Posted on July 18, 2023

MBA Essay Questions for the 2023- 24 Application Cycle

Essay Questions_2023-24

The MBA application season 2023-24 is upon us, with deadlines for most MBA programs 7-8 weeks away. Many MBA programs have already announced their application deadlines and essay questions. Some programs like HBS, Stanford, Wharton, MIT, Booth, Fuqua, Corell, Emory, Kelley, Tepper, and LBS have retained their previous year's essay questions, while others, such as Kellogg, Haas, CBS, Tuck, McCombs, Ross, Anderson, and Cambridge, have introduced changes to their essay prompts.

In this blog, we have gathered essay questions for the upcoming application cycle and provided information on the specific alterations made by different schools. We will continually update this blog as additional schools release their essay questions.

Take a look and stay informed.

 1. HBS

Harvard Business School continues to require applicants to write an open-ended question.

As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program? (900-word limit)

2. Stanford

Stanford applicants will also write two essays about what matters most to them and why they are interested in Stanford.

Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? (650 words)

For this essay, we would like you to reflect deeply and write from the heart. Once you've identified what matters most to you, help us understand why. You might consider, for example, what makes this so important to you. What people, insights, or experiences have shaped your perspectives?

Essay B: Why Stanford? (400 words)

Describe your aspirations and how your Stanford GSB experience will help you realize them. If you are applying to both the MBA and MSx programs, use Essay B to address your interest in both programs.

3. Wharton

Wharton's essay questions remain unchanged. Like previous years, Wharton seeks to understand how applicants plan to leverage the resources at Wharton to achieve their goals and contribute to the program.

Essay #1: How do you plan to use the Wharton MBA program to help you achieve your future professional goals? You might consider your experience, short and long-term goals, and resources available at Wharton. (500 words)

Essay #2: Taking into consideration your background– personal, professional, and/ or academic- how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community? (400 words)

Required Essay for all Reapplicants: Please use this space to share with the Admissions Committee how you have reflected and grown since your previous application and discuss any relevant updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, and extracurricular/volunteer engagements). (250 words)

Optional Essay: Please use this space to share any additional information about yourself that cannot be found elsewhere in your application and that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee. This space can also be used to address any extenuating circumstances (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, areas of weakness, etc.) that you would like the Admissions Committee to consider. (500 words)

4. Berkeley Haas

Berkely Haas has introduced some changes in essay questions this year. Essay #1 remains unchanged from last year. Essay # 2 and Essay 3 are new this year. Last year's ‘leadership essay' has been replaced with 'goals essay'. Additionally, Haas has introduced a Video essay about one of the principles of Haas and a question about applicants' experience around DEI.

There is no change in the optional essays about candidates' personal information.

Essay #1: What makes you feel alive when you are doing it, and why? (300 words maximum)

Essay #2: How will an MBA help you achieve your short-term and long-term career goals? (300 words max)

Required Essay #3: Video Essay: The Berkeley MBA program develops leaders who embody our four Defining Leadership Principles. Briefly introduce yourself to the admissions committee, explain which leadership principle resonates most with you, and tell us how you have exemplified the principle in your personal or professional life. (Not to exceed 2 minutes.)

Required Essay #4: Can you please describe any experience or exposure you have in the area of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging whether through community organizations, personal, or in the workplace? (150 words max)

Optional Essays

The admissions team takes a holistic approach to application review and seeks to understand all aspects of a candidate's character, qualifications, and experiences. We will consider achievements in the context of the opportunities available to a candidate. Some applicants may have faced hardships or unusual life circumstances, and we will consider the maturity, perseverance, and thoughtfulness with which they have responded to and/or overcome them.

Information #1: We invite you to help us better understand the context of your opportunities and achievements:

  1. What is the highest level of education completed by your parent(s) or guardian(s)?
  • Did not complete high school
  • High school diploma or equivalency (GED) Associate's degree (junior college) or vocational degree/license
  • Bachelor's degree (BA, BS)
  • Master's degree (MA, MS)
  • Doctorate or professional degree (MD, JD, DDS)
  1. What is the most recent occupation of your parent(s) or guardian(s)?
  • Unemployed
  • Homemaker
  • Laborer
  • Skilled worker
  • Professional
  1. If you were raised in one of the following household types, please indicate:
  • Raised by a single parent
  • Raised by an extended family member (grandparent, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, cousin)
  • Raised in a multi-generational home
  • Raised in foster care
  1. What was the primary language spoken in your childhood home?
  2. If you have ever been responsible for providing significant and continuing financial or supervisory support for someone else, please indicate:
  • Child
  • Spouse
  • Sibling
  • Parent
  • Extended family member (grandparent, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, cousin)
  • Other
  1. Please elaborate on any of your above responses. Alternatively, you may use this opportunity to expand on other hardships or unusual life circumstances that may help us understand the context of your opportunities, achievements, and impact. (300 words maximum)

Optional Information #2: This section should only be used to convey relevant information not addressed elsewhere in your application. This may include an explanation of employment gaps, academic aberrations, supplemental coursework, etc. You are encouraged to use bullet points where appropriate.

5. Columbia

The short answer question and Essay #1 about 'goals' remain unchanged. Essay #3 about 'fit with Columbia' also remains the same. Essay #2 about 'inclusive leadership' is new this year. Columbia no longer requires applicants to write an essay about their favorite book, movie, or song.

Short Answer Question: What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)

Essay #1: Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3 to 5 years, and what is your long-term dream job? (500 words)

Essay #2: The Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership (PPIL) is a co-curricular program designed to provide students with the skills and strategies needed to develop as inclusive leaders. Through various resources and programming, the goal is for students to explore and reflect during their educational journey on the following five inclusive leadership skills:  Mitigating Bias and Prejudice; Managing Intercultural Dialogue; Addressing Systemic Inequity; Understanding Identity and Perspective Taking; and Creating an Inclusive Environment.

Describe a time or situation when you had the need to utilize one of more of these five skills and tell us the actions you took and the outcome. (250 words)

Essay #3: We believe Columbia Business School is a special place. CBS proudly fosters a collaborative learning environment through curricular experiences like our clusters and learning teams, an extremely active co-curricular and student life environment, and career mentorship opportunities like our Executives-in-Residence program.

Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you academically, culturally, and professionally? Please be specific. (250 words)

Optional Essay: If you wish to provide further information or additional context around your application to the Admissions Committee, please upload a brief explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or personal history. This does not need to be a formal essay. You may submit bullet points. (Maximum 500 Words)

6. Darden

Darden has retained its 3 essay questions from last year which cover an introduction to classmates, DEI experience, and career goals. There is a slight change in word limits. That is, Introduction essay is reduced to 100 words, and career goals essay is now 200 words instead of 100 words.

Essay #1: Community of Belonging: What would you want your classmates to know about you that is not on your resume? (100 words)

Essay #2: Inclusive Impact: Please describe a tangible example that illuminates your experience promoting an inclusive environment and what you would bring to creating a welcoming, global community at Darden. (300 words)

Essay #3: Career with Purpose: At this time how would you describe your short-term, post-MBA goal in terms of industry, function, geography, company size and/or mission and how does it align with the long-term vision you have for your career? (200 words)

7. Duke Fuqua

Duke Fuqua has kept last year's essay questions. It continues to require applicants to write a short question about career goals, its iconic 25 random things essay and a contribution essay.

Required Short Answer Question (Instructions: Answer the following question in 100 words.) What are your post-MBA career goals? Share with us your first-choice career plan and your alternate plan. (100 words)

First Required Essay: 25 Random Things About Yourself

The 'Team Fuqua' spirit and community is one of the things that sets the MBA experience apart, and it is a concept that extends beyond the student body to include faculty, staff, and administration. Please share with us "25 Random Things" about you. The Admissions Committee wants to get to know YOU - beyond the professional and academic achievements listed in your resume and transcript. Share with us important life experiences, your hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps us understand what makes you who you are.

Your list will be limited to 2 pages (750 words maximum). Please present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may be brief, while others may be longer.

Second Required Essay: The Fuqua community and you {Instructions: Your response will be limited to 1 page (500 words maximum)}

Fuqua prides itself on cultivating a culture of engagement. Our students enjoy a wide range of student-led organizations that provide opportunities for leadership development and personal fulfillment, as well as an outlet for contributing to society. Our student-led government, clubs, centers, and events are an integral part of the student culture and the development of leaders. Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, what are 3 ways you expect to contribute at Fuqua?

Optional Essay: Tell us more

If you feel there are circumstances of which the admissions committee should be aware, please explain them here (e.g., unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance). Note that you should NOT upload additional essays nor additional recommendations in this area. The Optional Information section is intended to provide the admissions committee with insight into your circumstances only.

Your response will be limited to 1 page (500 words maximum).

Reapplicant Essay

It is not uncommon for it to take more than one try to achieve a goal. Please share with us the self-reflection process that you underwent after last year's application and how you have grown as a result.  How did it shape your commitment to Fuqua and inspire your decision to reapply?

Your response will be limited to 1 page (500 words maximum).

8. McCombs

McCombs no longer requires applicants to envision themselves on their graduation day. Instead, they have introduced a Cover Letter essay prompt.

Video Assessment introduced last year remains a requirement.

Additionally, this year's applicants have the option to participate in an Optional Peer Interview along with an Optional Statement.

Essay: Please write an application cover letter summarizing your aspirations, qualifications, and personal and professional experiences that make you a strong candidate for the Texas Full-Time MBA program. (500 words)

Optional Statement: If applicable, applicants can provide an optional statement in the essay section of the application. Applicants should only provide an optional statement if there is something they wish to address about their candidacy that is not addressed elsewhere.

Video Assessment

Texas McCombs has always been at the forefront of innovation and continuous improvement, consistently seeking new ways to enhance the application process for prospective MBA candidates. In line with our school mission and values, we introduced a dynamic video assessment component as part of the 2022-23 admission cycle, offering an alternative approach to a more traditional essay and interview format. Given all applicants complete the video assessment, MBA candidates will have increased access to the application process and the opportunity to share their stories with us in their own voice. Through the video assessment, the admissions committee will have a chance to experience the "real" you, beyond a resume, test scores, and transcripts. Lastly, the video assessment will enable Texas McCombs to reduce bias in the admissions process by providing all applicants with a structured and consistent assessment experience.

All applicants will be required to complete the Video Assessment shortly after submitting their application and paying the fee. Applicants have 7 days to complete the assessment upon receiving access to the video submission platform. There will be 4 question prompts and applicants will have 90 seconds to answer each prompt.

Optional- Peer Interview

One of the most vital parts of the MBA application process at Texas McCombs is the human component – "Human-Centered, Future-Focused" is our mantra for a reason. We pride ourselves in getting to know you at a personal level during the admissions process and will continue to provide hundreds of virtual and in-person ways for you to meet our students, alumni, faculty, and admissions team.

We invite all MBA applicants to close out their application process in a human-centered way and complete a short, optional virtual interview. While not required, registering for and completing an interview is highly encouraged.  

These interactive virtual sessions present a valuable opportunity for our applicants to connect with Full-Time MBA students, showcasing their collaborative skills, reaffirming their motivation for pursuing an MBA and leaving a lasting positive impression on Texas McCombs.

The optional interview will last 20-30 minutes and are available throughout the round. The student ambassador will introduce themselves and ask you up to 3 questions that focus on collaboration and your motivation.  The rest of the time is yours to ask 2-3 questions that are top of mind.

9. MIT

There is no change in MIT's Essay Questions. Applicants are required to write a cover letter and record a video to introduce themselves to their classmates. They also have the option to submit an optional short essay question.

The following are the different components of the MIT Sloan Application:

  • Cover Letter
  • Resume
  • Video Statement
  • One Letter of recommendation
  • Two additional references and
  • Company Organization Chart (outlining the internal structure of your department)
  • Optional Short Essay Question

MIT Sloan MBA Application Cover Letter

MIT Sloan seeks students whose personal characteristics demonstrate that they will make the most of the incredible opportunities at MIT, both academic and non-academic. We are on a quest to find those whose presence will enhance the experience of other students. We seek thoughtful leaders with exceptional intellectual abilities and the drive and determination to put their stamp on the world. We welcome people who are independent, authentic, and fearlessly creative— true doers. We want people who can redefine solutions to conventional problems and strive to pre-empt unconventional dilemmas with cutting-edge ideas. We demand integrity, respect, and passion.

Taking the above into consideration, please submit a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA Program. Your Letter should conform to a standard business correspondence, include one or more professional examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria above, and be addressed to the admission committee (300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation).

MIT Sloan MBA Resume

Please submit a one-page resume. This will help us easily track your academic and career path. Try to focus on your work results, not just your title or job description. Here are some pointers on formatting: 

  • One page limit
  • Times New Roman font
  • Size 10 font
  • Word or PDF formats only

Provide the following information in reverse chronological order:

  • Education: Please include relevant awards, scholarships, and professional societies
  • Work Experience: Please include company name, title, results-oriented bullets that demonstrate your skillset, and dates

Additional information: Please include extracurricular activities/community service, technical skills/certifications, and special skills/interests, and languages spoken (if applicable

MIT Sloan MBA Application: Video Statement

Introduce yourself to your future classmates. Here's your chance to put a face with a name, let your personality shine through, be conversational, be yourself. We can't wait to meet you!

Videos should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • No more than 1 minute (60 seconds) in length
  • Single take (no editing) 
  • Speaking directly to the camera
  • Do not include background music or subtitles

Optional Short Answer Question

How has the world you come from shaped who you are today? For example, your family, culture, community, all help to shape aspects of your identity. This question is truly optional; applicants will not be evaluated more positively or negatively should they choose to respond. This is an opportunity for you to share more about yourself with the Admissions Committee, should you choose to do so. Please use this opportunity if you would like to share more about your background. (Please do not include any links in your response. 250 words or less.)

10. George Town McDonough

All essay questions, including the video essay are new this year.

Please select one of the following three essays to complete in 500 words (approximately two pages, double spaced) and include the essay prompt and your first/last name at the top of your submission.

  • Essay Option One– Georgetown Community
    Our mission is rooted in Jesuit principles of equality and respect for everyone and an ethos of caring for the whole person. Inclusivity and diversity are core to supporting a community of people with an intersectional understanding of themselves and the world around them. Share how your educational, familial, cultural, economic, social, and/or other individual life experiences will contribute to the diversity of perspectives and ideas at Georgetown University.
  • Essay Option Two– Leave Your Legacy
    Commitment to service and community is an important value that Hoyas share across Georgetown McDonough's 40+ MBA student-run clubs and organizations, nine centers and initiatives, and various other co-curricular activities. What do you want your legacy to be as a McDonough student and alumni? Be as specific as possible.
  • Essay Option Three– Magis
    Magis is a Jesuit value that instills the sense of achieving "more" or "greater" excellence. Share how you achieved magis during a professional experience as evidenced on your resume. Describe why this experience exemplified excellence and what your involvement (i.e. strengths or skills) contributed to the excellence.
  • Video Essay:Building a cohort of diverse and unique individuals is important to the admissions team. We want you to bring your whole self to Georgetown McDonough. Throughout the application, we've learned about what you would add as a professional and leader. Just as important is learning about your interests outside of work. In one minute, please share 5-10 random facts about yourself that are not on your resume and how these facts contribute to who you are as a professional and leader.
    • You may use your phone, computer, or other means to record the video, but please ensure all audio and visual components are clear. We recommend a well-lit room and minimal noise distraction.
    • The admissions committee would like you to appear in person during part of your video.
    • We recommend unscripted, conversational videos – help us get to know the real you!
    • Upload your video to an accessible website (such as YouTube, Vimeo, Youku, or Tudou), and submit the direct video URL into your online application.
    • Please note that all videos must remain active and accessible to the admissions committee online for a minimum of five years for record retention purposes.
    • For your privacy: Do not include your name in the title of your video. You may submit "unlisted" videos via YouTube or password protected videos through Vimeo. If using a password, please include immediately after your link in the text box below. [Ex:, password: Hoyas]
  • Optional Essay: Please provide any information you would like to add to your application that you have not otherwise included (300-350 words, approximately one page, double spaced).
  • Re-Applicant Essay:Required for re-applicants. How have you strengthened your candidacy since your last application? We are particularly interested in hearing about how you have grown professionally and personally (300-350 words, approximately one page, double spaced).

11. Michigan Ross

Ross has made several changes to its essay questions. Short Essay Question 1 remains unchanged. Essay 2 which focused on resume has been removed. Essay 3 about career goals has been modified. Its two parts-(short-term goals (25 words) and why this short-term goal is right for you (150 words) have been combined into one with a 150-word limit. Consequently, this year's applicants will only have a total of 350 words to present their candidacy to the program,

The optional essay remains the same as last year.

Michigan Ross MBA application short-answer questions: Part 1

Select one prompt from each group of the two groups below. Respond to each selected prompt in 100 words or less. (<100 words each; 200 words total)

Group 1

I want people to know that I:

I made a difference when I:

I was aware that I was different when:

Group 2

I am out of my comfort zone when:

I was humbled when:

I was challenged when:

Part 2: Career Goal

What is your short-term career goal and why is this the right goal for you? (150 words)

Optional Statement: Is there something in your resume or application that could use some explanation? You might want to discuss the completion of supplemental coursework, employment gaps, academic issues, etc. Feel free to use bullet points where appropriate.

Reapplicant process

Applicants can submit an abridged application. They will complete an application form, submit an updated resume, and update a letter about their achievements and goals since their original application. The updated letter should be uploaded via Essay 3 Optional Statement. They will submit a new test score if their previously submitted scores have expired.

12. LBS

LBS's essay questions also remain the same. Applicants are asked to discuss their career goals and how they align with their past experiences and the resources provided by LBS. There is also an optional essay of 500 words where applicants can provide additional information about themselves.

Required Essay 1: What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School program contribute towards these? (500 words)

Essay 2: Is there any other information you believe the Admissions Committee should know about you and your application to London Business School? (Optional) (500 words)

13. UCLA Anderson

A) Essay

UCLA Anderson seeks to develop transformative leaders who think fearlessly, drive change, and share success. We believe the ability to persevere is an essential component of effective leadership.

Please share an example from your personal or professional life where you demonstrated perseverance to accomplish a significant goal or milestone. (250 words maximum)

B) Optional Essay

Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words maximum)

14. Tuck

Tuck has made some tweaks to the first 2 essay questions focusing on 'Why Tuck' and applicant's 'individuality'. Essay 3 which previously asked about meaningful experience helping someone now includes a DEI ( Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) component.  

Essay #1: Why are you pursuing an MBA and why now? How will the distinct Tuck MBA contribute to achieving your career goals and aspirations? (300 words)

Essay #2: Tell us who you are. How have your values and experiences shaped your identity and character? How will your background contribute to the diverse Tuck culture and community? (300 words)

Essay #3: Describe a time you meaningfully contributed to someone else's sense of inclusion in your professional or personal community. (300 words)

15. Kelley

Kelley's essay questions remain unchanged this year. Applicants are still required to submit  3 essays : Why Kelly, a short essay question, and an interesting and surprising fact in 25 words.

Your essays will give us an idea of your personality, perspectives, and opinions and will let us know how closely your professional objectives match the objectives of the MBA program. We encourage you to be honest, informative, creative, and concise.

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

2. Respond to one of the following short essay prompts. (300 words)

a. My greatest memory is...

b. I'm most afraid of...

c. My greatest challenge has been...

d. I'm most proud of...

3. Share a brief fact about yourself that your classmates would find interesting, surprising, or noteworthy. (25 words)


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. (300 words)

16. Kellogg

Like previous years, Kellogg asks applicants to write two essays of 450 words. But it has introduced some changes to its essay questions. The leadership essay has been rephrased, and the longstanding 'value essay' has been replaced with a 'contribution essay.'

Kellogg is unique in that we ask you to complete written essays as part of the application as well as video essays. This is your chance to tell us why you think Kellogg is the right place for you. Take some time to think through the experiences that led you here and how they have shaped where you want to go.

Written essays

The following two essays are required of all applicants:

Question 1 (450 words)

Kellogg Leaders are primed to tackle today's pressing concerns everywhere, from the boardroom to their neighborhoods. Tell us about a time in your life where you've needed a combination of skills to solve a problem or overcome a challenge. Which skills did you use? What did you accomplish?

Question 2 (450 words)

At Kellogg, our values are based on research that concludes organizations comprised of leaders with varied backgrounds and perspectives outperform homogeneous ones. How do you believe your personal and professional experiences to date will help to enrich the Kellogg community?

Certain applicants will respond to an additional question about their interest in our specialty programs.

Reapplicants will receive a prompt about their growth since their last application: How have you grown or changed personally and professionally since you previously applied and what steps have you taken to become the strongest candidate you can be? (250 words)

Video essays

We've read your essays; we've read your resume — now we want you to bring all that to life in a video. Show us the person behind all those carefully crafted words. The video will be comprised of three questions, each designed to help you showcase your personality and share some of the experiences that brought you here today.

We find these videos to be a great opportunity for you to tell us more about your story, experiences and why Kellogg is the right place for you.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare to complete this section:

Video essays are due 96 hours after the application deadline.

A video essay link will appear on your application status page after you submit your application and payment.

You will need an internet-connected computer with a webcam and microphone

The video should take about 20-25 minutes to complete, which includes time for setup.

After submitting your application and payment, you will be able to access the video essay through your application status page.

Here are some additional tips:

There are practice questions that you may complete as many times as you like to get comfortable with the format and technology. The practice questions and experience will simulate the actual video essay experience, so this is meant to be a useful tool to help you feel prepared.

We encourage you to practice so you are comfortable with the format once it is time to complete the official questions. You will not have an opportunity to re-do the answer to the official video essay questions.

You will have 20 seconds to think about the question and up to one minute to give your response.

17. Yale

This year, Yale offers three essay prompts, and applicants can choose one to write about. The options include the iconic "biggest commitment" prompt, as well as prompts on contribution to the community and the most significant challenge. Applicants should select the option that resonates most with them.

The prompts are:

1)Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. Why is this commitment meaningful to you, and what actions have you taken to support it?

2) Describe the community that has been most meaningful to you. What is the most valuable thing you have gained from being a part of this community and what is the most important thing you have contributed to this community?

3) Describe the most significant challenge you have faced. How have you confronted this challenge, and how has it shaped you as a person?

Choose the prompt that speaks most strongly to you and about which you have the most enthusiasm. In answering the prompt – whichever one it is – you should think about the life experiences that have been most meaningful to you and that you most want to communicate to the committee and pick the question that will best allow you to express that aspect of yourself. We find that the most compelling essays are the ones that are truly most important to you, so make sure that's your guide in choosing what to write about; don't try to guess what we're looking for or what you think we want to hear. Importantly, regardless of which prompt you choose, you'll want to support your essay with concrete examples.

Optional Information: It truly is optional

The Optional Information section is truly optional. It's not an additional required essay – if no aspect of your application requires further explanation, you should leave this section blank. In most cases, we get all the information we need from the various components of your application, and there is no need to complete this section.

Behavioral Assessment: Going beyond the academic record

Yale SOM is committed to continuous innovation in the ways we identify future members of our community. The Behavioral Assessment might be the most unique of these innovations.

The Behavioral Assessment is an online exercise administered by ETS, the testing service behind the GRE. But unlike the GMAT or GRE, which are tests of certain cognitive abilities, the Behavioral Assessment is a non-cognitive instrument that measures a set of inter- and intrapersonal competencies that are associated with academic success in business school. We look at it alongside, and sometimes as a counterpoint to, traditional academic metrics. And much like any other piece of the application, the Behavioral Assessment will never be the deciding factor for admission but will instead be used in combination with the rest of a candidate's profile.

The exercise itself should take about 25 minutes to complete. You will receive 130 pairs of statements, one pair at a time, from which you're asked to select the statement that best aligns with your own behaviors. The assessment is adaptive, so no two candidates will receive the exact same set of statements. No preparation is necessary to take the assessment, and no special knowledge is required.

Video Questions: Hearing from you directly

Like the Behavioral Assessment, you'll complete the video questions after you submit your application and pay the application fee. The video questions are not a substitute for the interview. Instead, they provide a unique way for us to assess your communication and English language skills, and enable us to create a more dynamic, multi-dimensional portrait of your candidacy.

Every candidate will receive a set of previously recorded questions asked by an admissions team member. The questions asked are similar to typical interview questions. There are no "trick questions"; we're not trying to stump you. The responses do not require any specific knowledge or preparation beyond the practice tool you can use before answering the questions, and your responses will be used with a "light touch," as we say – they won't make or break your application.

18. Cambridge

Cambridge has made changes to its essay questions. While the personal statement in Essay #1 has been tweaked, the remaining three questions are new this year. The "difficult decision" essay prompt in Essay #2 has been replaced with "professional mistake," and the "team project" prompt in Essay #3 has been replaced with the prompt about the "best team you have worked with." Finally, for Essay #4, instead of writing about 'advice to your 18-years self', the applicants will write about a person who has positively impacted their life.

You must complete the careers objectives statement and 3, shorter essays:

  1. Please provide details of your post-MBA career plans. The statement should not exceed 500 words and must address the following:
    • What are your short and long-term career objectives? How will the Cambridge MBA equip you to achieve these?
    • Looking at your short-term career goal, describe the research you have done to understand how this industry/role/location recruits MBA talent and what they are looking for in a candidate?
    • How confident do you feel about meeting your short-term career goal? What skills/characteristics do you already have that will help you to achieve them, and what preparation are you doing now?
  2. Tell us about a time when you made a professional mistake. How could it have ended differently? (up to 200 words)
  3. Tell us about the best team you worked with. What made the team successful? (up to 200 words)
  4. Provide an example of when someone else positively impacted your life. What did you learn from this experience? (up to 200 words)

19. Chicago Booth

Chicago Booth's essay questions remain unchanged. Booth has asked the same questions for the last three years. The first essay asks about candidates' immediate and long-term post-MBA goals, while the second essay requires candidates to share their non-work experience. There is also an optional essay of 300 words where they can provide additional information about any weakness in their profile. Like the previous four years, there is a minimum word limit of 250 words instead of a maximum limit. So you should use your best judgment about allocating the space best. We recommend keeping your submissions for each essay within 500 words.

The essay prompts are:

Essay #1: How will the Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term post-MBA career goals? (250-word minimum, no maximum)

Essay #2: An MBA is as much about personal growth as it is about professional development. In addition to sharing your experience and goals in terms of career, we'd like to learn more about you outside of the office. Use this opportunity to tell us something about who you are… (Minimum 250 words, no maximum.)

Optional Essay: Is there any unclear information in your application that needs further explanation? (Maximum 300 words)

Re-applicant Question: Upon reflection, how has your perspective regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/ or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (300 words maximum)

20.   Cornell

Cornell’s essay questions remain unchanged from last year. The program continues to ask for a goals statement and impact essay of 350 each. The Goals Statement asks applicants to explain their short-term and long-term. They are also encouraged to specify their target job role, job company, and industry and how their past ( e.g, industry experience, projects, etc.) have influenced their future career goals. The Impact essay expects candidates to explain how they intend to enrich the Cornell community.

The essay prompts are :

Short Answer

A statement of your goals will begin a conversation that will last throughout the admissions process and guide your steps during the MBA program and experience. To the best of your understanding today, please share your short and long-term goals by completing the following sentences and answering the enclosed short answer question (350 words maximum):

Immediately post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.

Targeted Job Role:

Target Job Company:


In 5 – 10 years post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.

Targeted Job Role:

Target Job Company:


How has your experience prepared and encouraged you to pursue these goals?

Essay 1: Impact Essay

At Cornell, our students and alumni share a desire to positively impact the organizations and communities they serve. Taking into consideration your background, how do you intend to make a meaningful impact on an elite MBA community? (350 words maximum)

Optional Essay (Required for Reapplicants)

You may use this essay to call attention to items needing clarification and to add additional details to any aspects of your application that do not accurately reflect your potential for success at Johnson (350 words maximum).

If you are reapplying for admission, please use this essay to indicate how you have strengthened your application and candidacy since the last time you applied for admission. Please also review our Application Guide for additional information about reapplying (350 words maximum).

21. Tepper

Like in previous years, there is one required essay for all Tepper MBA applicants (except college seniors).  There is no change in the essay question. Additionally, applicants will  submit a video about their post-MBA goals.

Essay: The Tepper community is dynamic and unique, with students who strive to be collaborative, supportive, and inclusive. Please provide an example of when you experienced or created an inclusive environment and how you will use that experience to help members of the community reach their full potential.

Video Essay: Goals

We know this is an important component of your decision to attend business school. We take it seriously as well. Please describe your post-MBA career goals.

It would be helpful to consider the following information in your response:

  • You have up to 2 minutes to respond to this question.
  • Please be as specific as possible. If you have not yet identified specific companies, that is okay. Just tell us what interests you for your next role or company. What about the industry, company, or functional role is appealing to you?
  • If you have any criteria you are using to evaluate career opportunities, please share those as well. We may have great opportunities to add to your list.
  • How does this post-MBA career goal relate to your long-term career plan?

Free Resources

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About MER (myEssayReview)

Poonam Tandon, the founder of MER (myEssayReview), is a Ph.D. in English with 12 years of MBA consulting experience and three decades of teaching experience in India and the US. A master storyteller, Poonam has successfully guided hundreds of students worldwide to gain admission into the esteemed MBA, EMBA, and specialized Masters's programs in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Throughout her four-decade-long professional career, she has reviewed 10,000+ essays written by applicants worldwide. Poonam is recognized as one of the top 5 most reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club (142 reviews).

Do you have questions about your application for the 2023-24 application cycle? E-mail Poonam at or sign up here for a free consultation.