Scheller College of Business, Georgia Tech-Essay Analysis 2016-17

November 26th, 2016

| Last Updated on March 5, 2019

In this video, we’re going to be reviewing the essays for Georgia Tech Scheller. First up, about this B-School, I think Georgia Tech is a great place for operations and technology. It’s in Atlanta, which is a great hub, one of the southern states.
So I think, all in all, great school if you’re in operations and technology. In fact, the school makes no bones about the fact that, “don’t come here if you’re a closet investment banker or if you have one of those other goals. But for these career paths, it’s a great school to be.
There are two required essays, one optional essay. The tricky part here is, they say there’s a 4000 character limit. So when you look at 4000 characters, it is roughly around 700 odd words. So 700 words is enough for you to write a proper, well-structured essay. There’s a lot of space over there.
So let’s take the first one.

1. Respond to one of the topics below (Required):
A) Describe a risk that you have taken and discuss its impact on your life.
B) If you could trade places with someone for one day, who would it be and why?

There is no right answer. We want you to be yourself, creative, and thoughtful in your response.
Do not overthink which of the two essays is going to be better. Or that Scheller has this ulterior motive to see which essay you’re going to pick. Trust me, people are going to join the batch, half of them are going to pick one essay, the other half would have picked the other essay.
So rather than focusing on that, focus on yourself.
1. A) Describe a risk that you have taken and discuss its impact on your life.
Have you taken a risk? If you haven’t taken a risk, the first essay is pretty much useless. So what is that risk? A lot of times people make this mistake of not really describing the risk. They describe the situation and they assume that reader would know the risk involved.
So first you have to talk about the risk itself, the decision that you made, what was the risk, what were the pros, what were the cons? In most situations, you’ll have something that would have worked but the lack of time, lack of information, lack of some other resources made you make that decision without knowing what would come.
It also tells me something about you. It gives me your profile as a risk taker.
What kind of risk taker are you?
Did you quit your job to start your own company? What was going on in your mind?
I want to know more about that. I don’t want to know the risk itself. It is important that you mention it, but give me an insight into who you are.
Why did you take that risk? Now talk about the impact of that action. Maybe it was positive, maybe it had some negative tones, maybe there were certain things that did not go as per your plan.
Are you regretful?
Do you have this tinge of bitterness as to why you did that?
If so, don’t mention it. But let them know a little more about the aftermath of that decision. Where are you today, because of that decision? 700 words are enough for you to write a great story. Very important that you craft it well. And as I said, just make sure you pick these points.
1. B) If you could trade places with someone for one day, who would it be and why?
Now again, though it might sound like a flight of fantasy that you say, “oh I want to trade my place with say, Modi, and I want to be the prime minister of the country”, remember this is not a school essay. It’s a B-school essay.
A business school wants to know your thinking. They want to know more about who you are. So don’t make it into a flight of fantasy where you say “I wish I were superman” or “I wish I were a movie actor”. They are really looking at what your passions are, what it is that you really want.
If I could give an example, I could say I would like to be Salman khan, not Salman khan the movie actor, but Salman Khan from Khan Academy, because I really admire what he does, I really admire the way in which he is able to influence education, the way in which he has been able to figure it out and he was able to introduce all these video courses.
Now that could be my personal inspiration. But, here’s the deal: it also tells something about me. As an educator, as a mentor, as a coach, it’s aligned to what I want to do. But if I were to say I want to be Salman khan, act in movies, it doesn’t make sense. So that’s where you have to be very clear.
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Next one: very standard, post-mba goal essay.

2. Why an MBA and why Georgia Tech? (Required)
Describe how your experiences, both professional and personal, have led you to the decision to pursue an MBA at Georgia Tech. Discuss your short- and long-term career goals and how Georgia Tech is best suited to help you achieve your goals.

Here is what I would suggest as structure—create three parts.
The first is, talk about your background. Talk about what you have done. Talk about your career progression. Don’t make it a repeat of your resume. It has to be something that says, “look, very quickly, let me summarize, this is how my career trajectory has been. Now that I’m at this point, what is it that I want to do.
That is your second paragraph. What is it that I want to do? Be very specific, talk about the industry, talk about the function, talk about the kind of companies that you’d like to work for and tell me what are the things that you need to do well in that role.
In the third paragraph, talk about very specifically, why Georgia Tech, why Scheller.
It has to be very specific. You cannot put platitudes like statements such as, “Georgia Tech is a great school.” They already know that. You don’t need to tell them that.
Why is it such a great school for you?
So again you have to go back and fit in what you’ve written in the second paragraph.
As I said, 700 words are enough for you to write a nice career essay. One more thing here is, that it talks about your long-term career goals. Yes, short term is important, but also give a sense of where you want to go.
So long term should not be 50 years but it could be maybe 5-10 years down the line. Just give them an idea of what direction you’re going in. for example, you could say entrepreneurship or social entrepreneurship. That should be enough.
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The third essay is an optional essay
Optional Essay:

The Admissions Committee believes that the required essays address issues that help us learn about you and understand your candidacy for the MBA program; however, you may provide us with any additional information pertinent to your admission that has not been previously covered in the rest of the application. Feel free to discuss any unique aspects of your candidacy or any perceived weaknesses.

I would use this essay just if I feel there is something really important that I feel I could not say in the first or the second essay. There is a space where I could write about stuff that really expresses this particular point.
For example, low GMAT scores. That’s a classic case where you say, “I got a 660 but hey, look at my college grades or look at the kind of work that I’ve done. So GMAT is not a true reflection of my true potential.” If you want to say that, this is the essay to say that.
Note: There is a 4,000 character maximum (including spaces) for each essay, so please be sure to keep that in mind should you choose to work on the essays in advance.
So all the best for your Georgia Tech Scheller application.
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