Posted on August 21, 2020

UT Austin McCombs Essay Tips & Deadlines: 2020-21


McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas is a globally recognized MBA program, located in the center of technology and business- Austin. Its collaborative community is comprised of students who bring together their diverse voices to form a cohesive group.

Application Deadlines:

Round Application Due Decision Date
Round 1 October 13, 2020 December 17, 2020
Round 2 January 5, 2021 March 25, 2021
Round 3 March 30, 2021 May 6, 2021
Round 4 May 11, 2021 June 17, 2021


McCombs has added Round 4  this year. Round 1 & 2 are priority rounds for scholarships and fellowships. Round 3 is the final deadline for International Applicants. U.S. domestic and Canadian applicants can also apply in Round 4.

Applications are due no later than 11:59 p.m. CST on the day of the deadline. For additional information on applying, please visit the Texas MBA admissions website.

Application Essays:

The MBA essay questions for the 2020-2021 admissions season remain unchanged from the previous cycle. Like last year, McCombs business school asks its applicants to write two required essays that seek to draw out applicants’ individuality, motivations, and ability to collaborate, while also asking them what their career goals are and how they are seeking to achieve them at McCombs.  Essay 2 has been tweaked a little bit though the approach to that question will remain the same. The applicants will also have an option to write an optional essay.

Importance of Essays for McCombs MBA Program: “At Texas McCombs, we celebrate being a collaborative community that values each person’s unique experiences, passions, and perspective. Essays help us get to know you as an individual and how you would fit with our culture and community. We also use them to assess your communication and/or presentation skills. This is your opportunity to give us more insight into your background, goals, and personality. Strong essays convey research, reflection, and your motivations for pursuing an MBA, specifically at the McCombs School of Business.”

Let’s take a closer look at the essay questions:

Essay 1: We will learn a lot about your professional background through your resume and letter of recommendation. We want to get to know you further. Please introduce yourself. Select only one communication method you would like to use for your response.

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)

This is the 8th year running that McCombs requires the applicants to write an introduction essay. McCombs asks 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 flexibility and freedom to showcase their creative side. You may take time to brainstorm ideas about what would you like your teammates at McCombs to know about you. You can discuss your cultural background, motivation, personal and professional goals, hobbies/interests, and issues that pique your interest. The motive is to tell them who you are. Please don’t forget the first sentence of the essay prompt, “We will learn a lot about your professional background through your resume and letter of recommendation. We want to get to know you further.”

To showcase your creativity, McCombs offers you a choice of two modes of communication. You may pick the format that works best for you. If you are an introvert, and if you love to write, you may select the ‘essay mode’ for sure (Most people I worked with opted for the essay option). If you are an extrovert, you may find the video mode more exciting. A video essay allows applicants to be more creative as well as imaginative. For example, if you plan to share your culinary skills with your classmates, you may consider shooting part of the one-minute video in your kitchen.

Though it is fun doing a video essay, it is my understanding that a video essay would demand more time than a regular essay (This by no means implies that crafting an introduction essay of 250 words is not challenging). You may experiment with the video option if you can invest a significant amount of time in practicing and rehearsing for the video to grab the attention of your audience not only through your words but also through your body language and facial expressions. Don’t forget to add some humor to it. And remember, your challenge is to say it all in 60 seconds only. But if you are not confident of showing your dynamic personality in a one- minute video, then the video may not be a good option. Whichever medium you choose, dedicate the work necessary to ensure that your introduction is engaging and presents you as a likable, friendly, and well-rounded individual.

Tips from Texas McCombs Insider:

“First, this prompt is purposely open-ended. It grants you the freedom to introduce yourself in a way that is genuinely “you.” Think about what gives you energy and recharges you. When you first meet someone, what’s your personal elevator pitch? How does it share your values? Give us a well-rounded mix of information in this essay so we can better understand you beyond your work life”.

Essay 2: Picture yourself at the completion of your MBA journey. Describe how you spent your time as a Texas McCombs MBA student to achieve your personal and professional goals. (500 words)

The key to this essay is to demonstrate your ‘fit’ with the school. Instead of explaining how McCombs MBA program ‘will’ help you achieve your goals, you need to look ahead and visualize yourself at your graduation day and explain how you were active during your two years at the Texas MBA to prepare yourself for your post- MBA personal and professional goals.

To prepare yourself, you must do your homework to research the program well. Explain how various resources/ offerings and activities at McCombs (courses, study groups, clubs, etc.) brought you closer to your post-MBA goals. Also, you should discuss how participation in various activities of student organizations and clubs at McCombs contributed to your personal growth and in what ways you made an active contribution to the McCombs community. Additionally, you may also comment on your experiences of being a part of the city of Austin. Wrap up your essay with your final thoughts on your overall experience at McCombs. This essay should not only demonstrate your knowledge of the program but also your enthusiasm to be part of its collaborative community.

Tips From Texas McCombs Insider

Essay Two provides an opportunity to explain why you’re applying to Texas McCombs………Make sure to give us specifics. If you’ve engaged with the program, you know there is a lot to look forward to: challenging classes, concentrations, organizations, student/alumni networking, award-winning professors, unique career-oriented opportunities, a vibrant city…the list goes on. Illustrate what attributes of the program you plan to take full advantage of and how you plan to make a positive impact while you are a student. What will be your MBA legacy? Convince us that you are indispensable to our community.”

Optional Statement:

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 relevant information to the Ad Com that you could not provide in other parts of your application, essays, and resume. For example, if you have a lower than average GMAT score, any grades below a C on your transcript, academic probation, or a significant employment gap, you can explain in this essay. To provide context for a weakness in your profile, make sure your reason is genuine to convince the Ad Com that your low grades or employment gap occurred due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control. Your response should be positive, straightforward, and fact-focused and should not sound like you are making excuses for a weakness in your profile. Also, if you cannot get your recommendation letter from your current supervisor, please explain that in the optional statement. For more information on the choice of recommenders for your McCombs application, please visit the admission blog.

Tips from Texas McCombs Insider:

“Honestly, the most important piece of advice we can provide you on the optional statement is to remember that it is just that– optional. Only applicants who feel some piece of their profile deserves more explanation should submit an optional statement. This section of the application is not to tell us more about your extracurricular activities or expand upon your personal introduction…. The bottom of your resume or your interview are likely better forums for these details. Optional statements should focus on filling gaps or answering questions we are likely to have about you.”

You may be interested in previous years’ essay questions analysis:

UT Austin McCombs Essay Tips & Deadlines-2019-20

UT Austin McCombs Essay Questions Analysis 2018-19
UT Austin McCombs Essay Questions Analysis 2017-18
UT Austin McCombs Essay Questions Analysis 2016-17
UT Austin McCombs Essay Questions Analysis 2015-16
UT Austin McCombs Essay Questions Analysis 2014-15

To meet the stringent word limits, you need to be extremely precise in presenting your case and make every word count.

Free Resources:

1.10 Key Essay Tips with Examples

  1. Essay Analysis of Other Top Programs-2020-21
  2. MER Students Share their success Stories
  3. Case Studies

Since 2011, MER (myEssayReview) has been helping applicants get accepted into the top 20 MBA programs, including the McCombs School of Business. (Poonam is one of the top 5 most reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club.)

You may email Poonam at with questions about your McCombs application.