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Kelley School of Business MBA Essay Analysis

Kelley School of Business MBA Essay Analysis 2020-2021

If you wish to apply to Kelley School of Business for 2021, and wondering how to attempt the application essay questions, we are here for you. All you have to do is read this blog where we will be discussing actionable tips, to help you tackle the Kelley School of Business MBA Essay.

Before we begin, let us look at the advantages of being a part of the Kelley School of Business.

You will get several advantages by being a part of Kelley school of Business, because:

1. Being a part of the University of Indiana, Kelley enjoys a good reputation
2. Their MBA program is ideal for ‘career changers’
3. Kelley School of Business offers a STEM MBA, which provides a two-year extension to stay in the USA.

If you wish to learn more about Kelley School of Business and its courses, simply click here.

If you would like to watch what our GMAT and MBA Expert, Arun Jagannathan has to say about writing your Kelley School of  Business MBA application essays, you can watch the video here.

We now proceed to discuss the application essays for Kelley School of Business.


Kelley School of Business requires candidates to write three application essays. We will be discussing each essay and explaining the best way to write them.

Essay Question 1:

Discuss your immediate post-MBA professional goals. How will your professional experience, when combined with a Kelley School of BusinessMBA degree, allow you to achieve these goals? Should the short-term goals you have identified not materialize, what alternate career paths might you consider?
Word Limit: 500 words

Here is a formula for you to tackle this essay:
You + MBA= Future Goals

Let us explain this formula below.

In this section, specify the transferable skills you bring to the table. In other words, what are the things that make you valuable? Now many people from a technical background tend to shy away from describing their skills. But it is vital to know that people in the management circle appreciate those who know the nuts and bolts of how things operate.

For example, if you have an engineering degree, you stand apart from the other MBA students because you offer a skill set that makes you unique. Treat this section as your elevator pitch and drive home the skills that set you apart.

Next, you need to mention your transition. There are certain things you think you need to equip yourself for your future journey. You will address this by talking about the upcoming journey. First, mention the skills that you have gotten so far, then talk about your journey.

If you notice in the essay question, Kelley School of Business wishes to know about your industry, function, desired role, desired company, preferred location, and expectations about a day in the company. In short, Kelley School of Business wants to know if you have clarity about your goals and future.

Here is how you should divide this essay,

– 150 words- Background
– 150 words- Post-MBA goals
– 150 words- Why Kelley MBA

The remaining 50 words can be used for a strong start or a fitting end.

Essay Question 2:

Respond to one of the following short essay prompts.

a. My greatest memory is…
b. I’m most afraid of…
c. My greatest challenge has been…
d. I’m most proud of…

Word Limit: 300 words

For this essay, you cannot use it to showcase your achievement. What you need to do here is mention why the instances that you will mention in your essay are so vital to you.

We suggest that you apply the START framework, which is an acronym for:

S- Situation: Explain the gravity of the situation that has a personal connection with you.
T- Task: Mention what you were expected to do and what did you do.
A- Action: Mention the series of decisions you took in light of the task at hand.
R- Result: Talk about whether your action led to your success or failure.
T- Takeaway: This section is critical, and here, you will mention what you have personally learned.

Keeping the above framework in mind, let us now look at each of the essay questions below. Remember that you only have to attempt one of them.

1. My greatest memory is: We all have a bunch of impactful memories that we often keep revisiting. Here you need to mention them. It does not matter if they are big or small. Remember, it is not the happiest, but the most significant incidents which profoundly impact you.

2. I’m most afraid of: For this essay, you need to mention something outside your comfort zone. In other words, when you are pushed outside your comfort zone, that is when you are afraid. Maybe you can talk about your fear of trusting people. Remember, you should be your genuine self.

3. My greatest challenge has been: For this essay, you must understand that the Kelley School of Business admission team is more interested to know why certain events or things were a challenge to you. Do not spend too many words describing the challenge.

4. I’m most proud of: If you are writing this essay, mention why you feel proud, focus on yourself rather than the situation.

To conclude, you can attempt any one of the following questions mentioned above using the START formula. The formula is for you to have a sequence in your essay to help keep the reader hooked.

Essay Question 3:

Share a brief fact about yourself that your classmates would find interesting, surprising, or noteworthy.
Word Limit: 25 words

Before you write this essay, understand that the end goal should be to make the admissions team think- ‘Here is someone I would like to meet!’ Again, our advice would be that you remain authentic and share what sets you apart.

Optional Essay:

Is there anything else that you think we should know as we evaluate your application? If you believe your credentials and essays represent you fairly, you shouldn’t feel obligated to answer this question.
Word Limit: 300 words

When it comes to optional essays, only attempt them if you have something additional to inform the admissions committee, which was not mentioned in the admission form. If you can pre-empt what questions the admissions team might have, use the optional essay to answer them.


Application deadlines for Kelley School of Business class of 2021-22 are:

Rounds Application Deadlines
Round 1 Oct 15, 2020
Round 2 Jan 5, 2021
Round 3 Mar 1, 2021
Final Apr 15, 2021

Want to know more about the MBA Application Deadlines for Top B-Schools? Here’s the entire list of top B-Schools along with their deadlines – MBA Application Deadlines 2020-2021

We are confident that you have much clarity to answer your Kelley application essays. Whenever you feel you are stuck, you can always refer to the points mentioned above.

If you require any clarity and expert opinion on drafting and reviewing your essays, you are just a click away from talking to our experts.

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