Posted on July 8, 2014

UT Austin McCombs Essay Questions Analysis 2014-15

Application Deadlines:

Round 1

Deadline: October 14, 2014
Notification: December 18, 2014

Round 2

Deadline: January 6, 2015
Notification: March 26, 2015

Round 3

Deadline: March 24, 2015
Notification: May 21, 2015

From Mc Combs website:

“Each year, like most business schools, we update our application essay prompts in an effort to better glean important information from our candidates.  The essay is a great opportunity to do a few things: one, it shows your writing skills; two, it gives us a glimpse into your personality; but maybe most importantly, it helps answer a few very important questions that we need answered to best determine if you are right for McCombs. 

Instead of giving you a vague open-ended prompt, there are actually a few burning topics we need you to be sure to cover, namely having to do with why you want to attend McCombs, who you are both professionally and personally, and what goals you want to achieve while in our program and beyond.  You have some work to do to convince us that we are the right program for you, therefore please take a moment to review our essay topics and begin to think about how you might approach answering the essay questions.”

1. Imagine that you are at the Texas MBA Orientation for the Class of 2017. Please introduce yourself to your new classmates, and include any personal and/or professional aspects that you believe to be significant. Select only one communication method that you would like to use for your response.

  • Write an essay (250 words)
  • Share a video introduction (one minute)
  • Share your profile

Like last year, UT Austin requires the applicants to write an essay on introduction to their class mates. McCombs 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, provides applicants with a flexibility and freedom to showcase their creative side. It is asking you to introduce yourself to your peers, thereby, hinting that 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 hobbies, your  history (background) , and issues that pique your interest. The motive is to tell you future class mates who you really are.

To showcase your creativity, McCombs offers you a choice of 3 modes of communication. If you are an introvert, 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 option. An 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 own 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 class mates, 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  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 you have to say it all in just one minute video .

You have a choice here, so pick the method you feel most comfortable with.

Before you submit your response to this essay, have a trusted friend or colleague look it over to let you know if you have effectively 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.

2. In the Texas MBA program, we promote a diverse and collaborative community by providing opportunities for growth in an academically rigorous environment.

 Please discuss why McCombs is the right program for you, what you hope to gain from your time in the Texas MBA Program both personally and professionally, and how you will contribute to your classmates’ experiences. (500 words)

McCombs seems to have combined last year’s question# 2 (“Why Texas?” (outside of your professional goals and your contribution  250 words )and question # 3 (your professional and personal reasons for choosing McCombs- 250 words) in to one straightforward question that  asks you to highlight your contribution  to the Mc Comb’s community and  your reasons for choosing the Texas MBA program in 500 words .

To address the first part of the question, explain why you wish to pursue MBA and then, why you are choosing McCombs. In particular, reflect on both personal and professional aspects and discuss 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 a thorough research of the resources and offerings of Mc Combs. You may also get in touch with the currents students and alumni to get insider’s perspective on their experience. If possible, visit the campus, attend a class, talk to faculty or other people to get feel of the school’s culture. This will help you determine your ‘fit’ with the school. Please note that McCombs has clearly stated on the website: ”You have some work to do to convince us that we are the right program for you,”

Please refer to the following 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 about 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 class mates’ experience.

Now, say, you could talk about your passion for soccer and how you could be an aid to the Soccer Club. Instead of framing your sentence as ‘I like playing soccer and I feel the soccer club would be good for me’, you could say:


 ‘Having a 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 McCombs Soccer Club and lead to the enhancement of the games..’

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

Optional Essay: Please provide any additional information to the Admissions Committee that you believe is important and/or will address any areas of concern that will be beneficial to the Admissions Committee in considering your application. (200 words)

For example, if your standardized test scores are not exactly what you would like them to be or if you have not had coursework in core business subjects (i.e. calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting, or finance), please tell us how you plan to prepare yourself for the quantitative rigor of the MBA curriculum.

Discuss any unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, or any significant weaknesses in your application or extenuating personal circumstances that you think may impact your candidacy.

 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 an 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:


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.

 For more details, refer to my article on optional essay and sample optional essay on MER site.


For more detailed guidelines on essays, click here:

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