CareerMBA Essays

Foster School of Business, Washington—Essay Analysis for 2016-17


So the school that we’re going to be looking at in this video is University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.

One thing about Foster obviously is the location. Being in Seattle, you have Amazon, you have Microsoft, you have Starbucks, but more importantly Amazon and Microsoft are the two giants of IT.
Being right there in Seattle helps—it’s not just recruitment for these two companies but also a lot of ancillary companies, a lot of consulting companies that work for these two larger organizations.
So that’s what we’re going to be looking at. A lot of Indians end up applying to Foster as well, especially for those who are from a tech background.

Optional Essay


Please 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)

Three essays, third one optional, you know the rules for the optional essay—write only when you think there is something important. If you think it’s not important, perhaps it’s not.
Usually I would encourage writing only gaps in academics, gaps in work experience or something that is very pressing for you mention there. Apart from this let’s take the first essay.

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)
Though 750 words are plenty of words, we need to structure it very well.
You cannot tell the first part until and unless you walk them through your career progression till date.
Remember this is not a repetition of your CV; this is not a repeat of what you’ve written in your resume. This is stuff that tells others how you have grown. That upward trajectory should come through.
You’ve grown, no doubt, but at some point you’ve hit a glass ceiling. You’ve arrived at this point in your career where you say, “I’ve done so much but now I’ve realized that I have to go to the next point”.
What is that next point?
You have to be very clear as to what lies ahead of you in your career.
So complete the first paragraph telling what lies ahead.
In the second paragraph you start off with what are the gaps or deficiencies you’ve identified.
What are the things that you need to equip yourself with?
It could be like a Swiss army knife. You might need multiple tools to equip yourself for that career path.
So you need to ask yourself, what it is that you need to achieve that career goal.
In the third paragraph, be very specific.

Why Foster?

Don’t keep it generic. Don’t just say great faculty and excellent infrastructure. It has to be very specific to Foster. So that forms the last 250 words.
So 250-250-250, in 750 words, your entire structure is done.
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Essay 2

Inspiring Experience Essay – Please tell us about an experience that inspired or confirmed your decision to pursue the MBA. (500 words maximum)
Here is the deal. You have to talk about something that made you think about why you should pursue an MBA.
Now if we go back to the first essay, it has shown your career progression and what you want to do next. But, you haven’t said why you want to do it.
This is the essay where you want to talk about why you’ve felt that career path is important for you.
Let me give you an example.
There was someone we knew, who got into Foster last year. He wrote about his experience of being a developer and about most problems that he would face that were technical in nature.
But after a few years he realized that more and more of technology wasn’t getting him anywhere. But he had this opportunity to work with a product manager. And he said, that really opened his eyes.
He said, “I saw that the product manager sees the same world, but I tend to have a limited perspective of looking at things only from a technical standpoint while he had a wider approach to looking at things. Working with him on that project for 6 months made me realize that I wanted to be a product manager.”
Obviously the other product manager had an MBA so that also motivated him to do an MBA. He realized that though he could take up other courses, this was the shortest and cleanest path to get there.
So try to make sure that you also touch upon a personal angle—as a person what attracts you towards the career path.
The first two essays, if crafted well, should get you an interview call and what you say afterward can help you get into the B-school.
In case you think there’s a conversation we can have and if you need any help, do let us know. We’ll be glad to be a part of your MBA application journey.
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