Good times & a great education in Austin! UT Austin Essay Analysis: 2013 – 2014
Posted by Kofi Kankam in MBA
This is essentially a transcript of the elevator speech that you will give nearly a hundred times in the first few weeks of business school. They want to know who you are, what you’ve done (impact), and a bit about your character and personality. Feel free to pursue whatever medium you wish to express yourself: write an essay, create a video or create a profile on About.me.
Admit Advantage: This essay should start with you thinking through your MBA brand. Think about the 4-6 leadership traits backed by specific examples in your personal and career background that really speak to who you are as a future business leader. Do what you can to incorporate those specific character traits in your description. For example, you could talk about how you started a new alumni group in your city and built it from scratch to over 200 people in three years – speaks to 1) initiative, 2) ability to influence others and 3) effective communication skills (not to mention giving back to your alma mater).
Admit Advantage: The method of communication really doesn’t matter, but don’t be afraid to venture outside of the essay. For example, you can demonstrate non-verbal communication through a video and it’s a bit easier to get a feel for your personality through a video rather than an essay. Don’t worry too much about production quality – they are focused on content, not how much you can spend on video production!
Admit Advantage: Keep the context of introducing yourself to your classmates. While the historical perspective of who you are is an important part of your story, don’t forget to include a bit of information on where you want to go. Finally, don’t be afraid to have some fun with this and keep it light – no one wants a classmate that takes themselves too seriously!
Essay 2. In the Texas MBA program we value our tight-knit and highly collaborative culture. Outside of your professional goals, please discuss why you are a good fit with the Texas MBA program and how you intend to impact the Texas MBA community? (250 words)
Given the small size of the MBA program, it is no surprise that McCombs values fit as part of the admissions evaluation process. They want to make sure you’ve taken the time to learn more about McCombs to see if you’re going to be a good fit for the innovative and collaborative culture.
Admit Advantage: We suggest you do research on every school, but it’s especially important when you have a program like McCombs where they significantly value fit. Hopefully, you can visit the campus yourself, but if you can’t visit, do your research online and complement your research by connecting with a McCombs representative (i.e. MBA tours or school visits to your city) or a McCombs alumnus.
Admit Advantage: Take heed, they are NOT looking for your professional fit. They want to understand how your personality fits into the McCombs program and what type of impact you are going to make. One way to think through this question is to research what types of clubs and activities you may want to be a part of. Ideally, the stated involvement is consistent with what you’ve historically accomplished in your personal life and in-line with your professional interests. Be as specific as you can.
Essay 3. What do you hope to gain from your Texas MBA experience? How do you expect to develop, both personally and professionally, during the Texas MBA program? (250 words)
This essay is asking you to describe why you want to get your MBA specifically at McCombs with an eye on what you hope to get out of the two years. Think about this question holistically as it is asking you to project what you expect to get out of the MBA experience from both a personal and professional level.
Admit Advantage: There are a few layers to this question: 1) professional knowledge (what do you expect to learn); 2) professional experience (what experiential learnings do you hope to gain); and 3) personal growth (how will your personal habits, friendships, and experiences shape you). This is a good time to show some self-awareness and perhaps point out a weaknesses that you may want to concentrate on improving during business school to make yourself a better leader.
Admit Advantage: Be specific. This should not be the type of essay that you can cut and paste and put it another school’s application. This should be well thought out and focused, specifically, on McCombs. Be sure to list any McCombs clubs, trips, experiences or classes that will help you accomplish your intended personal or professional development.
Essay 4 – Optional Essay: Please provide any additional information to the Admissions Committee that you believe is important and/or will address any areas of concern that will be beneficial to the Admissions Committee in considering your application. (200 words)
For example, if your standardized test scores are not exactly what you would like them to be or if you have not had coursework in core business subjects (i.e. calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting, or finance), please tell us how you plan to prepare yourself for the quantitative rigor of the MBA curriculum.
Discuss any unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, or any significant weaknesses in your application or extenuating personal circumstances that you think may impact your candidacy.
The most common use of this essay is some sort of weakness, but if you have a gaping hole (i.e. GPA, GMAT, long layoff, etc.), couldn’t use your boss as a recommender or have some sort of other extenuating circumstance, here is your opportunity to address it.
Admit Advantage: Use your best judgment. If you are a 680 GMAT at a 700 mean school and have good credentials otherwise, we don’t recommend writing about a low GMAT score. Don’t feel compelled to write an essay here if you don’t need to; if you decide to write here, make sure not to exceed the word limit.
Admit Advantage: Watch the tone of this essay. Don’t apologize and rant about how life is hard (frankly, MBA admissions committee members have heard it all and don’t care too much). Address the issue, talk about your mitigants and feel free to stop writing.
November 10, 2014, Kofi Kankam