Sample MBA Admissions Essays - Accepted by Stern and NYU (Courtesy of EssayEdge)
1. Think about the decisions you have made in your life. Describe the following:
PAST: What choices have you made that led you to your current position?
PRESENT: Why is a Stern MBA necessary at this point in your life?
FUTURE: What is your desired position upon graduation from the Stern School?
I like options, I like security, and I like power. With these wants, I knew at a very early age that I would enter business and thus I attended a college that specializes in the subject. In my first position out of school, I was hired by Dunhill Equities as a cold-caller. After several weeks of being hung up on by angry prospects, I decided that this career path would not lead me to success. I then moved within the firm to a position as sales assistant. While this was by no means my dream job, I learned a tremendous amount about business, and I gained useful exposure to the world of finance. Unfortunately, the company hit a period of instability, and after ten months I transferred with my boss to Coleman & Company. Thirteen months later, that company also began to fail, and I began to search for another path to advancement. With two strikes against me, I hit a home run and was hired by Sanford Bernstein into a challenging job with limitless opportunity for growth.
After almost three years at Bernstein, I am once again seeking career advancement. My education and work experience have provided me with an excellent introduction to business, and they have sparked my interest in finance. Taking into consideration my foundation and my interests, graduate business school is the next logical step. At this point in my life, I consider a Stern MBA to be necessary since I need to gain a broader understanding of finance and to sharpen my analytical skills in order to be successful in corporate finance. Stern’s MBA program will allow me to concentrate in finance, strengthen my global business perspective, and provide me with the opportunity to study with and learn from people with varied backgrounds. The school’s location in the financial capital of the world and in one of the most diverse cities in the world also suits me perfectly.
Aside from advancing my career, I would also like to develop personally. In college I did not join many clubs or organizations, and I did not participate in sports. Instead, I spent all my time studying, working, or dealing with family issues. Having been away from home and living in New York City for four years, I feel the need to make a name for myself and to develop a meaningful social life. I want to take advantage of the many benefits that extracurricular activities offer, and I want to be involved in the Stern community.
Upon graduation from the Stern School, I will seek a position as an associate within the corporate finance department of a large, Wall Street, investment-banking firm. In three to five years, once I have become adept in financial analyses, drafting prospectuses, preparing business presentations and other financial advisory work, I will move into a senior associate position. Here I will develop my abilities to anticipate client needs and to engineer solutions that address these needs. In approximately 10 years, I will have the experience necessary to take on upper-level management responsibilities.
Describe yourself to your MBA classmates. (You may use any method to convey your message: words, illustrations, etc.)
I grew up in a small fishing village in Maine, surrounded by family. Expectations and aspirations are limited in such an environment. I could have made a living exploiting the sea, but chose to do similar work as a corporate executive. Although I have no siblings, my hometown contains over fifty family members, and our agenda of family activities is always packed. Most of my family is employed in the commercial fishing industry, which instilled in me at a very young age, the concept of work. At age eleven, I started babysitting and mowing lawns, and at the age of fifteen I applied for my lobster license. The first summer with my license, I took a job as a sternperson with a fellow female. We were the only two females out there, which was definitely an experience. When the lobstering season ended that year, I took a job at a grocery store bagging groceries. I saved enough money to build a boat and to buy fifty lobster traps; I was on my way. The following summer I continued to work as a sternperson, and I also fished my own traps. I continued lobstering throughout the rest of high school and college, and it helped me finance my college education.
In addition to being ambitious and motivated enough to put my heart into even mundane, low-level tasks, I am also extremely organized. This is one characteristic that has always received praise. I pay particular attention to detail, which I believe has contributed to my success thus far. I take pride in my work, and I look at it as a representation of myself. In my position at Sanford Bernstein as a Consultant Liaison, I market my firm to the financial consulting community. Maintaining the integrity of the firm is vital and errors are disastrous. When training new group members, I stress this point most thoroughly.
I work in a group that currently has six members. The group serves as a central source of information for the firm, and its success relies on an extraordinary amount of cooperation from each of us. As a senior member, I am able to contribute to the group in several ways including: training group members, controlling the quality of the group’s output, managing and accurately completing multiple requests with short turnaround times, gathering and conveying information from senior investment professionals, collecting and calculating data, maintaining databases, overseeing projects aimed at making long-term improvements to the group’s processes, and strengthening my own foundation of knowledge to be used as a resource. Recently, as the result of a manager leaving the firm, I have also taken on some of the managerial responsibilities for the group including prioritizing and delegating assignments.
Though I am an excellent team player, in business school I would like to sharpen my managerial skills. I have found that I need to overcompensate for my “soft” appearance in order to get my point across. I hope to improve my negotiating skills and to gain more experience in getting group members to carry their own weight. At the same time, I do not want to become a tyrant. To be effective, it is important for a manager to maintain the proper balance of power and compassion. Only in this way, will I be able to lead a team of people to realizing the goals of a firm.
(Optional) Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admission Committee. If you are unable to submit a recommendation from a current employer, please give your reason here.
To satisfy my desire for success, I must continue my education. Of the six business schools to which I am applying, the Stern School is my first choice. I am very excited about entering an MBA program that will allow me to focus on my interest in finance as well as provide me with the career possibilities and exposure to resources, such as networks and learning tools, which I do not currently have. At Stern, I know that my investment of time, energy, and money will be well rewarded. At this point in my life, I believe I have great potential to gain much from a business degree since I have been exposed to the business environment for the past eight and a half years. I now posses a strong foundation to build upon, and I am ready to assume the rigors and challenges of the Stern School’s MBA program.
In addition to its academic program, the Stern community is itself very appealing. The three undergraduate schools that I applied to were Babson, Bentley and Bryant. Babson College became my first choice as soon as I visited its quaint campus and fell in love with the friendly atmosphere and cultural diversity. From someone coming from a small fishing village in Maine, it was refreshing to be surrounded by family. Living in New York City has broadened my exposure to include a fast-paced, career-minded atmosphere. The combination of these characteristics at the Stern School will provide me with an excellent learning environment, and I hope to attend Stern for many of the same reasons I selected Babson.
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Sample MBA Application Essay - Before
Essay 1: Please discuss the factors, both professional and personal, influencing the career decisions you have made that, in turn, have led you to your current position. What are your career goals for the future, and why is now the appropriate time to pursue an MBA at XXX? How will you avail yourself of the resources at the XXX to achieve these goals?
PAST CAREER DEVELOPMENT AND FUTURE GOALS
Have you ever seen, heard of or witnessed any of the following things?
-- The surface of the sea littered with dead sheep.
-- A domestic waste landfill explosion leading to a number of deaths due to the resultant flood of waste?
-- Tea vendors offering radiation-contaminated tea for half-price?
-- A little girl's death resulting from her fall through an open sewage manhole in her school garden?
-- Radioactive waste sold to unsuspecting scrap dealers, causing their deaths.
-- A twenty year-old tanker breaking into pieces, spilling hundreds of tons of crude oil and killing sea life.
Unfortunately, such environmental disasters have become common place in Turkey.
Concerned about such situations, and aware of the insensitivity of the authorities towards our environment and health, I sought to learn ways to prevent these types of disasters. At the age of fifteen, I decided to focus my studies on environmental sciences, in order to equip myself with the technical tools I would need to do just that.
I went on to earn a Master's degree in environmental sciences, subsequently attending a professional international management certificate program in order to gain management perspective.
In order to make use of my technical knowledge and management skills in an effective way, I was aware of the fact that I should start working in a large company that would in turn would provide me insight experience from various industries and the international business arena.
I have now worked in the energy and environment group of Lec Corporation headquarters, the first and biggest diversified conglomerate, for nearly two years as a project engineer, mainly responsible for environment and energy sector investments of our holding companies.
This work position gave me an opportunity to interact with businessmen from all over the world which expanded my international perspective. Working with American partners and English consultants, I gleaned the subtle meaning of being a professional. Though it was unusual for a young associate to be a representative for my company at such events, I am proud to say that my outstanding work performance allowed me to seize the opportunity to attend various meetings with local and international governmental bodies such as OPIC, IFC and the World Bank that increased my self-confidence and improved my management skills.
While working in various business lines, such as automotive industry, consumer durables and energy sector, I have realized that the root cause of many environmental problems is financial. I believe that many people in the environmental sector are so ignorant or insensitive that they will cheat customers to increase profits. Furthermore, businesses do not prioritize environmental investments and, as a result, insufficient funds are allocated to adequately prevent problems. For instance, with a population over eight million people, Istanbul, the biggest city in Turkey does not have a properly operating sewage system, and in most of the areas wastewater is discharged directly to Bosphorus.
Ultimately, I am interested in helping to solve my country's problems by starting my own environmental services business in Turkey, serving both local and international customers giving cost effective and appropriate solutions differing from waste management to safety management.
WHY MBA AND XXX SCHOOL?
Despite my experience, I still lack some important knowledge and management experiences/skills, especially in finance, marketing and entrepreneurship. I also miss important knowledge of American environment. It is essential that I master these skills since dealing with aspects of international business will be an integral part of my job as an entrepreneur.
The XXX School's MBA program is the bridge where I am and where I want to be.
The inventiveness and uniqueness of the XXX School's both entrepreneurial and finance programs impressed me. I believe that I will increase my practical knowledge of entrepreneurship from interacting with my XXX School classmates. I value the fact that at the XXX School, entrepreneurial education does not stop at the classroom but continues through internships and extracurricular activities. I feel that a business school for entrepreneurs should balance a dose of theory with real-world application. The XXX School's curriculum and hands-on experiences through associations, internships and the management field study provide this balance, as demonstrated by the variety and success of its alumni.
I am also drawn to XXX School because of its emphasis on teamwork and technology. XXX School's MBA program proposes such exciting courses and programs as High Technology Entrepreneurship, International Finance,12-week field application projects, global immersion program directed to teach thinking and acting globally.
Further, the XXX School's flexible entrepreneurial program allows students to choose electives from 200 courses that will allow me to tailor my course of study directly to my career interests.
After a long search I found in XXX a top quality business school, able to provide me with the opportunities to gain the knowledge I need for my future in addition to putting me in contact with a diverse student environment and ensure my perception of American values. Moreover, my background and my desire to succeed will allow me to flourish in the XXX program.
I liked the alumni network and student clubs present at XXX.XXX has one of the strongest and largest alumni networks with 70,000 alumni in more than 130 countries of which I would like to be honored to be a member of.
I count very much on earning a XXX School MBA degree to help me strengthen both my finance knowledge and entrepreneurial skills, necessary to enable me to secure a position as an environmental specialist in a multinational American-based firm; this, in turn, will prepare me to accomplish my long term ambition of starting my own company and helping Turkey improve its environmental record.
I am now on my way to the next step in my career planning which involves receiving an MBA degree from XXX. My experience and technical knowledge guided my success during each new venture I attempted. These early accomplishments boosted my confidence that I would soon be closer to my goal of being a successful young entrepreneur.
I believe I am on the right path to achieve my goals. I now anxiously await the next phase in my development. I know that my skills along with my experience will continue to aid in achieving my long-term objective.
Essay 2: Describe a personal achievement that has had a significant impact on your life. In addition to recounting this achievement, please analyze how the event has changed your understanding of yourself and how you perceive the world around you.
When I was an undergraduate, I was asked, as part of a class, to select a project on which I wished to work with supervisor whom I was interested in studying with. I had chosen to study with the Head of the University's Chemistry Department on a project named "Environmental Risk Assessment of Hazardous Materials." After the earthquake disaster that hit Turkey, causing approximately 30,000 people to die, the State Planning Organization of Turkey has used the model we developed in the project to determine the risks posed by materials spilled around the region devastated by the earthquake.
In addition to working with me on my project, my supervisor also provided me with other important assistance. My supervisor was a person who not only lectured about the issue at hand but also shared his vast knowledge about the practical experience of his professional and personal life. His main goal was to shape his students into well-educated and socially active engineers with strong personal and professional ethics. He took me to many seminars, fairs, and conferences in order to give me the background necessary to become an engineer of whom he could be proud. On my own, I became president of the Environment Club, organizing technical site visits and meetings regarding environmental engineering for freshmen students.
One day, my supervisor told me about a non-profit organization named Cekud of which he was a member. I was impressed with the group's activities. Cekud's main activity is a tree-planting campaign called "Seven Trees." The idea for the campaign comes from the assumption that the average person consumes almost seven trees for his or her needs annually.
I decided to organize a planting day with Cekud. We have rent a bus and went to the decided planting are together with forty-five students. There were also small kids of ages between eight to fifteen associated with Cekud representatives. When I asked who they were, I am informed that they were the participants of one of the other Cekud activities named " Education for our future". Main purpose of the program is to educate children of poor families who can not afford to take preparatory courses for college and/or university entrance exams. At that day we have planted 650 trees and named the little forest as our Club's forest.
I was impressed with Cekud's activities and decided to work at Cekud as a volunteer especially for the education program. While working with Cekud , I have also learned about their other activities such as restoration of historical houses.
I have noticed that Cekud is the place to make one of my childhood dreams come true.
I spent much of my childhood moving around Turkey because my father was an officer in the Turkish army. The perspective and insight gained during that time have been significant factors in my personal development.
In the early 1980's, there was a great deal of political unrest in Turkey, and security was a major issue for citizens. For a time, we attended school in the company of soldiers. I attended three different primary schools because my family moved so often.
We stayed in least developed towns of Eastern Turkey. People were suffering from unemployement as a result welfare. My classmates were from poor families who could hardly speak Turkish and could not afford to get school uniforms even hardly afford to receive basic human needs such as medicine, food, education to survive. Those regions were much affected by the unpredictable economic conditions and terorism present in Turkey in those days.
Because of this instability, the quality of my education suffered. Yet I was well aware that I would need to study hard in order to succeed in life. With my determination and perseverance, I did well in my college and university entrance exams, winning admission to one of the best colleges in Ankara and to university in Istanbul.
With our luck and ambition, we succeeded in receiving the best education possible, but I knew first hand the difficult lives these children were facing. Early in life, I vowed to help the people if I was ever able to do so. Knowing about the facts of Turkey as a well educated and a loyal Turkish youngman., I am feeling responsible for those people.
I started allocating approximately six hours at the weekeneds educating those kids. Giving them mathematics, physics and chemistry lectures. I took the responsibility of two kids who were at the age of ten and eleven years old. We targeted to make them pass through the private college entrance exam that will be governmentally sponsored all through their education life.
After a seven months of period we succeeded. They entered the colleges. This summer they are going to graduate from high school. I not only lectured them but also became their brother by listening their problems and trying to solve them. We also went to picnics and arranged city sight seeing tours to make them also socially strong citizens. Cekud became the chance I needed to honor my vow.
I consider helping these two kids to be my most significant personal accomplishment to date.
As one of our famous poets Nazim Hikmet mentioned;
"Karanliktan sikayet edecegine bir mum da sen yak"
"Do not complain about the darkness, instead add a candle". My candles are still burning.
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