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Washington / Foster MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2023-2024

washington foster mba essays

The following essay topic analysis examines the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business (Foster) MBA admissions essays for the 2023-2024 admissions season. You can also review essay topic analysis for other leading MBA programs as well as general Essay Tips to further aid you in developing your admissions essays.

Washington / Foster MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2023-2024

Let’s take a closer look at each prompt.

Essay 1

Post-MBA Plans – Tell us your ideas about what lies ahead for you in your career. What are the gaps or deficiencies currently preventing you from pursuing these potential career paths? How do you plan to use your time in the Foster MBA program to fill these gaps and advance your career? (750 words maximum)
This is a straightforward career goals essay, asking applicants to articulate their post-MBA career objectives, define why they need an MBA, and to comment on why the Foster School of Business makes sense for them for their future careers.

While on one hand, it could work to directly address each prompt in order, establishing your long-term goal first would lend meaning to your short-term plans, interest in an MBA and Foster from the outset. Think of it like having a map with the end destination already established—the reader will know where you are heading from the start and, therefore, have a foundation to understand the richer reasoning behind the path. You may therefore begin with a brief mention of long-term plans. Then, identify the function or job title you plan to pursue after business school, as well as your target industry and perhaps one or two target organizations. This position should be a logical first step toward a longer-term role that you hope to hold 10 or so years after your MBA.

It would also make sense to include a few sentences about how your work experience has prepared you for these future roles, to set up the explanation of the gap in your skills and knowledge that you still need to gain in order to move successfully along this path.  Detailed treatment of the ways specific elements of the Foster MBA program would help you to bridge the gap between your current skill set and their future plans.

To get as much mileage as possible out of this essay, you should aim to develop a very detailed response that explains how lessons from key classes and participation in certain student organizations will position you to accomplish your professional objectives. The adcom will also be interested in hearing about how you see yourself contributing to the community and enhancing the experience of other students, so naming some events that you would like to help organize or a club you would hope to lead will also bolster your case. An in-depth review of the program website, conversations with current students and alumni, or visits to campus, are all viable sources of the information you’ll need here.

This is a good deal of information to pack into a 750-word essay for any applicant, but introducing the central elements of one’s candidacy is definitely achievable, provided that applicants take their time to compose well-crafted and concise responses.

Essay 2

Personal Resilience – Resilience is one of the most important values of a successful Foster student. Tell us about what resilience means to you and share some of the ways that you have demonstrated resilience in overcoming personal or professional challenges. How do you anticipate showing resilience during your time as an MBA candidate? (500 words)
Resilience means to bounce back from adversity or challenges. This is an opportunity to not only shed some light on your relevant personal or professional history, but to also paint a picture of how you would fit at the Foster MBA program.

One potential structure here could be opening with a simple statement of what resilience means to you. This then would be backed up by personal or professional examples in which you overcame a specific challenge. The STAR method may help you efficiently convey your story:

  • Situation – Set the stage or identify the situation and related challenge.
  • Action – Describe the actions you took, particularly in overcoming the given challenge.
  • Outcome – Summarize the (hopefully positive) result and how you demonstrated resilience (through personal growth, applying the lesson in a future project).

You are not limited to one example here, as Foster asks for challenges. You may also consider reflecting on your educational and career history as a whole and seeing if you can pull a summary statement from each era. For instance, if you were the first in your family to attend college, how you survived the job market during Covid lockdowns, how you kept your volunteer life active during the pandemic, or how you became the youngest promoted associate in your company’s history. You will ultimately have to weigh what deserves the most space and what challenge best reflects your growth and values.

Whether you choose personal or professional examples, be sure to demonstrate your growth. The adcom is looking for how you respond to adversity—they want to know that you are tough and can handle the rigorous MBA coursework and demanding project work, all while engaging your classmates and contributing to the community.

Keep in mind that this all needs to lead to how you will be a successful Foster student. How you plan to draw on Foster’s offerings should have been covered in Essay 1; however, if there is a specific feature or features of the program that match the theme you develop in this essay, it is worth mentioning. Perhaps there is a club activity or particular professor who you feel could best guide you through overcoming a given challenge (and thereby show resilience).

Essay 3 (Optional)

Include this essay if you have additional information that you believe would be helpful to the admissions committee in considering your application. (500 words maximum, optional)
This is a relatively lengthy optional essay and, therefore, may seem more inviting. However, you’ll want to consider some questions before launching into a response. Applicants should take a conservative approach to this response, including only information, e.g. gaps in employment, a misrepresentative academic record, etc., that you believe warrants the extra item it will require for a reader to review.

Essay 4 (Optional)

At the Foster School of Business, we embrace diversity as one of the foundations of both successful business strategy and a world-class educational experience. We share the University’s dedication to promoting the understanding and appreciation of human differences, and the constructive expression of ideas. We welcome you to share some of the ways you have practiced inclusion, promoted equity or supported the advancement of underrepresented groups. (500 words maximum, optional)
New to the Foster application, this essay option asks applicants to reflect on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in their lives. This second optional essay is absolutely encouraged to complete, unlike the first optional essay. No matter the aspect of DEI selected, applicants should ensure they were active participants in achieving a positive outcome. Given the phrasing of the prompt, Foster will be looking for at least 2 ways that you have practiced DEI. Remember, anecdotal evidence will leave a greater impression on the reader; so instead of listing everything you have done in relation to DEI, tell a few stories here.

When approaching how to share each example, consider the following structure:

  • Situation – Set the stage or identify the situation and related challenge.
  • Action – Describe the actions you took related to DEI.
  • Outcome – Summarize the (positive) result.

The door is wide open for examples, but action is important here—think beyond comments or campaigns shared on Facebook, and reflect on advocating actively.

Clear Admit Resources

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