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UMD Smith MBA Essay Topic Analysis

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 2018-2019 admissions season. You can also review essay topic analyses for all other the leading MBA programs as well as general Essay Tips to further aid you in developing your admissions essays.

UMD Smith MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2018-2019

Let’s take a closer look at each prompt.

Required Essay

Why Smith? Why an MBA? Why now? Be sure to include your short-term and long-term career goals. (Please limit your response to 300 words.)

This prompt is a standard career goals essay that touches on one’s career plans, timing of one’s education and interest in the Smith MBA. While on one hand, it could work to directly address each prompt in order, establishing your goals first would lend meaning to your interest in an MBA and Smith 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, as these would lend meaning to your proposed short-term goals. 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, as well as the skills and knowledge that you still need to gain in order to move successfully along this path. With this “why MBA” piece established, candidates will then want to offer a brief assertion about the timing of pursuing an MBA—perhaps you have made as much progress in your current role as you can, or perhaps an MBA is the only way for you to gain the necessary skillsyou’re your future goals. Detailed treatment of the ways specific elements of the Smith MBA program would help you to bridge the gap between your current skill set and their future plans. We recommend that candidates aim to devote at least 100 words to this section of the essay, if not a full half of their response.

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. Covering all of this ground within a 300-word essay is no easy task, so zeroing in on the aspects of the Smith MBA program that are most closely aligned with your goals will be important to developing an effective response; 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.

Optional Essay

Please use this essay to discuss anything additional about your candidacy that you have not yet shared in your application.

While there is no set word limit for this essay, it would be wise to keep this under 300 words, given the length of the required essay. Optional materials also create more work for the reader, so it’s important to keep that in consideration while being concise in one’s explanations.

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 this space to briefly cover any potential weak points in one’s candidacy. Such discussions should be direct and to the point, providing an explanation and pointing to mitigating factors without being defensive or making excuses. Mitigating one’s weakness or weaknesses here should be prioritized; 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, as opposed to just be an extension of the short required essay.

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