MBA Essay Tips

Essential essay strategy & tips

Your MBA essay is the critical element in the admissions process that can convey your uniqueness and distinguish your profile in a sea of excellence. View essay strategies, tips and insights for each of the business schools on your list.

In addition to the MBA essay analysis below, you can view our MBA Admission Essay Masterclasses, a series of free, live MBA Admissions tips and strategy sessions on the top 14 business schools hosted by 14 of Fortuna’s former MBA admissions gatekeepers.

Best MBA Essay for HBS: 5 Tips on What Harvard Wants
Your essay is often the make or break factor for getting into HBS. Character doesn’t show up on a resume, in your test scores, or through grades or your academic transcripts. Your opportunity to show them what you are made of, what drives you, is in the essay. The competition is fierce, so this is the place where you can convince them you have what it takes to be part of this incredible community.
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Wharton MBA Essay Tips + How to Tackle the New Question

Wharton wants to understand your ‘origin story’ and how it informs the next steps of your leadership journey: what you envision doing while a graduate student in Philadelphia and then as an alumnus of the school as you continue to make an impact on your wider community.

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Stanford GSB Essays: Tips & Strategies on Writing What Matters Most

From its iconic ‘What Matters Most & Why’ question to its newer short-answer optional prompts, the GSB essays present a formidable exercise in self-awareness – to understand why we do the things we do, why we make certain choices in life, and the opportunities and challenges we face. Take this on as a personal feat, not just a series of MBA essay questions.

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INSEAD Essays: Strategy & Tips for Conquering All 7 Prompts

With seven essays ringing in at a collective 2,000 words, the INSEAD essays are among the longest of any top-tier MBA application. And that’s not including the two optional essays given by this prestigious international institution. This can seem daunting when you’re first starting out and staring at a blank page.

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Chicago Booth Essays: Tips & Strategies

For the 2020-2021 application cycle, Booth replaced its second essay question and added a pre-interview video prompt. Read on for tips and advice on how to tackle Chicago Booth’s MBA essay questions.

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London Business School Essays: Tips & Strategy

The very best London Business School essays give the Admissions Committee insight into what has motivated your post-MBA career goals and how an LBS education will help you achieve them.

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NYU Stern Essays: Strategy & Tips for Success

What do you want to do, and who do you want to be? Taken together, the sum of Stern’s two required essays (Professional Aspirations + Personal Expression) should convey a clear and inspiring direction for your work life, guided by your motivations, ambitions, ideals, and values. Your responses, both written and visual, help the admissions team understand what it is that drives you forward — not only in your career, but in your life.

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Berkeley Haas Essays: Strategy & Tips

Haas is looking for candidates who demonstrate self- and situational awareness, which is an invitation to be both introspective and authentic across your essays – and certainty to do your research beyond a cursory website review.

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UCLA Anderson Essay Strategy: Tips for Tackling the New Essay

Over the last few years, UCLA Anderson has amended its required essays with ever-slimmer word counts, challenging applicants to be as direct and incisive as possible. Now it makes the bold move of wiping the slate clean and replacing its slate of essays with a singular question.

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HEC Paris Essays & Interview Presentation

HEC Paris maintains an impressive five required essays and one optional question, ranging from the practical ‘why HEC Paris’/why now’ to the provocative, ‘Imagine a life entirely different from the one you now lead, what would it be?’ Thankfully, most are short answer questions (250-word max), and taken together, they offer valuable storytelling opportunities.

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Kellogg MBA Essays Strategy & Tips

The key to delivering a series of standout essays to Kellogg is to embrace your genuine story and experience. Weaving an authentically crafted narrative that conveys your passions and clarity of purpose — in a way that elicits emotional impact — this is the secret sauce in creating a connection to an admission reader’s heart. View essential tips for each essay, decoding what Kellogg is looking for. 

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Kellogg Video Essay & How to Tackle the New Question

Kellogg has replaced question 3 of its video essays with a prompt that names momentous events of 2020 and pointedly asks how you’ve responded. The good news is that, for the first time, the school gives you all three video questions up front. The bad news is that this new question is a doozy. Your challenge – and opportunity – is to respond in a way that’s concise, meaningful and introspective.

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Columbia Business School: How to Tackle the MBA Essays

CBS continues to evolve its essay questions to require a deeper level of self-reflection. It’s new essay question invites you to display who you are under the surface, beyond the ambitious achiever with a sparkling record of successes. From your ‘immediate post-MBA goal’ to the ‘fav movie, book or song’ prompt, your responses should help build a coherent and powerful narrative for your candidacy.

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MIT Sloan School of Management MBA Strategy: How to Tackle the Application

MIT Sloan’s MBA application typifies the institution’s innovation ethos and forgoes the norms of its M7 peers. But just because it doesn’t have standard essays doesn’t mean it’s not about powerful storytelling. It’s a beast of an application, and tackling it successfully requires a different strategy than any other program.

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Duke Fuqua Essays:
Top Tips + ‘25 Random Things About YOU’ Example

The Fuqua essay questions are an opportunity for you to tell your story in a way that speaks to Fuqua’s core values and demonstrate fit with this incredibly collaborative and close-knit community culture. View essay analysis and tips for responding, including an example of a successful ’25 Random Things’ essay.

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Dartmouth Tuck Essays: Strategy & Tips

While Dartmouth Tuck maintains three required essays (plus an optional question), each has a hard cut-off at 300 words, giving you scant real estate to convey your story. View the Fortuna team’s top tips.

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