 24, 2017

Ross School of Business3. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan—Rank 23

Essay Questions:

Complete both required essays:

A. What are you most proud of outside of your professional life? How does it shape who you are today? (up to 400 words)

B. What is your desired career path and why? (up to 250 words)

C. Optional Statement:

This section should only be used to convey information not addressed elsewhere in your application, for example, completion of supplemental coursework, employment gaps, academic issues, etc. Feel free to use bullet points where appropriate.


Application Fee: $200


Application Deadlines:




Round 1

October 3, 2016

December 16, 2016

Round 2

January 2, 2017

March 17, 2017

Round 3

March 20, 2017 

May 12, 2017

  Faculty of Business and Economics4. Faculty of Business and Economics, The University of Hong Kong—Rank 24

Essay Questions:

No Essays


Application Fee: HK$300


Application Deadlines:

Early Round Deadline

24 Nov 2016

First Round Deadline

31 Dec 2016

Kellogg School Of Management5.  Kellogg School Of Management,  Northwestern University—Rank 25

Essay Questions: For 2016-2017, the following two essays are required of all applicants:

A. Leadership and teamwork are integral parts of the Kellogg experience. Describe a recent and meaningful time you were a leader. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (450 words)

B. 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? (450 words)


Certain applicants will respond to additional questions:

C. Dual-degree applicants: For applicants to the MMM or JD-MBA dual degree programs, please explain why that program is right for you. (250 words)

D. Re-applicants: Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 word limit)

All applicants have the opportunity to provide explanations or clarification in Additional Information:

E. 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.) (no word count)


F. Kellogg invites video essays as a requirement for the MBA Application.

    1. 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 several short video essay questions. The questions are designed to bring to life the person we have learned about on paper.
    2. After submitting an application, you will receive an email that will include directions on how to complete the video essay questions. One question will be a “get 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 other questions will be randomly generated questions that will be similar to interview questions.
    3. There are practice questions that you may complete as many times as you like to get comfortable with the format and technology. The practice questions and experience will simulate the actual video essay experience, so this is meant to be a useful tool to help you feel prepared.
    4. We encourage you to practice so you are comfortable with the format once it is time to complete the official questions. There is not an opportunity to re-do the answer to the official video essay questions.
    5. You will have 20 seconds to think about the question and up to one minute to give your response.
    6. We estimate the video essays will take 20-25 minutes to complete – which includes time for set-up and answering all the practice questions.  You will need an internet connected computer with a webcam, microphone and an updated version of Adobe Flash in order to complete the video essay.

Application Fee: $250


Application Deadline:


Application Deadline

On-Campus Interviews Must be Scheduled by

Decision Released

Round 1

September 21, 2016

September 23, 2016

December 14, 2016

Round 2

January 4, 2017

January 6, 2017

March 22, 2017

Round 3

April 5, 2017

April 7, 2017

May 10, 2017

The University of Warwick6.  The University of Warwick—Rank 26

Essay Questions:

A. Describe the short and long-term career goals you have set yourself and how the WBS MBA will help you to achieve these?

Please limit your response to 350 words.

B. Outline the top strategic objectives for your current or previous organisation and in what ways you have helped contribute to achieving these objectives?

Please limit your response to 300 words.

C. If you are self-funding and interested in applying for a scholarship, please outline why you believe you are a worthy candidate?

Please limit your response to 300 words.

 D. Please use this page for any additional information that was not captured within your application. If you feel you've already provided us with sufficient information about yourself, you need not add anything here. 
Please limit your response to 300 words.


Application Deadline: 31 August 2016


Click here to know more about tackling essays questions on Goals.


Yale School of Management7.  Yale School of Management, Yale University—Rank 26

Essay Questions:

A. Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words maximum)

B. If any aspect of your candidacy needs further explanation (unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, promotions or recognitions, etc.), please provide a brief description here. (200 words maximum)

C. If you have had any post-undergraduate gaps in full-time employment greater than three months (other than for graduate study), please explain them below. (150 words maximum)

D. Which industry best aligns with your short-term, post-MBA career interests?

E. Which industry best aligns with your long-term, post-MBA career interests?

F. How did you arrive at these career interests and how do you intend to pursue them? (200 words maximum)

G. Are you being financially sponsored for your MBA by an employer or another organization?

H. Below is a list of some of the qualities that describe Yale SOM students and alumni. Please review the list and select the three (3) qualities that you feel best describe you. Please note that there are no right or wrong answers. We are not looking for any specific qualities, but simply trying to get a better sense of who you are.

  1. Qualities

  2. Adaptable

  3. Analytical

  4. Creative

  5. Curious

  6. Hard-working

  7. Humble

  8. Intuitive

  9. Level-headed

  10. Open-minded

  11. Persistent

  12. Positive

  13. Resilient

  14. Responsible

  15. Self-motivated

  16. Smart

  17. Socially adept

Application Fee:  $225

For applicants earning less than $20,000 a year: $175

For applicants earning less than $10,000 a year: $125


Application Deadlines




Round 1

September 14, 2016

December 6, 2016

Round 2

January 10, 2017

March 23, 2017

Round 3

April 19, 2017

May 18, 2017

Check here for tips to design MBA resume.


The Chinese University of Hong Kong8.  The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)—Rank 28

Essay Questions:

Objective Statement

Application Fee:  HKD 1,200


Application Deadlines



Document Submission


Round 1

November 15, 2016

December 15, 2016

January 15, 2017

Round 2

January 15, 2017

February 15, 2017

March 15, 2017

Round 3

March 31, 2017

April 30, 2017

May 31, 2017

The University of Manchester9.  The University of Manchester—Rank 30

Essay Questions:

A: Your Professional Experience and Achievements (minimum 500 words)

Please describe your professional experience and career progression to date including the dates of any promotions and salary increases.

We would like to learn about the companies you have worked for, the breadth and depth of the knowledge you have acquired in the workplace, your key achievements, your management and international business experiences and the impact you have made in your different roles.

Particularly highlight the parts of your career that demonstrate any of the following:

  • Managing people (team, business area, department, company)

  • Managing client relationships

  • Leading significant projects

  • Managing budgets, resources or processes

  • Defining/influencing strategy

  • International exposure

  • Entrepreneurial experience

B: Your aspirations (minimum 300 words)

To address the following questions:

a. What are your professional and personal aspirations and why is an MBA important in your plans?

What type of industry sector(s), organisation(s) and location(s) would you ideally like to work in?

b. How do you think your current experience combined with the Alliance Manchester Business School MBA will help you to achieve your aspirations?

c. If you aren’t able to reach your primary goal immediately do you have a plan B?


C. PowerPoint Presentation: Tell us about you?

Taking into account what we currently know about you from your CV and application, we would like you to send us a presentation to share with us anything else that you would like us to know. Your presentation will be printed and reviewed by the MBA Admissions Committee.


There is no right answer to this question. The presentation is a blank canvas to paint a picture that will help us to know you better. We hope to learn about your personality, what makes you stand out, what motivates and interests you and why you are the ‘right fit’ for our transformational MBA. Your presentation will be evaluated not on technical expertise but on the content, creativity and your ability to express your ideas.

Presentation Format


You can choose the software that works best for your creativity - PowerPoint, PDF, Word, Prezi etc.

Maximum 4 pages/slides

Check that your presentation is effective and the formatting preserved when printed. Please do not include motion images, videos, music or hyperlinks etc.


Application Fee:  No application fee


Application Deadlines


Apply by

Interview decision by (for complete applications)

Final decision by


12th Sept 16

26th Sept 16

10th Oct 16


10th Oct 16

24th Oct 16

7th Nov 16


21st Nov 16

5th Dec 16

19th Dec 16


9th Jan 17

23rd Jan 17

6th Feb 17


6th Feb

17-20 Feb 17

6th Mar 17


6th Mar 17

20th Mar 17

3rd Apr 17


3rd Apr 17

17th Apr 17

2nd May 17


2nd May 17

15th May 17

29th May 17


5th Jun17*

19th Jun 17

3rd Jul 17


3rd Jul 17**

17th Jul 17

17th Jul 17

* Final deadline for non-European Union applicants

** Final deadline for UK and European Union applicants

Stay tuned to for more news and updates on Resume


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First Published On : 20 Sep 2016 11:53 AM IST
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