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USC / Marshall Essay Topic Analysis 2013-2014

USC Marshall’s essay set for the 2013-2014 admissions season marks a notable departure from those posed to applicants for the past several years.  While the school continues to demonstrate an interest in applicants’ potential contributions to the Marshall community, international experience, and personal growth, there is now only one required essay in the Marshall set, down from three, along with an optional topic.  Let’s take a look at each question in more depth:

Essay 1. Introduce yourself. How are you a good fit for the Marshall MBA community? The Trojan Network is highly regarded worldwide; how do your professional and personal goals add value to this expansive and collaborative brand? (500-750 words)

While this essay is similar to the fairly standard career goals essay asked in years passed, Marshall now requires applicants to demonstrate their fit with the school as well as their goals in only one essay—it is therefore likely that for many applicants, submitting essays at the higher end of the 500- to 750-word range will be necessary to fully explain their candidacy.  Because Marshall does not specifically ask for a career history section, applicants should keep any description of their professional experience to a minimum, keeping the primary focus on their goals and particular elements of their background that might demonstrate “fit” with Marshall.  This essay can be broken into two distinct components: candidates’ intrinsic qualities or experiences that will prepare them to succeed at USC and how candidates will make use of, and support in turn, the Marshall MBA program during their career.  Applicants should thoroughly consider by which specific avenues they are poised to add value to Marshall as students and alumni.  Taking the time to learn about the school’s special programs and extracurricular activities—whether through a visit to campus, conversation with alumni or reading the Clear Admit School Guide to USC Marshall School of Business—will pay dividends here.

Optional Essay: Here you may choose to provide additional information with regard to personal characteristics and/or challenges you have had which might enhance the diversity of your class. (250 words)

Although some leading schools have begun introducing more creatively oriented optional essays into their applications, this type of prompt is new to the Marshall set.  Rather than reiterating any points made in the required essay, applicants should employ this essay to share unique information about their personal backgrounds and experiences, or leadership and teamwork skills to help them stand out to the adcom.  The wording of the prompt suggests that a focus on the personal, not professional, realm will be the best direction for this discussion.  Moreover, with only 250 words to utilize here, applicants would do well to select just one to three topics to describe in detail instead of trying to cover a broad range of subjects at the surface level.  If you’re having difficulty deciding which stories to select, feel free to contact us for some helpful feedback on your candidacy.

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Posted in: Essay Topic Analysis

Schools: USC / Marshall

One Comment

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