Mccombs Essay Sample


UT Austin / McCombs MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018

Following up on our post with the 2017-2018 2017-2018 UT Austin / McCombs MBA essay questions, we wanted to offer our analysis of this season’s UT Austin MBA essays.

The broad format of these essays is nearly identical to last year’s, with applicants introducing themselves to their cohort via a 250-word essay or video, and projecting how McCombs will enable their goals in a second required response of 500 words. In a subtle change, the school has altered the second response for this admissions season, establishing the setting of the commencement ceremonies.

UT Austin / McCombs Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018

Let’s take a closer look at each of the McCombs MBA essay prompts:

Essay 1

Introduce yourself. Select only one communication method that you would like to use for your response.

  • Write an essay (250 words), OR
  • Share a video introduction (one minute)

This is the fifth year running that McCombs has asked applicants to introduce themselves in some context, as part of the essay section of the application, and the fourth year that they’ve offered the option of doing so via video profile. This would suggest that the adcom has been pleased with the information this prompt has yielded.

We’ll comment a bit more on format in a bit. In terms of content, this essay allows the adcom to assess how prospective students would present themselves to their peers, requiring applicants to reflect carefully on the aspects of their backgrounds that would be most interesting and valuable to their future classmates. A brief mention of your professional background and even your career goals is appropriate. Of course, we also strongly encourage applicants to use this opportunity to showcase elements of their personalities and candidacies that they will not have the chance to address in their responses to the other application essay. Perhaps you have a particularly interesting accomplishment or hobby to share, or an aspect of your heritage or hometown of which you’re especially proud. Finally, it will be important to pay attention to the balance of content in your introduction. The most effective responses to this question will portray the applicant as sincere, well-rounded, likable, and excited about meeting his or her McCombs cohort.

As for medium, the video option provides an opportunity to make a vivid impression through visual communication. It also shows the admissions committee that one is willing to invest the time and effort to create something just for the UT Austin application, underscoring one’s investment in gaining admission to McCombs. Applicants whose leisure activities or workplace roles lend themselves well to film might do well to consider the video option.

All of that said, while taking risks in the admissions process is often worthwhile, you don’t want to step so far out of your comfort zone that you ultimately don’t make a good impression (this seems especially possible for camera-shy applicants attempting the video option). So, keep in mind that the written word is absolutely a viable option. Candidates choosing to submit an essay will want to use their 250 words wisely to give the reader a sense of who they are and how they would enhance the McCombs community (while avoiding overlap with Essay 2, which can deal with that theme as well).

Essay 2

Picture yourself at graduation. Describe how you spent your two years as a Texas MBA student, and how that experience helped to prepare you for the post-MBA world. (500 words)
Despite the creative twist of picturing oneself at graduation, this is a fairly straightforward career goals essay. Applicants should establish their post-MBA plans and motivation, and elaborate on how they were active during the Texas MBA to enable those goals.  To tailor this to McCombs, it would be best to frame this briefly in the setting of being at graduation—perhaps you are sitting next to a cohort member, or listening to an address from a professor whose class you found particularly meaningful.  Then, establishing one’s goals and motivation first will set the stage for the deeper dive into the value of the Texas MBA.  In the course of discussing why the Texas MBA is your ideal program, briefly explain what you got out of the program; however, don’t forget to emphasize how you would have engaged the community and fellow students in the course of the MBA program. For example, rather than merely listing off courses whose content would help you advance your career, it would be smart to comment on your ability to contribute to class discussions (perhaps based on your personality or foundational experiences). It would also make sense to comment on how you would participate — or assume leadership — in student organizations of interest, both those related to professional interests as well as more personal interests.

Prospective students should also note Director Malta’s comment in our interview that UT Austin students “bleed burnt orange,” i.e. that the adcom is looking for applicants who feel very strongly about attending McCombs and are likely to have pride in the school. To write convincingly on this point, it will be necessary to conduct very thorough research on the school and student culture, and to identify programmatic elements that are unique to the UT Austin MBA. Taking the time to learn the ins and outs of the school’s special programs and extracurricular activities–whether through a visit to campus, conversation with students and alumni, or reading the Clear Admit School Guide to McCombs School of Business–will pay dividends here.

Optional Essay

Please provide any additional information you believe is important and/or address any areas of concern that will be beneficial to the Admissions Committee in considering your application (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, or extenuating personal circumstances). (250 words)
Both the tone of this prompt and the examples of potential topics the candidate might address suggest that this essay will be best used to address liabilities or extenuating circumstances related to one’s application rather than to provide “bonus” information to the adcom. Candidates with questionable quantitative records, gaps in employment, or unusual recommenders should take advantage of this opportunity to offer explanations or outline plans to address potential issues. As is always the case with this sort of response, the comments in this essay should be straightforward and fact-focused, offering explanation without making excuses and humbly suggesting other areas of your candidacy that might compensate for identified weaknesses.

Clear Admit Resources
Before you start crafting your UT Austin McCombs essay responses, check out some of our resources to help you along the way:

Posted in: Application Tips, Essay Tips & Advice, Essay Topic Analysis

Schools: UT Austin / McCombs

Related

The below is from Stacey Kammerdiener, Senior Texas Full-Time MBA Admissions Officer

As you think about how to approach the essays in your Texas Full-Time MBA application, your best shot at successfully answering the essay prompts is to approach them thoughtfully. The purpose of these essays is to understand why you want to attend McCombs and to learn more about you professionally and personally. While it may be tempting, do us (and yourself) a favor and avoid the snooze-fest/shock-factor extremes. Instead, approach your essays genuinely and with reflection.  Armed with a few insider tips from the Admissions Committee below, you will be well on your way to submitting a strong application.

Essay 1

Introduce yourself. (An essay of 250 words, OR a video introduction of one minute)

Our Advice:

Simple, right?  Wait…it’s not?

At first glance, you may have many questions about how to approach this two-word prompt.  Who is my audience? Is this a formal or a casual introduction? How in the world do I introduce myself in only 250 words or through a one minute clip?

Essay one is purposely open-ended. It’s truly up to you how you want to approach your introduction to the admissions committee. When you first meet someone, what’s your elevator pitch?

Before tackling this essay, you may want to think about your personal and professional interests and attributes – it is the combination of these two items that make you who you are, and that make you unique (and interesting!). Therefore, an intro that only discusses work experience, or only discusses previous life experience, is incomplete. Give us a well-rounded mix, so that we better understand who you are in a more complete sense, and not only in one facet of your life. Think about what makes you tick.

Finally, the choice is yours: written essay or video. We have seen significant success on both platforms and do not prefer one over the other. Therefore, play to your strengths!  If your skill is in writing, focus on the essay. If you want to create a video and rely on your voice and video editing skills, then we are excited to see it. However, if you do submit a video, keep in mind that sending us a photo slideshow with background music isn’t advisable. These clips do not grant the admissions committee the chance to actually see or hear you, which is what makes video submissions so great!

In any submission, have fun with it and do not take this essay for granted—it can go a long way in introducing yourself and setting the stage for your application.

Essay 2

Picture yourself at graduation. Describe how you spent your two years as a Texas MBA student, and how that experience helped to prepare you for the post-MBA world. (500 words)

Our Advice:

Essay two, in essence, allows you to explain to the admissions committee why you’re applying to the Texas MBA Program.  By describing to us how you plan to spend your two years as an MBA student, we will be able to glean your plan of attack career-wise, learn what causes you may be passionate about, and find out how you plan to develop yourself both inside and outside of the classroom.

Keep in mind that by the time we read your essays, we have already seen your resume, scores and other basic elements of your application. We have also already reviewed your short and long term goals. Essay two is meant to explain to us how you believe McCombs will help get you there! What classes, organizations, and experiential opportunities specifically relate to your career plan?  Connect the dots for us. Personally, how do you envision yourself becoming an active contributor in our community? Texas MBA students are dynamic and engaged, and we are looking for applicants who are equally as driven.

Truly pause to think about how you would want to reflect on your two years while walking across that Gregory Gym stage. A vague essay is a poor essay, so give us specifics. If you’ve read our website or spoken to an admissions team member, frankly there is a LOT to love: classes, concentrations, organizations, students/alumni, professors, unique academic and career-oriented opportunities, location, and the list goes on. Illustrate what attributes of the program you plan to take full advantage of, and how that fits into your post-MBA self.  In addition, how do you plan to give back while you are a student?  What will be your lasting legacy? Convince us that you are indispensable to our community, and that we simply cannot live without you.

Optional Statement

Please provide any additional information you believe is important and/or address any areas of concern that will be beneficial to the Admissions Committee in considering your application (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, or extenuating personal circumstances). (250 words)

Our Advice:

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Honestly, the most important piece of advice we can give you regarding this final prompt is to remember that the optional statement is just that – optional. Only applicants who feel that some piece of their profile deserves more explanation should be submitting the optional statement. This section of the application is not to be used to tell us all about your extracurricular activities, or to expand upon your personal introduction. While we love that you’re so involved in your community, there are other ways to let the admissions committee know about these additional projects or passions of yours (at the bottom of your resume, perhaps, or during the interview).


Our Final, Closing Advice:

Do

  • Take time to reflect. It will likely take more than one draft to nail it.
  • Be honest. These essays are our way to learn more about you! Our students value authenticity; your essays should reflect your authentic self.
  • Have a friend read over your essays. They can provide valuable feedback, and may even remind you about what makes you so special!

Don’t

  • Send the same essay (or parts of essays) to multiple schools. (We can totally tell when you re-use an essay or parts of essays.)
  • Ignore the essay prompt! Too often, applicants bypass the actual question in an effort to tell us something they think we need to know.  Make sure you’re answering the question being asked.
  • Send an essay that exceeds the word count and/or time perimeter given. Follow the instructions!

As always, please email us at TexasMBA@mccombs.utexas.edu if you have any other questions.  Get started early and edit, edit, edit!  Your essays can really send a strong application into orbit, so good luck, and happy applying!

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