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Notre Dame / Mendoza Essay Topic Analysis

Notre Dame / Mendoza MBA deadlines

The following essay topic analysis examines the Notre Dame / Mendoza (Mendoza) MBA admissions essays for the 2019-2020 admissions season. You can also review essay topic analyses for all of the other leading MBA programs as well as general Essay Tips to further aid you in developing your admissions essays.

Notre Dame / Mendoza Essay Topic Analysis 2019-2020

Applicants to Notre / Dame Mendoza need to respond to a short statement of purpose and then choose one of the following essay topics.  The essay may be no longer than two pages.  Let’s take a closer look at each prompt.

Statement of Purpose

Please share your short-term professional goals. What role does a Notre Dame MBA play in helping you achieve these goals? (100 words or less)
With such limited space, it’s important to be direct and concise in addressing this short answer.  Hence, we’d recommend opening with the specific position you hope to obtain immediately after school — down to the job title and 2-3 dream employers.  Space permitting, you could also note your long-term goals briefly to provide context for your short-term plans.

Next, summarizing your skills/strengths based on your background—and connecting to how they would enable or have inspired your career plans—sets up the gap in your skill set that an MBA would fill. Be sure to include why the Notre Dame MBA program and student community are a particularly strong fit with your objectives and priorities. If there’s a program or course that seems particularly relevant to your professional plans, it could be worth mentioning to show the adcom that you’ve done your homework on the school and see Mendoza as an important part of your desired career path.

Essay Option 1

Cardinal O’Hara established the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame in 1921, firmly committed to the idea that “the primary function of commerce is service to mankind.”  As the world economy continues to grow and change, how do you see business acting as a positive force in the world? (maximum 2 pages)
The admissions committee is looking for students who have really synthesized and internalized the Mendoza program, and who have a good understanding of their fit with its values. While the core of this essay should be one’s past experience of demonstrating related impact, this is also a forward-looking prompt, as Mendoza asks for your vision of the positive influences business will have.  While you may envision broader impact—say, what Elon Musk’s next project may be—keep in mind that the adcom wants to get to know you.  So, when accounting for your vision of how business can be a positive force, ensure that you are a part of it.

With respect to structure, it will probably make the most narrative sense to open this response by identifying what you have experienced and can see being a positive result of business.  You can then touch on how you have lived by this idea in your own past, and then explain how you would carry this forward into your own career. Details of your anecdote would ideally convey one’s leadership, communication skills and teamwork abilities, as well as reflection on how these efforts connect to a positive force. This can then flow into an introduction of your long-term goals—you will, after all, be a part of the business world after graduating and, ideally, carrying forward the ideals of your alma mater.  In describing your long-term goals, aim to comment on what draws you to the role as well as the larger impact you hope to make on an organization, category, sector, or region. This long-term impact element of the response seems a particularly logical place to address fit with Mendoza’s guiding principle.

Again, applicants should attend to the prompt’s description of the Mendoza tenet as they develop this discussion, drawing out ways they would support the greater good in the course of their engagement with the Mendoza MBA program.

Essay Option 2

The University of Notre Dame was founded in 1842, by Father Edward Sorin, C.S.C, with a mission to become “one of the most powerful means for doing good in this country”. In 1879, Father Sorin’s vision for Notre Dame appeared to be at a sudden, abrupt end. A massive fire destroyed the building that housed virtually the entire University. Instead of giving up, Father Sorin interpreted the fire as a sign that he had dreamed too small, and decided to rebuild, bigger and better than ever. That Main Building still stands today, topped by the gleaming Golden Dome, not only as an iconic campus building, but as an ongoing symbol of perseverance and vision.

Tell us the story of a time in your own life or career when you had to overcome an obstacle, start over, or rebuild. (maximum 2 pages)
This prompt is rather open ended, as candidates may choose from their personal or professional lives. While candidates are ultimately asked to account for overcoming a challenging experience, the situation should have some weight to it, as the preamble details a rather devastating loss—but also a powerful comeback—for one of the most important people in the school’s history. Hence, for example, this should not detail one’s struggles with time management or a minor setback in a project that was easily overcome, but rather a major hurdle that inspired an even greater change. Given the preamble, there is also a hint that the adcom will be looking for a sense of vision in executing one’s ultimate goal.

Overall, this essay is a good place to highlight instances of resourcefulness and persistence, and to provide insight into one’s personal and professional maturity over the course of a narrative. An effective approach might be to describe the initial obstacle and its broad implications in a few sentences, followed by a discussion of how you dealt with it—along with a brief illustrative example—before concluding with a reflection on the lessons you’ve learned and impact that you’ve had. Ultimately having a long lasting impact would also parallel the elements of the preamble anecdote. To conclude, it could work well to account for how you would bring the lessons forward as a student at Mendoza or even in one’s future career. Accounting for specific ways in which you would contribute to Mendoza based on this experience would not only support one’s sense of vision, but also understanding of one’s fit with the program.

Clear Admit Resources
Before you start writing your responses to the Notre / Dame Mendoza essay topics, check out some of our Mendoza College of Business resources:

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