Articles published in Essay Analysis

Wharton Essay Analysis, 2018-2019

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Wharton Essay Analysis, 2018-2019 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Wharton essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


Often spurned at the last minute for Harvard Business School, the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and, at times, Columbia Business School, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, possibly more than any other top MBA program, really wants to know that you want to earn your degree there. So we were not at all surprised to see that Wharton has maintained the prompt for its first essay, which requires applicants to explain their professional rationale for wanting to go to Wharton. (Note that by contrast, HBS does not ask candidates to spell out “Why HBS?”) Read more

Chicago Booth Essay Analysis, 2018-2019

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Chicago Booth Essay Analysis, 2018-2019 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Chicago Booth essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


After maintaining its somewhat unique “choose a photo” essay prompt for three years in a row, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business has completely overhauled its application essays this season, transitioning from that single open-ended and creative option to two short, direct essay questions. And notably, the school has shifted from having no limits at all to having a minimum expectation with respect to word count. In some ways, the minimum sets a range that a lack of limit does not. We have often suggested 1,000 words as a guide for the unlimited Chicago Booth essay, but now, we suggest keeping responses to 500–600 words each. Approximately double the minimum seems to be a reasonable high-end target, though you will not be thrown from the applicant pool for going even higher. That said, we do think 1,000 words would be as high as one might go, and only in exceedingly rare cases. Read more

Northwestern University Kellogg Essay Analysis, 2018-2019

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Northwestern University Kellogg Essay Analysis, 2018-2019 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Northwestern University Kellogg essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University has not changed its application essay questions this year, after making only minimal changes to its prompts last season, when mbaMission Senior Consultant Rachel Hyman was an admissions officer at Kellogg. So, who better to ask than Rachel for an opinion on how to approach them? In discussing Kellogg’s questions, Rachel commented, “When I was in the admissions office, we looked for authentic personal self-reflection in essays. With one question about brave leaders and the other about personal and professional growth, Kellogg provides opportunities for applicants to reveal that they have it within them to reflect and develop their skills and characters. I would encourage applicants to really ensure that they give the admissions committee an opportunity to get to know the real you, your journey [growth] so far [to become a stronger leader], and why you are a critical piece within the Kellogg mosaic. Don’t hesitate to let them know about how you will create lasting value and grow as an individual through your relationship with Kellogg.” Consider this perspective—one in which you are opening yourself up to the admissions committee and sharing not just your accomplishments but also your experiences and values—as you write your essays. Our Northwestern University Kellogg essay analysis follows… Read more

Cornell Johnson Essay Analysis, 2018-2019

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Cornell Johnson Essay Analysis, 2018-2019 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Cornell Johnson essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


We can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from many of this year’s applicants to the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University as they realize that the program’s well-known (and often dreaded) Table of Contents essay prompt is gone. The “impact” essay question first added two years ago, which asks candidates to envision how they will contribute to the MBA experience, is still in place, as is the school’s straightforward approach to the standard goals statement, though a mini essay has been tacked on to that one. In place of the Table of Contents essay is one Cornell Johnson is calling its “Back of Resume” essay, for which applicants may submit a traditional written composition or a multimedia file/link. Despite the changes, the school’s suite of prompts still covers where candidates want to go and what they want to do after they graduate, their anticipated student experience, and what they feel are the most important facets of their lives, thereby allowing applicants to create a nicely rounded impression of themselves for the admissions committee to evaluate. Our more detailed Cornell Johnson essay analysis follows… Read more

Yale School of Management Essay Analysis, 2018-2019

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Yale School of Management Essay Analysis, 2018-2019 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Yale School of Management essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


We hosted a question-and-answer session with several leading admissions officers earlier this year that featured Yale School of Management (SOM) Assistant Dean for Admissions Bruce DelMonico. Ever the straight shooter, Bruce told us that the SOM would not be changing its application essay prompt for this season. We likely should have just taken him at his word, but just to be sure, we waited to see whether Yale would indeed officially recommit to its single essay, and… it did! The school has made no modifications to its prompt. So, you have one 500-word essay with which to make an impression on the admissions committee. Our Yale School of Management essay analysis follows… Read more

Stanford Graduate School of Business Essay Analysis, 2018-2019

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Stanford Graduate School of Business Essay Analysis, 2018-2019 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Stanford Graduate School of Business essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


If we were to choose an MBA essay question that we felt could be considered iconic, it would certainly be the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) mainstay “What matters most to you, and why?” For at least two decades, the program has asked this question, slightly tweaking the wording and word count over time, but always maintaining its spirit. We waited to see if the school might ultimately make a change this year, but the admissions committee clearly feels it is getting exactly what it needs out of candidates’ essay responses. The GSB has likewise made no changes to its somewhat standard “Why Stanford?” prompt (or its maximum word count allowance of 1,150 for the two essays combined). Our Stanford Graduate School of Business essay analysis of both follows… Read more

NYU Stern Essay Analysis, 2018-2019

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - NYU Stern Essay Analysis, 2018-2019 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough NYU Stern essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


New York University’s Stern School of Business has simplified its application essays this season, dropping last year’s “Program Preferences” prompt, which asked candidates to choose which of the school’s MBA programs they would attend. We imagine this deletion may have been so the admissions committee can focus more fully on the information it is getting from its other, more revealing essay prompts and its intriguing EQ (emotional intelligence) endorsements, which Associate Dean of MBA Admission Isser Gallogly told Poets&Quants have delivered “some very interesting and useful information about people—things that people don’t necessarily talk about themselves.” At NYU Stern, you have a mix of the old and the new. The admissions committee has kept the somewhat classic personal statement and maintained the somewhat forward-looking “Pick Six,” which is truly an “essay” for the Instagram era. In your application, you should have a broad opportunity to offer the best of your professional and personal self. Our NYU Stern essay analysis follows… Read more

Michigan Ross Essay Analysis, 2018-2019

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Michigan Ross Essay Analysis, 2018-2019 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Michigan Ross essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan must have liked the essay questions it used last year, because it has made only the smallest of tweaks to them for this season. Previously, the school gave applicants nine options for its 100-word short answers—this year, candidates have just six. One has to wonder whether the admissions committee received an abundance of responses to the prompts that were kept, while those that were largely ignored by applicants were discarded. Similarly, Michigan Ross has maintained a second 300-word career goal essay but has refined it, dropping verbiage about long-term goals and asking only about applicants’ short-term goals. Again, we will make an inference here: Michigan Ross is saying that most long-term goals are so vague and prone to change that it is interested in learning only about the short term, which the school can more directly influence. Anyway, those are the tweaks; our Michigan Ross essay analysis follows… Read more

Columbia Business School Essay Analysis, 2018-2019

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Columbia Business School Essay Analysis, 2018-2019 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Columbia Business School essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


Columbia Business School (CBS) has just released its essay questions for this year, and the admissions office is offering applicants “a little bit old and a little bit new.” Its micro essay (really just a goal statement, to be fair) and first essay remain unchanged, while its second essay is a repackaging of a prompt from two years ago, and its third is brand new. In the past, for its third essay, Columbia Business School applicants could choose from two prompt options, generally pertaining to their personal lives and passions; now, candidates must respond to a question about a team failure instead. In short, this year, applicants have less choice with their essays (though the word counts have not changed), and the topics involved skew slightly in favor of the professional and academic and away from the personal. Let’s jump into our Columbia Business School essay analysis… Read more

Harvard Business School Essay Analysis, 2018-2019

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Harvard Business School Essay Analysis, 2018-2019 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Harvard Business School essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


They say the early bird gets the worm. Almost one month earlier than last year, Harvard Business School (HBS) has released its application essay prompt. Maybe it was able to do so expeditiously because… it made no changes to the question from last year. HBS director of admissions Chad Losee, now entering his third application season, must feel the prompt is effective in eliciting the kind of information the admissions committee finds valuable in evaluating potential students. Our Harvard Business School essay analysis of the prompt and advice on the best way to approach it therefore also remain constant… Read more