Posted on September 6, 2021

UT Austin McCombs MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines: 2021-22

UT Austin McCombs 

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 Deadline Decision Date
One* October 12, 2021 December 16, 2021
Two January 06, 2022 March 24, 2022
Three March 29, 2022 May 05, 2022

*priority deadline for scholarships and fellowships

Applications are due no later than 11:59 p.m. CST on the day of the deadline.

Application Essays

The MBA essay questions for the 2021-2022 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. In addition, 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.

  • Write an essay (250 words)
  • Share a video introduction (one minute in length)

This is the 9th year running that McCombs requires the applicants to write an introduction essay. McCombs asks them to delve into their personal attributes in 250 words. In terms of the topic and the medium of communication, this essay provides applicants with flexibility and freedom to showcase their creative side. You may take time to brainstorm ideas about what you would 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. For example, if you are an introvert and love to write, you may select the ‘essay mode’ for sure (Most people I worked with opted for the essay option). On the other hand, if you are an extrovert, and find recording the video option m more exciting, you may select the video option. 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, I understand 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 your audience's attention 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.

Don’t forget about the first sentence of the prompt: “We will learn a lot about your professional background through your resume and letter of recommendation.” The admissions committee already read your resume, letter of recommendation, education history, and goals. While your professional life is important, this essay is your opportunity to share who you are outside of those components.

Finally, the choice is yours: written essay or video. We have seen significant success with both mediums and do not have a preference of one over the other. Therefore, play to your strengths! If your skill is in writing, focus on the essay. If you’re not shy in front of a camera, then record a video. However, if you do submit a video, keep in mind that sending us a photo slideshow isn’t advisable. These slideshow submissions don’t grant the admissions committee the chance to actually see and hear from you, which is really what we are looking for in a video submission. Have fun with either submission and do not take this essay for granted— it can go a long way in setting the stage for your MBA application and creating another great impression.”

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. So, instead of explaining how the 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 McCombs's various resources/ offerings and activities (courses, study groups, clubs, etc.) brought you closer to your post-MBA goals. Also, it would be best if you discussed 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. Finally, wrap up your essay with your final thoughts on your overall experience at McCombs. This essay should demonstrate your knowledge of the program and 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. By describing what you’re excited for and your plans as an MBA, we will understand your career plan, learn what you’re passionate about, and discover how you want to develop yourself both in and out of the classroom.

What classes, organizations, and experiential opportunities specifically relate to your career plan? Personally, how do you envision yourself becoming an active member of our community? Connect the dots between your goals and how McCombs will get you there.

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 or address any areas of concern that you believe will be beneficial to MBA Admissions in considering your application. (e.g., gaps in work experience, choice of recommender, academic performance, 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: 2020-21

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

10 Key Essay Tips with Examples

MER Students Share their Success Stories

Essay Analysis of Other Top Programs-2021-22

Case Studies

AIGAC Virtual Conference 2021: MER's Key Takeaways

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

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