I will provide a fully revised post on IMD's MBA application essays for January 2015 admission, but I wanted to simply provide a quick analysis of the new questions that were released on February 2, 2014. My old IMD 2015 post, which contains much information about the program, can be found here.
1. Describe yourself in two hundred words or less.
This question is straightforward, but keep in mind the third question. They relate to each other. This question is about who you are now, while 3. is about who you will become.
Think of this as a your "elevator pitch" to IMD. Given the limited space I suggest you think very carefully about what to include. I suggest trying to focus more an analytical description of yourself rather than a life story.
2. Give an example of a time when you were confronted with an unrecoverable event. How did it affect you and what were your greatest learnings?
An unrecoverable event could I think refer to any of the following:
-A total complete failure with no upside. For instance losing a client who you will never get back, getting rejected from an academic program, losing a job, making a terrible investment decision, being responsible for destroying a friendship or relationship with someone else, being the source of damage or harm to others.
- The death of someone would also be such an event.
-Losing something personally valuable to you.
They are looking to see how you deal with the worst in life. They want insights into your resilience and self-awareness. Don’t write about some trivial bullshit here, real pain, tragedy, and failures are just what the doctor ordered. A key limitation is real learning.
3. On your 75th birthday someone close to you presents your laudatio. (It can be a friend, colleague, family member etc.) Please describe in detail what they would say about you and your life.
I think it is particularly "interesting" to use the word “laudatio” when it will be perfectly meaningless to many applicants unless they have studied Latin. At least, based on my search of both the British and American English Oxford dictionaries, it is not even a Latin word that has been incorporated into English. Hence only those with a background in Latin will even have an idea of what this is. If you try Google, you will not find a actual description of laudatio in English very easily. The first English listing a found was for ”Laudatio Turiae”, where “Laudatio” refers to an epitaph, which is a fine word in English. But what is actually meant in Essay Question Three is an encomium, a lovely Greek word found in English. A laudatio or encomium is a “formal expression of high praise; eulogy.” While we usually associate eulogies with speeches made for the dead, it can also be used as speech in praise of someone, typically old.
Therefore, to restate this question in English and in a way that will be, hopefully, easy for anyone to understand, I give you the following:
On your 75th birthday someone of your choosing makes a speech in praise of your life from their perspective.
Hence this question is asking you to imagine your future. IMD wants to test your ambition and long-term vision. What kind of life do you want to lead? What will your future look like? This is quite a departure for an MBA program that has not emphasized long-term vision before.
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