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As with last year, this year’s essay section comprises four required responses, with a continued focus on career goals, leadership experiences, a four-option short answer prompt, and a 25-word allotment for a “fun fact.”
Let’s take a closer look at each of the Emory MBA essay prompts for 2017-2018.
Define your short-term post-MBA career goals. How are your professional strengths, past experience and personal attributes aligned with these goals? (300 words)
This inquiry is a fairly straightforward career goals essay, with an explicit emphasis on the short-term. Candidates should open the essay with a clear statement of their short-term post-MBA goal, i.e. the position they plan to seek immediately after graduating from Goizueta. Applicants should name a specific job title/functional role, and might even consider naming 1-2 firms that they plan to target. While a long-term goal isn’t explicitly requested, briefly commenting on how this position will support one’s longer-term career vision would provide some context for this choice.
Meanwhile, applicants should take care to include a discussion of how their experiences and strengths are aligned with this short-term goal. We recommend that candidates devote at least 2/3 of the essay to this part of the prompt, as the wording of this essay (taken with last year’s required response about a candidate’s backup plan) suggests that the adcom is interested in admitting students with focused and realistic post-MBA goals. Candidates should therefore ensure that they cover each of the items named in the prompt, explaining how their professional experiences to date have informed their goals and prepared them (to some extent) for this position, as well as how they see their professional strengths (functional skills such as communication or quantitative knowledge) and personal attributes (more global qualities like flexibility or perseverance) supporting them in handling the day-to-day demands of their target role.
This is a fair amount of ground to cover in a 300-word response, and applicants should make covering each aspect of the prompt their first priority. That said, it may also be worth commenting on how a particularly appealing element of the Goizueta MBA program or community would also support one’s work in his or her short-term role. Such comments should be limited to just 1-2 sentences, and should be highly specific (focusing on a specific course or student organization) in order to demonstrate the applicant’s knowledge of the program while making the most of these brief Emory-focused remarks.
The business school is named for Roberto C. Goizueta, former Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, who led the organization for 16 years, extending its global reach, quadrupling consumption, building brand responsibility, and creating unprecedented shareholder wealth. Mr. Goizueta’s core values guide us in educating Principled Leaders for Global Enterprise. Provide an example of your leadership – professional or personal – and explain what you learned about yourself through the experience. (300 words)
The primary task of this essay is to recount a personal or professional leadership experience and comment on what one learned in the process. In selecting a topic, however, it will be important to key in to the preamble and its emphasis on the concepts of large-scale global reach and principled leadership that involves both social and shareholder responsibility. We therefore strongly recommend that candidates aim to select an example that aligns with at least one of these two touch points. While few (if any) applicants will have held C-level positions in global firms as Mr. Goizueta did, the adcom seems to be hinting that they’re looking for applicants who can work across countries and markets, manage large-scale projects, effect shifts in a team’s culture or strategy, and keep their own values and fiduciary responsibility in mind as they carry out their role.
Note that the example in this essay can come from the personal or professional realm (though all things being equal, a professional experience will likely be preferable here). Your highest priority should be to identify an example that will allow you to showcase one of the global- or responsibility-oriented abilities mentioned above. And, based on the opening comments about Mr. Goizueta’s effectiveness and vision, the strongest responses to this question will likely recount clear leadership successes.
Once you have identified your example, we recommend a simple STAR structure for this response. Begin by describing the situation, the players, and stakeholders involved before moving into the task: what you needed to accomplish in your leadership role (as well as any challenges or barriers that you anticipated). You should then move into the action, providing a chronological account of how you moved through the project or process. Finally, you should comment on the result — the positive outcome of your leadership efforts and the resolution of the story. In a concluding section, applicants will then want to summarize the lessons they learned in the course of this leadership experience, and might also include a comment on how these lessons have served them since and/or how they position the applicant to add real value to the Emory MBA community.
Complete one of the following statements. (250 words)
I am passionate about…
The best piece of advice I’ve received is…
The best day of my life was…
A personal goal I want to accomplish is…
On the surface, the options for this essay solicit rather disparate information. At a deeper level, though, this prompt calls on applicants to share something that defines them, whether it’s a long-term passion or goal that has informed many of their priorities and decisions, or a single day or piece of feedback that stands out to them for an important reason. This prompt seems designed to help the adcom learn about the applicant — and about what kind of student, classmate, and colleague he or she will be. The most effective responses will be authentic and revealing (without venturing into TMI territory), and will give the reader a sense of why you would be a great addition to the Goizueta community.
As part of the brainstorming process, we recommend that applicants begin by identifying their honest answer to each of these responses. For the items about the best piece of advice and best day of one’s life, we recommend narrowing this down to a single answer. Meanwhile, you might generate 2-3 options for the “passionate about” and “personal goal” options. We then suggest that you step back and consider which option will add the most value to your application. That is, in addition to telling the adcom something about who you are and what you care about, consider which will also allow you to demonstrate some positive impact or contribution you would make to the school community.
Applicants should also note that it would be ideal to comment on this potential impact in concrete terms. For example, an applicant who writes that the best day of his life was the day his child was born might also want to comment about how he balances family with work/school and propose a leadership role in a campus organization supporting MBA students with children. Similarly, an applicant who names completing a marathon as an important personal goal might emphasize how the discipline and perseverance required to accomplish this has supported her in other areas of her life and would translate to her MBA studies. There are no wrong answers to this prompt, though the most effective essays will demonstrate sincerity and thoughtfulness about what matters most to the applicant, with an eye to how this will also benefit the Goizueta program.
Share with the committee and your future classmates a fun or noteworthy fact about you. (25 words)
With its narrow word count, this prompt asks applicants to share a piece of “bonus information” in just a few sentences. We encourage applicants to have some fun with this item and to share something not covered anywhere else in their essays. This could be anything from an impressive personal or professional achievement to a favorite recipe, travel destination or hobby (or anything in between).
In arriving at a fact to share, applicants should consider the overall balance of content across their other essays with the aim of providing a rounded picture of their candidacies; if the previous three responses have focused on the professional realm, a more personal detail may be best here, and vice versa. It would also make sense to consider something that would genuinely interest or excite one’s future classmates. On that note, given that one’s fellow students are identified as an audience for this prompt, it will be important to balance any accomplishment-oriented facts with humility, perhaps commenting on what you learned from the process of achieving something or how you intend to apply transferable skills or knowledge to your time in an MBA program.
If you have additional information or feel there are extenuating circumstances which you would like to share with the MBA Admissions Committee (i.e. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance issues or areas of weakness in application). (250 words)
The adcom is primarily interested in hearing about explanations or extenuating circumstances that might have a meaningful impact on their consideration of one’s application. Applicants should therefore take a conservative approach to this response, including only information that you believe warrants the extra item it will require for a reader to review.
Clear Admit Resources
Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s Goizueta essay topics! As you work on your Emory MBA application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s Goizueta offerings:
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