MBA ApplicationsMBA Essays

Sample MBA Application Essay Questions from Top B-Schools

Sample MBA Essay Questions

A lot of MBA aspirants who come to us only write MBA essays because the schools they apply to demand it.

If that sounds like the obvious reason to you, too, then you’re in the right place.

There’s so much more to MBA essay writing than just the process, though! If you are only writing it because you have to, it’ll never have the effect it should have.

Instead, if you figured out the real reason you should be writing one, you’ll do MUCH better.

So, here’s the deal:

Your MBA essay is the only impression you’re going to make on Admission Committees (AdComs) when they decide whether you’re worth an interview or not.

You must’ve heard the phrase that says your first impression is your last impression – this is largely true, especially if you don’t do a good enough job on your essays, because your application will simply be dismissed. You’ll be left with no chance to make any further impressions.

That’s why you simply HAVE to write a great MBA essay. Here’s what you need to know:

Do you have a goal in life?

We’re sure you do. And that is exactly what your MBA essay needs to reflect.

Of all the things you need to do during the B-school application process, writing an MBA essay can prove to be quite a complicated task for most applicants. We’re sure you’re here because you aren’t absolutely confident about crafting a winning essay.

Worry not, for we are here to help!

In this article, we will discuss the three basic types of essays along with sample questions from B-Schools:

  1. What are your career goals?
  2. Why MBA?
  3. Why you?

So, let’s get straight to it!

1. What are your goals?


The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
What are your short-term goals, post-MBA? 
What are your long-term goals?
Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize, what alternative directions have you considered? (500 words each)

Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. It should be written as if you were talking to someone at a social gathering detailing your career path with the rationale behind your choices. Discuss your short and long term career aspirations. (350 words)

Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College
What are your short- and long-term goals?
Why do you need an MBA to achieve those goals?
Why are you interested in Tuck specifically? (500 words)

Emory University Goizueta Business School
Define your short-term post-MBA career goals. How are your professional strengths, past experience and personal attributes aligned with these goals? (300 words)

Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University
What are your short and long term goals and how do you see the Cornell MBA enabling you to achieve both? (500 words)

2. Why MBA?

Fisher College of Business
Why do you wish to earn an MBA? Why do you wish to earn an MBA from The Fisher College of Business? How will the Fisher MBA program assist you in achieving your immediate career goals? (750 words)

Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland
Why Smith? Why an MBA? Why now? Be sure to include your short-term and long-term career goals. (300 words)

Washington Foster
Please tell us about an experience that inspired or confirmed your decision to pursue an MBA. (500 words)

IIM Ahmedabad
What do you expect to gain from the PGPX Programme at IIMA? (500 words)

Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University
Describe your short-term and long-term goals, and how the MBA will help you to achieve those goals. Include in your discussion: Why is now the appropriate time to pursue an MBA and why are you interested in obtaining a Rice MBA? (750 words)

Since this is undoubtedly one of the most frequently asked MBA essay questions, we thought it deserved its own separate blog post. Take a look at our post on how to handle your Why MBA essay for more.

3. Why You?

Said Business School, Oxford
What should Oxford expect from you? (500 words)

Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
List 3-5 attributes or characteristics that best describe you. (3-5 word maximum)

Olin Business School, The Washington University
At Olin, we pride ourselves on our close-knit community and aim to know every student by name and story. In an essay of no more than 500 words, please introduce yourself as you would to your future Olin classmates. (500 words)

Mendoza College of Business
At Mendoza, we encourage our students, faculty, and staff to Ask More of Business. We embrace a threefold commitment to achieve these goals:

Individual Integrity
Effective Organizations
Greater Good

Tell us about an experience in which you lived out one of those values. (Two double-spaced pages)

Indian School of Business (ISB)
If we were to admit just one more student, make a compelling argument as to why that student should be you by describing an (only one) achievement in your personal/ professional life that you are most proud of. What did you do that sets you apart from others? What did you learn? (400 words)

These essay topics are given with the intention of getting to know the real you (not what’s on your resumé but who you are, over and above the details in the application form).

These essays need to be thought out and written with great care. MBA essays help your personality shine through. They communicate why you are a great fit for the school, how you can make the most of your time at college and what you can give back to the university.

We hope that these sample MBA essay questions will help you direct your efforts in a more effective and efficient manner.

Let us know your questions, thoughts, and ideas on this topic in the comments section below!