Posted on September 7, 2015

Emory Essay Questions Analysis 2015-16

Emory Goizueta 2016 MBA Application Deadlines:

Application Deadline  Decision Notification 
 Round 1   October 09, 2015  December 3, 2015
 Round 2*  November 13, 2015  January 28, 2016
 Round 3**  January 8, 2016 March 3, 2016 (Domestic)
March 11 (International)
 Round 4  March 11, 2016  May 13, 2016


Like last year, Goizueta Business School requires applicants to write four essays for the school’s full-time MBA Program. (4 required and 1 optional). The structure of the essays remains the same. However, these essay questions have been tweaked a little bit. The first question (goals essay) no longer includes a ‘back up plan’ of 200 words. Instead, it asks the applicants how their prior experiences and strengths will support them in their first-choice short-term position. Instead of asking about contribution and impact, the second question (leadership essay) now requires the applicants to discuss how their leadership experiences align with the school’s mission. The four-option short answer essay prompt includes two new options, and the 25-words  “fun fact.” has also been tweaked a tiny bit- “interesting or fun fact” has now been changed to “fun or noteworthy fact”.

These short essay questions cover a lot of ground: your professional path and goals, your alignment with the program’s core values, and who you are as a person. So you will need to do a lot of reflection to be able to choose the right stories/ examples to showcase your candidacy in the best manner. Make every word count and be as succinct, clear, and concise as you can.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these questions:

1.  Define your short-term post-MBA career goals. How are your professional strengths, past experience, and personal attributes aligned with these goals? (300-word limit)

This is a pretty straightforward career goals essay question with emphasis on short term post-MBA goals. You should begin the essay with a clear statement of your short term career plans. Please be specific about the position /job title, industry that you plan to seek immediately after MBA. Also, consider naming 1-2 firms that you aim to join after MBA. Even though the question doesn’t ask you to discuss your long term, goals, you may still briefly mention (if space permits) how you plan to progress from your short term goal to a longer-term vision.

Then go ahead and address the second part of the question explaining how your professional experiences and strengths are aligned with this short-term goal, Discuss how your professional experiences and the skills acquired have propelled you to your desired career path. While detailing your professional experience, make sure to focus on your specific professional strengths (quantitative skills, communication skills, etc.) and personal attributes (cultural flexibility, perseverance, etc.) Then you can wrap up the essay with a comment on how the specific resources of the Goizueta MBA program will help you achieve your post-MBA aspirations.

How to structure your essay?

  1. Short term goal ( approximately 100 words)
  2. How your professional  experiences and strengths are aligned with these goals (approximately 175  words)
  3. How will the Goizueta MBA program bring you closer to your post-MBA aspirations? (approximately 50  words)


“Post MBA, I wish to join a reputed Technology and Strategy consulting organization, such as Deloitte or Ernst & Young as an IT Strategy Consultant. My passion for technology, my experience in corporate and business leadership, my childhood vision to be a global business leader and continue my family legacy has defined my goal. They have also fueled my vision to lead my family business into the world of Technology and Consulting by opening a new division in technology & strategy firm. To realize my entrepreneurial dream, I need an MBA.”


For my blog on ‘Goals Essay’ click here.

For sample ‘Goals’ essay, click here.

2. The business school is named for Roberto C. Goizueta, former Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, who led the organization for 16 years, extending its global reach, quadrupling consumption, building brand responsibility, and creating unprecedented shareholder wealth. Mr. Goizueta’s core values guide us in educating Principled Leaders for Global Enterprise.

Provide an example of your leadership – professional or personal – and explain what you learned about yourself through the experience. (300 words)

Every year Emory’s leadership essay question centers round former Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company Roberto C. Goizueta’s leadership style. However, this question is tweaked a little bit every year. In the 2013-14 application, through this essay question, the applicants were asked to discuss their potential ‘contribution’ to Emory ‘as a student and as an alumnus’. Last year, they were required to explain the ‘good’ they have done to an organization and ‘the impact of their actions’.

This year, through this straight forward leadership, question the Emory AD Com expect you to recount a personal or professional leadership experience and explain the learnings you have gleaned about yourselves through the experience. The prompt offers you a broad choice as you can choose your stories/ examples from your professional life, personal life, or community involvement.  Still, I would prefer a professional leadership experience, unless you think your example from the personal realm or community involvement is really an outstanding one.

To select story/ experience, read carefully the first part of the essay prompt about Roberto C. Goizueta’s leadership and vision about extending his organization’s “ global reach, quadrupling consumption, building brand responsibility, and creating unprecedented shareholder wealth” and identify an experience/ story that will allow you to showcase one of the above-mentioned abilities.  Look for examples when you stepped out of your comfort zone and took initiatives that brought about some change or resulted in the improvement of processes subsequently followed by an organization or group over the long term. Make sure to select recent experience where you made a clear impact.

How to structure your essay?

For structure, I recommend following the same 4 part structure:

  1. The situation/the challenge

What was the context? Who were the players involved?  What did you need to accomplish in your leadership role? What were the challenges? ( approx. 60-70 words)

  1. The action

What initiatives/actions you took? How did you deal with the challenges? How did you process your thoughts and take your decisions? ( approx.125- 130 words)

  1. The outcome/result

 What were the results of your efforts? What was the resolution of the story? ( approx. 40-50 words)

  1. The significance

What did you learn about yourself? What lessons did you learn during that leadership experience? How these lessons ( 1-2 only ) have helped you since then? ( approx. 60-70 words)

You may wrap up the essay with a final comment on how you are now in a position to contribute to the Emory community.


“Today, I recall this experience as one of the most meaningful life experiences. It helped me overcome my inability to collaborate.  I now try to foster a positive collaborative environment within the teams. Also, this experience revealed to me my ability to take initiative, which has helped improve my productivity and develop solutions that have benefited the organization. Further, this experience has taught me the value of practicing a flexible approach while leading a team.”

For sample leadership essay, click here.

3: Complete one of the following statements. (250 words)

I am passionate about…
The best piece of advice I’ve received is…
The best day of my life was…
A personal goal I want to accomplish is…

Before selecting one of these 4 options, first, you should consider which option will add the most value to your application. Indeed, this question is an opportunity to provide the Ad Com additional information about who you are. It is also an opportunity to showcase that aspect of your candidacy that will enable you to add value to the school and make an impact. This question should best complement the rest of your application. If the first two questions showcase your professional excellence, let this question and the last one reveal your personal side- a hobby or interest you are passionate about or a personal goal you want to accomplish, or the best day of your life that has shaped your personality.

Here is an example of option #1 “I am passionate about….”


I am passionate about community service as I believe that I have an obligation to give back to the community I live in. I belong to a family of radical thinkers who were pioneers in education and business. Inspired by them, especially my grandfather, a self-made man and a philanthropist, I championed causes of child education and the environment since childhood…….”

4. Share with the committee and your future classmates a fun or noteworthy fact about you. (25-word limit)

 Again, this short 25 words essay is also an opportunity to round out your profile. I encourage you to have some fun with this item and share something not covered anywhere else in their essays. You should consider something that would genuinely interest your future classmates. It can be about an interesting hobby (music, car racing, cooking, travel, etc.) You can also choose some interesting work-related fun or noteworthy fact if you want. Please make sure that your tone is not too serious. Here are some samples of fun facts.

Sample #1

My singing can be quite entertaining; I have been known to shamelessly sing at the top of my lungs during the 3-hour karaoke session.

Sample #2

My future classmates will be delighted to learn about my excellent culinary skills which I will demonstrate in class parties with my specialty – Brazilian barbecue.

Optional Essay:

If you have additional information or feel there are extenuating circumstances that you would like to share with the MBA Admissions Committee (i.e. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance issues, or areas of weakness in application). Please limit your response to 250 words

This question provides you an opportunity to explore an important aspect of your candidacy, or other significant achievements/strengths not mentioned in other essay responses. You can choose examples from your work (if you have more than one equally outstanding professional accomplishment or leadership story to share), community service, education, travels, or any other hobbies. You may also share a life -experience that has greatly influenced your personality or life.

As directed in the essay prompt, you should use this essay question to address a weakness in your profile, such as a gap in work or low GPA or GMAT. Your weakness may also bring out a positive aspect of your personality.

Please refer to the following example of a candidate whose grades dropped because of his military service.


“Although my leadership experiences in the military taught me many valuable lessons in teamwork, perseverance, and management, through all my responsibilities, it impacted my grades.  Thus, I do not view my undergraduate performance as an accurate representation of my academic abilities. However, I hope the above reasons will assist you in understanding my particular situation. I grew from this experience and took a dedicated approach to professional education. I would respectfully ask the admission committee to consider this when reviewing my application.”

Click here for a blog on Optional Essay

Click here for Sample Optional  Essay

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