Fit Essay 2016

Indian School of Business Essay Topic Analysis 2016-2017

Following up on our post with the 2016-2017 Indian School of Business essays, we wanted to offer some guidance to applicants who are targeting the ISB PGP in Management this admissions season.  The ISB adcom has streamlined its essay set for this year, yielding only two required essays with some slight modifications compared to last year.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the ISB PGP essays for 2016-2017:

Essay 1: If we were to admit just One more candidate to the Postgraduate Programme (PGP) at the ISB, why should it be you? (400 words max)
This essay puts the onus on applicants to showcase their fit with ISB.  Dropping the request for a single accomplishment (personal or professional) from last year’s essay topic, ISB opens the door for broader content.  However, given the short word limit of this essay, applicants would do well to develop two, possibly three, hallmarks of their candidacy, as opposed to summarize everything that may already be covered elsewhere in the application.  Rich anecdotes that show one’s abilities and impact will make a greater impression on the reader.

In deciding what to cover, we recommend that applicants consider the skill set, personal quality, or values that they most want to highlight. Some candidates might choose to emphasize their ability to drive impressive results and manage a team in meeting an objective, as these skills map onto future professional success in a fairly straightforward way. Meanwhile, other applicants might choose to highlight their integrity and authenticity by discussing a time they championed an unpopular position and influenced a decision-making process. Still others might want to showcase the innovation and resourcefulness involved in starting a new community organization or support group based on a shared need or interest they observed around them. In sum, applicants should first reflect on what they consider to be their greatest ways to add value to the ISB community, and select related accomplishments that enable them to put that contribution forward for consideration.

Effective responses will detail the accomplishment, explaining the larger context and the players involved before taking the reader through a brief step-by-step account of what the applicant did and what the positive outcome was. Applicants should also take care to address what they learned in the conclusion of their response. We recommend taking this one step further by closing the essay with a comment on how these lessons would translate to a contribution to class discussion in one or two specific courses, or to enhancing the offerings of a particular student club at ISB. This will help to signal your familiarity with the program, and strengthen your case for being that one last student that the adcom admits.

Essay 2: Describe your short and long term career plans. How does the PGP fit in with those?(300 words max)
This ISB essay section closes with this fairly straightforward career goals essay. Applicants would do well to sketch out the position they plan to seek immediately after their PGP studies, and to include some information about how they’ve become interested in that role and where they hope it might take them 5-10 years down the road. Of course, the majority of the essay should focus on the ways the PGP in Management from ISB would position them for success, so we recommend that applicants aim to cover their career goals in 100-125 words.

Applicants should then summarize the skills and areas of knowledge that they need to gain in order to accomplish their professional objectives, and provide a detailed treatment of the courses and other programmatic offerings at ISB that will help them to bridge that gap. It’s important to showcase your familiarity with the program in this response, as this will help to illustrate the extent of your interest in the PGP and your understanding of why it’s a good fit for you. If there’s a study abroad opportunity that appeals to you or a student club that organizes an annual conference that’s perfectly aligned with your goals, be sure to mention this. Effective responses to this question will include a good amount of ISB-specific details in this short response. Taking the time to learn about the program — by reviewing the school’s website, speaking with students and alumni, visiting the campus or attending an information session, and reading the Clear Admit School Guide to the Indian School of Business — will pay dividends here.

Essay 3: Please use this space to provide any other information not covered elsewhere in the application that could significantly impact your candidature at ISB.
  Note: It is not necessary for you to write this essay. Please use this space only if there is something really significant that you would like us to know. 
(200 words max)
The wording of this essay prompt — and the additional note stressing the fact that applicants do not need to respond — signals that this space should be reserved for addressing potential liabilities or concerns in an application, such as a period of unemployment longer than 3 months, poor undergraduate or GMAT performance, or other extenuating circumstances that have influenced your career path or application. Responses should be brief and to the point, providing explanations without making excuses, and calling attention to any mitigating factors or strengths that you wish to highlight in order to alleviate the impact of any liabilities.

Clear Admit Resources
Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s ISB MBA essay topics! As you work on your Indian School of Business MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s ISB offerings:


Posted in: Essay Topic Analysis, Essays

Schools: Indian School of Business


NYU Stern Essay Topic Analysis 2016-2017

Now that the NYU Stern MBA essays for the 2016-2017 admissions season have been released, we wanted to follow up with our analysis of this year’s topics.

As has been the case for several years running, the Stern essay section comprises two required essays. The first, which focuses on the applicant’s professional goals and interest in the NYU MBA, is unchanged from the past few admissions season. The school’s classic Personal Expression essay also makes another appearance this year.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the Stern 2016-2017 MBA essays:

Essay 1: Professional Aspirations (750 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
Why pursue an MBA (or dual degree) at this point in your life?
What actions have you taken to determine that Stern is the best fit for your MBA experience?
What do you see yourself doing professionally upon graduation?

This is a fairly straightforward career goals essay, asking applicants to comment on why business school makes sense for them at this point in their careers, to articulate their post-MBA career objectives, and to outline the steps they’ve taken to learn about the Stern MBA.

To tailor this essay to Stern, we recommend answering each question in the order in which it’s posed, if you can make that work with the flow of the response. You might touch on your work experience to date and hint at the future direction you wish to take (i.e. name the industry or functional shift you hope to accomplish), and explain why you need an MBA to advance along that path. To fully address this first question, applicants should also explain the timing on their application; whether you’ve reached a plateau in learning at your current job or see an exciting opportunity that you want to act on as soon as possible, explain why this is the ideal time for you to enroll in business school. This first phase of your discussion might also describe the skills and knowledge you hope to gain from an MBA with an eye to your future plans (to be expanded on later).

Next, sensitive to the fact that applicants targeting Stern may also be applying to other programs that are strong in finance – especially regional peer Columbia – NYU is essentially asking applicants exactly how much homework they’ve done on the Stern MBA program in the second part of the prompt. Further, in our past interview with Assistant Dean Gallogly, the admissions head pointed out that it’s in a candidate’s best interest to do an extensive amount of research on the programs they’re considering, given the financial investment and lifelong affiliation with the school’s network that comes with graduate business education. Therefore, applicants need to explain not just what they know about how Stern would position them for professional success, but also detail how they’ve learned this. Applicants should aim to highlight the insights that they gained from visiting the Stern campus or attending off-site information sessions, exploring the program’s video and social media offerings, and speaking with Stern students and alumni.

Finally, applicants should double back to comment on the specifics of their post-MBA plans. Because the school explicitly asks what applicants see themselves doing upon graduation, applicants should outline their short-term plans very specifically, including both the position the candidate hopes to hold immediately after an MBA, along with 1-2 companies one plans to target. Space permitting, candidates may also consider describing their broader 5-10 year plan, especially if the long-term possibilities have been influential in the path to b-school that they’ll describe earlier in the essay. Beyond the “what” and the “where,” the admissions committee will also be interested in the “why”: the impact that the applicant hopes to make on an organization, sector, consumer base, or region. Finally, it would make sense for this discussion to cover the specific curricular and programmatic offerings that make the NYU MBA a fit with the applicant’s career goals and personal interests (Candidates might consider reading the Clear Admit School Guide to NYU Stern for some extra help in this area).

This is a good deal of information to pack into a 750-word essay for any applicant, but introducing the central elements of one’s candidacy in such a brief essay is definitely achievable, provided that applicants take their time to compose well-crafted and concise responses.

Essay 2: Personal Expression
Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates. You may use almost any method to convey your message (e.g. words, illustrations). Feel free to be creative.  

Please note the following guidelines and restrictions:

  • Your submission becomes the property of NYU Stern and cannot be returned for any reason.
  • Written Submission: The essay should be 500 words maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font.
  • Video/Audio Submission: If you submit a video or audio file, it should be five minutes maximum, and the file should be uploaded to a video/audio hosting website. You must include the URL, along with a brief description of the video/audio piece, in a Word or PDF document with your online application. Do not mail a USB or DVD to our office. The Admissions Committee reserves the right to request an alternate essay if we are unable to view your submission.
  • Physical Submission: If you submit a physical piece for this essay (e.g. artwork), you must include a Word or PDF document with a photo and a brief description of your submission with your online application and note the following:
    • Do not submit anything perishable (e.g. food), or any item that has been worn (e.g. clothing).
    • Mailed materials must be postmarked by the application deadline date. Please follow our mail and labeling instructions.
    • Mailed packages are subject to the size restrictions below. Submissions that exceed the stated size restrictions will not be accepted for review by the Admissions Committee.

Candidates should also make sure to visit Stern’s website to review the size restrictions for Essay 2.
This essay option gives applicants a chance to showcase their creative sides by allowing them a broad range of (non-perishable) possible media in which to express themselves. This is a chance to literally show the adcom who you are, where you come from, and what you care about. Of course, it’s also a test of an applicants’ judgment; as Assistant Dean Gallogly told Clear Admit, if it’s not something you’d be comfortable telling your boss, it’s probably best to omit here as well.

Candidates should consider what they would truly want their classmates to know about them, while also being mindful of the balance of content between the two required essays. That is, because the first response asks about candidates’ professional background and career goals, it would make sense to focus the majority of one’s comments in this response on one’s life outside the workplace. Applicants will want to think reflectively about their values and personality, as well as strategically about what makes them unique with respect to other applicants. Naturally, you’ll also want to communicate your enthusiasm about meeting and working with your fellow students and comment on any ways you would engage with them that aren’t covered in your first essay.

Many applicants feel most at ease with the written word, and a prose response is absolutely acceptable here. Candidates should note, though, that their response must be some kind of creative presentation; i.e. a simple essay about themselves will not do here. Fortunately, there is still a great deal of room in which to be creative with a written response. For instance, your essay might be the opening to a chapter in an autobiography, a series of journal entries, an imagined interview with a magazine or newspaper, or a snapshot of a typical day. The goal will be to convey information about your interests, values, and personality in the context of this creative exercise.

Of course, this prompt also leaves the option of interspersing text with photos and graphics, for applicants who want to heighten the impact of their response through visuals but don’t want to go all-out with a video. A captioned photo album of particularly proud moments or a decision-making flow chart visualizing how you decide to spend your free time could show your creativity and willingness to put special effort into your Stern application. And, of course, video is an excellent option for applicants who feel comfortable in front of the camera and wish to showcase elements of their background that lend themselves well to this medium (e.g. active hobbies, favorite cultural experiences, etc.). Finally, no matter the format, applicants should pay attention to tone and ensure that they’re coming across as sincere, collaborative, and excited about the prospect of joining the NYU community.

Essay 3: Additional Information (optional)
Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee. This may include current or past gaps in employment, further explanation of your undergraduate record or self-reported academic transcript(s), plans to retake the GMAT, GRE, IELTS or TOEFL or any other relevant information.

If you are a re-applicant from last year, please explain how your candidacy has improved since your last application.
Given the scope of the two required essays and the explicit guidelines provided for this essay, applicants would do best to address only the topics outlined by the admissions committee for this prompt. Responses should be as brief as possible, providing explanations but not excuses and maintaining an air of humility.

Clear Admit Resources
Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s NYU MBA essay topics! As you work on your Stern MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s Stern offerings:

Posted in: Essay Topic Analysis

Schools: NYU Stern


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