Posted on November 10, 2015

UT Austin McCombs Essay Questions Analysis -2015-16

Application Deadlines

Round 1: Application deadline: October 13, 2015 at 11:59pm CT, decision date: December 17, 2015

Round 2: Application deadline: January 12, 2016 at 11:59pm CT, decision date: March 29, 2016

Round 3: Final application deadline: March 31, 2016 at 11:59pm CT, decision date: May 12, 2016

You may review the 2015-2016 Applications Essay Topics here.

Essay 1: At The University of Texas at Austin, what starts here changes the world. You are at the Texas MBA Orientation for the Class of 2018, meeting your cohort for the first time. Please introduce yourself to your new classmates, including relevant information about your personal and professional life.

Like the last two years, UT Austin requires the applicants to write an essay on the introduction to their classmates. Mc Combs allows them to delve on their personal as well as professional attributes in 250 words. This essay, in terms of the topic and the medium of communication, provide applicants with flexibility and freedom to showcase their creative side. It is asking you to introduce yourself to your peers, so you should convey your best side and talk about the traits that you feel are the best in you. Considering this is your first encounter with them, you should highlight your personal and professional accomplishments, your hobbies, your history (background), and issues that pique your interest. The motive is to tell your future classmates who you really are.

To showcase your creativity, McCombs offers you a choice of three modes of communication. You should pick the format that works best for you. If you are an introvert or if you love to write, you may select the ‘essay mode’ for sure. If you have an artistic bent of mind and are good with visuals and graphics, you may pick the about me option. An about my profile is simply a written expression about you, which also includes visuals, giving you an option to use your creativity to the fullest.

If you are an extrovert, you may find the video mode more exciting. A video essay allows applicants not only to be more creative but also imaginative. So you may use your imagination, focusing more on the things that you like and would want to share. For example, if you plan to share your culinary skills with your classmates, you may consider shooting the one minute video in your kitchen.

I am sure it will be fun doing a video essay; however, it is my understanding that it would demand­­­ more time than a regular essay. (this doesn't imply that crafting an 'introduction' essay is easy) So you may experiment with it if you can invest a significant amount of time to make sure that you grab the attention of your audience not only through your words but also through your body language and facial expressions. And remember your challenge is to say it all in a one minute video.

Before you submit your response to this essay, have a trusted friend or colleague look it over to let you know if you have crafted a compelling piece. As they say, you only have one chance to make a first impression, so whichever medium you choose, dedicate the work necessary to ensure that your introduction is both engaging and true to who you really are.

Essay 2: The McCombs School of Business is where leadership is earned. We have an inclusive environment where our dynamic and driven students take an active role in the Texas MBA community. Please discuss why the Texas MBA is the ideal program for you, what you hope to achieve, and how you will contribute to your classmates’ experience. (500 words)

This year, McCombs has slightly refined the second essay question. Last year, the applicants were asked to share what they hope to gain from the Texas MBA program both personally and professionally, in addition to why McCombs was the right program for them and what impact they will make on their classmates. This year the phrase ‘personally and professionally' has been omitted, and the applicants are encouraged to focus their responses on what they hope to achieve while at McCombs, why McCombs is right for them and what they will contribute to their classmates’ experience.” Also, McCombs is interested in learning more about your leadership potential. To address the first part of the question, explain why you wish to pursue an MBA. Then, discuss why you are choosing McCombs and how various resources at Texas will help you fulfill your personal and professional needs and objectives and would aid in shaping up your future, the way you see it.

To compose a solid response to this question, you need to do thorough research on the resources and offerings of McCombs. You may also get in touch with the currents students and alumni to get an insider’s perspective on their experience. If possible, visit the campus, attend a class, talk to faculty or other people to get a feel of the school’s culture. This will help you determine your ‘fit’ with the school.

Please refer to the following example:

Example: “My past experiences, the knowledge gained in the classroom, McComb’s extensive NGO network, and the Net Impact club will equip me with skills to operate an NGO, helping me realize my dream of opening my own NGO.”

To address the second part of the question, you should highlight your attributes, your strengths which you would be bringing to the Texas community. Focus on mentioning your work in two or three clubs and elaborate on that, showing how you think it will groom your personality and how you will bring those traits to the classroom and enrich your classmates’ experience. So you may want to show your contribution by creating something new on campus e.g. a new club or a community event, or by leading it.

Now, say, you could talk about your passion for soccer and how you could enrich the Soccer Club.

Example: ‘Having rich experience of being on the field and being best friends with the ball for more than a decade, I feel I can bring that to the Mc Combs Soccer Club and lead to the enhancement of the games.’

Lastly, do not forget to showcase how you will imbibe the collaborative culture of Mc Combs and add value to it.

Optional Essay: Please provide any additional information you believe is important and/or address any areas of concern that will be beneficial to the Admissions Committee in considering your application (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, significant weaknesses in your application, or extenuating personal circumstances). (250 words)

An optional essay is an opportunity for you to give the Ad Com relevant information that you could not provide in other essays or other parts of your application essays, recommendation letters, and resume. This question is also meant to shine a spotlight on the experience or side of your personality that has not been revealed in the other parts of your application.

To provide context for a weakness in your profile, like low GPA or GMAT or a gap in your job history, make sure your reason is genuine to convince them that your low grades occurred due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control. Also, keep in mind that your story should not only explain that particular weakness in your profile but also bring out your other strong personality traits. That means your response should be positive and should not sound like you are making excuses for a weakness in your profile.

Below is an example of an optional essay written by a military candidate to explain his low grades:

Example: "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. I certainly deserved all the grades I received; I earned them. 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 consider this when reviewing my application."

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