To Be the Early Bird

There is a saying that “the early bird catches the worm”. 早起的鸟儿有虫吃!I truly believe it and have always started earlier than my peers.
So even though the application process hasn’t been started yet, it’s always essential to think about application essays. Different schools have different essay topics but the core questions are “why MBA”, “why now” and “why my school” plus experiences such as “leadership”, “team player” and “unique event”. The following are essays from three of my targeted schools. Sometimes I really feel overwhelmed when facing these questions which are like digging a hole in my heart to find my genuine desire and nature. Also to answer well these questions takes time but, after all, it’s worthwile.

School A
1. Discuss your post-MBA career goals and how your work experience has influenced these goals. Include in your discussion: “Why an MBA at this time?” and “The industry or functional area you plan to pursue at the completion of your MBA.” (Maximum 750 words)
2. Describe a team experience in which your leadership and interpersonal skills directly affected the outcome of the project. How will this experience impact your contribution as a team member at the Jones School? (Maximum 750 words)
3. Choose one of the following three essays (Maximum 750 words):
* Describe a defining moment or event that changed your life. Include its impact on you and how it may have altered your view of the world.
* If you took out a one-page advertisement of yourself in a magazine, what would it look like, and what would the headline be? In which magazine would it be, and why?
* What literary character best represents you, and why?
4. Optional: Is there anything else that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you? (1 page)

School B
Short Answers
1. What are you most passionate about? Why? (250-word maximum)
2. Tell us about your most significant accomplishment. (250-word maximum)
3. At Haas, we value innovation and creativity. Describe a time when you created positive change in a group or an organization. (250-word maximum)
4. What steps have you taken to learn about the Berkeley MBA program, and what factors have influenced your decision to apply? (250-word maximum)
Essays
1. Give us an example of a situation in which you displayed leadership. (500 word maximum)
2. What are your post-MBA short-term and long-term career goals? How do your professional experiences relate to these goals? How will an MBA from Berkeley help you achieve these specific career goals? (1000 word maximum)

School C
1. Describe how your past educational and career choices have informed your decision to pursue an MBA now. In both the short-term and the long-term, what do you hope to achieve with the UBC MBA that you can’t achieve through your experience alone? (500 word limit)
2. One of the core tenets of the Sauder School of Business is a collaborative culture. Discuss one or two examples from your professional experience that highlight successful collaboration. In particular, describe your role in ensuring that success. (500 word limit)
3. Please answer ONE of the following TWO questions:
a) A key hallmark of the UBC MBA is its diversity. Outline an event that highlights your successful experience dealing with people of diverse cultural, educational, or work backgrounds. (250 word limit)
b) Complete the following statement: “One thing that people may be surprised to know about me is…” (250 word limit)

Continue with essay topics from another top 2 schools.
School S
* Essay 1: What matters most to you, and why?
o The best examples of Essay 1 reflect the process of self-examination that you have undertaken to write them.
o They give us a vivid and genuine image of who you are—and they also convey how you became the person you are.
o They do not focus merely on what you’ve done or accomplished. Instead, they share with us the values, experiences, and lessons that have shaped your perspectives.
o They are written from the heart and address not only a person, situation, or event, but also how that person, situation, or event has influenced your life.
* Essay 2: What are your career aspirations? How will your education at Stanford help you achieve them?
o Use this essay to explain your view of your future, not to repeat accomplishments from your past.
o You should address three distinct topics:
+ your career aspirations
+ the role of an MBA education in achieving those aspirations
+ and your rationale for earning that MBA at Stanford, in particular.
o The best examples of Essay 2 express your passions or focused interests; explain why you have decided to pursue graduate education in management; and demonstrate your desire to take advantage of the opportunities that are distinctive to the Stanford MBA Program.
* Essay 3: Answer two of the four questions below. Tell us not only what you did but also how you did it. What was the outcome? How did people respond? Only describe experiences that have occurred during the last three years.
Option A: Tell us about a time when you built or developed a team whose performance exceeded expectations.
Option B: Tell us about a time when you made a lasting impact on your organization.
Option C: Tell us about a time when you motivated others to support your vision or initiative.
Option D: Tell us about a time when you went beyond what was defined, established, or expected.

School H
* What are your three most substantial accomplishments and why do you view them as such? (600-word limit)
* What have you learned from a mistake? (400-word limit)
* Please respond to two of the following (400-word limit each):
1. What would you like the MBA Admissions Board to know about your undergraduate academic experience?
2. What is your career vision and why is this choice meaningful to you?
3. Tell us about a time in your professional experience when you were frustrated or disappointed.
4. When you join the HBS Class of 2013, how will you introduce yourself to your new classmates?

School W
1. Required for Full-time and Evening MBA Applicants (750 words maximum)

Applicants with a plan for the future and a good grasp of what is expected of them as MBA students are the most likely to succeed as MBA graduates. We know plans change and that people often pursue an MBA to create new career options. That said, we ask that you give us a clear statement of your current career plans. Your essay should answer all the following questions: What do you expect to do immediately after completing the MBA program? What steps have you taken to assess the viability of your post-MBA goals given your experience to date combined with your intended MBA study plans? What do you anticipate will be the primary challenges to achieving your career goals? What is your lifetime career goal? What unique aspects of the Foster MBA Program would contribute the most towards achieving your short term and long term goals?

2. Full-time MBA Applicants: PLANS FOR INVOLVEMENT (500 words maximum)
We consider a high level of involvement in student organizations, networking and career efforts to be a hallmark of the Foster MBA experience. Please describe your anticipated level of involvement as an MBA student beyond the MBA course requirements. In what specific organizations or activities will you participate? Where do you expect to make the greatest contribution to the overall MBA experience at the Foster School of Business? What aspects of your past or current life provide insights into your ability and willingness to consistently deliver more than the minimum effort required?

3. Required for Full-time and Evening MBA Applicants (500 words maximum)

Answer one of the following:

1. Describe a situation in a work environment that either severely strained your relationship with co-workers or challenged your personal values. How did you resolve the situation?
2. At this point in your career what do you consider your most significant professional accomplishments? How have these particular accomplishments affected the career choices you have made?

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