Articles published in Essay Analysis

Columbia Business School Essay Analysis, 2018-2019

by

Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Columbia Business School Essay Analysis, 2018-2019 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Columbia Business School essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


Columbia Business School (CBS) has just released its essay questions for this year, and the admissions office is offering applicants “a little bit old and a little bit new.” Its micro essay (really just a goal statement, to be fair) and first essay remain unchanged, while its second essay is a repackaging of a prompt from two years ago, and its third is brand new. In the past, for its third essay, Columbia Business School applicants could choose from two prompt options, generally pertaining to their personal lives and passions; now, candidates must respond to a question about a team failure instead. In short, this year, applicants have less choice with their essays (though the word counts have not changed), and the topics involved skew slightly in favor of the professional and academic and away from the personal. Let’s jump into our Columbia Business School essay analysis… Read more

Harvard Business School Essay Analysis, 2018-2019

by

Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Harvard Business School Essay Analysis, 2018-2019 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Harvard Business School essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


They say the early bird gets the worm. Almost one month earlier than last year, Harvard Business School (HBS) has released its application essay prompt. Maybe it was able to do so expeditiously because… it made no changes to the question from last year. HBS director of admissions Chad Losee, now entering his third application season, must feel the prompt is effective in eliciting the kind of information the admissions committee finds valuable in evaluating potential students. Our Harvard Business School essay analysis of the prompt and advice on the best way to approach it therefore also remain constant… Read more

Get All Your MBA Admissions Questions Answered in this Six-Part Online Event Series!

by

Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Get All Your MBA Admissions Questions Answered in this Six-Part Online Event Series! by Manhattan Prep

Guess what? You can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free—we’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.


Are you thinking of applying to business school this year? Perhaps you’re just starting to prepare for the GMAT or GRE, or maybe you haven’t yet begun to assess your overall fit at the top business school programs. How will you differentiate yourself from so many other MBA applicants? Where will you start? Read more

Dartmouth Tuck Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

by

Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Dartmouth Tuck Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Dartmouth Tuck essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College has remained largely constant with its first essay question this year, making just a slight change in wording that does not appear to affect the content requested—the candidate’s career goals, why an MBA is needed to achieve them, and his or her reasons for targeting Tuck. The school’s second required essay prompt has changed notably, however. Applicants are now asked to share the story of a difficult time and to explain how they responded and how the incident altered their understanding of themselves. An optional essay is also available to allow those who truly need to to address any weaknesses in their candidacy. Although none of the essays should exceed 500 words (approximately three times the length of this introductory paragraph), we feel that together, they give candidates sufficient opportunity to provide the admissions committee with a multifaceted impression of themselves for evaluation. In our Dartmouth Tuck essay analysis, we offer our advice for approaching each of Tuck’s prompts for this season… Read more

Duke Fuqua School of Business Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

by

Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Duke Fuqua School of Business Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Duke Fuqua School of Business essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


Unlike a number of the top U.S. business schools, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business has made no changes at all to its application essay questions this year, meaning that it is again posing its rather unique “25 Random Things” prompt. This decision will likely make some candidates happy but dismay others. If you are among the dismayed, we encourage you to view this submission as the generous opportunity it is to provide a comprehensive picture of yourself as a well-rounded candidate. Few application essays provide such a broad platform through which to share your most meaningful values, experiences, interests, and accomplishments. Fuqua’s second required essay focuses on candidates’ expectations of their role within the school’s MBA program. You must discuss how you anticipate engaging with and being a benefit to others in the Fuqua community. The school also poses a few short-answer goal questions concerning the basic professional elements of the applicant’s profile. In our Duke Fuqua School of Business essay analysis, we offer our advice for approaching each of Fuqua’s prompts for this season… Read more

Northwestern Kellogg Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

by

Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Northwestern Kellogg Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Northwestern Kellogg essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University has made minimal changes to its application essay prompts this year. The school’s required first essay has maintained its focus on leadership, but gone is the reference to teamwork, replaced by a request for evidence of “lasting value.” Kellogg also no longer stipulates that the incident candidates share be “recent,” thereby allowing applicants to plumb the full range of their history as needed to identify the most compelling or appropriate story. As for the video essays, we note that Kellogg is not stating this season that one of the questions will definitely be about a challenge, though we take this to mean merely that some applicants may receive such a question while others may not. The bottom line with Kellogg’s video questions is that they have no wrong answers and are intended to help the admissions committee get a more authentic impression of your personality (not to intimidate you!), so we hope applicants are not too concerned by that part of the application. In our Northwestern Kellogg essay analysis, we present our thoughts on how to address all the school’s prompts for 2017–2018. Read more

UCLA Anderson Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

by

Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - UCLA Anderson Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough UCLA Anderson essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


This season, the UCLA Anderson School of Management has abridged its primary essay question and shortened the word limit from 750 to just 500. However, it has also added a “short-answer” question (read: mini essay) that in many ways recollects the “lost” element of the main essay and reinstates those other 250 words. As the program has been doing for as long as we at mbaMission have been offering essay analyses, it asks applicants about their short- and long-term goals, this time along with the oft-seen “Why our school?” element. And the newly added short answer prompt focuses on what candidates will bring to the school’s community. Given this rather modest essay portion of the UCLA application, you will need to make the most of your recommendations, resume, and interview to ensure that the school gets the full story of who you are as a candidate. We offer our advice on approaching the school’s 2017–2018 queries with this UCLA Anderson essay analysis. Read more

University of Virginia Darden Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

by

Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - University of Virginia Darden Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough University of Virginia Darden essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


This application season, the University of Virginia’s Darden School is maintaining its single essay question approach, though the content of the query has changed. The school has been known to later add a few—much shorter—prompts, however, so you will need to stay alert for those, in case Darden does so again this year. In the meantime, focus your efforts on the program’s primary essay question, which prods applicants to discuss a past situation in which their opinion on a matter was changed as a result of input from and interaction with others. At first glance, we assume that with this prompt, Darden’s admissions committee is hoping to gain insight into applicants’ capacity for self-assessment and their openness and responsiveness to other viewpoints. You have only 500 words with which to convey all this, so you will need to be simultaneously thorough and concise. We offer our Darden essay analysis to help you achieve this. Read more

MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: The Admissions Committee’s Glass is 99% Empty

by

MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: The Admissions Committee's Glass is 99% Empty by mbaMission

What have you been told about applying to business school? With the advent of chat rooms, blogs, and forums, armchair “experts” often unintentionally propagate MBA admissions myths, which can linger and undermine an applicant’s confidence. Some applicants are led to believe that schools want a specific “type” of candidate and expect certain GMAT scores and GPAs, for example. Others are led to believe that they need to know alumni from their target schools and/or get a letter of reference from the CEO of their firm in order to get in. In this series, mbaMission debunks these and other myths and strives to take the anxiety out of the admissions process.


“I was the first in my class to be promoted at McKinsey. I have a 710 GMAT score and completed Level 1 of the CFA exam, but I had a B- in calculus during my freshman year. Will that grade ruin my chances for admission?”

“My company has been under a hiring and promotion freeze for the past three years, but during that time, I have earned pay increases and survived successive rounds of layoffs. Will the admissions committee accept someone who has not been promoted?”

“I have been promoted, but my company changed names. Will the admissions committee think I am going somewhere at a sketchy company?” Read more

Berkeley Haas Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

by

Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Berkeley Haas Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Berkeley Haas essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


One look at the first application essay question for the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley this year may make applicants think the program has finally embraced the less-is-more movement in essays that so many other top schools have been joining lately. And to be fair, the total number of words allowed for Berkeley Haas’s essays this season has gone down, but not by all that much—dropping from 1,000 to 806—so candidates still have a comparatively good amount of space in which to present a well-rounded impression of themselves to the school. Although the prompts have changed in wording, the kind of information the school wants to elicit seems largely the same. As always, you want your essays as a whole to encompass a range of stories and qualities that complement each other so as to provide an accurate representation of who you are today, the student you expect to be in business school, and the professional you will be for the rest of your career. What follows is our full Berkeley Haas essay analysis, featuring their updated essay questions… Read more