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Sample MBA Essays

List of Sample MBA Essays

University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business Sample Essay

Berkeley HAAS School of Business MBA Essay Questions

Tell us about your most significant accomplishment.

Having worked on both the hardware and software sides of Microsoft, I was exposed to two of the company’s three main offerings: hardware, software and services. In doing so, I realized there was an absence of knowledge sharing among the groups that would leverage Microsoft’s biggest strength: being a one stop shop. Although Microsoft encourages innovation in their product development and services, I found it somewhat lacking in terms of breaking down barriers between departments. Though it would be a challenge to change their traditional modes of operating, I saw it as an opportunity to transform and grow the brand. First I needed to convince management and the individual teams that my idea would be beneficial to each separate unit and the company as a whole. With upper managements support, I organized classes where the three sides would be cross-trained on the missions of the other teams. Then, we created a task force that developed ideas to cross-sell their missions. We created “ready to buy” bundled offers for small customers that included the hardware, software and service teams. Thus we started a new offering. By applying some fresh thinking to an on-going problem I was able to change the mindset of my colleagues to illustrate that by working together as a larger team, we could achieve much greater results than three individual components working separately. The impact was significant on customer satisfaction and business development. We saw an increase in leads of 150% where more than one Microsoft team was involved.

Columbia Business School Sample Essay

Columbia School of Business MBA Essay Questions

Columbia Business School Essay #1

Given your individual background, why are you pursuing a Columbia MBA at this time?

PART B  

My background as a sales-trader in Equity Derivatives at XXX has afforded opportunities to build experience and expertise in highly technical derivative markets and securities. However, I want to continue to gain mastery of new and different disciplines in the financial services industry to pursue my goal of Portfolio Management at an investment management firm so I can have a greater impact within the financial sector. I am confident a Columbia MBA will diversify my financial skill set beyond derivatives, and help me develop a deeper understanding of corporate finance, accounting, strategy, credit, distressed debt markets, and both applied value and event driven investing to help me attain my short-term goal and prepare me for my long term objective. The shared passion towards Investment Management that is pervasive amongst Columbia’s student body and faculty is a key reason behind my conviction that Columbia is perfectly suited to my career goals. The CSIMA’s annual investment conference, which gathers leaders like Dan Loeb, Howard Marks, Seth Klarman, and David Einhorn, is an example of Columbia ability’s to attract talent for its student body. These men are legitimate heroes of mine and opportunities to network with leaders of this magnitude will prove invaluable when I begin my search for post MBA jobs. As someone who worked on the XXX trading floor through the confusing and fearful moments of 08’, as well as the Flash Crash in May 10, I look forward to gaining insights from Professor Charles Jonesand his research and writings on short sellers, automated markets, algorithmic trading, and market liquidity. As my ultimate goal is Investing, I plan to focus much of my attention at the Heilbrunn Center for Graham and Dodd Investing. While Bruce Greenwald’s Value Investing course is invaluable for achieving my short-term goals in Investment Management, I am also looking forward to learning from the adjunct professors the Heilbrunn center attracts, like David Greenspan, Joel Greenblatt, or Munib Islam of Third Point Capital. In addition, I plan to use my professional experiences at XXX to apply for a spot in the coveted Value Investing Program. The training and experience the program provides would greatly enhance my potential to having an impactful career in Portfolio Management. Another component central to Columbia being perfectly suited to my career objectives is the Eugene Lang center. As my ultimate goal is to start and run my own Investment fund, I require not only top-notch financial training, but also a deeper understanding of Entrepreneurialism and Innovation. Columbia’s Entrepreneurship program hinges upon two distinct principles which are both directly applicable to my ultimate goal of launching an Investment Fund: identifying, valuing, and capturing opportunity, and doing so with individual initiative in the face of high uncertainty and/or tight resources. When I learned that CBS had a dedicated Entrepreneurship center with its focal doctrine to institutionalize, emphasize, and formalize the practice and ideas of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, I became even more certain that CBS is the best place to help me achieve my goals.

Duke University's Fuqua School of Business Sample Essay

FuquaBlossoms by Dave Connolley licensed under CC BY 2.0

When asked by your family, friends, and colleagues why you want to go to Duke, what do you tell them? Share the reasons that are most meaningful to you.

When the iron curtain lifted, my father was among the lucky few to win a visa to the United States. An MBA is a crucial component of my career objectives, and as such plays a critical role in achieving my life goals. An MBA will plug knowledge gaps in foundational business skills such as supply chain and cost management and provide insights into the management consulting industry, which is where I want to be after graduation. A Fuqua MBA provides all this and more. Duke Fuqua will help me build on my current strengths and skill set among talented peers and supportive alumni within the research triangle that is Durham: a locale perfectly suited to my learning style and career objectives. I was initially exposed to the camaraderie that echoes throughout Team Fuqua by Owen May 83’ at a Fuqua minority community event in New York City. I was a little uneasy upon arrival as I didn’t know a single soul, but my trepidation soon disappeared. Students from every corner of the Fuqua family including Daytime MBA, MMS and several of Owen’s Duke undergrad interns were more than ready to share their experiences. After the event I realized that at Duke, I would never be alone on my journey and could bring my own unique story to an already diverse and engaging group. I was born behind the “Iron Curtain” in Soviet controlled Poland where my earliest memories include holding a ration card while waiting in line for hours just to purchase bread and baby formula. When the iron curtain lifted my father was among the lucky few to win a visa to the U.S. Facing language barriers and with little in the way of an education, my parents continually struggled to find better paying jobs while raising three young children in Newark. Growing up in Jersey’s largest city was in many ways a blessing: an immigrant work ethic and sense of community permeated the streets. Academic lessons were not derived solely from textbooks as high school was a microcosm of the city’s cultural and religious diversity. Today, I am in a leadership position on the retail side of the telecommunications industry. The pace of change in the industry has allowed me to amass practical organizational knowledge whilst exposing me to the challenges inherent in organizational change. These experiences along with my personal history have cemented my career aspiration of joining the retail practice of BCG, Bain or McKinsey in Poland to take advantage of the burgeoning growth of retail markets in Central and Eastern Europe. From a frontline perspective I am privy to the effects of digital disruption as well as the ever changing buying patterns of consumers—all key elements of retail consulting. “Global Institutions and Environment” and “Global Operations” will allow me to facilitate organizational designs that contain costs while enabling growth for retailers in emerging markets. Additionally, Fuqua’s six week term structure provides the opportunity to rapidly amass core knowledge and customize my curriculum by taking more electives to develop a skill set that meets the needs of prospective employers. Elise Eggart 14’, mentioned Fuqua’s Client Consulting Practicum and the Fuqua Case where I look forward to applying the cross-cultural leadership and cross-functional experience I gained at T-Mobile USA. Not only will have I the opportunity to extract and analyze data, and test multiple hypotheses with my colleagues, as a team we can turn our recommendations and insights into actionable operational strategies. Jason Holmes 07’, currently at Accenture, underscored that Fuqua’s commitment to analytical precision will bolster my ability to deliver value propositions, allocate investments and optimize client portfolios. He also mentioned Fuqua’s recruiting events with Accenture, BCG, McKinsey and Bain which will allow me to vie for a highly coveted internship very early in the year. Lastly, it is Durham itself. Its size and location are incredibly conducive to absorbing academic knowledge by providing a close-knit environment with few distractions, while granting enough respite to enjoy weekends with classmates. New York may be home to some of the best known chefs, but Durham is the “Foodiest Small Town in America” and I can’t wait to sample Durham’s eateries. There are also the sports rivalries, as a die-hard soccer fanatic I am ready to don my Blue Devil garb in support of Duke’s soccer team. Lastly, there is my passion for music, which I will share with my Fuqua family. Trips to Whiskey and the PinkHook will occur regularly. I would also love to organize a Fuqua band with my classmates. Music is the ultimate open-ended multivariable that requires collaboration and compromise before arriving at a meaningful solution. For me, team Fuqua is like playing in a great band. My experience as a musician and current position as a manager for T-Mobile USA have honed my ability to orchestrate diverse resources, nurture great ideas and ensure everyone is in step working toward a shared goal, be it onstage, at work or in the classroom. The lifeblood of Durham and Fuqua is its people. I plan to fully contribute to Durham and Fuqua not only as an engaged student but also as a proud alum throughout my career. I am applying to Fuqua because of its focus on application of theory and commitment to experiential learning, along with a pantheon of academic and professional resources that will bring me closer to achieving my goals.

Harvard Business School Sample Essay

Harvard School of Business MBA Essay Questions

You're applying to Harvard Business School. We can see your resume, academic transcripts, extracurricular activities, awards, post-MBA career goals, test scores, and what your recommenders have to say about you. What else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy? Use your judgment as to how much to tell us. We don't have a "right answer" or "correct length" in mind. We review all the elements of your written application to decide who moves forward to the interview stage.

A dying chicken lay at my feet, twitching in its last moments as I looked on, horrified at the blood. It was the summer of my junior year at college, and I was camping in Cameroon’s tribal villages to assess how microfinance programs might increase farm yields. While the extreme poverty I witnessed reinforced my desire to help alleviate world hunger; the struggle to butcher my dinner left an impression that changed my life. I had never seen a live chicken. Instead, frozen chicken tenders were staples of my diet: my parents, recent immigrants, were confused by foreign products at the grocery store and too busy working to prepare meals. When I learned that the villagers had toiled all year to cultivate one animal, it seemed unlikely that natural processes produced my daily chicken tenders. I learned about the preservatives that made convenience foods abundant and the negative impact a processed diet had on people’s health. This stoked my passion to educate others. I had already seen the long-term effects of bad nutrition: My older sister and I gained excess weight as we matured; she fell victim to eating disorders and depression; my father’s suffered from high blood pressure. While my unhealthy relationship with food was difficult to overcome, the experience established the central role that food plays in my life and allowed me to appreciate the transformative power of a healthy diet as a result of increased awareness. At university, I witnessed the power of food in overcoming relationship barriers. I was a leader at my college church when I noticed attendance at services was dropping. I invited truant students to my dorm room for a home cooked meal as a way to reconnect with them: the invitation had a dual purpose, as I had just returned from Cameroon and was teaching myself to cook. In my conversations, I noticed that the underclassmen de-prioritized church events when overwhelmed with having to care for themselves: many of them subsisted on instant noodles. What if I could ease their homesickness and burden of living on their own by sharing the Japanese recipes I was learning? Though my bathtub became a soaking bin for pickled cabbage, the common need for a culinary education created a community students were eager to partake in, overcoming their instinct to stay at home. The experience taught me that food education could be used not only to improve eating habits but also to create a powerful group identity. When I graduated college and moved to North Carolina, I began to teach cooking classes at a senior center and women’s shelter. While the institutions faced nutritional limitations due to resource constraints, I believed these channels were an opportunity to have scalable impact. I garnered administration’s support to replace their existing meal plan with my cooking class once a week by agreeing to stick to their budget. The food I cooked in my classes not only improved the resident’s nutrition, it also had a domino effect on the mood of everyone in the house. Each week, the administrators recalled how the residents talked nonstop about their cooking accomplishments from our previous session. Enthusiasm opened the doors for further conversations on the value of investing in nutrition to improve the residents’ quality of life. I seized an opportunity to teach institutions that traditionally do not rely on nutritional values for meal preparation, about the potential for fresh food to improve well-being. Food can transform societies, and there is a need to reeducate many Americans whose definition of nutrition is limited to processed foods, fat free foods, or even Whole Foods. I need business school to build on my successes at a local level and take my passion further. By turning the value of nutrition into a commercial concept, I can change the habits of consumers and reconfigure the priorities of food production in the United States. As I seek to transform this passion into my career, I am inspired by the initiatives already underway at HBS. HBS is supporting programs along the entire spectrum of potential solutions: entrepreneurial startups, proposed changes to regulation and policy, and cross-discipline initiatives. It would be invaluable to take part in the Antares program, to address public health challenges using commercial solutions. Within HBS, my peers are already developing mechanisms to facilitate the cooking skills that I have been working on in my community: a company that came out of YYY’s launch day this year was XXX, a service that delivers ingredients for dinner and eases the burden of home cooking for busy or novice cooks. In learning about these initiatives and the enthusiasm with which they are met on campus, I am eager to be part of the innovative solutions that can shape communities and decrease the demand for engineered foods. A changed view of food production has the power to transform the United States’ – and ultimately the world’s – view of responsible consumption. HBS’s demonstrated impact on social responsibility and its focus on leadership across all programs makes it the best place for me to hone my passion for food culture reform and start a movement that goes beyond business.

IESE Business School Sample Essay

Describe a recent situation (1-2 years ago maximum) that demonstrates your fit with IESE's mission and values (300 words).

I started my career at XXX in October 2010 leading the Business Intelligence team and working with internal customers located primarily in South America. When I was promoted in August 2012, my responsibilities increased to leading the larger Application team with customers located almost exclusively in the US. It became evident my career was focusing less on my passion for leading global projects and more on maintaining internal customer relationships with the IT team. This new position was not aligned with my career aspirations of leading global initiatives. Speaking with management about the career path I thought best allowed me to serve our customers, I sought out and was able to obtain a new position in June in a different, more strategic area of the IT department, which is focused on impacting XXX’s business globally using mobile technology. Moving to a more strategic area in the IT department illustrates my motivation for not only advancing my career but also in improving the global XXX business through technology. IESE’s mission is to identify future global leaders that will make an impact. Through courses such as Executive Management Simulation, Negotiation, and Strategy and Competitiveness as well as the use of the case method to better understand real world business challenges, the school further develops leaders to make an even greater impact after their MBA. These courses will complement my previous experience and provide the business knowledge to transition into strategy consulting and develop into a more effective leader capable of defining business strategies. In addition, international opportunities such as the Overseas Modules will help me better understand different cultures which is directly aligned with my passion for working and making an impact on global businesses.

INSEAD Sample Essay

INSEAD Rotunda Bar by Raymond Chenon licensed under CC BY 2.0
INSEAD 14 by Raymond Chenon licensed under CC BY 2.0

Essay 1: Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person) stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary. (600 words max.) At the age of eleven my mother enrolled me in an English language immersion school, where for five days a week I attempted to divulge my thoughts in a language, as distant to my own as the nearest country where it was spoken. I didn’t understand the need to memorize new words or why an English-language magazine replaced my favorite comics. However, with my trademark tenacity, I translated articles, competed with friends in vocabulary quizzes, and put together my first independent phrases, developing skills that would become crucial to success later in life. Though shy at the time, I pushed my timidity aside during after-school conversation classes with my Australian tutor Mike, the first foreigner I had met. As my English improved, we discussed differences between Australia and Poland, his favorite local dishes and my wanderlust to one day visit and ski in his country. A string of instructors followed –Bob, who found a wife in Poland and invited my entire high school class to his wedding, Mr. Jones, a pastor from Alabama who moved with his wife and three children and spoke about the Bible, and Holly, the first “hippie” professor at my rather conservative high school. Along with improving English, I learnt to communicate effectively with people from backgrounds different than my own and appreciate the new perspectives they brought into my life. Today, I enjoy working in intercultural teams and applying my cultural sensibility to challenges that sometimes arise with differing perspectives. This helps me be a better leader and team player and gains the respect of colleagues and clients alike. I let passion and intellectual curiosity lead all my personal and professional pursuits. During a trip to France I indulged in my favorite travel pastime – a cooking class. After dutifully researching my options I enrolled in a French speaking class. Undeterred by a lack of fluency (having only studied French for 3 months at the time) and armed with friendliness and a big smile – two traits that always seem to work – I joined my French cohorts for an evening of culinary (and linguistic) adventure. I observed in silence, trying to emulate the chef’s vocabulary but often needing to bridge my lack of fluency with body language and improvisation. The experience served as motivation to further pursue French by way of a private teacher and immersion-study in France; I can’t wait to return to France and test my fluency in Chef’s kitchen. The same creativity I found in the kitchen also helps me as a business consultant. Although I am well versed in the financial industry, the diversity of clients I work with requires that I apply creativity to frame complex problems, find pragmatic solutions and drive engagements to a successful finish that exceeds client expectations. Because my hobbies are often individual in nature, I had to rely solely on my own persistence, even stubbornness, to achieve results. Maintaining a strong opinion was paramount to my success in sales and trading where I had to make split-second decisions, often going against general consensus or market trends. But after transitioning into business consulting, I realized that obstinacy could be a weakness that stalls progress and limits consensus driven solutions. Because my next career steps will increasingly lead me towards management and executive functions, I have to be prepared to uphold the right balance between standing my ground and relying on consensus driven decisions, a skill I hope to further cultivate through my INSEAD experience.

London Business School Sample Essay

London Business School by Matthew Black licensed under CC BY 2.0
London Business School by Matthew Black licensed under CC BY 2.0

What value will you add to London Business School? (300 words)

The first thing you might notice about me is a fashion sense that pays special attention to design details. What you might not know is that my passion for design details comes from my affinity for structural optimization. For my thesis research at MIT I researched and tested new raw materials to determine how buildings could be built higher, wider and stronger without the use of additional braces. My solution was a creative detail that improved the entire design. For the past five years I used my innovative problem solving skills and attention to detail to address complex issues at XXX, the company I co-founded. One such challenge was managing production teams of Italian factory managers, Sri Lankan tailors and Sri Lankan quality control experts, each with a different expertise and method of communication. By creatively addressing challenges I made a diverse, decentralized group more cohesive, and improved our final product. I look forward to applying these same skills to projects and brainstorming new directions for the Retail & Luxury goods club and Entrepreneurship Club, and help plan student-led events such as the E-commerce conference or Women in Business conference. My experience running my own company will positively impact my study group and the companies I work with in London Business Experience, Global Business Experience and Summer Consulting Program. After visiting London Business School in August and attending an information session in NYC in October, I understand and appreciate the importance of student involvement. To add value to LBS’ student body, I will strive to create an environment that nurtures the free exchange of ideas and diversity of thought by promoting the abilities of my classmates to create cohesive teams that enhance the group’s dynamics, capabilities and potential impact during our LBS experience and throughout our careers.

MIT Sloan School of Management Sample Essay

MIT Sloan School of Management MBA Essay Questions

In this essay please describe in detail what you thought, felt, said, and did.

Essay 1: The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and generate ideas that advance management practice. Please discuss how you will contribute toward advancing the mission based on examples of past work and activities. (500 words or fewer) Since first arriving in the US 6 years ago I have consistently been amazed by this country’s generous philanthropic culture and have embraced it as I sought to learn more about social responsibility. The approach here is a welcome change from my home in XXXX, where for the most part the concept is extremely weak. Although this is the case, my family has always taught me to help the less fortunate through their efforts to improve rural communities in XXXX by teaching low-income farmers how to access credit. I know I will return someday to XXXX to establish my life and my career, and I believe the best way for me to make a difference is through the private sector. Particularly, I would like to contribute to changing the traditional XXXX business model by setting an example and creating an enterprise with a social impact as well as nurturing environments that are efficient at managing social initiatives. My curiosity of the interaction between business and social responsibility has led me to seek opportunities such as heading the YYYY campaign: a yearly fundraising effort where MY EMPLOYER donates to different charities in New York City. Over a period of 5 months I managed over 20 analysts from every division in the firm developing creative ways to raise money. I am very proud of my leadership role on this project, as the New York Times interviewed me after MY EMPLOYER was the institution that raised the most money out of several large banks. Beyond what I accomplished, the success of this project gave me hope that I can do something similar in MY HOME COUNTRY on a larger scale. Furthermore, I gained valuable skills applicable to my future aspirations in that I learned to focus an overworked and sometimes uninterested audience on a goal that would have little impact on their personal lives outside of altruism. Other experiences have also been very valuable in teaching me to promote awareness of social responsibility. As a Credit analyst at XXX I have researched and presented projects to understand different industries within Southeast Asia. This has helped me reflect on how social responsibility can be effectively incorporated into business models within the region. Additionally, XXX, the annual conference I helped create with the mission of keeping CITIZENS engaged with the challenges facing their country, has been important. Through this conference I have built a network of fellow Indonesians who share my goals and with whom I can develop projects that improve our country. I have come to understand from all these experiences how vital it is to possess strong management skills, not only to run a successful business but also to lead effective social projects. I am attracted to MIT as a place whose mission is in parallel with mine and also as one who will complement my education by providing me with the tools I will use to reach my personal and professional goals when I return to COUNTRY OF ORIGIN.

NYU Stern School of Business Sample Essay

NYU Stern by Zac Shannon licensed under CC BY 2.0
NYU Stern by Zac Shannon licensed under CC BY 2.0

Why pursue an MBA (or dual degree) at this point in your life? What actions have you taken to determine that Stern is the best fit for your MBA experience? What do you see yourself doing professionally upon graduation? (750 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

As a senior at Princeton, I walked into my first screening meeting at The FoxFund, a private equity start-up, not anticipating the humbling experience that lay ahead. Confident of becoming a great investor, I imagined investing to be formulaic and numerical. However, as I vetted ideas with fund principals, I was surprised by the variation and extent of qualitative considerations involved in evaluating a variety of businesses. Un-phased, I undertook the analysis of a repossession company that passed screening. Based on meticulous research, I concluded the company was a good buyout target. Yet, when I presented my work, I could not provide substantive answers to some of the questions asked by fund principals. The Associate Intern role at The FoxFund illustrated that investing requires continual learning and creativity, catalyzing my passion for this work. Furthermore, the long-term, fundamentals-based approach to company analysis I implemented at The FoxFund carried over to my personal investing, leading me to professionally pursue value-oriented public markets investing that employs a similar approach. As a Senior Research Associate at XX&YY, I developed a contrarian approach to capital allocation when investing in businesses facing near-term headwinds. Perceiving great importance in ushering capital to such deserving companies to ensure their prospects, I want to continue value investing in public markets for the rest of my life. My long-term goal is to start a value investing fund, focused on emerging markets. As geographies such as Eastern Europe and South Africa mature, they stimulate capital flows that improve these countries’ standards of living. Contributing to these improvements through investments via my own fund specifically appeals to me for the challenge of developing my own investment philosophy, being entrusted to grow capital, and building a collaborative team that serves clients successfully. To progress towards my long-term goal, upon graduation I intend to gain more experience investing in emerging markets as an Analyst at XYZ. In this role, I will manage a portfolio from day one, placing an onus on myself to make decisions that grow capital. Yet, I will also be in a discussion-based culture, creating opportunities to hone my investment approach based on the input and wisdom of tenured value investors. I will also learn the intricacies of a synergistic organizational structure that has produced superior returns for clients since 1931, informing how I structure my fund. To achieve my short-term goal at XYZ requires that I diversify my current analytical capacities and hone my leadership skills in ways only available through an MBA. Having been captivated by Professor xxx during investment banking training while at JP Morgan, Stern was immediately placed in the “must attend” category. To learn more about Stern, I spoke to Bob Smith, my former staffer at JP Morgan and a Stern graduate. Bob’s recount of his MBA experience highlighted the benefits of a rigorous finance education, diverse international and team learning opportunities, and a Greenwich Village location. Excited by Bob’s account, I explored the program further, listening to Stern’s podcasts and reading the school’s website, as well as unaffiliated business school reviews. I concluded that the Stern experience, supplemented by my investing background, is best suited to empower me to achieve my professional goals. Courses such as Emerging Financial Markets will provide perspective on dynamic business situations I am likely to encounter in emerging markets investing, while Investment Strategies will inform the frameworks I employ in company analysis. I will also develop further operational and management insights through core courses such as the Strategy series and Operations Management. Stern will allow me to refine my investment philosophy and develop team skills specific to international business analysis. Home to elite value investors, Manhattan is an ideal setting for advancing my investment approach via Stern’s adjunct faculty and student access to investors. In addition, partaking in programs such as DBi will provide me with experience working collaboratively with diverse teams in foreign countries. Such experience will be valuable when conducting primary research in frontier countries and working with international investment teams. Having identified my desire to advance frontier economies through public markets value investing, I now must build upon my investing and business acumen, while progressing my investment philosophy and team skills specific to international business analysis. A Stern MBA will enable me to do so by providing the foundation for my future.

SAID Business School at OXFORD Sample Essay

The business of business is business. Is this true? (maximum 500 words)

I agree with the assertion that the business of business is business; however I challenge anybody who defines a business exclusively on the basis of material success and profits. As a sales person at JP Morgan and Bank of America, I often found myself at the crossroads of business ethics, balancing the fine line between responsibilities towards my employer and shareholders and those of my clients. In daily morning meetings, traders provide not only market updates but also trade ideas for a particular bond or asset class. It is a responsibility of a sales person to make prudent decision in finding the right clients for a particular investment, get the “trade done” and as a result make money for the trader and the firm. Throughout my career I have seen the judgment of sales people clouded by quick moneymaking opportunities resulting in questionable investment advice to their clients because they did not thoroughly vet a trader’s recommendations. Initially, I was one of them, owing to my insufficient understanding of the trade structure and limited knowledge of the client’s risk profile. To build a solid reputation and flourishing long-term relationships with clients while avoiding potential trade suitability risk, I reached out for guidance from a seasoned sales person. This woman was very successful not only in growing revenues but also in building long-term client relationships. She said: “Why would you want to sell something you don’t believe in? There are many good trade ideas out there; you should pick the ones that you think are right for your client.” Although I found her words harsh, insulting and judgmental of my skills and character, I also recognized my shortcomings. First I honed my knowledge of fixed income and bond math. Then, I put a great deal of time toward my own due diligence researching proposed trade ideas, examining alternatives, and even creating trade ideas of my own. I weighed client suitability and risk appetite before pitching any investment. In Poland, I was not raised to challenge authority, but soon I felt confident enough to turn down opportunities for trades that were not beneficial for my client in the long term, although they would have commanded short-term appreciation from the trader. In doing so, I earned respect from clients, traders and senior management alike for my integrity, good judgment and effective risk control. To me, personal integrity and maturity are critical attributes of good leaders that are equally as important as analytical and quantitative skills. In making executive decisions, company management needs to stay true to filling the ranks of decision makers with candidates who possess these qualities if they want to achieve sustainable, long-term profitability and positive social impact. Because the new chapter of my career journey will lead me towards increased management and executive functions, I need to prepare for ethical decision-making at times of extreme uncertainty and time constraints. At Oxford, I aim to develop the tools that will help me forge an ethical compass of my own, helping me navigate and effectively solve complex ethical dilemmas, whether towards investors and clients or communities and society at large.

Stanford Graduate School of Business Sample Essay

Stanford Graduate School of Business MBA Essay Questions

What Matters Most to You and Why?

My cheeks were raw from the cold, my legs were numb, and my fingers gripped a rotting cardboard sign. When a woman hastened her step, gluing her eyes to her iphone as she passed me on the sidewalk, I felt what Bob Jones, Director at the National Coalition for the Homeless, had told our group before our homelessness immersion began. “The hardest part of homelessness is not the lack of food, shelter, or warmth; it is that people no longer look you in the eye. They no longer acknowledge you as a fellow human being.” The 48 hours that I lived on the streets of Baltimore MD. confirmed the importance of what had long mattered most to me: human dignity. I was raised in a religious home. While not everything I learned in Sunday school has stuck, the concept of equality—of all people having worth in the eyes of God—has. My parents’ marriage also had an influence on me. Despite having escaped the small, impoverished Minnesota farm town where he’d been raised, my dad treated my mother the same way his dad had treated his mom. Twenty-four years of verbal and emotional abuse took its toll. Seeing my mom’s loss of dignity overshadow other joys in her life taught me how fundamental dignity is to human happiness and productivity. I am so grateful that my mom is now healing and am motivated to enable others to experience the same change I see in her. While watching the human trafficking documentary - Call + Response, during my senior year in college, the pixels on the movie screen seemed to shoot through my skin and ignite my insides with passion. I felt the most vehement, large-scale assault on what matters most to me. I had to take action. After college, I moved to Baltimore to start a job at XYZ Marketing and immediately set out to find others who shared my newfound mission. I was thrilled to discover Stop Modern Slavery (SMS), one of the largest all-volunteer anti-human trafficking groups in the world. Shortly after joining, I had a discussion with SMS’ Executive Director about how I could use my professional experience building brands to support the organization and cause. He encouraged me to join the Communications Team, which was very receptive to my pitch. At my first meeting, after sharing how framing organizations and issues in fresh, authentic ways can effect lasting social change, I was shocked to both be elected Communications Team Leader and to have garnered enough support to launch a rebranding of the organization and the issue at large. Over the next year, I leveraged the unique abilities of our team members to develop the most robust communications platform in the organization’s history and to lay the groundwork for comprehensive rebranding. When the Executive Director of SMS stepped down to pursue his MBA, I saw the opportunity to have my greatest impact yet. Developing the talents and leadership abilities of the Communications Team members rekindled a passion I first discovered leading my high school’s student council for empowering individuals and teams to achieve their best work. The opportunity to do this for the entire 1,200-member organization was exhilarating. Though only two organizational teams were active when I started, I identified and developed new leadership such that by the end of my tenure there were 12 active teams and sub-teams achieving our mission through initiatives including the largest anti-slavery walk in the world By facilitating dignity, we enable people of all backgrounds to live fulfilled lives and make their greatest contributions to our organizations and society at large. I was successful in my role at SMS in large part because it allowed me to pursue my greatest passion—human dignity—for both our members and for victims of trafficking. Articulating a clear organizational vision and enabling others to see how their specific contributions mattered in achieving that vision were essential to having a real, lasting impact on the lives of those we served. It was an honor to have this success recognized though an award from Courtney’s House, a survivor-led safe house; and through invitations from the Freedom Network (a national anti-human trafficking coalition) and the U.S. Department of State to teach leading practitioners how to mobilize volunteers. From my parents and childhood faith, to experiences with homelessness and anti-human trafficking, dignity is clearly what matters most to me. I am pursuing a Stanford MBA to increase my ability to lead an organization that facilitates dignity for its employees and our global community. I will graduate equipped to have my greatest impact yet.

University of Virginia Darden School of Business Sample Essay

University of Virginia by Daniel-Latorre licensed under CC BY 2.0
University of Virginia by Daniel-Latorre licensed under CC BY 2.0

Describe the most courageous professional decision you have made or action you have taken. What did you learn from that experience? (500 words maximum)

As Marketing Manager for XYZHealthCare, I led a three-person team to establish an online presence for XYZ, a chain of hip-replacement clinics throughout Japan. My analysis suggested that while the products generated good revenue, their associated marketing expenses were excessive- due in large part to the info-seminars XYZ traditionally used to attract potential patients: each requiring a large upfront investment with no guarantee attendees would sign up. I proposed a one-off investment in creating online content explaining the replacement process, an online payment system to immediately engage prospects and a new marketing strategy. My recommendations were a drastic shift and one that I consider my most professional decision to date. Although my analysis provided a compelling argument for going digital, I faced an uphill battle. Having used info-seminars for years, my fellow managers and the surgeons involved were hesitant to try something new that could negatively impact their bottom-lines. Furthermore, no Japanese healthcare company had ever tried digital campaigns. A failed initiative for XYZ’s largest product would provide competitors an opportunity to gain market share and cause our CEO to lose face with our Board of Directors. However, it was also not acceptable for the largest hip replacement equipment in Japan to forego profits due to outdated marketing methods. I felt we had to innovate and assume some risk. I decided to obtain the stakeholder’s buy-in by enabling them to arrive at my idea - on their own. By compiling the cost and revenue of the 2013 Hip Forum, I demonstrated that the event barely broke even. Contrasting this to the cost of a digital campaign, I challenged the assumption that we needed to spend big to sell a premium product. The managers agreed to give a digital campaign a try. I then led a team of twenty staffers and five managers in running a trial that would minimize the risks of a full-blown digital campaign. It was far from smooth sailing. We developed our pre-launch message, standardizing the order processing method, coordinating staff, and creating promotional materials. The online payment system revealed numerous glitches just days before the launch. However, the results exceeded our expectations. We more than doubled our target numbers, by signing on 130 patients and nearly tripled the net profit compared to using seminars. When the CEO saw our trial’s success, he agreed to abandon the Hip Forum and apply funding to launch a larger digital campaign, -where again, we achieved double our targeted patients. This experience taught me that we sometimes hold onto a successful framework that worked in the past and fail to realize when changes in our environment call for an innovative approach. Most importantly, this experience reinforced the importance of gentle yet assertive communication in initiating change. My fellow managers with decades of industry experience lent their support when they saw my analysis and the conviction I had in improving XYZ’s profitability. I also learnt that stakeholder management is key to strong leadership, and I intend to further develop these critical skills through Darden’s MBA.

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Sample Essay

That’s no moon it’s a business school by teofilo licensed under CC BY 2.0
That’s no moon it’s a business school by teofilo licensed under CC BY 2.0

What do you aspire to achieve, personally and professionally, through the Wharton MBA? (500 words maximum)

My first foray into private markets investing was at XXX where I was exposed to co-investment opportunities spanning Asia, Europe and South Africa. To be based in one part of the world and significantly influence another was a surreal experience that left a strong impression. At XXX, I got deeply involved in two Malaysian infrastructure projects that reached a global spectrum of prospective investors. The experience fostered an appreciation of infrastructure’s universal importance for any nation’s sustainable growth and future. Post-MBA, I will pursue an Associate position with a globally-focused infrastructure group at XXX or XXX. I believe there are significant opportunities for private capital to step-in and rectify government under-investment in our aging assets in North America: as regulatory frameworks improve in emerging markets, I also look forward to bridging global capital with promising infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia that will help transform the region. Through my cumulative work experience, I have established an extensive financial background from the strength of my M&A and debt transactions and exposure to the global capital markets from multiple perspectives. While this background will undoubtedly serve as a pillar for my long-term career, I need to further develop my knowledge base, investment analysis skillset, and gain greater direct investing experience to truly become a successful investor. Wharton is the missing piece of the puzzle. At Wharton, I will add depth to my principal investing toolkit by pursuing an individualized major in Private Equity. Professor Bilge Yilmaz’s, Finance of Buyouts and Acquisitions will provide me with not only a solid foundation in financial theory, but also exposure to varied deal structures. This indispensable knowledge will complement my global markets experience, and serve me well when I need to adopt innovative solutions to access opportunities in markets with strict foreign investment restrictions. I am excited to band together with my Wharton peers on the course’s deal proposal project; it will push me to think like an investor. To refine my soft skills and leadership capabilities, I am also keen on Wharton’s Management courses. As a future investor, I will also regularly interact with multiple parties and stakeholders. Corporate Governance, Executive Compensation and the Board will help me better understand the other side of the table and manage those relationships effectively. I am a strong believer in the power of mentorship. Hence, I recognize the unparalleled potential of Wharton’s global alumni base and its dedication towards guiding MBA students. At Wharton, I look forward to organizing Private Equity Career Treks with my peers, and arranging meetings with future mentors within infrastructure-focused teams. My mentors have had a strong influence in shaping my development. But I feel an even greater joy when I see my mentees grow under my guidance. Within the office, I have played an active role in training junior talent. Through Junior Achievement, I have positively influenced a new generation of students to pursue careers in business and entrepreneurship. I will continue to be a mentor to promising students and young professionals and I look forward to sharing the wisdom I gain at Wharton.