Articles published in Essay Analysis

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

Get All Your MBA Admissions Questions Answered in this Six-Part Online Event Series!

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Get All Your MBA Admissions Questions Answered in this Six-Part Online Event Series! by Manhattan Prep

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Are you thinking of applying to business school this year? Perhaps you’re just starting to prepare for the GMAT or GRE, or maybe you haven’t yet begun to assess your overall fit at the top business school programs. How will you differentiate yourself from so many other MBA applicants? Where will you start? Read more

Dartmouth Tuck Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Dartmouth Tuck Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Dartmouth Tuck 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 Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College has remained largely constant with its first essay question this year, making just a slight change in wording that does not appear to affect the content requested—the candidate’s career goals, why an MBA is needed to achieve them, and his or her reasons for targeting Tuck. The school’s second required essay prompt has changed notably, however. Applicants are now asked to share the story of a difficult time and to explain how they responded and how the incident altered their understanding of themselves. An optional essay is also available to allow those who truly need to to address any weaknesses in their candidacy. Although none of the essays should exceed 500 words (approximately three times the length of this introductory paragraph), we feel that together, they give candidates sufficient opportunity to provide the admissions committee with a multifaceted impression of themselves for evaluation. In our Dartmouth Tuck essay analysis, we offer our advice for approaching each of Tuck’s prompts for this season… Read more

Duke Fuqua School of Business Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Duke Fuqua School of Business Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Duke Fuqua 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.


Unlike a number of the top U.S. business schools, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business has made no changes at all to its application essay questions this year, meaning that it is again posing its rather unique “25 Random Things” prompt. This decision will likely make some candidates happy but dismay others. If you are among the dismayed, we encourage you to view this submission as the generous opportunity it is to provide a comprehensive picture of yourself as a well-rounded candidate. Few application essays provide such a broad platform through which to share your most meaningful values, experiences, interests, and accomplishments. Fuqua’s second required essay focuses on candidates’ expectations of their role within the school’s MBA program. You must discuss how you anticipate engaging with and being a benefit to others in the Fuqua community. The school also poses a few short-answer goal questions concerning the basic professional elements of the applicant’s profile. In our Duke Fuqua School of Business essay analysis, we offer our advice for approaching each of Fuqua’s prompts for this season… Read more

Northwestern Kellogg Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Northwestern Kellogg Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Northwestern 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 made minimal changes to its application essay prompts this year. The school’s required first essay has maintained its focus on leadership, but gone is the reference to teamwork, replaced by a request for evidence of “lasting value.” Kellogg also no longer stipulates that the incident candidates share be “recent,” thereby allowing applicants to plumb the full range of their history as needed to identify the most compelling or appropriate story. As for the video essays, we note that Kellogg is not stating this season that one of the questions will definitely be about a challenge, though we take this to mean merely that some applicants may receive such a question while others may not. The bottom line with Kellogg’s video questions is that they have no wrong answers and are intended to help the admissions committee get a more authentic impression of your personality (not to intimidate you!), so we hope applicants are not too concerned by that part of the application. In our Northwestern Kellogg essay analysis, we present our thoughts on how to address all the school’s prompts for 2017–2018. Read more

UCLA Anderson Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - UCLA Anderson Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

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


This season, the UCLA Anderson School of Management has abridged its primary essay question and shortened the word limit from 750 to just 500. However, it has also added a “short-answer” question (read: mini essay) that in many ways recollects the “lost” element of the main essay and reinstates those other 250 words. As the program has been doing for as long as we at mbaMission have been offering essay analyses, it asks applicants about their short- and long-term goals, this time along with the oft-seen “Why our school?” element. And the newly added short answer prompt focuses on what candidates will bring to the school’s community. Given this rather modest essay portion of the UCLA application, you will need to make the most of your recommendations, resume, and interview to ensure that the school gets the full story of who you are as a candidate. We offer our advice on approaching the school’s 2017–2018 queries with this UCLA Anderson essay analysis. Read more