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April 01, 2013

Rumours Regarding New MBA Essay Questions for the Class of 2016

Disclaimer:  While none of the following can be confirmed at this time, based on past posts prepared with the assistance of my Indian colleague, Mada Sukram,  this is surely worthy of my readers’ consideration. 

The ever shrinking Why MBA question at HBS

As appears to be the pattern from last year, top MBA programs are continuing to alter and shrink their essay sets.  For class of 2015 entry, HBS  gave 500 characters (about 100 words) for explaining why the applicant wanted an MBA based on the industry and function they will pursue. Industry and function were determined by selecting from a drop down menu of limited options.   According to Mada’s most reliable sources in the greater Cambridge area, this question will be replaced with something like the following:
“Which of the following reasons best describes your motivation for applying to HBS:
1.  The will to power.
2. Greed.
3. My obsessive helicopter parents who continue to control every aspect of my life.
4.  I believe an HBS MBA is the ideal platform upon which I can then go onto bring about world peace.
5.  I really need to get out of investment banking.
6. I’m no good at my current chosen career path, so I want to double down on it.
7.  HBS graduates like President George W.  Bush and Gov. Mitt Romney inspired me with their powerful rhetorical strategies that they had clearly cultivated in the HBS classroom. 
It is believed that the list of options will eventually include about 10-15 choices.  As far as Mada and I know, there is no indication that the HBS application will allocate space for an explanation of the applicant’s selection.

Location Matters Essay Question at Wharton

Mada’s sources on this one are literally not to be believed. Assuming their potential accuracy, Wharton’s new MBA branding strategy will be to emphasize “The Philadelphia Difference.”  To that end, a new essay question is be a part of the Class of 2016 application:

“Why are you passionate about spending two years in Philadelphia?” 

According to Mada’s sources, this question will be in addition to a more standard Why MBA/Why Wharton question.  Applicants who have not actually been to Philly are likely to have a  psychological advantage over those who have.  If you can’t understand what I mean, you have not been to Philly.

Haas replacing their song question with something even more cute

Last year, Haas asked “ If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why?”, but this year they have an even cuter question, according to Mada’s sources in the People’s Republic of Berkeley, the following question will be replacing the song question:

“If you could choose one animal to express who you are, which animal is it and why?”

I suspect that many applicants will ask whether it is better to Oski or not to Oski.  I pity prospective Golden Bears who have to puzzle this one out.

Stanford alters “What matters most to you, and why?”

Finally, Mada’s sources in the greater Silicon Valley, indicate that Derrick Bolton and crew have decided it is time to radically alter the sacred unchanging question.  The new version may strike some as shocking in its direct and extremely aggressive attitude, not to mention unmitigated candor.

“Stanford GSB rejects the vast majority of applicants. Why should you matter to us?”

There is some speculation that has actually always been the real question anyway.

I want to thank Mada for his continued efforts on my behalf. Mada and I have worked together for as long as I can recall.

-Adam Markus
I am a graduate admissions consultant who works with clients worldwide. If you would like to arrange an initial consultation, please complete my intake form. Please don't email me any essays, other admissions consultant's intake forms, your life story, or any long email asking for a written profile assessment. The only profiles I assess are those with people who I offer initial consultations to. Please note that initial consultations are not offered when I have reached full capacity or when I determine that I am not a good fit with an applicant.
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