List of Sample MBA Essays
University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business Sample Essay
Columbia Business School Sample Essay
Duke University's Fuqua School of Business Sample Essay
Harvard Business School Sample Essay
IESE Business School Sample Essay
INSEAD Sample Essay
London Business School Sample Essay
MIT Sloan School of Management Sample Essay
NYU Stern School of Business Sample Essay
SAID Business School at OXFORD Sample Essay
Stanford Graduate School of Business Sample Essay
University of Virginia Darden School of Business Sample Essay
Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Sample Essay
IESE MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018
For those aspiring to join IESE, here is the Essay Topic Analysis for the IESE MBA essays of 2017-2018.
2017-2018 IESE Essay Questions
Let’s take a closer look at each prompt.
Please answer ONE (and only one) of the following two questions. (300 words)
- If you look at yourself in the mirror, what do you see? Please give examples of both your strengths & weaknesses.
- Describe a recent situation (1-2 years ago maximum) that demonstrates your fit with IESE’s mission and values.
Structurally, it would make sense to dedicate more than half of this essay to your strengths. After all, you want to put your best foot forward. Then, save about 100 words to comment on your weaknesses. Before we delve into weaknesses, however, let’s focus on your strengths. Given that each category is plural, you’ll want to highlight at least two strengths, possibly three if you have a particularly demonstrative anecdote. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you do not simply want to rattle off a list of your strengths, but rather show them by accounting for how you have exercised and demonstrated your greatest qualities. Perhaps you motivated a struggling team, and also provided some underlying analysis that ultimately supported an impactful solution—there are multiple strengths to be found there. It may, in fact, help to work backwards—figure out your greatest accomplishments and then determine what qualities they show about you.
In regards to discussing your weaknesses, this is not the place to talk about a low GMAT score, a low GPA or insufficient work experience. The adcom is not asking what is weak about your application to IESE – they are asking about your personal weaknesses. Timing is important, because you want to show that you have been making efforts to improve upon your weakness. In other words, you should not be pulling feedback from a performance review that took place yesterday or last week! Reflect on your earlier career and think about how you have progressed thus far. Be sure to wrap up this answer with some evidence of how you have been able to improve as well.
In admissions jargon, certain missteps are termed “red flags,” or small mistakes that reveal an otherwise qualified applicant to be a high-risk proposition. For example, admissions committees are particularly wary of excessively confident applicants, so, if your “weakness” implies that you are so smart that you are sometimes intolerant of inferior colleagues, that will likely not play well. Other weaknesses to avoid include being a perfectionist or working too hard. These are “veiled strengths,” and are sometimes seen as an effort to dodge the question. Impatience can be an acceptable weakness when expressed with the right intentions, such as wanting to do more for your company. Perhaps you are impatient to take on more responsibilities or to assume a position in which you can make a greater impact. No matter what weaknesses you select, it’s important to end on a positive note of improvement. Share with the interviewer both your recent and your intended future efforts to continue growing as a professional.
In regards to Option 2, IESE has made it clear that they want to see more about your recent accomplishments and that you will be a good fit with the program. To start, familiarize yourself with IESE’s mission and values. Then, reflect on your achievements and how they reflect the school’s ideals. IESE seeks to develop leaders who will have a positive and lasting impact on business and society, so consider the extent of your impact – did you go above and beyond the requirements of a finite project and leave a legacy? What lasting impact did you have on your organization? Don’t feel pressured to share such grand ideas, though. Perhaps you have a more personal story about empowering an employee or bringing an intern up to full-time status.
Once you’ve decided on the anecdote you want to share, consider using the STAR method (situation, task, action, results) to structure your response. In line with this method, you will want to first set the stage quickly. Then, explain what you did, identify the exact impact, and then move on to how this experience aligns with IESE’s values and mission.
Essay 2 (Optional)
I wish that the application had asked me…
This essay can be submitted either written (200 words) or as a video (max 2:00 minutes total in length). We are aware that you are not a media professional.
This leading prompt appeared on IESE’s application last year, but the adcom has added the option of a video this year. In regards to content, this question provides candidates a chance to briefly explore an important aspect of their candidacy not mentioned in their data forms, résumé, or other essay response. Unlike most optional essays, this is one that makes sense to complete in order to round out your application. For applicants from oversubscribed groups in the applicant pool, this essay could offer a great opportunity to truly stand out from the crowd by sharing an unusual hobby or an interesting anecdote. Potential topics could be a time you demonstrated leadership, ethical behavior, entrepreneurial spirit, or persuasion skills, as these are all topics that are often of interest to admissions committees. Whatever topic you select, it would be ideal to link this quality or fact to some element of your intended experience in the MBA program and/or future career.
As for medium, the video option has become quite popular across business school applications, and provides an opportunity to make a vivid impression through visual communication. It also shows the admissions committee that one is willing to invest the time and effort to create something just for the IESE application, underscoring one’s investment in gaining admission to IESE. Applicants whose leisure activities or workplace roles lend themselves well to film might do well to consider the video option.
Clear Admit Resources
Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s IESE MBA essay topics. As you work on your IESE MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s IESE Business School offerings:
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