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IESE MBA Essay Topic Analysis

IESE Essay Topic Analysis

The following essay topic analysis examines the IESE MBA admissions essays for the 2021-2022 admissions season. You can also review essay topic analyses for other leading MBA programs as well as general Essay Tips to further aid you in developing your admissions essays. 

IESE MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2021-2022

Let’s take a closer look at each question.

Essay Question 1

Who do you admire the most and why? Help us to understand who has played a pivotal role in shaping you to be the person you are or the person you aspire to be. Please provide specific examples of how they have shaped or inspired you. (word limit 300 max)
This question essentially asks the applicant to introduce him or herself to the admissions reader, with reflections on an influential figure in his or her life. Keep in mind that the information you introduce should be relevant to your candidacy for the MBA program.

Applicants can approach this essay by opening with who they admire most. The prompt invites reflection on a more personal relationship, as this person needs to have played a “pivotal” role in your life. With this in mind, writing about figures such as Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, or Bill Gates might be challenging. First, the reader will likely have seen many essays on the same leader before and also, in the case of famous leaders, it’s likely you would not be able to draw on personal experience with them. So, consider your personal relationships—perhaps you have a mentor at work who has inspired you, or you’ve met someone through your community involvement that has informed a better sense of who you want to be. Of course, if you’re passionate about a certain career path like impact investing and you admire someone who has made significant strides in that area, you could make it work. The key will be in the connections to influencing who you are and aspire to be.

Parents can easily be the most influential figures in a person’s life, but should generally be avoided discussing in admissions. On one hand, IESE is looking for people who display innate maturity and leadership capacity. If your chief role model is your mother or father, this may indicate that you haven’t fully “left the nest,” and it could raise questions about your ability to think independently. On the other hand, there are exceptions to every rule. Consider what your relationship allows you to tell about your own story. If you grew up in a single parent home and that parent sacrificed a lot to get you to university or enable your opportunities, there’s a chance to shed light on your unique background and experience here.

While you need to highlight how the person has influenced you and why you admire them, ensure that most of the content is shedding light on who you are or aspire to be. At the end of the day, the IESE adcom is trying to get to know you. When sharing the requested examples, be sure to include how you have acted as a result of their influence. Show the adcom the values you embody as a result of this relationship.

Essay Question 2

What are your post-MBA career goals right after graduation and five years after? What kind of resources or opportunities offered by IESE will help you achieve them? (word limit 300 max)
While this question is a version of the standard career goals essay required by many business schools, IESE’s 300-word limit is a bit tighter than that of some programs. Applicants will need to clearly and concisely state what their future plans are for both immediately after business school and in the medium term, being sure to illustrate how their goals relate to their work thus far and the skills they would gain from an MBA. Then, connect to your interest in IESE’s MBA program, perhaps naming some key courses and clubs, to support why you want to earn your degree at IESE specifically.

Optional Essay

What would you like to highlight about yourself or your journey which may have not been captured in your application? (word limit 300 max)
This question provides candidates a chance to briefly explore an important aspect of their candidacy not mentioned in their data forms, résumé, or other essay responses. It makes sense to complete this essay in order to round out your application or explain any issues such as a low GPA or test score, work experience or choice of recommenders. For applicants from oversubscribed groups in the applicant pool, this essay could offer a great opportunity to truly stand out from the crowd by sharing an unusual hobby or an interesting anecdote. Potential topics could be a time you demonstrated leadership, ethical behavior, entrepreneurial spirit, or persuasion skills, as these are all topics that are often of interest to admissions committees. In the case of explaining a worrisome issue about your candidacy, be brief and to the point. Avoid making excuses and simply explain the situation. For example, perhaps you’ve taken coursework to mitigate a weak academic record, or you chose a recommender who was not your direct supervisor, but could still attest to your leadership skills. Whatever topic you select, it would be ideal to link this quality or fact to some element of your intended experience in the MBA program and/or future career.

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Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s IESE MBA essay topics. As you work on your IESE MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s IESE Business School offerings:

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