Once you’ve answered the question, “Why do you want an MBA?” you’ll likely be faced with a follow-up question: “Why now?”
I assume that you already know why you want an MBA. (If you don’t, see last week’s tip, “Three Essential Keys To The Goals Essay.”)
Consider the following when you respond to “Why now”:
- Do you have the work experience to apply now? Establish how many years and what kind of work experience your target program prefers. Then determine if the quality and quantity of your work experience is comparable. If your experience is not comparable, then you need to consider a different program or push off applying for another year (or more).
- Does your target program support your post-MBA goals? If your future goals are still muddled, then you may want to spend another year clarifying what you really want to do before quitting your current job and diving into an MBA program.
- Are you stagnating in your current position? If your career progression has plateaued, then now can be a good time to earn an MBA. If you’re still at the bottom of the learning curve, however, and you’re looking forward to growth, increased responsibilities, and promotions, then you may want to hold off.
- Do you need an MBA to make your next professional move?
If you answered “yes” to the questions above, and have good reasons for those “yeses,” then you have the material to respond persuasively to the “Why now?” questions both in your essays and interviews.
Your actual response will probably focus on #3 & #4, and be positive. Don’t complain about your job or belittle your work. Focus on your plans for the future. Show that given your past work experience, when you learned a lot, and your future goal, which requires the skills and benefits of an MBA from Top Choice Bschool, now is the time for you to exchange your professional briefcase for an MBA student’s backpack.
By Linda Abraham, CEO and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the soon-to released book, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools. Linda has been helping MBA applicants gain acceptance to top MBA programs since 1994.
Our Series On Perfecting Your MBA Essays:
Do you have a goal in life?
I’m sure you do. Before we get down to the goal, let’s look at a scenario.
You’re working as a senior software engineer for a reputed company. You earn a great salary but you know that eventually you want to start your own company. However, you realize that you need to work on your business acumen a tad bit more and an MBA from a good B-school will be the perfect move to help you do so. So you write the GMAT, you score exceedingly well, and take it for granted that you’re going to the Harvards and the Oxfords.
Simple, right? Unfortunately for most of us, it isn’t that simple.
As you apply to business schools, you’ll see how most of them require a set of documents to be submitted as a part of the MBA application. These usually include you academic transcripts, GMAT or GRE scores, a letter of recommendation, resume and application essays.
Of all these, writing an MBA essay can prove to be quite a complicated task for most applicants. I’m sure you’re here because you aren’t absolutely confident about crafting a winning essay.
You may have it in you to get admitted to a top B-school, but how can you assure the Adcoms the same?
You got that right—through your essays.
The 3 Basic Types of MBA essays
1. What are your goals?
The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
1. What are your short-term goals, post-MBA?
2. What are your long-term goals?
3. Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize what alternative directions have you considered?
(500 words each)
Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. It should be written as if you were talking to someone at a social gathering detailing your career path with the rationale behind your choices. Discuss your short and long term career aspirations. (350 words)
Learn from a sample essay written by a student who got through to INSEAD.
Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College
What are your short- and long-term goals? Why do you need an MBA to achieve those goals? Why are you interested in Tuck specifically? (500 words)
Emory University Goizueta Business School
Define your short-term post-MBA career goals. How are your professional strengths, past experience and personal attributes aligned with these goals? (300 words)
Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University
What are your short and long term goals and how do you see the Cornell MBA enabling you to achieve both? (500 words)
2. Why MBA?
Fisher College of Business
Why do you wish to earn an MBA? Why do you wish to earn an MBA from The Fisher College of Business? How will the Fisher MBA program assist you in achieving your immediate career goals? (750 words)
Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland
Why Smith? Why an MBA? Why now? Be sure to include your short-term and long-term career goals. (300 words)
Please tell us about an experience that inspired or confirmed your decision to pursue the MBA. (500 words)
What do you expect to gain from the PGPX Programme at IIMA? (500 words)
Check out this sample essay written by an IIM A applicant.
Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University
Describe your short-term and long-term goals, and how the MBA will help you to achieve those goals. Include in your discussion: Why is now the appropriate time to pursue an MBA and why are you interested in obtaining a Rice MBA? (750 words)
3. Why You?
Said Business School, Oxford
What should Oxford expect from you? (500 words)
Here’s a detailed analysis of an essay that an Oxford applicant submitted.
Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
List 3-5 attributes or characteristics that best describe you. (3-5 word maximum)
Olin Business School, The Washington University
At Olin, we pride ourselves on our close-knit community and aim to know every student by name and story. In an essay of no more than 500 words, please introduce yourself as you would to your future Olin classmates. (500 words)
Mendoza College of Business
At Mendoza, we encourage our students, faculty, and staff to Ask More of Business. We embrace a threefold commitment to achieve this goal:
• Individual Integrity
• Effective Organizations
• Greater Good
Tell us about an experience in which you lived out one of those values. (two double-spaced pages)
Indian School of Business (ISB)
If we were to admit just one more student, make a compelling argument as to why that student should be you by describing an (only one) achievement in your personal/ professional life that you are most proud of .What did you do that sets you apart from others? What did you learn? (400 words)
Here’s a sample essay written by an ISB applicant.
These essay topics are given with the intention of getting to know the real you (not what’s on your resume but who you are, over and above the details in the application form).
These essays need to be thought out and written with great care. MBA essays help your personality shine through. They communicate why you are a great fit for the school, how you can make the most of your time at college and what you can give back to the university.
Do you want to know how to write the perfect MBA application essay? If so, you should check out our sample MBA Essay Guide.
Why the Sample MBA Essay Guide?
Our new 35-page essay guide contains 5 sample MBA essays written for B-schools such as IIM, Oxford, INSEAD and ISB. While there are several resources that will provide you with tips and tricks to draft your essays, there’s nothing better than real-life examples that have actually been selected by some of the top B-schools in the world.
That’s exactly why we’ve selected a set of essays that will inspire you to write your story such that everybody would want to read it.
Show me the difference!