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SMU / Cox MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2023-2024

SMU / Cox MBA Essay Topic Analysis

The following essay topic analysis examines the  Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business (Cox) MBA admissions essays for the 2023-2024 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.

SMU / Cox MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2023-2024

Let’s take a closer look at each essay.

Essay 1 

SMU Cox is a close-knit community that values teamwork. Our students are put in study groups within their cohort to build leadership and collaboration skills. What are five things you would like your study group to know about you? (500 words or less)
This prompt allows applicants to highlight their teamwork and leadership experience. It also amounts to a test of the applicant’s creativity and judgment in arriving at a well-rounded set of admissions-appropriate tidbits.

You might try the following exercise to help you focus:

  1. Write down the 10 to 15 most important events, accomplishments, interests, or experiences in your life.
  2. Look at the list you have generated and try to determine the themes that unify the important events, interests, and ideas in your life. How have you promoted collaboration? How do you work in teams?
  3. Determine which items best convey your leadership, collaboration and teamwork abilities. You may also include a fun fact to help your study group get a sense of your personality.

Once you have established content exemplifying the given skills and qualities, you should then consider forging (likely brief) connections to how your individuality would add to the SMU Cox culture and community. It will be important to develop a good sense of the opportunities available at Cox; attending information sessions, or speaking with students and alumni would pay dividends here.

Essay 2

What are your short-term post-MBA career goals (including the target industry, sector, and/or organization) and your long-term ambitions? (100 words or less).
This is a fairly standard, albeit brief, career goals essay, requesting one’s plans immediately after Cox. Due to the short length, the response should be concise in covering the particular role and responsibilities you are interested in. Should you have target companies in mind already, any direct knowledge or experience you can relay would underscore your commitment to your plans. For instance, perhaps you’ve already spoken with people you know at your target firm, or the HR departments. Once you define the specific role and industry or companies, you should have room to comment on why you wish to pursue the short-term role. While you should prioritize fully developing your goals upon graduation, you may comment on your intended impact and even explain how it’s a stepping stone to your long-term vision if you have room.

Re-Applicant Essay

If you are reapplying to the same program after a previous admissions cycle, you are required to submit the following additional essay. Discuss what have you done since your last application to strengthen your candidacy? (250 words or less)
The framing of this re-applicant MBA essay question suggests that the adcom is more interested in proactive steps toward material improvement of one’s candidacy. Applicants should therefore focus on the specific ways they’ve worked to strengthen their candidacies over the past year (e.g. assuming more responsibility at work, attending conferences in line with your long-term professional goals, retaking the GMAT, or bolstering community involvement), and the reasons that they believe themselves to be a better applicant to Cox this time around.

Optional Essay

Candidates can use this space to provide information not addressed in the rest of your application that may be helpful to the admissions committee as they assess your candidacy. Some examples include information about nontraditional undergraduate experience or gaps in employment history. Other uses could include professional awards, achievements or highlights of notable community service not listed elsewhere. (250 words or less)
This is a rather openly worded optional essay, suggesting that applicants are free to share any information that they feel would add value to their file (in addition, of course, to explaining extenuating circumstances or acknowledging weaknesses in their applications). That said, Cox’s application itself covers a fair amount of ground, so candidates would do well to consider whether what they’re sharing in this essay could have been covered in response to one of the program’s other requests for information.

Clear Admit Resources

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