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UMD Smith MBA Essay Topic Analysis


The following essay topic analysis examines the University of Maryland R.H. Smith School of Business (UMD / Smith) MBA admissions essays for the 2020-2021 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.

UMD Smith MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2020-2021

Let’s take a closer look at each prompt.

Optional Essay

Please use this essay to discuss anything additional about your candidacy that you have not yet shared in your application.
As the only essay in the UMD Smith MBA application, candidates need to carefully consider what to discuss here—and at what length.  UMD Smith does not prescribe a word limit for this essay, but it would be best not to overwhelm the reader with 1,000 words. In the past, their required essay was 300 words.  So, hovering around that length would make sense; however, if you have a few areas to cover, 500 words would be acceptable.

The application itself requires standard data form information, including a drop down menu for career track, contact info, educational history, self-reported test scores, etc.  You are also invited to share your LinkedIn profile.  With these fields in mind, it would make sense to use this essay for a little more context about your career goals, and why you have chosen to apply to Smith, specifically.  Expand on your motivations behind your short- and long-term goals, how they are related, and what impact you hope to have.  Then, you can touch on why you need an MBA to achieve these goals and dig into how Smith is the ideal place to learn the skills you need.

However, given the open-ended nature of the question, there is also potential to discuss a particularly meaningful activity or project that could not be covered in the application materials. Determining a topic will depend on the information already covered elsewhere, so this may be worth revisiting after you have a sense of what you are able to share in the application process. Because this is an optional essay, a selected anecdote or additional information should enhance your candidacy and highlight a strong skill or special interest to stand out.

That said, because there are no additional fields in the online application for liabilities such as gaps in work experience or a low GPA, it would be wise to use some of this space to briefly cover any potential weak points in one’s candidacy—if applicable. Such discussions should be direct and to the point, providing an explanation and pointing to mitigating factors without being defensive or making excuses.

The application itself requests standard data form information, including a drop down menu for career track, contact info, educational history, and self-reported test scores.  In regards to work experience, applicants are invited to share their LinkedIn profile, but otherwise can supply the date, location, position, salary, number of supervised employees and reason for leaving each position held.

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