7 Outstanding MBA Personal Statement Examples

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Featured Expert: Hassan Awan, MBA

MBA personal statement examples

Reviewing MBA personal statement examples can really inspire your own! Before applying to competitive professional programs, many students review medical school personal statement examples or law school personal statement examples , as these can be a great way to gauge what is expected of you. And if you are applying to an MBA – you should certainly review MBA personal statement examples! In this blog, we will teach you what an MBA personal statement is and why it’s needed, the types of essay questions commonly asked and how to answer them, and provide 7 MBA personal statement examples you can study to craft your own. This blog will also cover some of the key elements of a winning personal statement and some of the biggest mistakes to avoid when writing your personal statement.

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Article Contents 26 min read

What is an mba personal statement.

An MBA personal statement is an integral part of any MBA application. But what exactly is it? Simply put, an MBA personal statement, sometimes called a goal statement or statement of purpose, is a summary of your goals and experiences, why you are applying to your chosen MBA programs and what you hope to achieve in doing so. It’s a document, written in essay form, that tells admissions committees the skills, experiences and fresh perspective you can bring to the program.

A personal statement convinces admissions committees that you are the most suitable choice for a position in a department of Business Administration. MBA personal statements work a bit like a great cover letter for a job interview. A good cover letter tells a hiring committee a bit more about you and your suitability for a job position. A great one will get you an interview or even a job offer from the chosen company. Similarly, your MBA personal statement should cinch your acceptance to a chosen program in the field of business administration.

For almost every application process, you’ll be asked to write a personal statement, and an MBA program is no exception. Schools want to know more about you. They want to know your motivations, your purpose in applying to business school, and any significant part of why you chose to pursue this degree. They’re looking for more than high grades and impressive resumes.

Admissions committees know that the competition is fierce, so they want to make the best decision possible. A personal statement is the best way to show them why your candidacy should be considered above others.

Your personal statement is your chance to shine. It’s a chance to make an impression on your business school’s admissions committee. It also shows committees that you have top-notch writing and communication skills, two things that are big assets to any future business leader. So, admissions officers aren’t just using your personal statement to measure how you stand out from the crowd, they’re judging your professional skillset as well. If you struggle with writing college essays for your application, consider reading some sample college essays to find inspiration and expert tips. Or, if you’re looking for a more holistic guide to the graduate school application grind, think about seeking help from an MBA admissions consulting service.

Still working on your MBA Resume as well? Here are some tips:

Common MBA personal statement prompts

For personal statements, MBA programs will usually pose a question to applicants, which the admissions committee expects to be answered in essay format. While the questions will vary from program to program and likely change from year to year, there are some commonly asked questions you can prepare answers for ahead of time.

These questions often seem a lot like common job interview questions, but it’s important to remember that the answers should focus on your personal, professional, and academic achievements that can relate to your MBA success. Admissions committees provide these personal statement prompts to encourage students to self-reflect on their motivations, goals and perspectives, and then to share their insights and discoveries with the school. Graduate school programs may also ask for a statement of purpose to ask you further questions about yourself, so review some graduate school statement of purpose examples and tips for extra help. The key is delivering a personal answer while tying it back to the skills and qualities needed to succeed in business school. It’s also good preparation for the MBA interview questions !

There’s no magic formula when it comes to writing the perfect personal statement, but there are some key elements that should be included to pack more of a punch. Aside from being well-written, MBA personal statements need to contain the content admissions committees are looking for, be presented in the essay format they want, and they need to keep the readers’ attention.

Below we’ve highlighted a few things to keep in mind when creating your personal statement.

Use essay format

Your personal statement needs to be organized in an essay format. A sentence or a short paragraph won’t do. Admissions committees are looking for a little more content, and a bit more structure. The typical word count of an MBA personal statement is around 400-1,000 words, so think one to two pages long. Some programs may have very strict word count requirements, while others may not specify the word count but ask students to answer two essay questions.

Craft your personal statement just as you would an essay, with an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion. Start with a brief introduction that captures the reader. Use the introduction to engage the reader and keep them reading until the end of the statement.

Follow this with 3 to 5 body paragraphs that dig a bit deeper into your answer to the prompt in front of you. Each body paragraph should elaborate on how you came to apply to MBA and what makes you a great candidate. Remember to always use examples to support your claims- in other words, “show, don’t tell” them your story!

The conclusion

For the conclusion, wrap up your statement neatly, impressing upon the reader that you are the right fit for the program. Your reader should be left with the incitement to action, namely, they should want to extend you an interview invitation.

Being able to master the short essay format will also show admissions committees that you have the writing chops needed to excel in their business program!

Keep in mind that personal statements are usually between 750 and 1,000 words, so they don’t need to be long, meaty essays. Be concise in your statement and cut out any unnecessary information or fluff that isn’t needed.

Have a compelling story

When writing your personal statement, it’s important to leave an impression. Admissions committees will remember a great narrative over another student with high marks in all their classes. Crafting a compelling narrative is easier said than done, but it can be done.

Consider the question being asked. Are they asking for a moment of personal achievement? Your greatest failure? Do they want to know what motivated you to apply for business school? From there, choose a significant moment in your life that relates to the question.

Tell the story of this personal moment, using narrative story structure to deliver it with the greatest impact. Story structure means taking the reader—the admissions committee—on a journey.

For example, a story about the time you decided to run a marathon might start with a bit of background on the race and why you decided to run it. Then it would talk about any obstacles or setbacks you faced in preparing for this challenge, and how you overcame them. In your essay, you could write about the race itself, your mindset and any unexpected difficulties like a twisted ankle, finishing with the result of you completing the marathon anyway or beating your personal best time. Discuss why this moment of personal triumph was significant to you and how it relates to your decision to apply to business school.

Use your natural voice

When writing your personal statement, it’s key to maintain your authenticity. It is, after all, a personal statement, so use your natural voice and style in your writing. Admissions committees appreciate unique voices, and it will be noticeable in your writing if you’re trying to be overly formal or adopt the style of another writer.

Remember that committees are asking who you are as a person. Being honest and natural in your responses will shine through with way more impact than trying to sound like the smartest person in the room or the most business-savvy applicant.

Prove your leadership qualities, be introspective and honest

No matter the essay question, it’s best to showcase your leadership qualities. Show admissions committees that you can be introspective and honest with yourself. They want to see proof of self-growth and self-reflection in the experiences you share in your personal statement.

Demonstrate your leadership as part of a team environment by highlighting the ways in which you built up your team or encouraged them. Show the admissions team that you have leadership over yourself as well, in your commitment to your goals, writing about how you saw a difficult project through to the end, or a moment of personal self-development in which you learned from past mistakes.

Share how you will contribute, and how the program will help you achieve your career goals

Lastly, draw attention to what contributions you can make to the school or program of your choice. Pump up your strengths and the unique perspective or skills you bring to the table. Present compelling arguments for why you should be chosen over others.

Also mention how the program you’ve chosen will contribute to your business education or help you achieve your career goals. Mention specific elements in the school’s culture or curriculum that you feel will be an asset to your education in business administration or your future in business.

Worried about your MBA Interview? These are some of the question types you can start preparing for:

What should be left out of an MBA personal statement?

Just as there are elements that need to be included in your MBA personal statement, there are parts to avoid as well. Some common mistakes in poorly written personal statements are making it too long, not proofreading or checking your work, and not answering the essay question effectively.

Below we’ve listed some key mistakes to avoid when writing your personal statement.

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Below we’ve provided 7 examples of great introductions, body paragraphs and conclusions of MBA personal statements, each answering the common types of essay questions we talked about above.

1. What motivated you to apply for this MBA program?

My family owns one of the oldest small businesses in our tight-knit community. I have always been proud to be a part of this family tradition, and it is my dream to open a small business myself. During the pandemic, I witnessed my parents and their fellow small business owners struggle to keep the doors open and the lights on. Many businesses, some of which had been here for decades, were ultimately unable to and had to close their doors for good. This was difficult for me, as it is not just a failing business, but an individual’s dream being shuttered. There are many hard-working small business owners in my community who simply could not compete or adapt to the changes of the past year. And they had no system to guide them on how to get back on their feet.

My dream to become an entrepreneur has now evolved; in the future, I want to create a company which incubates local start-up businesses. In working with [Company], I have developed my leadership and organizational skills, but an MBA from [University] will allow me to grow into a community-minded leader. With [Company], I have been fortunate to be able to lead a team of like-minded individuals, and see how both my actions, and the actions of the team, can lift up us all. It would be my goal to view my community of small business owners in the same way: as one unit that can be raised out of the circumstances we are all mired in.

[University’s] MBA program was my first choice because its foundational values align with my goals. With the program’s focus on the operation and management of small business, I believe it will provide me with the proper toolset to serve local business owners and up and coming start-ups. [University] also focuses on entrepreneurial leadership and development, which will be a great class to augment my existing skillset. The curriculum of this program will provide me with the necessary professional skills I need to succeed as a small business owner myself, particularly with its foundation of management, finance and leadership. Since the program also holds a high standard for innovative, exemplary leadership, I feel it will augment my developing leadership style and skills and mold me into becoming the kind of leader my community and its business owners need right now.

The small business owners in my community are like members of a family, and when they were faced with difficult times, I was amazed to see how they supported one another, and reached out to one another. My goal as a business incubator would be to provide a space for these businesses who were struggling or had to shutdown to restart again and get back on their feet. To have a community support system to reinvigorate them. It would also be a resource for any budding entrepreneurs in the community, who were scared off by these challenging times or simply don’t have the resources they need to get off the ground.

After graduating, I will achieve my dream of running a business incubator with the full guidance of my experiences inside and outside the classroom. With the skills I will have learned, I will be able to give back to my community and make a true impact on the lives of its small business owners. I am passionate about my goals, and deeply committed to making a real, tangible difference in my community’s business sector. I will take the lessons I’ll learn at [University] with me throughout my life and career in business and pass along the tools and skills I will have learned to the small business owners, like my parents, for whom it makes such an incredible difference.

2. Who do you most admire?

The businessperson I most admire is not a well-known titan of industry. Her name is [Name]. She is the founder of a not-for-profit organization which provides stray animals in need with care and housing, as well as educates on proper animal care. She has been my mentor as I have volunteered for her organization for the last 3 years. My passion for animals led me to volunteer with [Organization], but it was the incredible example set by [Name] which inspired me to further my professional goals and pursue an MBA. With an MBA degree, I can pour my experiences, skills, and passion into helping other not-for-profits like [Organization] succeed and continue to help animals. The world, particularly the not-for-profit sector, needs more leaders like her. She continues to inspire me with the commitment and passion she has for her business.

The reason I admire [Name] is because of her dedication to her business, her sense of responsibility to her team and the animals, and her vision in creating a better solution to stray overpopulation and pet abandonment. Every day, she works to educate pet owners on the problems organizations like hers face, and the effect on the animals and communities involved. People often misunderstand the work done by animal shelters and organizations like [Name’s], and it’s important to not only raise awareness but educate others on the real problems we are seeing everyday, and the proven solutions that can be provided. Overpopulation of strays and inadequate pet care often mean our shelters are at capacity, stressing our already taxed resources. It sometimes means we’re not able to accept an animal in need off the street, because someone else has returned a pet they weren’t prepared to care for.

[Name] puts everything she has into her business to ensure it runs in a responsible, organized way, from caring for the animals, to managing staff and customers. She tackles problems head-on, and she is involved in every step of the process to see where we can make improvements. Every year, she organizes our Adoption Day event and fundraiser. She sets up pens for potential pet owners to interact with our animals safely, signs up new shelter volunteers and accepts donations. And then she is in charge of educational presentations and a thank you speech in front of the crowd of our supporters and donors. She truly makes being an organized professional an artform. As part of the team, she is our leader by example, showing our team how to organize and set up a safe, fun and successful event. She leads from the front and shows us how to properly care for animals and advocate on their behalf.

[Name] is not only dedicated to her position as the team leader and head of the organization, but personally takes the time to do the work around the shelter and can fill in for any position flawlessly. She proves the importance of being able to multi-task, and how crucial it is to know every part of the business, when she shows our shelter volunteers how to clean out cages, maintain our animals’ physical health with grooming or properly delivering necessary medications, and how to socialize our animals with structured play with other animals and humans. She uses her creative thinking and innovation to keep finding ways the team can work smarter, not harder, and brainstorm ways that we can improve the lives of our animals. When our resources aren’t enough, or a piece of equipment breaks down, there is always another solution. When we didn’t have enough proper feeding and water bowls for our pets, she took it upon herself to recycle pieces of PVC pipe and plastic storage bins from our storage room to create a feeding and watering system that saved us time in caring for our animals and provided space for everyone during busy feeding times.

My mentor will always be an inspiration to me in the world of business for her leadership qualities and the way she executes her vision. Not only is she a prime example of a not-for-profit business owner, but she also never lets herself forget why she’s there, and she always shows up for her business. Working in the not-for-profit sector requires a surplus of passion, patience, integrity and dedication. It also requires superb organization, knowing your business inside and out, creativity and innovation. She demonstrates these qualities every single day, and inspires others to develop these qualities within themselves, too. [Name] is the best example I can think of a leader, a not-for-profit business owner and someone who truly cares about their mission. I hope to emulate the qualities she has shown and instilled in me in my future professional life.

3. Describe a time you led a team and what challenges you faced, how you overcame them.

The bulk of my professional experience has been as a member of team. I have been fortunate to have experience both being a part of and leading a team of talented and dedicated individuals. Working at [Newspaper] as chief layout editor, I consistently lead a team of 5 layout editors in creating and publishing a weekly paper. Journalism is a fast-paced environment that requires focus and collaboration. My team edited, laid out and approved a large volume of pages each week, working under tight deadlines. Our work requires adaptation and perseverance, and a fair amount of commitment to see things through to their deadlines and complete a project to the best of one’s ability. In my role as chief layout editor, I had the invaluable opportunity to develop my leadership style, grow as a leader, and prove to myself and my team that I can lead.

Within a newsroom, there are multiple departments all operating with a degree of separation from one another, but all key parts of the overall team. Normally, the department heads are in contact with one another to fix problems quickly where they come up and stay in contact throughout the publication process. My team of layout editors would inevitably run into a roadblock or have a question they needed to pose to another department head about the copy. Communications between departments were usually streamlined by being communicated exclusively through department heads. If a team member had a request, it went through me and on to the appropriate department head. Since department heads were not always available at the time the issue arose, I took the initiative to make it easier for my team to get the answers they needed to work, even if myself or the other department heads were absent. Through a shared Slack message board, members of my layout team could post a request or question to the related department. All team members of that department would be able to see the request and respond. Or, messages could be sent directly to the individual to answer the request.

Another major hurdle was ensuring every page that came through our hands kept to our strict style and layout guidelines. As team leader, it was my responsibility to clearly communicate our style and layout guidelines to my team members, providing a comprehensive guide for them to follow. This guide became a staple in the office and part of the package prepared for new hires. The guide helped new hires onboard more quickly and increased the team’s self-sufficiency. All pages being worked on were also visible to the entire team, so everyone knew who was working on what and how projects were progressing in real time, without the need for constant meetings and updates.

Leading my team at [Company] was a challenging but rewarding experience. In my responsibilities as team leader, I learned valuable lessons about the importance of transparency, clarity and advocacy in the workplace. I learned the importance of fostering an environment where the entire team could excel and be self-sufficient. Being a leader is about much more than delegating, fixing problems and guiding team members. In an environment as dynamic and fast-paced as a newsroom, I learned how to use my creative skills to improve the work environment. By making these seemingly small changes to our communications and operations, the team was able to thrive. Through my time as leader, I believe my best accomplishments were removing the team’s hurdles to productivity and efficiency. Once I did, my team showed me how adept they were at leading themselves.

My greatest personal achievement was also the realization of a lifelong dream. This year myself and my water polo team won the gold medal for the Junior Olympics. It has been my dream to become an Olympian since I was young and being awarded a gold medal for competing in my sport has been by far my proudest moment. Not only was this a significant feat of athleticism, perseverance, and dedication, it was an affirming moment for me personally. It proved what I was capable of once I set my mind to something. It showed me what my passion and hard work could bring me.

My journey as an athlete has taught me many important skills applicable to every area of my life. Water polo is a team sport, and I could not have succeeded in this personal victory without the hard work, encouragement, and help of my teammates. The team’s strengths and weaknesses must complement each other to form the best unit it can. And thinking and functioning as a team helps keep us sharp and focused. Being a part of a team also inspired me to push myself and constantly improve upon my own performance. During training with my team, I often had doubts about myself and my performance. I never viewed myself as the strongest link, and saw only how I fell short compared to my teammates in speed, strength or maneuverability in the water. My teammate, [Name], noticed how hard I was pushing myself and encouraged me to share my self-doubt with her. I carried her following pep talk with me to the gold medal match. She told me that our teammates all relied upon one another, but that we were also there to support each other. To complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. And she reminded me that my strengths were knowing who was the quickest, who was the strongest, and who was the best teammate for any given situation in a match. She pointed out that I had a knack for analyzing a situation quickly and immediately moving into position to support the teammate that needed it to maximize our chance of success in the round. Having the team’s expectations of me, knowing they were relying on me, but also supporting me, inspired me to be my best. To challenge myself and expand the limits of what I thought I was capable of.

Water polo is also a physically demanding sport, and my long hours of training and practice have taught me diligence, patience and perseverance, especially when there is a goal I am striving for. But frustration bubbles up in you when you don’t see results or even a shred of improvement. Self-doubt might creep in, because you know that even your best might just not be good enough. Not to mention, when you’re in the arena and all eyes are on you, it’s easy to get distracted. My self-doubt was keeping me from seeing my personal strengths, and the improvements I had made. The mix of frustration at lack of progress and determination to do better pushed me too hard. After my teammate’s inspiring talk, I started to focus on my strengths, playing out different match scenarios in my head and in the pool and practicing drills with my teammates to improve my reaction times.

I remember walking out and trying to tune out the noise and distractions. You run through the mental checklist, and you’re so focused you almost forget what’s coming next. It feels a bit like sleepwalking, because you’re not aware of what’s happening around you, but you don’t miss a thing. Everything you have practiced comes rushing back to you and you’re waiting for everything to start. When it does, there’s the snap to action. All your training is remembered in a single instant, and suddenly you’re ready for everything. Your team is with you, all of them connected to you, sharing the same thoughts. You don’t need to tune anyone out anymore, because the only thing that exists in your world is your team and the game. It’s almost hard to believe when the game is over and you come back to the real world. It’s a surreal feeling. And then you realize: we won.

Although I have achieved this personal goal through hard work and dedication to my sport, it has opened my eyes to the other possibilities still ahead of me. In achieving this milestone, it has made me strive to reach for the next rung on the ladder and keep improving myself in my sport and in my personal development. In achieving something I wasn’t always sure I could, I’ve shown myself what I’m capable of, and taught myself the value of challenging myself and growing myself.

Want to learn more about MBA courses? Check out this video:

5. How will you contribute to school’s diversity?

As a female entrepreneur, I know the unique perspectives and value I can bring to the table. Growing up with a grandmother who started her own business had a huge impact on me, as it taught me what women in business are capable of. Now, as a proud business owner myself, I can see how my personal journey affects my approach to business. My grandmother owned a small hardware store, and hers was the only store around for miles in a rural area. She knew each of her customers by name, and took the time to chat with each one, providing advice or recommendations on their home improvement projects. As a child, I was astounded by her depth of knowledge and how she always seemed to have an answer for everything. It inspired me to follow her and soak up the information she had. As we worked, she also provided me with gems like ‘if they come back with a smile on their face, you’ve done your job’.

When I built my business, I was focused on one mission: to help empower my fellow female entrepreneurs and business owners. Now that I have been in business for a few years, it still amazes me how often my clients share stories with me that echo my own. We share so much of our struggles, triumphs and experiences, and yet we each have our own story to tell. We all have different reasons for going into business for ourselves. Some of the best interactions I’ve had are when my clients share their stories with me. When I was still working with my grandmother in her shop, I was helping a young girl with a school project. She wanted to construct a birdhouse and needed some help finding the right materials. Unlike her classmates, she wanted to construct the most unique birdhouse possible. Something the most colourful birds would call home. Together, we went through the store picking out flashiest glitter, buttons and faux feathers we could find. The following week, she returned to proudly show off her birdhouse, the most colourful I have seen yet. Seeing the proud smile on her face and seeing the result of what I had helped to build, ignited the spark that has never left me. Knowing I was a part of her passion project, of helping it become a reality, fills me with the same pride I feel now helping other women to succeed in their business. Whenever a client tells me that I’ve given them the tools they never thought they’d have access to or given them the advice they never knew they needed to succeed, I know I’ve done my job.

As a female business owner, I bring my own special brand to my business. My business was built on my personal passions and values, and it shows in every interaction with my stakeholders, my employees and my clients. My motivation to pursue my MBA comes back to my grandmother’s words of wisdom in doing my job. Doing the best job I possibly can for my clients. And I know I can’t continue to grow, and provide my clients with my best work, without continuing to develop myself professionally. In pursuing my MBA, I am filling myself up with even more knowledge, even more skills, that I can pass onto those who need my help.

6. Talk about a personal failure and what you learned from it.

Even as a child, I was never good at accepting failure. Whatever I did, I wanted to excel. And I quickly grew disinterested in activities I didn’t have a natural talent for. While in life it is inevitable to experience failures, there is one incident in my personal life that stands out. A few years ago, I was training for a national track and field competition. Track and field was something I was effortlessly good at, and I knew I would have no trouble competing when I qualified for the race. I would be racing in the 100 m sprint, a category in which I excelled and was sure to win first place. Even though I was assured of my victory, I devoted myself to my training. It was important to me that I show my best efforts and impress.

Before my defining race, I was warming myself up, preparing myself for the feat of athleticism. I also sized up the competition, taking note of the strongest runners, as I usually did. It became a pre-race ritual for me, to mentally catalog my opponents and consider how their strengths and weaknesses matched up to mine. There was one runner I noticed and dismissed immediately for being the smallest and weakest-looking of the group. Unlike the rest of us, he wasn’t warming up for the upcoming race. He was sitting quietly on his own, concentrating only on himself and whatever mental pep talk he was running through his head. Thinking nothing of it, I approached the starting line and waited for the gun blast. As soon as it fired, I took off, digging my toes in and launching myself ahead of the pack. I was pushing my body to its limits to reach that finish line. I could see my opponents falling back, on my heels but unable to catch me as I sprinted with confident strides. But to my surprise, the small runner I had dismissed so easily was a pace ahead of me in my sightline. Determined to beat him, I poured everything I had into my sprint, feeling the effort burn through me. But it wasn’t enough. The runner effortlessly flew over the finish line before me, nabbing the first-place prize I had worked so hard for.

While my defeat in an arena I excelled in could have brought bitter disappointment, it was also a good reminder for me that we all fail. Competition is inevitable, and we should never grow complacent in the areas where we excel. If we stop growing, our competition will catch up to us quickly and unexpectedly. If we want to stay ahead of the game, it’s important to keep improving. Because even the best athletes continue to train to stay at the top. My fellow runner didn’t care about their competition, and they weren’t concerned about comparing themselves to others. They were solely focused on their goal, as any top athlete should and will be. This is a lesson I took to heart.

During this race, I did also beat my personal best time, so it showed me that even if I excel at something, there’s always room for improvement. It taught me that complacency is the enemy of my success. I was so satisfied with what I thought to be my peak performance. I had thought I was at the top of my game. But this experience showed me how wrong that was, and how important it is to keep growing and developing myself. I’ve learned that even with our best efforts, we can sometimes still fall behind. Sometimes, someone’s strategy will be better. Or they’ll be better prepared. But mostly, it showed me that instead of focusing on how I measure up to others, I need to shift my perspective and ask how I measure up to who I want to be. My goal now shouldn’t be to be the best, my aspiration should be to become the best version of myself I can possibly be.

7. What are your career aspirations?

Brewing has been my family’s calling for generations, from my father brewing backyard beer to my ancestors’ colourful history of distilling illegal spirits. Recipes have been passed down through the family, and we each have our own favourites and specialties. Some of us add unexpected flavours to our home brews. Others swear by old or superstitious techniques. Still other members of the family have kept their ‘secret ingredient’ close to the vest. Something I want to change is the fact that the family hobby has never quite grown out of the backyard. Because the other family tradition is in the sharing of a cup, and I think with the growing popularity of micro-breweries and micro-distilleries, other families might enjoy a taste of our traditions, too. In applying for this MBA program, I believe it will help me to achieve my dream of opening a micro-distillery. It has long been my goal to own my own business and incorporate my passion for brewing. Being a small business owner requires supreme organizational and management skills, which [School’s] program will provide me.

In opening my own micro-distillery, I will be able to share my passion with my customers. The area in which I grew up has a unique history of locally made spirits, and the ingredients that grow in the area cannot easily be found anywhere else. They provide an inimitable flavour profile and a taste of the local land that cannot be matched. It is my goal to carry on the proud traditions of my hometown region by opening my own micro-distillery, to share our unique regional flavours with the world. Although my dad has taught me his home-brewing techniques, I also have experience working for [Beer Brand] as a brewer. Learning the modern techniques of brewing has definitely expanded my skillset, although brewing the same brand of beer, using the standard recipe, doesn’t have the same passion in it. My work experience has rounded out my technical skill as a brewer, and it has also given me some insight into the operations of a business. I’ve seen firsthand what it takes to operate a small business, and I know I have more to learn in this area. I know if I want to succeed in turning my family tradition into a real business, I need to build up my business sense. 

To achieve my goal of owning my own micro-distillery, it is important to have a strong business sense behind the passion and big idea. I believe with this program I will add the leadership, management and operational skills I need to see my micro-distillery off the ground. My business will need a team, and I will need to develop myself as a leader to be able to choose and develop my employees. I know I will also need to learn the management skills that will allow me to help them be successful. It is my belief that this program will instill in me the soft skills I need to become the leader and teammate I need to become to see this venture succeed.

Writing an MBA personal statement is tricky, but it is a must for any business school application. By following the above tips or studying the examples we’ve provided in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to writing an awesome personal statement. Finally, if you are looking for more inspiration, check out our Harvard MBA personal statement examples . This renowned institution is well-known for its standards. If you can write a personal statement like this, you can get into any MBA program out there!

MBA personal statements are typically between 750 and 1,000 words.

An MBA personal statement is almost like a cover letter for a job application. It is written in essay form and should explain why you are the right choice for an MBA program. Your MBA personal statement should also highlight why you wish to attend the schools you're applying to and what you hope to do with your MBA.

Yes. Most MBA programs will ask for a personal statement as part of their application process.

A general rule of thumb is to include a strong personal narrative, compelling arguments for your candidacy and qualities or strengths you will bring to the program you’re applying for.

Yes. Usually, schools will change the essay question each application cycle. Though this may vary depending on the program.

Some of the most common personal statement essay questions relate to personal achievements, motivations for applying to business school or how you will contribute to the school’s MBA program.

Yes. Admissions committees will be expecting your personal statement to be in short essay format. If it’s not, it may lead your application to the rejection pile.

The simplest way is to study the short essay format, read the essay question, reflect on your personal experiences, and answer the question being asked!

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mba business administration personal statement

Creative Writing News

10 MBA Personal Statement Examples: How To Write An Application Essay That Will Impress Ivy League Business School Admissions Committees. {Tips + Samples}

Figuring out what to include in your mba personal statement can be tough. but you can write an impressive mba essay if you read successful goal statements that have followed the correct format..

In this article, Dorian Martins guides business school applicants on:

  • how to write an MBA application essay,
  • what to include in an MBA Personal Statement
  • and what essay format to follow.

Each point features MBA essay examples that impressed the admissions committees of various business schools. 

Ready to learn how to write an MBA personal statement?

This resource starts with a definition of an MBA personal statement.

An MBA personal statement is the gateway to your goal. In some schools, it is referred to as a  goal statement or a statement of purpose. It is a document that convinces members of an admission committee of your suitability as a candidate in a Department of Business Administration and therefore able to pursue your MBA or Related MBA dual degree .

A poorly written MBA essay will only make the ad coms reject you. The first step in writing the personal statement for business school, would be discovering what to include in the personal statement and what the professors expect your MBA essay to say.

Here’s a tip from an expert:

MBA personal statement samples

Without further ado, let’s dive into the nitty gritty of writing a kickass personal statement for your MBA application.

Conduct A Research On the Business School and the MBA Program 

Why this program? What motivated you to apply to this business school?

To explain why you are a good fit , you need to do a great deal of research.

Every Business School is different in one way or another. They have unique missions, values, and goals. Understanding that will help you hit the sweet spot.

You need to reason the motivation behind your application. Self-reflection is one part of it. The other one is research.

Doing research is the foundation for good writing . It is the first step to take in learning how to write an MBA personal statement.

You need to find out what these schools seek in candidates. Also, get acquainted with the goals of their programs.

Typically, students apply to 2-3 schools the least. Cover every school and program you will apply for.

When you know their goals, you can detail how you can contribute. That’s what schools want. They want to see how you fit in the picture.

Get to know more about the school culture. It would help in your MBA personal statement. Use that information to show that you belong there.

Here’s an example of what good research can do. This essay is packed with Harvard-specific information.

Writing a good essay

Conducting Research

But how do you approach the research? You’re probably wondering. Listed below are some research suggestions that will help you use the right MBA essay format:

  • Reach out to department heads for insights
  • Check out the school’s website
  • Find about events conducted by Business Schools
  • Look into previous or current students’ profiles
  • Get in touch with current or previous MBA students
  • Learn about special opportunities that a school offers (entrepreneurship training, startup funding, great summer job options, etc.)
  • Head to the school’s online communities such as forums and social media groups

It can help if you outline specifics for each program. Create bullet points that you find useful. This can be your preparation for writing.

Look at the bigger picture rather than the numbers. Remember that you don’t need to reflect every virtue they want. This is just for inspiration.

The research can help you see yourself as an asset. It can bring you closer to the school you desire. Thus, you’ll feel more confident when you start writing.

Focus on Specific Question when writing your MBA Personal Statement. 

The most beautiful MBA personal statement can be worthless if it’s not specific. The admission committee needs an answer, not an autobiography .

Make sure that you address the question at hand in your MBA application essay.  Don’t waste space and time on non-related information.

The need to present yourself in the best light can do damage. It can get you to take the wrong path.

Sample A MBA Personal Statement

This Sample MBA Personal Statement by written Sandra Onah does a good job of this.

MBA Statement of Purpose examples

The information on in your statement of purpose must focus on the specific question you intend to answer.Yes, it ‘s important to write about your strengths and positive experiences. But even then, your essay must be focused on the theme and question you intend to explore. If an information isn’t related to the lead question you intend to answer, skip it.

Resist the urge to ramble. You have a limited word count. Use it wisely.

Sample B MBA Personal Statement

Take a look at another MBA Essay example. The student jumps straight to the point. That’s how it should be done.

How to Write an Application Essay

Writing an MBA personal statement can seem easy at the start, but the truth is, the introduction is where you hook the readers. The point where students tend to break away is the introduction. They have the need to set the tone. However, it’s better to start strong with a suitable topic.

You don’t need an elaborate introduction. Begin with specifics right away. The less irrelevant information you include, there’ll be more room for examples.

To ensure that you aren’t beating around the bush, ask yourself this:

Is this sentence relevant?

Repeat this question for every sentence you write. If the answer is no, delete it.

Pay attention to lengthy sentences. They often consist of excess words or information. You can use a proofreading and editing tool  that will point them out.

Be Yourself in your MBA Personal Statement.

Show what makes you unique. Don’t just aim to tick all the boxes.

There will be hundreds of others who will try to fit in. They’ll list everything that the school wants.

But there’s nothing special there. Nothing that will make them stand out.

Don’t write what the committee wants to hear. That is a mistake. There’s no original value in trying to mimic them.

Schools want character. They want unique personalities that can add to the diversity.

sample mba personal statement

Innovators and entrepreneurs are always considered to be different. People that can be noticed in the crowd are the leaders.

Give your MBA personal statement something special by showing who you are. Don’t be scared to open up and break the mold.

Your experiences and life path can ensure originality. Put the focus on that.

No one else has had the same life as you. There lies your advantage. Think about what makes you non-traditional.

Do you want an example? This is an sample MBA personal statement from a student applying to Stanford. The story he shared is memorable and different.

How to write an essay

You can also show your vulnerabilities or express your humor. Don’t hide your humanity.

Think about how your experience ties to the MBA program. What made you go in this direction?

Show who you are and you won’t risk blending in. You don’t need to be driven by world peace. The only thing you need is to be yourself.

Write about Your Passions in your MBA Statement of Purpose.

“You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.”

― Steve Jobs .

Show the business school admissions committee that you can stick it out. Tell them how passionate you are.

Passion tends to ignite us. It can light that fire within you and fill you with inspiration. Use your passion to create a compelling MBA personal statement.

People without passions are usually people without enthusiasm. No Business School wants that. They aim to shape future leaders – and future leaders need to be driven.

The Whiting Creative Non-Fiction Grant 2021

If you opted for an MBA program, you probably have a business goal. What do you want to accomplish?

Do you see yourself as a startup owner? Do you want to run a sustainable business? Tell the admission committee where your interests lie.

Mrs. Amaka F. Onyeabor does this very well, Not only does she show that she’s a good business leader, she uses storytelling to demonstrate her passion for her field of study.

Here’s how she made the most of this MFA Essay format:

mba application essay

By applying to a business school, you are pursuing your dream. Which only shows that you are a person of action. You dare to take charge of your circumstances.

Writing about what excites you will make the essay more impressionable. Passion can give your MBA essay some power.

However, you need to find the right question that can handle this topic. For example, “Introduce yourself.”

Sample C MBA Personal Statement

Here’s a sample MBA personal statement and how you can introduce yourself through your passion:

mba statement of purpose

Learn from this example how to approach the topic. You want to go back to the roots. Explain what planted the seed that grew into this devotion.

The origin of passion is always thrilling to read about. It helps the readers understand your aspirations better. What’s more, it helps them see potential in you to write just the perfect MBA essay.

Tell Your Story, Not Your Resume.

Every piece of the admission puzzle has its role. What you wrote in the resume and cover letter  is behind you. You can’t retell the same information over and over again.

Now, it is time to focus on your story.

Forget about methodology and chronology. It’s time to get personal.

The purpose of the essay is to get to know the candidates. Praising your GPA and listing your work experience won’t help. You need to make the essay captivating.

Take on the role of a storyteller and draw the readers in. This is your chance to let your personality shine through.

Use vivid language and descriptions. Illustrate situations and emotions that were present at the time. Bring your story to life.

Here’s another sample MBA personal statement that shows the impact of storytelling. This MBA letter of intent or application essay captures your attention with the very first sentence. It takes you on a journey.

mba letter of intent

To prepare yourself, read some books for inspiration. Observe how good storytellers do it. Read articles on how to write an MBA essay. You could even read previous samples of MBA personal statement to draw inspiration on how to write yours.

The success stories of entrepreneurs  can stimulate your ideas. You can learn from their story and their writing style.

Here are a few more methods for telling a story effectively:

  • Choose a central message or the moral of the story.
  • Progress the story towards central moral.
  • Build compelling plots on obstacles and conflict.
  • Stick to the clear structure: introduction, action, climax, and resolution.
  • Don’t’ complicate it. Eliminate unnecessary backstory.
  • Use your own voice and writing style.

Your MBA Statement Of Purpose Must Reflect Your Leadership Qualities

Leaders build companies from the ground up. Leaders inspire people. They take proper actions in the present for a better future.

Business schools want leaders. Show them that you are one.

But stating “I am a leader” won’t do. Nor will the statement “I want to be a successful leader” help. Your MBA statement of purpose needs to show that you have what it takes.

Give insight into your motivations, capabilities, and strengths. Emphasize experiences that present you as a proactive person. When was the time when you took charge?

Don’t stress if you can’t spot such an experience right away. Think harder.

You don’t need to be the team captain to prove your leadership skills. They can be seen in many ordinary situations.

Let’s say that you organized painting the benches in your neighborhood.

You gathered people together and led them to a set goal. You made a change in your community. This portrays you as a leader.

Leadership can be found everywhere. Just closely look at what you’ve done. Where can your progressiveness be noticed?

Observe the following sample MBA personal statement. It’s a story of a boy, a dream, and an action. A simple story that demonstrates leadership.

How to Write an Application Essay an MBA Admissions Committee Will Love

The whole essay doesn’t need to revolve around leadership. Slip in an example that hints at your proactive capabilities. You can do this in any type of essay question.

Your MBA Personal Statement Should Back Up Claims with Examples.

Are you ready to rock that university term ? Prove it. Better yet, show that you are ready through examples.

There’s nothing like examples to illustrate the point. The claims can seem empty if you can’t prove them.

Back up your statements with real-life examples. Use plenty of them.

If you want a winning essay, you can’t go around specific anecdotes. Broad summaries can never make an impact like details do.

Your character, the best traits, and work ethic are best seen in different situations.

Do you know what’s best about examples? You can lift yourself up without bragging.

Don’t say that you are resourceful. Tell a story that proves it. Share how you started Business A or freelancing or volunteering. How did your experience sharpen yor business acumen?

Imagine 2200 Climate Fiction Writing Contest(cash prizes)

Don’t list your best traits. Share stories that put them in focus.

Real-life examples are interesting and edifying. They won’t be interpreted as personal praise.

Pay attention to the sample MBA personal statement you are about to see. It shows how examples make the essay more vivid.

How to write an essay

Instead of listing what he/she learned, the student told a story. This made the essay more fun to read. Moreover, it still answered the question perfectly.

Stories and examples are more memorable. They stick into the readers’ minds. General statements don’t have that effect.

Whatever question you have, supply the answer with examples. There is always something in your life that you can use.

What’s more, examples show that you memorize your lessons. You take notice of what happens to you. Present yourself as the person who values what life teaches you.

How to avoid writer’s block

Wrap Up On MBA Personal Statement Examples

You Got This!

Turn the MBA application essay into your golden ticket for the interview. This piece of writing will help the committee understand who you are. Therefore, approach it with care.

Take your time. Do your research. Reflect on your uniqueness.

Resist the temptation to be under a lot of pressure. Especially if you don’t know how or where to start.

The question that puzzles many is: How do you write an MBA personal statement that stands outs?

Now you have your answer.

“Let’s get it over it” attitude won’t get you far. You need patience. You need to take a deep look inside yourself.

For starters, let go of the pressure. Simply focus on the question. That’s the only thing you should think about right now.

Now, sit at your desk, turn on the computer, and get to work. Embrace your authenticity and remember: you are worthy.

I hope this article guide on how to write an MBA application essay was helpful. You might want to learn how to write an MFA Personal Statement too.

Dorian Martin is a writer, editor, and proofreader. He studied computer science and continued to develop his knowledge in the fields of academic writing and content writing. Currently, Dorian works as a senior writer at a thesis writing service GetGoodGrade and educational expert at digital marketing conferences. Along with all of that, Dorian runs his personal blog.

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How to Write a Top MBA Personal Statement (With Examples)

how to write an mba personal statement with examples

Working on your MBA application? You aren’t alone. In 2021, over 200,000 students graduated with an MBA degree making it the number one choice for graduate students for the 10th year in a row. And there’s good reason for this. According to the National Center for Education Statistics , post-MBA, grads can earn significantly more at work—experts estimate an additional $20,000 each year depending on the industry. 

During the application process, you’ll want to stand out. A well-crafted personal statement will help distinguish you from other applicants. It serves as a powerful tool to showcase your unique experiences, skills, and aspirations to admissions committees. To make a lasting impression, tailor your personal statement to each MBA program you’re applying to, highlighting how your background aligns with their values and goals. For additional support, keep reading for some MBA personal statement examples and guidance. 

Understanding the Foundations – Word Count, Templates, and Pricing

When you start your personal statement, keep the word count in mind. Make sure to write your statement succinctly. Templates can give crucial structure to a first draft and make sure you hit necessary points. Finally: is it worth it to hire a professional proofreader? We break down the pros and cons. 

Word Count Considerations

A well-written personal statement is often the deciding factor in the business school admissions process. Conveying your thoughts concisely is a crucial skill in the business world, and future peers will be grateful for your brevity.

One strategy is to start with a longer draft and edit it down when revising. Remove unnecessary details and tighten wordy language. Focus on improving the quality of your content over meeting the maximum word count. 

Templates as a Starting Point

Templates can help to organize your thoughts. Use them to provide structure and give your writing direction. By planning ahead, you can decide how much space you want to dedicate to each element—this can also help you meet the word count.

Remember: popular templates are popular for a reason, and following them too strictly can make your statement feel rigid and unoriginal. To avoid that pitfall, personalization is key. Your individual experiences, goals, and perspectives are all unique. What would a Master’s in Business Administration mean to you? Don’t be afraid to customize any template to fit your voice. 

Professional Proofreading

Graduate schools know what a well-written personal statement looks like—and so do professional proofreaders. Experts can help catch small grammatical errors and improve clarity in your writing. It can be challenging to review personal writing from an objective standpoint. A good proofreader will streamline your writing and ensure overall coherence, improving your odds with your preferred school of business. 

Unfortunately, this can be expensive. Pricing for these services can easily cost hundreds of dollars. If hiring one isn’t in the budget, here are some alternatives: 

  • Find writing groups online or in person. Not only will you receive feedback, you’ll get a better idea of what other personal statements look like. Be prepared to help edit other statements.
  • Reach out to peers and mentors. Turn to people who know your voice and can tell when your writing is authentic. Make sure they aren’t afraid to give negative feedback.
  • Utilize free online resources. Writing tools like Grammarly or Hemingway help check grammar and sentence structure. They won’t help with essay format and aren’t infallible; double-check any changes they might suggest.
  • Read your statement out loud. This can help make sure your statement has a good rhythm and flows naturally.
  • Take breaks. Be your own set of fresh eyes. When you’re in the thick of writing, you might glaze over easy-to-spot details while you’re thinking of the big picture. Allow yourself to recharge and clear your head before you get back to it. 

proofreading mba personal statement

Tailoring Your Personal Statement to Top MBA Programs

Make sure to personalize your essays to specific MBA programs . Include details about specific classes and faculty, unique opportunities, and the strengths that make this program stand out. 

Then, tie yourself into the narrative. What role would you fill as a graduate student or an alumnus? Consider your own strengths and where they align with this specific program. What career goals could this opportunity help you achieve? 

Remember to mention your soft skills and other details that may not show up elsewhere on your application. Finally, shine a spotlight on your unique contributions in past roles. 

Write a Captivating Introduction

A beautiful personal statement will be overlooked unless the introduction captivates the audience. You can begin with compelling anecdotes, personal stories, or influential quotes. Tie this introduction into your reason for pursuing an MBA. Make the reader care before launching into your achievements. Then, clearly state why you’re pursuing an MBA. Example: “From the dynamic intersections of global markets to the intricate strategies driving corporate success, the realm of business has always beckoned to me as a realm of boundless opportunity and perpetual evolution..” 

Discuss Academic and Professional Background

Now it’s time to discuss what you’re bringing to the table. It’s okay to brag! Think about any key achievements or acquired skills that are transferable to an MBA program. What motivated you to apply? Example : “As a project manager at XYZ Corp, I navigated intricate challenges, demonstrating resilience and strategic thinking – skills I am eager to refine in a top-tier MBA program.” 

Answer the Questions: Why an MBA? Why Now? 

What does an MBA mean for your career goals ? Break down your short and long-term goals to answer this essay question. How do the skills you gain from earning an MBA connect to your plan? Research the program you’re applying for and use examples from the curriculum. Example : “My immediate goal is to transition from project management to strategic consulting, and Crummer’s MBA program’s focus on experiential learning and global business strategy perfectly complements my aspirations.” 

Emphasize Soft Skills

Think about moments you demonstrated personal growth or teamwork. Are there any moments you stepped up to lead a project or team? Your past experiences will influence your habits in a graduate school setting. Example :  “Leading a cross-functional team on a high-stakes project not only honed my leadership skills but also taught me the importance of collaborative problem-solving, a cornerstone of Crummer’s MBA program. “

Spotlight Unique Contributions

What sets you apart from other applicants? Moreover, what impact will your unique perspective bring to the MBA cohort? Explain how your background will enrich the learning environment. Detail personal qualities and experiences that showcase your value. 

how to make an mba personal statement engaging

Key Elements for a Powerful Personal Statement

Take a holistic approach to strike the right chord in your personal statement. Give admissions committees a more concrete impression of you. Weave in your qualifications, experiences, and aspirations. Don’t just mention your professional achievements—detail all of your positive qualities. 

Showcase Work Experience 

Be strategic when discussing your real-world work experience. If you can, including measurable results is a great way to show your professional impact. Earnings numbers, statistics, and other metrics will show off your professional experiences. 

Articulate Career Goals and Aspirations

When discussing career goals for an MBA application, detail your short and long-term objectives clearly. Ambiguity can weaken your statement’s impact. Whether you’re joining a family business, starting your own business, or looking to go abroad for international business you should discuss how you see yourself navigating the business world. Connect these career aspirations to the MBA program. 

Incorporate Extracurricular and Real-World Experiences

Touch on any extracurricular experiences like internships or entrepreneurship. Explain how these real-world experiences impacted your analytical skills, business acumen, and decision-making. If you’re an entrepreneur, touch on your journey or discuss the vision for your next startup. 

You can also talk about moments where you demonstrated leadership and communication skills. Teamwork is critical to business leaders. Reflect on your leadership experience—the successes you’ve won and the lessons you learned. 

writing an mba personal statement internships

Maintain Authenticity

Write authentically. Admissions officers want genuine stories. Give readers a reason to empathize with you. Overly formal and generic language can depersonalize your statement and keep readers at arm’s length. 

Also, use conversational language. If something sounds clunky or unnatural, it probably also reads that way. Plus, the way you speak naturally showcases your personality. While you should always use proper grammar, don’t suck the life out of your statement in the name of sounding more “academic.” Use this opportunity to demonstrate your communication skills. 

Navigating Common Challenges

Crafting your personal statements can be challenging! Let’s answer some FAQs. 

How Do I Balance the Personal and Professional Aspects?

Be intentional about what you choose to mention from your personal life. Use elements that either contrast or emphasize your professional experience. How does your background influence your business philosophy? Make sure to keep a professional tone and align your statement with the admissions committee’s expectations and be prepared for any questions the interviewer could ask.

How Do I Handle Sensitive Topics?

If you’re writing about a sensitive topic, do so thoughtfully. You don’t know what type of people will be reading your statement, so be considerate and intentional about any details you choose to share. 

However, your application essay should be a reflection of you. Sensitive subjects often play a major role in personal growth and development. Discuss what you learned from this challenging experience and how it influenced you. 

How Do I Make My Writing Stand Out? 

We’ve touched on all of the story elements you need—now trim the fat. Avoid common clichés and generic statements. Common phrases will dilute the unique perspectives in your personal statement. Make sure the language aligns with you. Avoid language that could apply to everyone when possible. 

Other MBA Application Process Essentials – GMAT Score, GPA, and Statement of Purpose

The MBA application process is multifaceted and holistic. Alongside your statement, admissions committees also consider your GMAT scores and GPA. GMAT scores are used to gauge applicants’ aptitude for business studies, while GPA showcases your readiness for MBA rigor. If you have a lower score in either category, address these challenges by highlighting your other strengths, relevant experience, and resiliency. Remember: committees consider the entire application, not just scores. 

The other factor in the application process is your Statement of Purpose or SOP. This will complement your personal statement. Make sure your SOP articulates your academic and career goals without echoing your other application essay. Avoid redundancy. Focus on the future: link the MBA program to your long-term plan. Take a forward-looking perspective and demonstrate how the MBA will work as a natural progression in your life. 

Your personal statement should be as unique as you are. Start with a compelling narrative and a plan. Proofread your essay, and don’t be afraid to seek help from peers or professionals. Explain how your personal and professional life gives you the necessary skills to thrive at your desired program and be specific about what you want to do there. This is your chance to differentiate yourself from other applicants—take advantage!

Crummer is the #1 ranked MBA program in Florida. You can learn more about what we offer and when you’re ready, start working on your application . 

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mba business administration personal statement

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Outstanding MBA Personal Statement Examples

Introduction.

Applying to an MBA program is a lengthy process that involves multiple steps and numerous requirements. Some parts of the process are relatively simple, such as academic transcripts or test score submissions. 

Other parts are more complex and require more from you, such as the MBA essay(s) that you’ll likely have to submit. Of course, every bit of information you include in your application is vitally important because your application will be considered in its entirety before any decisions regarding your candidacy are made. 

However, certain portions of your application may hold more weight than others. There is no doubt that grades are important, and having a high GPA or an exceptional GMAT score certainly helps improve your chances of acceptance. 

Yet, numbers don’t leave much room for standing out, which is necessary when considering the sheer amount of applications MBA admissions committees have to sort through. However, writing an outstanding MBA personal statement is your chance to do precisely that. 

An exceptionally well-written personal statement could be the gateway to your success and could land your name on a shortlist for an interview invitation to the business school of your choice, getting you that much closer to an acceptance to a future MBA program. 

On the other hand, “ An essay that reveals any weakness in your candidacy could quickly put you in the reject pile,” so the stakes are high when you get to this point in your application. To learn more about where you should start, how you can ensure that your MBA personal statement makes you stand out, and what kinds of things you should avoid writing about - read on.

What is an MBA Personal Statement?

An MBA personal statement introduces you to the school’s admissions committee that you’re applying to. It is also an opportunity for you to show them what you could potentially contribute to the community that exists at their school.

For most schools, your chance to write a personal statement comes with your responses to the MBA essay questions. Each school has its own requirements when it comes to the MBA essay. There is only one essay prompt for some schools, and for others, there are multiple questions that you must answer. 

Similarly, some schools have word requirements that limit either the minimum or maximum word count that you can use for your answers, whereas others provide the question and let you decide how much to contribute.

Although each school has topics they typically like to cover, many schools change their questions from year-to-year, but some general themes tend to reoccur quite often in these kinds of prompts. One theme that often comes up has to do with your interest in the school or how you envision yourself fitting into the school’s program. 

For example, the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania requests their applicants to answer “What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA?” They also ask “how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community?” 

Other schools are more interested in the theme of self-reflection. The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business , for example, wants to learn “more about you outside of the office,” and they request that you take their essay as an “opportunity to tell us [them] something about who you are.” 

For many schools, the theme of goals and ambitions is a popular topic. At NYU Stern , they ask applicants, “What are your short and long-term career goals?” and  “how will the MBA help you achieve them?”Another major theme shared by many schools is that of leadership. 

Berkeley Haas requires that applicants consider how “the definition of successful leadership has evolved over the last decade and will continue to change,” and they’re interested in knowing “What do you need to develop to become a successful leader?” Although some schools branch away from these general subjects, these themes tend to be the most common, so the chances are good that you may have to write about one or more of these topics in your MBA personal statement.

Top Tips on Writing an Outstanding MBA Personal Statement

Focus on the question.

You’re going to want to keep in mind several things while you’re writing your MBA personal statement. One of the things is that you maintain a steady focus on the actual question(s) asked throughout your essay. Of course, the questions are often very open-ended and allow you to answer them in a variety of ways. 

Once you’ve chosen a path, try your best to stick with it and continuously remind yourself of the task at hand, so you can question whether you’re straying too far from what you’re trying to write about. Staying on topic and focusing on the question at hand will also help prevent you from wasting space and time on irrelevant information. 

Although the admissions committee probably doesn’t have a distinct black and white answer to the question that they’re asking, they are still looking for an answer, so make sure that you’re not just providing them with an autobiography. 

Writing about your strengths and experiences is still necessary, so make sure you cover any  relevant strengths and experiences in accordance with the theme and question. Although admissions committees are generally interested in applicants who write unique content, it is important to avoid getting too far off track with your MBA personal statement. There is still a question at hand to answer, with directions that must be followed, so don’t write about whatever you please.

Show Your Passion

A good, compelling MBA personal statement is chalked full of passion. If you let your passion shine through in every line, you’re bound to grab the attention of the admissions committee that reads your application. No business school is interested in an applicant that lacks passion and enthusiasm. 

The main goal of each school is to fill their cohort with future leaders, who are passionate and driven to succeed. Let them know what kind of  business goals you have in mind and give them an idea of your ultimate ambitions. Whether you want to create a startup, start a nonprofit, or even move up within the ranks of the company that you’re already working for, let the admissions committee in on how you view your future in the business world.

With that said, make sure it's overtly clear why that envisioned future has ignited a passion inside of you that has pushed you to apply for an MBA program. Ensure that you go back to the source of your ambitions and give them an idea of where your passion originally stemmed from. Doing this will help them understand your aspirations better, and it will also give them a better overall understanding of who you are at your core.

Get to Know the School

It should also be evident in your MBA personal statement that you’ve invested time into getting to know the school that you’re applying to. Schools differ from each other in varying ways, and each of their MBA programs have distinct features that set them apart from one another. 

If you can demonstrate an understanding of the school’s missions, values, and goals in your personal statement, it will let the admissions committee know that you’ve done your research. Knowing these things will also help you tailor your MBA personal statement to meet some of the school’s criteria. 

Once you know the goals of a school, you can detail various ways that you’re capable of contributing to them. Once you know their values, you can show them various traits, which you possess, that align with those values. Once you know what their mission is, you can highlight ways in which your mission is similar. 

Of course, it isn’t necessary to reflect every single virtue that the school values in your MBA personal statement, but if you’re able to make enough of these connections between yourself and the school, they’ll see that you’re a good fit for a future cohort, increasing your chances of acceptance into one of their programs. 

Let the admissions committee know why you feel their MBA program is the best fit for you. If you can think of some specific things that their program provides, such as experiential learning or internships, mention why these opportunities excite you. Additionally, if a particular member of their faculty or a specific course interests you, explain where your appeal is coming from. 

There are many ways for you to gain more information about a school that will be useful during this portion of your personal statement. You can check out the school’s website, reach out to department heads, look into previous or current students’ profiles, look at the school’s online forums and social media groups, and even attend their events scheduled for prospective students.

Highlight Your Leadership Qualities

Upon closer inspection of some business school websites, it will be apparent that most of them value leadership above all else. Essentially, all business schools are looking to fill their cohorts with students who will become global leaders in the future. 

If you can show a school’s admissions committee that you have leadership qualities and that you have the potential to be a great leader, it will undoubtedly pique their interest in you. The best way to do this is by providing an insight into your motivations, strengths, and capabilities by emphasizing experiences that you’ve had, which present you as a proactive person who takes charge of the situations. 

You don’t need to describe some grand situation where you made a global impact. However, if you’ve taken the initiative to lead a local fundraiser, or you’ve started a club and led them to a set goal, these are the kinds of experiences that are worth mentioning because they will portray you as a leader.

Back-Up Your Claims

It is of vital importance that you don’t merely tell admissions why you’re a good fit for their school, or that you’re a strong leader, or that you have what it takes to make it in the world of business. Instead, you must show them all of these things by backing up your claims with examples. 

Your claims will feel empty and baseless if you don’t have real-life examples to back them up. Rather than telling a school how resourceful or imaginative you are, tell them an anecdotal story that helps them independently draw this conclusion . 

You can describe a situation when you made use of connections you have within your community to get something done that would benefit everyone or a time when you had to come up with a creative solution to a setback that you were facing. 

Unlike general statements, stories are memorable and will be hard for admissions committees to forget about you if you tell them a story that shines a light on your best side. Keep your stories brief and to the point, but include the necessary details to illustrate the points you’re trying to make.

Mistakes to Avoid While Writing an MBA Personal Statement

Don’t be too eager to please.

Many people make a common mistake when writing their MBA personal statement by focusing too much on writing exactly what they believe the committee wants to hear. In other words, trying too hard to please the admissions committee can sometimes have the opposite effect. 

When taking on an MBA essay, if you write what you think the admissions committee is expecting, you’ll waste a perfect opportunity to show them your actual value to their program, and you’ll likely blend in with the rest of the applicants. 

Each admissions committee has boxes that they are looking to tick, and the overall goal is for you to tick as many or all of those boxes as possible in a natural manner. If your aim is fitting the bill, it will be obvious and will detract from your chance to come across as unique. 

It will also make for a dull and underwhelming MBA personal statement. Beyond fulfilling specific requirements, you should demonstrate that you have character. Don’t be afraid to break the mold, at times, if it will allow you to open up more and share something genuine about who you are. 

Diversity is essential at any business school because diverse perspectives are what make a cohort attractive and interesting. So, think of how you can contribute to this diversity and embrace your authentic self when you craft your MBA personal statement.

Avoid Summarizing Your Résumé

By the time that an admissions committee gets to your MBA personal statement, the chances are good that they’ve already read through your résumé . Thus, there is no need for you to restate information directly from your résumé during your MBA personal statement. 

The admissions committee has that information already, and you can trust that they will not forget it if it is worth remembering.  By the time they get to your personal statement, they are craving something original and fresh. 

The purpose of a résumé is to list your relevant experience, but the purpose of an MBA personal statement is to show why that experience matters and why it sets you apart from all the other applicants. 

If you want your essay to be captivating, you must draw the admissions committee in with your storytelling skills. Use vivid descriptions to bring the stories that you’re telling to life and take the admissions committee on a journey that demands their attention.

No Need to Apologize

A general rule to keep in mind when writing your MBA personal statements is to avoid making any apologies. If there is a portion of your application that you aren’t feeling overly confident about, don’t draw attention to it. 

It might feel like you must explain yourself, whether this means justifying a lower than average GPA or test score or why there is a gap in your employment. 

However, your MBA personal statement is a limited opportunity for you to convince an admissions committee of your candidacy for their program, so spending time on things that don’t accentuate your best side is a waste of valuable time and words. Rather than apologizing for your potential downfalls, draw the admissions committee’s attention away from those parts of your application. 

Give them a good reason to naturally forget those things by wowing them with an MBA personal statement that highlights all of the reasons you are the ideal choice for their next cohort. The only time it is acceptable to explain your shortcomings is if the essay question specifically asks about them.

Outstanding MBA Personal Statement Examples 

Goals essay example.

Essay 1: What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

Sample Introduction:

Prior to COVID, I dreamed of a future as an entrepreneur building on my mother’s example of using business to make a difference in local communities. 2020, however, afforded me the opportunity to simultaneously begin pursuing the impact I hoped to make, even without my own venture, by participating in [Name] and [Name] recruiting efforts, while pausing to reflect on those aspirations.

Though I would still like to build on my mother’s legacy of community-minded entrepreneurship, I believe I will be able to make the most direct impact by founding my own venture capital fund that incubates companies from seed to late stage. My three years at [Company] have helped me develop analytical and operational skills necessary to be a thoughtful founder, but a Wharton MBA will help me refine my leadership style, as well as help me adopt the mindset of a community-minded investor.

Sample Body Paragraph:

With a flexible core foundation, I will use my time at Wharton to focus on classes that will uniquely help me achieve my goal. As a double major in Business Economics and Public Policy and Entrepreneurship & Innovation, I will not only understand the best way to use business to improve a community with classes like “Urban Public Policy and Private Economic Development,” but I can also study different methods to bring solutions to life with classes like “Venture Capital and Entrepreneurial Management” and “Finance of Buyouts and Acquisitions.” Best of all, I can begin applying and practicing what I have learned in the classroom by working with the [Company] or spending a semester in [Place] with the robust [Community] in the [Area].

Sample Conclusion:

After graduating, I intend to be an active alumni, joining the Alumni Angel group, as well as serving as a mentor for Wharton students. Bolstered by my experiences inside and outside the classroom, I will be ready to make my mark on the Venture Capital world, bringing more equitable access to financial resources for entrepreneurs of color. When I do, I know that I will have the support of my Wharton community behind me.

Why it Works:

This is a fantastic sample of a MBA personal statement for many reasons. Firstly, the applicant doesn’t waste any time and gets right into an explanation of their personal goals and aspirations at the beginning of their essay, which then ties into a brief explanation of the source of their inspiration. 

They also highlight their opportunistic nature by showing how they took advantage of the situation when COVID began. They consistently reference specific parts of the Wharton MBA program they’re interested in, such as some specific classes they intend to take. They also mention how they plan to use their experience at Wharton to make their dream a reality.

Contributions Essay Example

Essay 2: Taking into consideration your background – personal, professional, and/or academic – how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community? (400 words)

While I may have a few years before launching my own fund to transform local communities, during my time at Wharton, I intend to be an active participant in Wharton’s Anti-Racism goals, fighting to bring equity and inclusion with the same passion I have brought to my office and B/LX network. I want to help usher in a new era at Wharton focused on today’s business concerns where diversity and inclusion are top of mind.

I plan to be an active member of whatever initiatives are formed with student involvement seeking to effect that change, such as the Wharton Graduate Association (WGA). As a member of the [Organization], I can work with my peers to network in our hometowns to increase [Ethnicity] participation in MBA programs, which has been historically under-represented, as well as welcome prospective students as a host during [Initiative], to ensure that all who are interested feel welcome the moment they approach this school.

I have learned through my work at [Company] that one needs to bring in allies to improve diversity - cultivating a strong affinity group is a start, but not enough. As a member of the [Group], I will support Wharton founders, specifically ones with social ventures addressing poverty and inequality in the greater [City] community, thus growing student-funded entrepreneurship with a social benefit. As a fellow, I will also be able to further hone my own sense of leadership to understand the best way to motivate people to prioritize community benefit.

When not focused on ventures and leadership, I plan to school fellow students in the Tennis Club, share meals with the Wharton Food Club, and continue bragging about California’s Cabernet Sauvignons to the Wine Club. I envision my Wharton experience moving beyond the classroom to build an alumni cohort to last a lifetime, supporting each other to overcome the challenges we will inevitably face as we become next generation leaders.

This MBA personal statement is yet another strong sample. This applicant has clearly done their research and has discovered that they have a goal in common with the school they’re applying to. They focus on this shared goal and highlight how they intend to achieve progress towards it by working together with the school and its community. 

They make sure to back up their claims with examples of relevant work experience  that is in line with this vein of thought. Doing this demonstrates focus and shows that they are serious about their passions. 

Their conclusion further reinstates the fact that they are familiar with what the school has to offer, and it also flushes their personality out a little more. It also helps the admissions committee to envision the applicant fitting into the school’s community in various ways.

Self Reflection Essay Example

Essay 3: As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?

Disability has always been close to home; my family and community have a long and painful history of degenerative disease. I often think of my uncle, who steadfastly refused to let others help him eat meals following a string of kidney surgeries, and to my grandfather, suffering from neurodegenerative decline, who would rather exert excruciating effort to walk up a flight of stairs than ask me to get reading glasses from his bedroom.

It dawned on me that a reliance on others to move through daily life slowly chips away at one’s humanity; that lost independence is a common denominator of disability, and it impacts people almost as meaningfully as the underlying medical condition does. While various technologies and medical subspecialties exist to ease physical suffering, there is woefully little out there aimed to mitigate this deeper psychological problem. What’s more, the data and tools to solve this issue do exist, but millions continue to suffer.

I’m driven by finding answers to the most complex, most challenging problems faced by humanity; the ones that are too daunting, or those that go unrecognized. I felt a moral obligation to intervene. What followed would help me discover my life’s mission – building AI-driven tech to improve healthcare.

Sample Body Paragraphs

I rallied a friend, and together we built an AI-driven, low-cost speech-recognition platform that enabled voice-activated control over electronic systems in a household, thus empowering individuals suffering from ALS and multiple sclerosis. It was an exercise in creativity and persistence. It was quite daunting at the outset - I still have scars from initial circuit prototypes exploding in my hand. But, in the end, our solution worked, and cost a fraction of a now commercially available solution like Alexa.

As I think back to my core questions of independence, disability, and the juxtaposition of

medical and psychological suffering, I see increased life expectancy as a testament to modern advances in medicine. I now want to start the conversation around ensuring that people like my uncle or grandfather live not just longer, but happier, more dignified lives.

In the long run, by proving the benefits of AI-driven healthcare to the world, I want to build an enterprise that not only continues to develop sophisticated technologies, solve complex medical challenges, and change lives, but also improves the underlying fabric of healthcare policy. Like Uber and Airbnb, my dream is to eventually create an organization that fundamentally shifts the contemporary regulatory paradigm in healthcare to one that evolves and appropriately reflects both the medical and psychological needs of the modern patient.

The more I study disability, disease, impairment, and their implications on the human psyche, the more I appreciate the power of community - the feeling that there are people who fearlessly stand with you as you look to defy the odds. As I look to achieve my life’s mission and create a better healthcare system, I can’t think of a stronger, more supportive, and more inspiring community than Harvard.

The general management toolkit, network, and leadership skills that I develop will stay with me long past my time at HBS. I am confident in finding co-founders, collaborators, and investors who are as passionate as I am about solving entrenched challenges in healthcare. I plan to engage in cross-disciplinary inquiry through the [Initiative], and strive to develop a deft understanding of the interplay between the business, policy, and technological aspects of healthcare, something made uniquely possible through close collaboration with HMS and HKS.

I am more inspired than ever to realize my dream of restoring the lives of millions who suffer through no fault of their own, and the Harvard MBA will enable me to achieve exactly that.

This essay manages to take a very broad MBA essay question and turn it into a highly focused and genuine personal statement. The applicant doesn’t merely state their goals, but paints a delicate picture of their very personal inspirations that have become their driving force. 

This MBA personal statement includes numerous details, while refraining from including irrelevant ones. Each part of the narrative that they’ve told is necessary and is carefully woven together to provide an accurate background of where their motivation stems from and how it has led them to apply to this school. 

They also reference relevant achievements and experiences that they’ve had that indicate a strong sense of leadership within them, making them an attractive candidate for the school they’re applying to.

1. What is the purpose of an MBA personal statement?

The general purpose of an MBA personal statement is to show the admissions committee a little more about who you are and why they should consider your candidacy for their program. It is also a chance for you to show your goals and ambitions, while demonstrating how they pertain to the specific MBA program you’re applying to.

2. How long should an MBA personal statement be?

Some schools have specific minimum or maximum word counts for their essays, while others don’t. A school will typically list these kinds of requirements together with the essay questions.

3. What should I focus on with my MBA personal statement?

Your MBA personal statement should focus on answering the question(s) that the school has provided. These questions vary from school-to-school, but are usually found on the applications page of a school’s website, along with all of the other information relevant to your application. In conjunction with your answer to the prompt, you may focus on describing experiences, skills, and goals of yours that are relevant to the MBA program you’re applying to.

4. Should I write a different personal statement for each school that I apply to if I’m applying to multiple schools/programs?

Yes. Not only does each school have their own essay questions, but each school also has its own set of values, missions, and interests. Thus, your MBA personal statement isn’t easily transferable from one school’s application to another. 

If you want to maximize your chances of getting accepted into a school’s MBA program, you must carefully craft a unique MBA personal statement for each school that you apply to.

5. What should I research before writing my MBA personal statement?

Some research into a school is necessary before you can begin writing an MBA personal statement to submit to them. You may want to research a school’s mission statement, curriculum, faculty, extracurricular activities, or other pertinent information related to their MBA program. 

It will be necessary to reference these kinds of things throughout your MBA personal statement when you explain why this particular school is the best option for you and why you are the best fit for their next cohort.

6. Should I mention my GPA or GMAT/GRE scores in my MBA personal statement?

No. Your academic transcripts and test score submissions will be part of a different section of your application. The admissions committee does not need to see the same information in two places. 

Use the MBA personal statement as an opportunity to improve your candidacy for the school’s program in fresh, new ways by discussing things that would not be possible to include in your transcripts or on your résumé.

Your MBA personal statement is a vital part of your MBA application, and, as such, it requires that you approach your writing process with careful consideration. Your personal statement is a significant opportunity to make a good impression on the admissions committee by showing them who you are and why you deserve a coveted spot in their program. 

Plan out what you want to say, and take your time organizing exactly how you’d like to say it. Remember that every word counts, so make sure that you stay focused and don’t get off-topic. Once you’ve written an outstanding MBA personal statement that you feel packs a punch, proofread your essay, and, if possible, have others proofread it as well to ensure that there are no errors that will detract from the content.

You should also make sure that your writing conveys a sense of confidence, creativity, and passion. If you account for all of these things, and you let your true self shine through in your MBA personal statement, then there is no reason why an admissions committee wouldn’t be interested in having you join their next cohort of students.

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  • How to Write a Great MBA Personal Statement

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For many candidates, writing essays for business school applications can feel intimidating because of the slim margin for error. Admissions officers at highly selective business schools look for justifications to reject candidates, and when they cannot find those justifications in work experience, undergraduate grades, or admissions test scores, they search for them in application essays. “Your personal story is what will set you apart from other applicants,” according to Poets & Quants contributor and Personal MBA coach Scott Edinburgh.

Best practices in application essay writing indeed exist, although some of them are not obvious and a few may seem counterintuitive. BSchools editors reviewed the analysis, advice from several authorities, and essay examples from admitted students. Although this information is mainly sourced from essays submitted to the Harvard Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business , the principles outlined below apply to any top MBA program, whether on-campus, executive, or online.

Before discussing the findings, it should be noted that schools have shifted from experimentation to implementing high-tech replacements for their written application essays, according to Poets & Quants . Since 2020, most business schools require video submissions of essay questions in the application process, including London Business School and Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. MIT’s video essay gives candidates sixty seconds to present themselves in one shot, while New York University asks for six captioned images describing candidates.

Below is an overview of the most frequent application essay prompts or discussion topics and best practices for writing.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST IN Southern New Hampshire University Online MS - Construction Management

Common mba application essay prompts.

Most application essay prompts can be divided into five categories: introduction, career objectives, school selection motivation, achievements and setbacks, and additional optional essays.

Introduction (“Introduce Yourself”) Prompts

These prompts ask applicants to introduce themselves to the admissions committee members. Here the actual class of 2023 required essay prompt from Harvard:

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. As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?

A variant includes a previous Harvard prompt asking candidates what they would say when introducing themselves to other new students on the first day of classes. Stanford’s famous embodiment of this prompt simply reads:

“What matters most to you and why?”

Career Objective Prompts

These prompts ask applicants to explain their career goals and why they believe an MBA is necessary to accomplish those goals.

School Selection Motivation Prompts

These prompts ask candidates to discuss why they want to attend that particular business school and the benefits the school and classmates will receive should they win admission. Experts believe this topic is highly significant to admissions officers and needs to be incorporated into most essays—especially introduction essays—in some fashion.

Achievements and Setbacks Prompts

These prompts request discussions of inflection points in an applicant’s career. The questions seek to uncover what contributed to these accomplishments, how they recovered from setbacks, and what candidates learned from them.

Additional Optional Essays

This last prompt typically asks applicants to discuss any additional topics about which admissions committees need to know before rendering decisions.

Essay Writing Best Practices

Essay structure.

Writing expert and admissions consultant, Sandy Kreisberg, offers a great deal of insight about successful application essays. In an interview with Poets & Quants , she points out that many successful HBS essays follow a typical structure. First, they state the applicant’s goals, then identify three or four crucial experiences that helped shape those goals. Frequently, candidates also include how those experiences helped form their values. Another admissions consultant argues that emphasizing values is necessary within any approach or structure.

Frequent Essay Themes

Admissions consultant Stacy Blackman advises clients to select themes that will enable them to display qualities HBS highly values , especially drive, accomplishment, and leadership:

We have found that both personal and career-oriented topics can work, and most candidates tell more than one story in the essay. In the past, we have observed that successful HBS essays also demonstrate a core driving passion […] HBS has always been highly focused on leadership and really loves candidates with a track record of leadership impact and a success trajectory that indicates upper management potential. Accomplishments have traditionally been a strong focus of HBS essays, and using at least one accomplishment story in this essay may be a good strategy.

According to Kreisberg, frequent themes include overcoming adversity, helping others overcome adversity, overcoming victimization, or assisting others in overcoming victimization. In fact, he argues that this theme accounted for as much as 70 percent of recent Stanford Business School essays. In addition, Kreisberg says absent parents, especially absent fathers, embody themes in many successful Harvard essays from 2014 and 2015.

Voice Is The Most Important Factor

By saying that “voice trumps everything,” Kreisberg points out that the voice with which candidates speak through their essays can be more important than any other aspect of application essay writing. Characteristics of a “good voice” include :

The essay must convey that, above all, the candidate seems like a genuinely likable person. If it does not, the piece can render an otherwise outstanding candidate vulnerable to a “ding,” which is business school lingo for a denial. According to Kreisberg, the critical test the HBS admission committee reportedly relies on is this question: Is this someone you would want to sit next to in a case method class?

Authenticity, Sincerity, and Vulnerability

All experts agree that authenticity is a necessary winning essay hallmark. Admissions consultant Eric Allen states, “The key character traits built from your personal, professional, and community stories and experiences that provide a unique and authentic story differentiating you from other applicants.” It may be surprising how many MBA application essays display vulnerability because this quality is not generally associated with business leaders.

Reflectiveness

Candidates need to present examples demonstrating their introspection and self-awareness.

One of the most difficult challenges of application essay composition is figuring out a balance between presenting a string of impressive accomplishments while also being humble. Unfortunately, any form of bragging in an essay amounts to self-sabotage.

Thoughtfulness

Candidates must show careful attention, especially to other people’s needs.

Cohort-appropriateness

Ideally, candidates need to sound like previous applicants from the same industry. For example, applicants with work experience in investment banking need to sound like students the school accepted with investment banking experience, applicants with military experience need to sound like students the school admitted from the armed services, and so on.

Writing Quality

Many experts suggest that effective application essays do not need to be exceptionally well-written. They contend that admissions committees overlook less-than-perfect writing as long as applicants deliver compelling pitches. Business schools are interested in selecting and training future business leaders, not Pulitzer Prize-winning writers.

Moreover, the reviewed HBS essays do not appear to be particularly well-written. The errors and defects found in the samples suggested that the authors won admission because of other factors, like their work experience, undergraduate grades, or admissions test scores. Nevertheless, the most successful essays appear to demonstrate many characteristics of good writing, such as:

Powerful, Compelling, and Sometimes Shocking Introductions

“In all essay writing, of course, you learn that a lead, the way you entice a reader into your writing, is all-important, in part, because it should generally be compelling enough to grab someone and make them want to read on. In that regard, there are some fairly grabby leads,” according to Byrne , who knows how a significant lead reads; he was a magazine editor at BusinessWeek and FastCompany.

Consider for a moment why a powerful lead can be critical in this kind of essay. A typical admission committee member might review as many as 30 or 40 of these essays within candidate files on average. A compelling lead not only differentiates an article in the mind of that reviewer, but also grabs their attention.

The best essays display compelling first paragraphs and lead with first sentences that grab readers’ attention through vivid, shocking images. Here is a remarkable example:

“You are a woman AND a vegetarian! You will never make it at this place”. As a senior midshipman screamed those words at me from across the table, I instantly decided to change the one aspect of that statement within my control. I scarfed down Stouffer’s meat lasagna during my first dinner at the United States Naval Academy and wracked my brain, pondering how the females before me had survived. After leaving the comfort of my childhood home, I found myself blindsided by a brutal indoctrination into the male-dominated military.

The contention and excitement in the first sentence virtually guarantee further reading because it arouses the reader’s curiosity about what sort of place the applicant ended up treating women (and vegetarians) with such disrespect. The writer eventually introduces the controversial topic of male domination of organizations and explains how she adapted to that domination and finally overcame it.

Here is another compelling introduction:

During my first year in college, my parents declared bankruptcy. The bankruptcy was caused by my father’s growing drug addiction and it had a cascading impact on our entire family. Since my parents were co-signers on my student loans, our bank refused to renew them after my first year. I did a number of things to get by, including working three jobs simultaneously to make ends meet. I also tried to support my dad by helping to manage his rehabilitation process as much as a teenager reasonably could.

Displaying vulnerability, this example surprises readers who may not expect an HBS student to have faced damaging family issues like bankruptcy and drug addiction. The lead also arouses the curiosity of readers who want to know how the applicant eventually overcame these traumas.

Active Voice and Verbs

The best essays tend to avoid the passive voice . Notice the active voice and the vivid choice of the verbs in the below essay:

After college, I joined the Ivy Club in D.C., serving as the chair of Young Alums. The club had declining admissions, so I galvanized support by changing its mission and expanding its demographics […] Still, I craved more impact and contribution to a company’s success […] Now I thrive on helping other people and organizations do the same: identify problems, then clarify and meet their goals.

Essay Length and Word Limits

Some universities do not specify word limits for their essays. However, the best pieces display judicious word counts, sometimes in two separate essays. MBA Mission explains in more detail:

In the past, when Chicago Booth required only one essay, we often suggested 1,000 words as a guide; now with two essays, we propose keeping your responses to 500–600 words each. Approximately double the minimum seems to be a reasonable high-end target, though you will not be rejected from the applicant pool for going even higher. That said, we would recommend 1,000 words per essay as the absolute upper limit, and only in exceedingly rare cases.

Stacy Blackman concurs, saying that essays should be under 1,200 words. It is always easier to cut words down than add more during the editing process. A good rule of thumb is to write until the essay feels complete, and then take a second pass through the article essay to cut any unnecessary words.

Sample Harvard Business School Essay

The following outstanding Harvard Business School essay —which was written by a published author—satisfies all of the above criteria. It is an inspiring, compelling, and well-written example that can be read below in its entirety, followed by a brief analysis from Harbus, the essay’s publisher. .

In 2012, I realized a life ambition—I completed my first novel, all while working full time at [Top U.S. Investment Bank]. I could not wait to share it with the world and eagerly went in search of a literary agent. But each agent I contacted declined to represent my novel.

Nevertheless, I was passionate about my work and was determined to put it into readers’ hands. In true entrepreneurial fashion, I self-published my novel through the digital platforms Smashwords and Createspace. I worked with a promotional expert to organize a month-long book tour to promote the book to prominent book bloggers and their readers. The result? My novel has received multiple 5-star reader reviews, from Amazon to Goodreads, and was a semifinalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

Storytelling is my lifelong passion; it saw me through a difficult childhood. After my father left, my mother raised me as a single parent in [U.S. City/State], a rural Bible Belt town two hours south of [U.S. State]. We did not have much money and that coupled with my bookishness made me a target for bullies. Books and writing were an escape; they gave me an avenue to articulate the feelings of abandonment and powerlessness I otherwise did not want to express. Writing made me happy and the more I wrote, the more my talent blossomed. I began to win awards and my work was published in youth literary journals. These experiences made me more confident, a key part of my success later in life. It all started with a pen, a notebook, and my imagination.

Stories are an integral part of the human experience. They uplift and inspire, give us permission to dream and to visualize what could be. Storytelling has been an integral part of my career, from building financial models at [Top U.S. Investment Bank] that illustrated my expectations for the companies that I covered to delivering a presentation to [International Daily Newspaper]’s chief revenue officer explaining why reducing ad prices for tender house advertisers would not lead to an increase in revenue.

My passion has also informed my growth as a leader; I believe my most impactful expressions of leadership have been my efforts to help others write the narratives of their own lives and careers. At [Top U.S. Investment Bank], I created an informal mentorship program for female and minority interns and first-year analysts in the research division and led a “soft skills” class to help new analysts handle difficult interpersonal situations. For four years, I’ve mentored a young Hispanic woman through Student Sponsor Partners, a nonprofit that gives low-income students scholarships to private high schools. Being a mentor gave me the privilege of guiding another first generation college student along what I know can be a lonely, difficult path. This fall, she started college with a full scholarship.

Storytelling will be a part of my future career path; as an MBA graduate, my goal is to obtain a position in strategy and business development at an entertainment company that specializes in film or television. Long term, I want to start a multimedia and merchandising company with a publishing arm (books and magazines) as well as film, TV, and digital operations. Using strong, fictional heroines and informative lifestyle content, my company’s goal will be to educate and inspire women to become their best selves. My particular focus is creating compelling, multidimensional characters to inspire young women of color, who are constantly bombarded by negative images of women who look like them in media.

I’m pursuing a Harvard MBA because I want to become a better business strategist and strong general manager. Also, I want to further develop my leadership and presentation skills as I will manage professionals on the content and business side; it will be my task to unite them behind a shared strategic vision. Specifically, I want to learn how to motivate teams and individuals to perform at their highest level, and to become more adept at persuasion and generating “buy-in” from others. Harvard’s unique approach using the case method and emphasis on leadership development will challenge me to grow in both these areas. I also feel that I have much to contribute to Harvard’s community. My varied background in finance and media has given me a unique perspective that will be valuable in classroom discussions and team projects. I want to share my passion for the entertainment industry with my classmates by chairing the Entertainment & Media club and planning conferences, career treks, and other opportunities.

My background gives me the capacity for fearless thinking that is needed to meet the challenges of the entertainment industry’s shifting landscape. A Harvard MBA will strengthen that foundation and help me to become the kind of dynamic leader who can bring the vision for my own company to life and be at the forefront of entertainment’s structural shift.

A brief analysis from Harbus:

The author sets the stage for the remainder of the essay by first presenting a notable accomplishment of hers and then explicitly illustrating the entrepreneurial drive and diligence she used to see it through. More importantly, the author’s opening introduces a theme—storytelling—that is consistently interwoven through different stages of her life. The reader is led through the author’s childhood, professional and extracurricular experiences, along with accomplishments, all the while being reminded of the integral role storytelling has played. Beyond highlighting her gift, or passion for the art of storytelling, the author goes on to connect this theme with her future career ambitions, as well as describe how this could also serve the HBS community.

Douglas Mark

While a partner in a San Francisco marketing and design firm, for over 20 years Douglas Mark wrote online and print content for the world’s biggest brands , including United Airlines, Union Bank, Ziff Davis, Sebastiani, and AT&T. Since his first magazine article appeared in MacUser in 1995, he’s also written on finance and graduate business education in addition to mobile online devices, apps, and technology. Doug graduated in the top 1 percent of his class with a business administration degree from the University of Illinois and studied computer science at Stanford University.

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Writing an MBA personal statement

MBA Personal Statement Examples and Strategy

A successful MBA personal statement is both engaging and persuasive. The essay carries the reader along effortlessly while convincing them that you are qualified and worthy.

Armed with a great personal statement, you have an improved chance of entering the MBA school of your choice. But what does it take to write a personal statement that could give you better prospects in the application process? Would you like some free samples?

Here has some ideas and a strategy for writing an excellent admissions essay, along with plenty of examples for you to use.

Build Your Personal Statement Around a Core Idea

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The core idea — the essence, theme or central point — becomes the driver of content for your essay. Everything else in the document should support that concept.

  • When responding to a specific question, your core idea should directly and elegantly answer the question.
  • When writing a less-directed essay, you still need a driving concept; you just have more choice as to what the concept can be.

This core idea is your thesis. The thesis statement gives your admissions essay a clear direction.

The central theme is also what weaves your essay to make it a unified whole. It is the driving force that makes your essay strong and engaging. Here is a good example of thematic writing , with the topic in this case being how MBA studies help cultivate leadership qualities.

Without a core idea, readers may become lost as to what you’re meaning to say. There will be no binding theme and various details may seem irrelevant or out of place. The admissions panel should be able to quickly grasp what you’re attempting to convey.

Include Only Relevant Details in Your MBA Essay

Essays that are essentially resumes in prose — or which attempt to tell your entire life story — descend into the unwanted mishmash category. MBA essays that are replete with irrelevant details have strayed from their central mission. They are neither engaging nor persuasive and, indeed, bore readers.

Your MBA personal statement is a means to reveal who you are and what contributed to your character formation. But you want to avoid writing details about yourself that are not especially relevant to the application. These details can be tedious to read.

Remember that an essay has limits, including in terms of word count. Telling a story using key facts is better than making a bunch of loosely connected points that are full of details. Choose what you really want to write about. Here are some ideas you might find useful.

Common Writing Mistakes to Avoid

As a quality control device, you may want to be mindful about what to avoid in your essay. Here are some ideas on the common mistakes applicants make when writing an MBA personal statement.

1. Repeating or expanding on your resume

Perhaps the most common personal statement writing blunder is including an expository resume of your background and experience. This is not to say that business schools are not interested in your accomplishments.

However, other portions of your application will provide this information. Strive for depth, not breadth.

Aside from telling irrelevant details, listing down your accomplishments like you do in a resume is a no-no in writing your admission essay. You should not waste limited space by stating what can be easily found on your resume. You have to strive more for self-reflection because that is what the admissions panel wants to hear from you.

Focus on your purpose for writing the essay. This will help you put together ideas that can help back up your application and support your claim for a coveted spot.

2. Choosing a topic that could provoke negative reactions

Succeeding with your personal statement is not limited to the specifics of writing, such as grammar, style and details. Choosing a topic that won’t offend readers is equally as important.

Be sensitive to your readers and their potentially different and varying perspectives. The topic may have serious repercussions on how they perceive you as an individual or candidate for admission. Mistakes include looking unprofessional, revealing too much personal information or identifying yourself in terms of political or cultural leanings.

3. Including content that doesn’t help tell the story

An unfocused writer can rely too heavily on generalizations while also providing too many irrelevant details. The problem is that writers often don’t consider what is genuinely necessary to include or they repeat points.

Your MBA personal statement should be almost flawless. It should have a central idea to make it a unified whole. And the essay should only contain details that are important and relevant. After each draft is done, check that these goals are being achieved.

What Admissions Committees Look For

When evaluating MBA personal statements, admissions committees for MBA programs look for several key things, including:

  • Professional experience: They want to see that you have relevant work experience, as well as a clear understanding of the role that an MBA will play in your career.
  • Academic background: Admissions committees want to see that you have a strong academic foundation in business, as well as the quantitative and decision-making skills that are necessary for success in an MBA course.
  • Goals and motivations: Admissions committees want to understand your motivations for pursuing an MBA and your long-term career goals. They want to see that you have a clear vision for how an MBA will help you achieve your goals and make a positive impact.
  • Fit with the program: Committees want to see that you are a good fit for their particular program. They will look for evidence that you have done your research on the program and understand how it will help you achieve your goals.
  • Writing ability: The panel will also evaluate your writing ability and communication skills. Your personal statement should be well-written, well-organized, and free of errors. It should also clearly articulate your ideas and convey your passion for business management.

Example 1: Family Business Part Owner

As the third generation to join the family business, I have always had a passion for continuing the legacy of success that my grandparents and parents have built. However, I have always felt that there was more I could learn to take our business to the next level and make a greater impact in the industry.

That is why I am pursuing an MBA at a top business school. I am eager to delve deeper into topics such as finance, strategy, and leadership, and to learn from experienced professionals in the field. I believe that this education will not only help me to advance on my current career trajectory, but also to drive growth and success for our organization and for the industry as a whole.

In addition to my experience in private business, I have a strong academic background. I received my undergraduate degree in Business Administration from XYZ University, where I learned business principles and developed analytical and problem-solving skills.

I am confident that my on-the-job experience, academic background, and passion for business make me an ideal candidate for a top business school’s MBA program. I am excited to take the next step in my career and to contribute to the growth and success of our family business and the industry through my knowledge and expertise.

Example 2: Financial Analyst

As a financial analyst at a leading consulting firm, I have gained valuable insights into the inner workings of the corporate world. However, I have always felt that there was more I could learn to help me better understand the big picture and make more informed decisions.

That is why I am pursuing an MBA. I am excited to delve deeper into topics such as finance, strategy, and leadership, and to learn from experienced professionals in the field. I believe that this education will not only help me to advance my career, but also to make a positive impact on the organizations I work with.

In addition to experience in finance, I have a strong academic background in business. I received my undergraduate degree in Economics from XYZ University, where I developed quantitative and other technical skills and learned management principles.

I am confident that my professional experience, academic background, and passion for business make me an ideal candidate for an MBA program. I am excited to take the next step in my career and to contribute to the growth and success of businesses through my knowledge and expertise.

Example 3: Healthcare Administrator

As a registered nurse and healthcare administrator, I have dedicated my career to improving patient outcomes and advancing the field of healthcare. However, I have always felt that there was more I could learn to better understand the business side of healthcare and make a greater impact in the industry.

That is why I am pursuing an MBA. I am excited to delve deeper into topics such as healthcare strategy, finance, and leadership, and to learn from experienced professionals in the field. I believe that this education will not only help me to advance my career, but also to drive positive change for the organizations I work with.

In addition to administration experience, I have a strong academic background in healthcare and business. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from XYZ University and my Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from ABC University, where I learned the fundamental principles of both fields and developed my analytical and strategic skills.

I am confident that my professional and academic backgrounds, and passion for healthcare make me an ideal candidate for an MBA. I am excited to take the next step in my career and to contribute to the growth and success of healthcare organizations through my knowledge and expertise.

Example 4: Marketing and Sales Manager

As a business development manager at XYZ Company, I have gained valuable experience in the field of marketing and sales. However, I have always felt that there was more I could learn to further advance my career and make a greater impact in the industry.

That is why I am pursuing an MBA degree. I am eager to delve deeper into the complexities of business strategy and management, and to learn from experienced professionals in the field. I believe that this education will not only help me to become a more effective leader, but also to make a positive contribution to my organization.

In addition to significant real-world experience, I have a strong academic background. I received my undergraduate degree in Marketing from ABC University, where I learned the fundamental principles of business and developed technical and organizational skills.

I am confident that my experience, academic achievements, and passion for business make me an ideal candidate for an MBA. I am excited to take the next step in my career and to contribute to the growth and success of a business through my knowledge and expertise.

Example 5: Project Manager

As a project manager at a global technology company, I have gained a wealth of experience in driving cross-functional teams to achieve success. However, I have always felt that there was more I could learn to take my skills to the next level and make a greater impact in the industry.

That is why I am pursuing an MBA. I am eager to delve deeper into topics such as strategy, leadership, and innovation, and to learn from experienced professionals in the field. I believe that this education will not only help me to become a more effective leader, but also to drive growth and success for the organizations I work with.

In addition to management experience, I have a strong educational background. I received my undergraduate degree in Business Administration from ABC University, where I learned the fundamental principles of business and developed my analytical and problem-solving skills.

I am confident that my professional knowledge, academic background, and passion for business make me a strong candidate for an MBA. I am excited to take the next step in my career and to contribute to the growth and success of businesses.

Example 6: Startup Founder

As the founder and CEO of a successful start-up, I have gained valuable experience in the world of entrepreneurship and business. However, I have always felt that there was more I could learn to take my skills to the next level and make a greater impact in the industry.

That is why I am pursuing an MBA at a top business school. I am eager to delve deeper into topics such as finance, strategy, and leadership, and to learn from experienced professionals in the field. I believe that this education will not only help me to advance my career, but also to drive growth and success for my own business and for the organizations I work with.

In addition to my valuable business experiences, I have a strong education foundation. I received a Bachelor of Business degree from the University of Michigan, where I learned the fundamental principles of business and developed analytical and communication skills.

My business experience, academic background, and passion for business development make me a strong candidate for a top business school’s MBA program. I’m excited to take the next step in my career and to contribute to commercial growth and success through my knowledge and expertise.

Is Getting an MBA Difficult? How Hard?

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Allan Duncan

A business school will typically give some weight to the MBA personal statement when assessing applications, but it is generally not the most important factor. Admissions committees also consider professional experience, academic background, GMAT or GRE scores, and letters of recommendation.

That being said, the personal statement is an important opportunity for applicants to showcase their strengths and explain why they are a good fit. A well-written MBA personal statement can help to differentiate an applicant from other candidates and provide insights into motivations, goals, and personality.

Overall, MBA personal statements represent just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to business school admissions. It is important to put effort into crafting a strong essay, but it is also important to focus on other aspects of the application.

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MBA Personal Statement Sample Essays & Tips

Your academic record, GMAT scores, and GPA are important factors in the MBA application process. But, more than that, business schools ultimately care about who you are and whether you would be a good fit for their program. This is where your application essays come in. The goal here is to complete the picture that your scores and stats began sketching. Take your time when writing these essays. They will form the image the admissions committee will see before they meet you at your interview. Write, edit, and edit again. Be sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors in your essay. You want your portrait to be clean and clear. Once you are satisfied with your essay, ask a trusted friend, mentor, or admissions pro to read it. A fresh pair of eyes can often see things that you can’t.

7 tips for creating the best MBA essays

Here are some important things to remember when writing your MBA essays.

  • Show who you are in a background essay Use this opportunity to reveal your values and personality, the obstacles you’ve overcome, and the seminal experiences that have shaped you into the person you are today. No two people have the same history. Use stories and examples to make your background bright and stand out to demonstrate what makes you special. Discuss how your history has brought you to this point. What is there in your background that compels you to pursue an MBA at this time?
  • Show your direction in the goals essay Use this opportunity to show that you have clear direction and purpose based on experience and planning. Business school is not another opportunity to “find yourself.” Even if you have had one career path and will use your MBA to launch another career, this essay must describe the reasons behind your career-change, your new goals, and how the program will help you achieve them.
  • Use your optional essay to explain negatives in your stats If your GPA was lower than you would have liked early in your undergraduate education, use your essay to show how you learned from this experience. Everyone makes mistakes. How you deal with your mistakes shows a lot to the admissions committee – determination, discipline, success, resilience, and breadth of experience are qualities that will serve you well in your MBA studies and later in life. Be sure that you explain your negatives and don’t try to justify them. Show that you understand the mistake you made, learned from it and changed as a result of processing the experience. That response shows maturity. Justifying – instead of learning or changing – is a sign of immaturity. MBA programs want mature adults. Almost all of them have made mistakes.
  • Say what you mean, and mean what you say Admissions committees read thousands of essays during each admissions round. A concise, well thought-out essay will have them reading yours to the end.  You need examples and stories to support your statements and make your essay interesting and readable. Each of these needs to be to the point. These professionals are trained to spot an essay that is full of fluff and without substance.Avoid rambling and the use of keywords that you think the reader wants to see. A non-substantive essay will lead the reader to conclude that you, too, are without substance.
  • Find your passion This relates to tip #4 above. You want to grab the reader right away and create an essay that will keep their attention to the very end – and leave them wanting to meet you and get to know you even better. In other words, offer you a coveted interview! Find a theme, and weave it throughout your essay. If you can identify a passion that you had from an early age and follow it through the different stages of your life, you will have an interesting, readable essay. Connect your passion to your childhood and you professional and extracurricular experiences and accomplishments. Demonstrate how your passion will influence your future career and serve the community at the school you want to attend.
  • Focus on your professional experience and achievements Not everyone has a passion that they have carried with them throughout their life. However, since you are planning on attending an MBA program, you must have had professional and personal achievements. Highlight your professional skills and successes, as well as personal accomplishments. Show how these experiences and achievements have brought you to this point, and how they have influenced your long-term plans and reasons for pursuing an MBA.
  • Highlight your experience in your EMBA essay An applicant to an Executive MBA program is an executive or manager currently in the workforce, usually with at least eight years of business experience. As an EMBA student you will be expected to excel in your coursework while continuing to hold down your full-time job. You must demonstrate significant leadership, impact, potential, and the legitimate need for the degree to be accepted. Highlight your current responsibilities and recent achievements, as well as your skill sets. Discuss your goals and how an EMBA will help you reach them. Include how you will positively impact the community at the program you are applying to.

Read MBA Personal Statement Examples

Now that you have the tools to write your compelling essay, check out our sample MBA application essays to see what you will be able to accomplish.

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A STRONG BUSINESS SCHOOL APPLICATION ESSAY WILL MAKE YOU STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

You want to get into a top business school, but you need to stand out from the tens of thousands of other impressive applicants. According to US News, the average top 20 b-school acceptance rate is 12.37%, but our MBA clients enjoy an 84% ACCEPTANCE RATE . How can you separate yourself from the competition successfully? By crafting an excellent application essay.

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Crafting a Brilliant MBA Personal Statement

Hung-Le

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Hung-Le is an mba.com Featured Contributor and founder of VietAccepted.

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When I work with my Vietnamese clients at VietAccepted for their MBA essays, I have repeatedly emphasized the importance of using the essays to help the candidates stand out from the pack. This is even more important for Southeast Asian candidates because the local culture encourages some to stay humble and not boast about themselves. In this post, I hope to give you some tips to help you personalize your essays and make them memorable.

First, understand the values of the programs. The admissions committee (adcom) looks for candidates who can reflect the school DNAs and by researching the website or conversing with current students or alumni, you can get a sense of the core values of your desired schools. For example, while Kellogg might focus more on teamwork, Chicago Booth loves those who are intellectually curious. Therefore, in your essays to Booth, do not forget to add elements or evidence that demonstrate your analytical skills and prove to the adcom that you are an inquisitive person who loves to challenge the status quo.

For instance, here is a quote from the MIT Admissions Team that can help you better understand what MIT Sloan is looking for when evaluating applicants:

“Like MIT itself, MIT Sloan is a place for visionary pragmatists and for people with the determination to change the world and with the passion to make it happen.”

Think of a time when you took initiative or devised innovative solutions to drive impact to the organization. Instead of using examples in which you were assigned to do something, use stories in which you have proactively taken initiatives or stepped forward to overcome obstacles from other team members to address a long-standing problem.

Second, be more specific. This sounds like a cliché, but Asian candidates tend to write in a more generic and broader way. However, this is a serious pitfall as you will not be able to stand out from others and after reading the stories, my bet is that the admissions committee will not be able to remember anything about you. For example, instead of writing “I led my team in addressing the problem and getting things done,” you should write, “I worked directly with a 5-8 person ‘rapid results team,’ coaching them on how to think about operational improvement, motivating them to sprint towards it, and leading them through the analysis required to capture it” (excerpt from Harvard Business School admitted essay).

Another important point here is to refrain from using grand and unsupported claims in your personal statement. Saying “I am a team-driven person” or “I am a responsible leader” do not add any value to your profile if it is not supported by concrete evidence. Instead, it’s better to craft a compelling story about when you supported a struggling team member to complete a project, or a time when you held yourself accountable for a failing project. Share your lessons with the admissions committee, how you applied those lessons in later projects, or how these experiences influenced your outlook.

Finally, do not forget to add your personal story. Ultimately, administrative members are people, which means they are moved by emotions. You are advised to conduct a thorough review of your stories and experiences to identify elements that could help your essays become more engaging to the readers.

Top MBA programs have increasingly focused on understanding yourself and your life experiences. Here are some examples:

  • Harvard Business School: As we review your application, what else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?
  • Stanford GSB: What matters most to you, and why?
  • Yale SOM: Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made.
  • Kellogg Northwestern: Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you, and how have they influenced you?

Clearly, these essays require the candidates to deeply reflect upon their experiences and write from their heart and soul. My advice is that you should think about your morals, values, and lessons that have shaped your life and your drive. Do not hesitate to write about your failures because sometimes, being vulnerable helps. However, what matters more is that you should never make any excuse for your failures – it’s better to own the mistake and what you learned from it that improved your ownership or your maturity.

I have consistently applied this strategy to nearly all the essays for my clients. Even when the school asks some generic questions about your short-term and long-term goals, I would start the essay with a hook that defines their career visions. This helps my clients stand apart from other candidates, and some even get into top 10 or top 15 programs with scholarships despite their humble GMAT scores.

Hung-Le is an mba.com Featured Contributor and founder of  VietAccepted .

VietAccepted is a leading test prep center (GMAT, IELTS) and MBA admission consulting for Vietnamese candidates. Its past clients went to many schools in M7, S10 and T15 programs in the US, INSEAD, Oxford, Cambridge, LBS, etc.

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How to master an mba personal statement.

How to Master an MBA Personal Statement

Putting in the right amount of effort is critical to securing a business school place

At the heart of a winning personal statement is an MBA applicant’s career goals and objectives. “What is important is that you are able to explain why [you want an MBA], and link your past experience to support your goal,” says Nicole Tee, director of graduate studies at NUS Business School in Singapore. 

“Saying that you want to be a management consultant without any relevant skills, just because that is what MBAs do, is not convincing enough to get you a spot in the program.” 

Getting personal

The personal statement is just one part of the application, alongside admissions tests and interviews. But the statement, usually a short piece of text that details a would-be MBA’s achievements and aspirations, is an important component. 

“The personal narrative really is a make or break for MBA admit success,” says a former Harvard Business School admissions officer. “It is the essay execution that sets the overall application apart and earns it the interview.” 

Some business schools invite applicants to write an open-ended personal statement with little guidance. 

Not all schools require one, but many have essay questions that resemble a personal statement, such as Stanford’s “what matters most to you?” prompt, or Harvard’s “tell us anything” about you question. 

Admissions consultant Stacy Blackman singles out one client’s response to Stanford’s question, saying she wanted to make her mother proud, as exemplar: the client was admitted to Stanford and Harvard. 

“It seemed so banal, until she told her story, one of those ‘single mothers fleeing tyranny barefoot on a raft, working two jobs to raise her child’ kind of stories,” says Blackman.

“By the end of it, you knew why this mattered, and it seemed totally natural.” 

Common personal statement mistakes

Blackman bemoans statements that are simply a chronological recap of the resume, and those that lack emotion, personality or self-disclosure. “Get personal. Make sure the reader feels genuineness and authenticity,” she says. 

Antoinette Molino, assistant director for MBA admissions at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, is still shocked to see that some candidates forget to change the name of the school when pasting information from an application to a rival institution. 

“Some write the same statements for all schools,” she says. 

Prospective students should tailor their statements to the specific needs and wants of the MBA program. For example, Cambridge Judge states that it is seeking candidates who “are highly motivated and ambitious, thrive under pressure, and have already exhibited clear progression within their career”. 

“Successful personal statements show that the applicant understands the program and most show that they are a fit,” says Chioma Isiadinso, chief executive of admissions agency Expartus in New York. 

“A common mistake is not taking time to understand the program and failing to align your story to what the program is looking for.” 

This requires in-depth research, she adds, and includes finding out about the school’s strategic focus, faculty research and alumni career destinations. 

“Applicants who invest in such thorough diligence can tailor their story in a positive way that makes them stand out to the admissions committee,” Isiadinso says. 

This requires examples or anecdotes — she highlights one candidate who wrote about volunteering on a ship that provided medical aid to the poor, which aligned with the school’s emphasis on social impact. 

“Differentiated experience goes a long way too, especially when driven by a genuine passion,” says Isiadinso. 

However, Tee at NUS warns against arrogance or boastfulness. “It is not likely that you pulled off a multi-million dollar deal on your own, aged 26,” she says. 

“Talk about the valuable role you played in it, but acknowledge the contribution of your team members — for admissions directors are looking for candidates who show humility and are able to work in teams.” 

Don’t be boring

That said, she does add that prose needs to be well-written and engaging. “Have a powerful, compelling, and sometimes shocking opening; it lures the reader to want to find out more,” she says. 

“Admissions directors go through thousands of essays, and the last thing they want to read is another boring one.”  

Of course, it must also be free from grammatical or spelling mistakes. “Take your time to work through multiple drafts of the essay,” says Tee. “Get trusted friends to vet them.” 

Molino says prose submitted to Desautels, a Canadian school, should be concise and respect the stated word count: 500 characters. “Do not veer off topic,” she says. However, there are times when responses are short and lack substance. “It has to have the right amount of effort.” 

This could ultimately be critical to your MBA application. As Tee from NUS says: “While the personal statement does not replace a bad exam score, it gives us additional insight into the applicant. Someone with excellent exam scores, but who submits an appalling personal statement will raise alarm bells.” 

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MBA Personal Statement Tips and a Sample Essay

December 7, 2023

Jeremy Shinewald

“What are your goals, and why do you need an MBA from our school?” Virtually all MBA programs ask some version of this question, which is typically referred to as a personal statement. And you must answer this question thoughtfully and with detail. So, what should you write to achieve this?

Why Do So Many MBA Programs Require a Personal Statement?

Let’s start with why business schools ask this type of question of its applicants. Simply put, MBA admissions committees want to know, without a doubt, that you have a clear plan for your future and that their school can get you there. Revealing that “fit” with your target MBA program is absolutely critical. Admissions committees want to protect their yield – the number of acceptances divided by the number of offers they give out. In other words, how confident are they that you will accept their offer if it is given? You need to show the admissions committee that you really fit with their program through your personal statement—or they just might give your place to someone else who is able to prove that fit!

What Are The Components of an MBA Personal Statement?

While every MBA personal statement will vary slightly, the general components will be the same across the board. In a way, each personal statement will include something about your past, present, and future, which we’ll dive deeper into later in this post.

First, you need to include some context. Even if a business school does not ask about your professional or personal history, you still need to explain where you are coming from in order to explain where you are going…this is your past. Next, your goals are a key element of a personal statement. You need to share your plan for the future. In some personal statement prompts, you will be asked specifically about short AND long-term goals, and some will only ask for “goals” generally. What is important is that your goals be well thought-out and ambitious but attainable. Lastly, you will need to include why that school can help you reach those goals. This is where you connect your context and goals to reveal how your MBA from that school is what will make those goals happen…your present (or hopeful present, at least!).

How To Write About Your Post-MBA Career Goals

While your short-term post-MBA goals may be clear to you, the long-term often trips applicants up. How do you know what you really want to do so far in the future? As someone who has helped countless applicants perfect their MBA personal statement, I can tell you that admissions committees know your actual goals may change during your time at business school, and that is OK! However, what is important is that your short-term goals are clear AND that your overall goals are plausible. You need to share goals that you can reasonably achieve – there must be a path between where you have been and where you are going. Unclear or improbable goals are a major reason MBA applicants get dinged, so do your homework and make sure that path is crystal clear in your personal statement.

As an example, if you are an operations analyst and would like to move into consulting, you can share how you want to join a rotational management program, or how you plan to launch a search fund focused on operationally challenged businesses. Both of those paths seem plausible.

An important note: MBA admissions committees actually have no preference for one path over another. They just want to learn that you are passionate about your chosen path, that their MBA program can help you on that path, and that you will be successful after your MBA is over. 

When it comes specifically to long-term post-MBA goals, you only need to consider an ideal. If everything works out, this is where I would like to be. These goals should not be wildly ambitious or out of reach – again, you need to prove to the admissions committee that your goals are attainable – but they do need to be exciting.

Conducting Research On Your MBA Programs

In order to write about why a particular MBA program will help you attain your goals, you must conduct extensive research on your target schools. If a school asks “why us” you MUST be able to answer thoughtfully and specifically.

Here are a few ways you can learn more about your target MBA programs:

  • Spend a day touring your target program’s campus , attending a class, speaking with professors, and conversing over lunch with students.
  • If visiting in-person is not possible, you can learn a lot through attending webinars and online information sessions.
  • Reach out to colleagues and/or local alumni. Spend some time on LinkedIn to see if you have colleagues who have attended your target programs or if there are any alumni clubs in your area. Schedule a chat to learn more about classes, clubs, career opportunities, and school culture.
  • Follow your target MBA programs on social media. Schools regularly post on all major channels and can really share a lot of great and helpful information.
  • Download mbaMission’s Insider’s Guides. This is not a shameless plug – our suite of guides to top MBA programs is extensively researched and informed by direct input from students, alumni and school representatives. We update them yearly and they are free to download.

Every top MBA program offers a variety of in-person and online opportunities to connect and learn more. Check out this blog post for a list of events and programs.

Doing this research will help you write a personal statement that is authentic and specific. Being vague and generic here is NOT the way to go. Consider the following example:

“During my experience at Cornell, I was struck by the easygoing classroom discussion, the warmth of the professors and the time spent by the first-year student who not only toured the facilities with me, but also took me for coffee and asked several of his colleagues to join us.”

While these statements may in fact be true, the text contains no Cornell-specific language. If Yale, Michigan or the name of any other school were substituted for Cornell here, the statement would otherwise not change at all. This statement could be applicable to any other school—and this is not good. In contrast, the following statement could refer only to Darden:

“While on Grounds, I was impressed by Professor Robert Carraway’s easygoing and humorous style, as he facilitated a fast-paced discussion of the ‘George’s T-Shirts’ case. Although I admittedly felt dizzied by the class’s pace, I was comforted when I encountered several students reviewing the finer points of the case later at First Coffee. I was impressed when my first-year guide stopped mid-tour to check in with her learning teammate and reinforce the case’s central point. It was then I recognized that this was the right environment for me.”

If you were to substitute the Darden name and even the professor’s name with those of another school and professor, the paragraph would no longer work. The Darden-specific information regarding the day’s case, First Coffee and learning teams ensures that these sentences have a sincere and personal feel—showing that the candidate truly understands what the school is about, and necessary for a compelling personal statement that will catch the attention of the admissions committee. 

MBA Personal Statement Example and Analysis

Now it is time to put all these tips into practice. Here I will dissect an actual successful personal statement essay from a past applicant so you can learn some of the “dos” and “don’ts” in revealing your fit with your target MBA program. One quick note—this sample essay is not meant to be used as a template. I suggest that you use it as a resource, but do not copy it! Everyone has their own stories and nuances, and you need to focus on sharing yours in your own personal voice and style.

The essay I analyze here is in answer to the following question from Wharton’s 2022–2023 application, but the advice I give is applicable to any school’s required personal or goal statement:

How do you plan to use the Wharton MBA program to help you achieve your future professional goals? You might consider your past experience, short and long-term goals, and resources available at Wharton. (500 words)

This essay has our three key personal statement elements: past, present, and future. Let us unveil and examine each one.

The writer starts, logically, with the past, which is discussed in the first part of the paragraph.

Transitioning from banking to private equity, I initially found the faster pace and expanded scope startling, but ultimately, it was invigorating. Shifting from agent to principal, I joined the VP Product at a Japanese industrial firm in repricing one hundred, long-ignored products, and shepherded the acquisition of the rotational-molding division from a Korean chaebol. While I had neither pricing nor manufacturing experience, all that mattered was that I could learn, adapt, and contribute. At KJIP, I came to appreciate the “messiness” of investing and the opportunities to create value via ingenuity and collaboration.

No matter what the word limit is for the essay you are writing, you must give the admissions committee some indication of where you have been to provide context for where you want to go. The author here could not have just written, “I plan to accelerate my development at Wharton before returning to investing….” He needed to give the admissions reader a sense of his experiences and background before introducing his goals. While he will not be the only private equity (PE) associate to apply to Wharton, he offers a window into how his time in PE was his own—he invested in Asia, gained experience working with portfolio firms on a repricing project, completed an industrial acquisition, and so on. And beyond his discussion of his actual work, he gives an honest view into what he enjoys about the experience—the “messiness,” as he calls it. He discusses the challenge of adjusting and the rewards of creating opportunity. He demonstrates that he is authentic and capable and does so in just 90 or so words. He has not shared anything earth-shattering, but he has created an identity for himself and done enough to grab the reader’s attention and distinguish himself ever so slightly from other, similar candidates. He has also set the stage for the next section of his essay.

In the next roughly 90 words, the writer tells us that he plans to return to investing back home in America, sticking with industrials. He even names firms.

Now, I plan to accelerate my development at Wharton before returning to investing to drive change on a greater scale. While I had a tremendous experience in Asia, I am eager to return home and would seek to join a middle-market, PE firm, like BZPD or PowerStrat, which focus on industrial innovation to the benefit of all stakeholders. Longer term, as I develop my leadership skills and breadth of industrial experience, I aspire to become a partner at a PE firm or to a CEO position with a larger industrial firm, where I can truly lead change. 

The author does not need to “save the whales” or shift into tech to excite the admissions committee. He just needs to show that he has clear goals and that those aspirations make sense for him—and that ultimately, his MBA will be the bridge to get him there.

He can go from PE pre-MBA to PE post-MBA, no problem, or he could suggest that he wants to transition into industry right away. He could probably find ways to shift into other careers as well. What is important is the logic behind the career goals, not the target industry. And in this case, this applicant’s path makes sense. In addition, his long-term goals naturally extend from his short-term goals. His logic continues, and his objectives, while unrevolutionary, are, importantly, significant, ambitious, and prestigious. In short, the admissions committee can see a credible path for him to be a successful alumnus. Of course, all this logic and “pathing” is critical. For the applicant to say that he wants to go from industrial PE into sports management or into leadership of a consumer marketing business would sound strange with the information we have, so again, the focus is on being logical, credible, and ambitious.

If I were to critique this portion of the essay, I would say that he might give another sentence of depth here. His goals are possibly a little thin. Maybe he could elaborate on the work he would seek at his post-MBA firm or offer an intermediary goal that would lend more credibility to his long-term aspiration of landing that C-suite position. Of course, if he did so, he would need to find space to do so elsewhere in his essay, because Wharton has a hard limit of 500 words. You literally cannot enter even one word more into the space allotted for this essay on the school’s application. Not a word! At some other programs, you do not need to worry so much about being a few words over, though we always recommend that applicants not exceed an MBA program’s stated word count by more than 5%, tops.

The Present

Finally, the bulk of his essay is on Wharton—approximately 60% of it. The admissions committee wants to know that you have done your homework on their school because they have thousands of applicants and do not need to accept anyone who lacks a complete understanding of what their program has to offer. To be a successful applicant, you really need to prove that you have done your homework. 

Assessing areas for development, I recognize that I need to grow beyond the financial plain and will pursue Wharton’s Strategic Management major, both to expand my ability to advance my future firm’s strategic rationale and to quickly grasp the challenges faced by management at portfolio firms. After taking core courses like “Operations, Information, and Decisions” and “Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership” to deepen my managerial point of view, I would specialize via electives like “Managing Organizational Change,” “Corporate Diplomacy,” and “Advanced Global Strategy.” Of course, beyond Wharton’s course options, I find the opportunities to unify theory and practice to be incredibly compelling. In particular, I would pursue the Advanced Management Practicum, so that I could collaborate with classmates by providing actionable solutions for a specific management problem, while gaining the enduring benefit of a consultant’s perspective. And a Global Modular Course, like “Supply Chain Management in Mexico,” will introduce me to our most vexing global business issue, while expanding my network within industry and with classmates. 

I feel fortunate to have already witnessed the role my diverse and dynamic Wharton classmates will play in my education; I recently visited my cousin, Tarek Masoud (W ’22) and observed his “Managerial Decision Making” class, also attending that week’s Pub. Both class and Pub revealed a community that comes together to share ideas— and even laughs together amid the intensity of the experience. Indeed, this reflective aspect is deeply appealing; by pursuing a Leadership Venture, I would work with peers to better understand myself and hone my leadership style. Meantime, through my Learning Team experience, I will be constantly adapting as I seek to contribute to a unit that Tarek described as his “lifeline.” I would come to Wharton ready to listen, absorb, and share, knowing that by bringing the entirety of my energy, I will confidently embark on the next phase of my career.

Has our applicant proven that he has done his research on the school? Unequivocally, yes! He has visited the program, sat in on a class, selected an appropriate major, reasoned through the courses he wants to take, noted experiential opportunities, and familiarized himself with the school’s Learning Team model. And he does not just present a list—he is able to show how these resources will help shape his experience.

I want to highlight a few specific details. The writer does not just say that he visited his cousin at Wharton and had a great time; he visited his cousin with a sense of purpose and absorbed the experience both academically and socially. He has takeaways about the Learning Team experience. If I were to critique this section, I would focus on the Leadership Venture element. Which one would he want to pursue? Why? Would any Leadership Venture work to help him gain what he needs? Small details like this add to the sincerity of the essay, thereby making it more convincing.

The brevity of this essay—at a mere 500 words—could always leave us second-guessing the writer. In this case, though, the applicant delivers a fairly straightforward story, identifies some nuances within his experience, offers clear and connected goals, and is able to identify with Wharton as his target. He does a very solid job and generally makes the most of his space. Again, do not just try to copy this sample essay. Use the tips in this post to make your essay truly your own. I hope this has helped you understand the depth that is necessary in your writing and the logical connections you need to make. This should launch you on your journey.

If you have questions about your application essays or wonder which schools you would be competitive at, sign up for a free 30-minute consultation with an mbaMission consultant.

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mba business administration personal statement

SOP - MBA (Master of Business Administration)

  • Sample personal statement

mba business administration personal statement

07 July, 2022

Sop - mba (master of business administration) share.

  • 12 May, 2013

I am interested in applying for admission into the MBA (Master of Business Administration) with Advanced Practice in the Ulster University Business School. Academically, this program will enhance my professional accomplishment, and career-wise, it will enable me to develop practical and relevant skills in leadership, operations management, marketing, economics, strategy development and finance.

Studying this course will further enhance my capabilities in applying business theories in the work environment and also analyse business issues globally which will lead to my career progression in the management field. Subsequent to my undergraduate study in Accounting and my post graduate study in Business management where I graduated with a second-class lower division and a merit respectively, I have applied my learning at different job roles as an office coordinator and currently as an administrative manager role in my home country in a hospitality industry. As we are in an ever-changing world due to globalization and technological advancement, one cannot remain the same but aim at achieving higher positions.For this reason I want to pursue an MBA qualification which will enhance my career in a leadership level. This achievement will enable me to stand-out in a competitive business world due to the managerial/leadership skills and all-round business knowledge that I will obtain which will aid me in handling real-time business challenges.

Furthermore, my motivation on taking up this MBA with Advanced Practice is embedded in its features. This programme will allow me to develop an in-depth understanding of the challenges and risks facing businesses globally and then use the knowledge in practical contexts. This course will also enhance my skills and take my education to an advanced level and aid in the understanding and acquisition of in-depth business knowledge; this is because the course addresses strategic issues in professional practice with focus on global business issues, which is applicable in any business environment.

It would be a great opportunity to increase my knowledge and enhance my skills from the course. University of Bedfordshire offers the course modules which includes; Operations management, Marketing, Leadership and Change, Economics and the Business Environment is one of the reasons why I choose to study on this course. Secondly, the Advanced Practice element of this programme which is a 15 weeks long internship or Applied Consulting Project is of an added advantage for me because it will give me the opportunity to work with real organization on a live business problem, which will enable me to gain experience of the workplace environment and/or practical experience of the “real world” issues faced by businesses all-round the globe. Finally, this course will enhance my employability and also help me in setting up and managing my own business as a Business Consultant. Moreover, after completing this course this will create a platform for me to explore different career opportunities such as Business Affairs Manager, Strategy Advisor, Business Analyst, Investment Analyst, Product Manager, Management Consultant and Engagement Manager, Advisory. There are a lot of empty positions in these sectors in my country which require overseas degrees.

I have chosen to study in Ulster University Business School because it is the 6th largest business school in the UK, and the degree programmes are shaped by world-leading research, where it is also ranked the 7th out of 101 business schools in the Research Excellence Framework in 2014. Furthermore, the Ulster Business School is engaged with live businesses and this creates the opportunity to co-create learning solutions, thereby giving student the opportunity to learn in live businesses and solve real-time business issues and also profit the business owners and gives them new ways of thinking about their businesses. I opt to study in the Birmingham branch campus because it offers students an affordable opportunity to study an industry-focused degree in one of the UK’s most exciting business destination, this is because Birmingham city has diverse businesses and industries and it will give me the opportunity to choose preferred industry for my internship or Applied Consulting Project. The Birmingham city campus branch is also said to be an affordable study destination when compared to London campus.

I prefer to study this course in the UK, because I have previously studied in the UK and the quality of education is higher to when compared to that of my country Nigeria. Furthermore, an international degree is more valued in my home country, studying in the UK will give me an edge amongst other professionals and executives in my field. On the other hand the course duration of UK degrees are less and tuition fees and living costs are comparatively low when compared to USA, Australia and Canada. According to statistics 90% of graduates are satisfied with academic experience and support received from their universities. Moreover, the teaching systems, tools and techniques are lagging far behind from UK. This opens numerous opportunities for a student who studies in the United Kingdom. This makes United Kingdom the ideal place to study.

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[2024] 8 MBA Personal Statement Examples from Top Programs

mba business administration personal statement

by Talha Omer, MBA, M.Eng., Harvard & Cornell Grad

In mba | personal statement samples by field.

If you are applying to an MBA program, you must be searching for examples of successful MBA personal statements and essays. In this article, I will share some outstanding essay examples of applicants  admitted to some of the best business schoo ls  in the world . 

I recommend you thoroughly look at these samples because you will gain a lot from them.

I will delve further and explain what makes an excellent MBA essay. I will also give you some insights into what makes these sample personal statements so effective. 

What’s more? I will keep adding more real samples to this article so that you can look at the most recent trends in admissions preferences. 

In this Article

Example 1: The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Example 2: w. p. carey school of business – arizona state university, example 3: duke’s fuqua school of business, example 4: harvard business school, example 5: schulich school of business, york university, example 6: mccombs school of business – the university of texas at austin, example 7: columbia business school, example 8: rotman school of management, university of toronto, why do mba programs require a personal statement, does every mba program require a personal statement, what if i have something more to share, a true narrative, be different, clear goals, know the boundaries of the topic, first make a brag sheet, key takeaways, personal statement examples.

Instructions: What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

It’s often a scary proposition to garner the courage to stand up and ask ‘why’ when you’re not sure whether your voice will give away the inherent nervousness you’re feeling. However, I often found myself doing just that in almost every single class during my time at university. Somewhere along the way, I was the only one volunteering for an additional assignment or opportunity that allowed me to further develop and refine my skillset. Where others said no, it was easy for me to say yes since I knew that knowledge and learning were more important to me than the opinions of others. The criticism and judgement really didn’t matter because I had given myself the permission to fail, and more importantly, to accept failure as a necessary element for me to grow.

Perhaps it all began with a paradigm shift that suggested that rather than lounge around and do the bare minimum during those 4 years at university, I would take conscious responsibility for my development and consider my undergrad as a playground for what I would subsequently offer to the world. I knew I wasn’t going to be the smartest, the best looking, or the most talented person in the world, but I was willing to be the most hard-working. This relentlessness and discipline helped me move from a persistent back-bencher with a 2.3 CGPA to one of the top students in my university, and perhaps it was the same commitment that led me to turn down the opportunity to complete an MBA from the same institution at the time as I knew that I had outgrown the rides that were on offer. There was a bigger contribution that I could make, and I would have to find a bigger playground when the time was right.

Through applying to Wharton, I am building on the commitment I made years earlier. My fascination with Wharton began in 2015 when I first took Professor Fader’s online class called Customer Analytics. Since that first encounter, 10 out of the 30 courses that I’ve completed are affiliated with Wharton in one way or another. From Professor Richard Shell’s insights on success to Professor Karen Reivich’s lectures on resilience, there was always something for me to learn from and grow as an individual. Through becoming a part of Wharton, I want to complement these prior experiences with a more integrated and in-depth curriculum to better understand the intricacies of the business world. 

My application to Wharton is not driven by what propositions await me at the end of two years, but by what I can hope to accomplish during this time that would help make these years last a lifetime. My application is driven by the global impact I can make, and more importantly, the person that I can become in the process. To conclude, I aspire like to leave Wharton not with just a degree, but with the skillset, guidance, and attitude to face whatever life throws at me.

Back to Table of Contents

Instructions for Part 1:  Describe your career path both immediately upon graduation, and five years post MBA.   How will the W. P. Carey MBA help you accomplish these goals? (500 words)

In the short term, post-MBA, I would seek employment at a startup like XX, whereby I would assist the organization in effectively executing its business strategy and, in the process, understand the dynamics of such organizations. Then, five years down the lane, I aim to set up my strategic consulting firm to reform organizations ranging from Non-Governmental Organizations to Manufacturing concerns to Technology companies.

My educational background has equipped me with extensive quantitative knowledge and technical experience around different business themes. I’ve focused most of my studies on business analytics, strategic & financial planning, and organizational controls. This was further honed during my professional career of working in Business Advisory to Leading Sales Operations. While I developed a strong skillset in analytical, financial, negotiation & interpersonal skills, I plan on expanding my problem-solving skills and embedding these skills into business operations. I then plan on extending my expertise across the non-governmental sector and then into different countries. However, first I need to curate my leadership skills and polish my skillset of problem-solving and strategic decision-making through an MBA degree from W.P.Carey.

At W.P. Carey, I want to train myself in case-based approaches and to problem-solve to become adept at breaking down complex problems into smaller workable solutions. Taking courses such as “Decision-making with Data Analytics”, I would be able to hone my analytical skills further and develop the right-thinking process to efficiently and effectively decipher data and glean meaningful information. In addition, I will utilize my honed knowledge to benefit my clients and my business venture through performance management, proposal evaluations, cost-benefit analyses, etc. Further, by taking the “Marketing Management” course, I will equip myself with proper data-based arguments to refute the assertion of marketing not being a valuable activity and delve into the theoretical foundations of fundamental marketing concepts.

Outside the classroom, through W. P. Carey’s “Executive Connections”, I would be able to develop skills to deal with business issues in the real world and assist startups in setting a concrete strategic direction and experience first-hand how successful leaders function. Furthermore, I have worked with many organizations, developed and executed strategic plans, business processes, and policies, and managed on-ground activities. At W.P.Carey, I would like to continue myself at a much larger scale by playing an active role in academic and professional clubs like “BIMA (Business Information Management Association)”, “Consulting Club” and Net Impact. Lastly, I would like to leverage W.P.Carey’s well-knit alumni network and would love to collaborate closely with W.P.Carey’s Career Services to network with its notable alums and learn from their experiences. I also idealize using Career Services’ Resources and coaching further to facilitate my people skills via their Career Leadership courses.

Thus, to sum up, owing to my aspirations and professional expertise in global business, I am confident of making full use of vibrant opportunities at W.P Carey’s MBA degree and converting it into an ideal segue for my future career aspirations.

Instructions for Part 2: Based on your unique personal and professional experiences, what specific contributions do you plan to make both in and outside of the classroom while a member of the Arizona State University’s learning community? (500 words)

Our experiences are what shape us into who we are. Having limited opportunities, I was fortunate enough to obtain an excellent education and work at some of the top organizations in the country. An MBA at Arizona State University would help me grow personally and professionally and allow me to contribute to the growth of my peers through various student clubs and team engagements.

While researching Arizona State University, I realized that one of the program’s pillars is Leadership Development. I consider myself to be a passionate, fierce and innovative leader. In this respect, I can share my experience leading a department (at my current employer, a market-leading frozen food manufacturer) where I developed and executed a complete plan for implementing the sales management system (ERP). The project resulted in an increase in process efficiencies by 30%. Implementing the Freezer Management process with barcode tagging enabled us to recover two hundred and fifty freezers lost over the past two years, saving the company USD 12.5 million in CAPEX.

Having worked with multiple NGOs during my time in Business Advisory at PwC, I noticed that organizations run by individuals with a prime focus on a social cause lack business or strategic direction to be sustainable in the long term. Working closely with these organizations gave me great insight into the workings of an NGO and the mistakes such organizations usually make. Further, I developed the business plan for Pink Ribbon. The organization has raised USD 100 million by implementing a detailed fund-raising plan and is successfully funded through my designed activities. I believe engaging with the “Consulting Club” and the “Volunteer Society” would allow me to learn from their unique experiences. Sharing my findings with the team could benefit their projects and events.

Growing up, Mathematics was one of my favourite subjects and to add to that; I have always had strong quantitative skills. Later in my professional studies, I combined my love for quant with my analytical skills and received an award for being the highest scorer in the ACCA Professional Level Performance Management exam from my batch. After working in Business Analytics, I further honed my analytical skills, and I believe these would be valuable in-class projects and case studies allowing me to decipher situations and problems from a different lens.

Being an international student and living in a culturally-rich country, I would bring a little spice to the life of my fellow students at ASU by introducing them to flavour-rich foods such as “biryani” and “desi nachos” (my take on nachos with a host of local flavours involved). I consider myself a foodie, and it would be a pleasure to share my recipes with the ASU team and experience the distinct cultures of the community.

It would be an honour to be part of the Arizona State University team, and I am eager to contribute to the school’s culture, team spirit and academics.

Instructions:  Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, how do you see yourself engaging in and contributing to our community, outside of the classroom? ( Your response to this essay question should be no more than 2 pages in length, with a font size no less than 10-point and 1.5 line spacing. Do not copy the essay question in the document you upload with your application.)

Belonging to a culturally rich country, I feel confident about taking full advantage of the rich opportunities at Fuqua, where I will not only learn but can significantly contribute at a granular level to the Fuqua class. I believe that an MBA experience is not just limited to classroom discussions; it’s more than that; it’s a way of life. In a Team based culture, it is vital to loosen the stiffness to bring more to the table. I am thrilled to be a part of Fuqua, which provides a diverse platform for expressing my personality and learning from my peers.

During my interaction with one of the current students at Fuqua, John Ive, I realized there are many forays where I can actively contribute and add value. Passion, Initiative and Innovative are my leadership attributes, and I consider myself an avant-garde who loves to experiment. Therefore, I am excited about clubs such as the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club. In these clubs, I can share my experience of taking a bold step that revolutionized South Africa’s aluminium industry. I took the risk of introducing coloring machines, and in doing so, I challenged my CEO’s views of going by the book. The results were fruitful; we broke the monopoly of a local competitor and achieved a staggering growth of 7% per annum. 

I am not just a passionate leader but an avid food lover. I can add a unique flavour to Team Fuqua spirit by introducing cuisines I bet you have never tried. I can spice up the Fuqua food forum and culinary club by introducing dishes such as “XYZ” and “ABC”, which take their name from sounds created while cooking them!! Have you ever known such a dish? I do, and I would love to share my recipe book notes with other members of Team Fuqua.

I strongly believe in the notion that sharing is caring and giving back to society. I strongly resonate with leadership attributes of empathy. I introduced a university-level flood drive and laid the foundations of relief funds and organization during my undergraduate. Working in flood-stricken areas was an eye-opener, and I cannot forget the smile on the face of a cripple child who was rescued by our Team. But I committed to creating a much more profound impact. At Duke, I want to be a part of Durham Habitat for Humanity and would love to share my experiences. By building positive synergies with my other fellows at Team Fuqua, I want to create a legacy of designing effective service delivery systems to improve the lives of homeless and underprivileged members of our community. 

To do this, I want to learn from expert consultants, and I look forward to joining Consulting Club. I am interested in starting social entrepreneurship, and currently, my ideas are raw. Instead of this, I am optimistic that through being a part of Consulting Club, I can learn from expert consultants and bring my unique facets of life experiences to the table. I have diverse experience organizing national-level Science Olympiads, but I want to do more. I want to organize events like consulting symposiums and not only challenge my event management expertise; I would love to engage another enthusiast from Team Fuqua.  

Fuqua Class is incredible; where else would you find a professional figure skater, a Guinness World record participant, a patent owner and a TV reporter all in the same class? In such a diverse class, I am keen on contributing to the vibrant team spirit of Fuqua’s creative, intellectual, and fervent community of learners and doers.

Instructions:  As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?

Belonging to a family that has been running a successful business for the past 4 decades, the main issue has always been the investment of money. The last breakthrough, made by my uncle, whose decision to go for a product that was high in demand and generated good profit, jumped the entire family up one financial class. But, after eight years and counting, there has been no successful new venture that we have tried to explore. The current situation is that despite generating millions each month, there has been no groundbreaking rotation of money, except the occasional investment in real estate.

It became clear to me that things needed to change when the decision for expansion was made two years after the need for it arose, despite having the funds to do so earlier.

After completing my undergrad studies, I worked for a few months at ‘ABC’, only to move back to ‘XYZ’ to learn the family business systems. I accompanied my father for six months and found a system running perfectly except for the occasional bumps. I also realized that despite generating a lot of money, there was no new venture. There is a lazy trend in ‘XYZ’, where if you can’t invest your money anywhere else, you invest it in real estate. This financial parking has been working out for us for quite some time, but it has become a rather dull activity, and my father has shared his discontent with me for not using our resources on a new project. It is simply unacceptable to keep money in the banks, and other alternatives proved not as rewarding.

As an initiative, I started a small ‘ABC’ business in 2015. My main goal was to create another route for cash flow and possible something new where money could be invested. For starters, I imported a Toyota LC SUV model 2012 for my uncle, who wanted to import a car of his choice rather than buy one from the market. After selecting a vehicle and getting it to ‘ABC’ for over three months, I figured the process was pretty simple and decided to try importing cars as a regular business. My first shipment included 2 Toyota LC Parados, both in excellent condition. While I received a lot of praise from interested buyers, there was no actual customer for them because they claimed my price was too high. Upon checking the quality of imported cars in the local market, I realized that all commercial importers were buying damaged vehicles from Japan. After clearing customs for these cars, the first thing was a complete body repair job. Eventually, I managed to sell both vehicles at breakeven after having held them for three months, but that was a failure for me in finding a new venture. So I came back to my repetitive routine of observing smooth-running systems.

I tried again to revive our age-old glass imports business, but due to the strength of the local industries, it turned out to be a dead end as well. With the local industry making mirror, clear and coloured glass, there was room for figure and wire glass import into the local market. As we were about to order a large shipment of figure glass, a local factory, which had been shut down for years, announced its relaunch in February 2015. Unfortunately, the customs taxes on glass products are manipulated by the local industry in such a way that it becomes non-feasible to import glass in the presence of a working factory. So again, I was back to square one.

In June 2015, I decided to go for a global trade tour and look for a new investment opportunity. A global trade conference was taking place in Istanbul, which US-Turk Businessmen Association hosted. It lasted seven days and covered meetings with multiple businesspeople from Istanbul, Corlu and Denizli. I intended to find a company that made ‘XYZ’, but I gained other exciting information. Upon visiting Corlu, an industrial city in Turkey, I met with Mr Engin, a representative of Krauss Maffei, a german machine-making company that made extruders for plastics. Upon his suggestion, I took an interest in uPVC profiles that were the standard for construction in Turkey. He provided me data from Ozturk Holding’s recent projects, which provided evidence that aluminium as a product for window solutions was obsolete in Europe and was making its way to the US. He also told me about some businessmen from US importing uPVC from Turkey. This interested me because uPVC, if introduced to US, would prove to be a direct competitor to our aluminium profiles. So I inquired about basic information for a production plant from Mr Engin, including a layout, a list of required machinery, and a quote of three million euros. All that was left now was to determine whether it would be a successful product for our market or another dead end for my ambition. Upon my return, I prepared a presentation and presented the information I had to the board of directors, which included my father and two uncles. To my disappointment, my idea was rejected because a significant investment was required for the project, while the market demand was minimal in comparison. So it was determined that the industry, if set up, would not be able to generate enough funds to even run at breakeven. So my idea was sidelined for the time being. But it wasn’t a complete failure. My research regarding the plastic industry gave me a basic idea of the process involved, which allowed for procuring our in-house packaging machine, which we purchased from Ruihong-China.

I am an engineer, and while I understand the technical specifications of machines to some extent, the business development processes are still new to me. There are certainly a lot of ideas in my mind, but I cannot filter out the feasible ones. First, I wish to learn how to turn ideas into business plans. Evaluating these plans and proceeding further after a plan has been selected. Second, I want to know the blind spots involved in starting a business and which investment opportunities to avail and on which to pass. Third, I wish to learn how to make value-additions to existing products. Finally, I want to learn about the diversification process and determine the situation where expansion becomes necessary. For that, I have chosen Harvard’s MBA program, which is the best one in the world. Courses such as Business Analysis and Valuation Using Financial Statements, Corporate Strategy and Investment Strategies and Management will be instrumental in realizing my goals.

Instructions:  How will the Schulich MBA degree help you achieve your short and long-term career goals? (Please limit your answer to 350 words).

I aspire to make my mark in management consulting with a focus on small and medium enterprises in Canada and possibly beyond. Small and medium enterprises account for 54.2% of the Canadian economy’s economic output. I aim to contribute to this sector with skills I learn and refine with the Schulich MBA.

York University is the ideal institution to support my academic pursuits since Schulich’s teaching method, especially the Strategy Field Study, dovetails perfectly with my consulting career aspirations. I can engage in real-world problem-solving while at school by actively pursuing programs such as the two-term strategic consulting project. This academic opportunity will guide me better in accomplishing my long-term goal of becoming an expert in the field of management consulting. I can fine-tune my strategic assessment skills while evaluating an organization and recommending improvement. In addition, I can develop a problem-solving skill-set through intensive case competitions, which will help me understand issues at a fundamental level from various perspectives.

My employment at the second largest Canadian bank for the past three years has taught me that intelligent business solutions are rooted in sound financial techniques. I intend to enhance my understanding of finance by supplementing classroom learning with active participation in the Trading Club on campus. Such activities will also help me remain updated on micro and macroeconomic conditions, a sound knowledge required in every management position post-MBA.

I strongly believe in learning from my peers and seniors as there is so much more knowledge than what can be imparted from just curriculum and coursework. Therefore, I intend to make the most of the networking opportunities available through Schulich’s tightly knit alum base. Moreover, Schulich’s strong linkages in alums and recruiters in the industry where I want to make my career will provide me with the best opportunity to accomplish my short- and long-term career goals.  

Instructions for Part 1:  Based on your post-MBA goals and what drives you in your personal and professional life, why is the Texas MBA the ideal program for you and how do you plan to engage in our community? (500 words)

I am an avid gamer. Be it the latest gadgets or new versions of gaming consoles; you need to remain updated to stay ahead of the pack. I have developed a sense of constant improvement using the latest technology through gaming. In my current job, I brought my tech-savvy attributes. As a result, I broke the monopoly of local firms and introduced competition in the fertilizer market, achieving a staggering 29% per annum growth. I love bringing new ideas to the table that can revolutionize the industry’s supply chain and operations. I am a dedicated innovator, and after doing my MBA, I would seize the opportunity to work as a strategic consultant experiencing a diverse array of business challenges and solving the pressing issues of the industries. In the long run, I would love to set up my business which extensively uses technology for its operations.

For an MBA program, I am looking for a degree where I have exposure to major technology firms and where I can have a platform for testing my business acumen. I am particularly impressed by McComb’s dynamic case-based pedagogy and cutting-edge research opportunities. However, I am much more excited about hands-on experience outside the classroom. McComb’s MBA+ program is an ideal opportunity where I can learn and hone my leadership skills. I am thrilled by its micro consulting projects, where I dream of working with some of my dream companies, such as 3M, Cisco and BCG. Using MBA+ program experience, I am confident in improving my managerial skills, which can help me achieve my short-term goals.

Additionally, I would love to become an operations fellow and bring my experience working and revolutionizing fertilizer industry operations in China. As mentioned above, I want to start my own business in the long term, and Venture Labs is an ideal platform where I can learn and test my entrepreneurial skills. I can utilize Venture Labs’ resources and support to run pilot projects and chalk out a plan for my long-term career.

Besides this, I can bring my unique style and personality and contribute positively to different student organizations. I am very fond of Chinese cuisine and would love to cook traditional dishes for Graduate Epicurean Club. For the past two years, I have a hands-on experience working within a factory, and I look forward to sharing my skills with the Graduate Operations Group. On top of it, I want to start Chinese Graduate Business Association (CGBA). I strongly feel that China is highly underrepresented in business schools in the US. Using CGBA’s platform, I want to introduce Chinese business and industry to the international business community.

Therefore, I firmly believe that Texas MBA is ideally aligned with my personal and professional aspirations.

Instructions for Part 2:  The University of Texas at Austin values unique perspectives and cultivates a collaborative environment of distinct individual contributions. It is the first day of orientation. You are meeting your study group, comprised of five of your classmates from various backgrounds. Please introduce yourself to your new team, highlighting what drives you in your personal and professional life. (250 words)

I am an avant garde. I like to innovate and constantly search for new ideas which can satiate my desire of standing out in the crowd. I lead the team which revolutionized fertilizer industry of China. I am a participative leader. I like to create an environment where top management and subordinates learn from each other to create positive synergies. I stand up to my values of integrity. I started importing PlayStation consoles but soon I found substandard business practices and left the business. I remained jobless for two months, but I never gave up my values. I learn from my mistakes. From my PlayStation consoles import business loss, I learnt the hard lesson of not going by the face value of the business but research it thoroughly.

I have deep compassion for the underprivileged members of my society. I consider it as my moral duty to help the marginalized members of our community. During my free time, I teach and inculcate the importance of learning and education amongst underprivileged. I am an avid gaming fan. I have won and organized national level gaming tournaments throughout my undergraduate.

I am a challenge seeker and have a drive for excellence. By seeking an MBA degree, I want to challenge my own self. I want to start my career in strategic consulting post MBA. I am a dreamer and in the long run, I want to start my own world class strategic consulting firm.

Instructions for Part 1:  Columbia Business School’s students participate in industry focused New York immersion seminars; in project based Master Classes; and in school year internships. Most importantly, our students are taught by a combination of distinguished research faculty and accomplished practitioners. How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? (100-500 words)

I intend to utilize the next five years to expand my horizons and fill a position that allows me to formulate and execute crucial strategic decisions for my company in Brazil. For this purpose, immersion seminars taking place at Columbia carry great importance. Decision and Operation, Management, and Competitive Strategy seminars are just a few that I already have my eyes on.

Being part of these immersion seminars offers a vital experience and an excellent opportunity to interact with industry practitioners and veterans. “It’s combining the best of academia and the business world in a place – New York City – where you can’t beat the opportunity to have students experience the real business world and meet C-suite leaders week after week,” reads a personal favorite quote of mine from Barry Salzberg regarding the Immersion Seminars. From a project management background, most of my initial learning was through my family elders. Accompanying them to work and observing their business ways proved an immense boost, showing me how direct interaction with practitioners can help to learn.

Working with core names in the management consulting sector, financial services and data analysis firms will only help my professional growth. Ehud Houminer is one name that needs to be mentioned; his experience in domestic and international business strategy and manufacturing industries aligns perfectly with what I seek.

I’m particularly interested in the consulting industry of the big apple. Working with firms like McKinsey, Brain, and BCG – involved directly with clients from day one – is a treasure trove of experience for me to discover. Additionally, BCG has a dedicated recruitment drive for Columbia’s students, which betters my odds of landing an internship (and possible a post-MBA job) at the consultancy giant.

Alternatively, Google offers a variety of managerial internships every year in the bustling city of New York. The Internet-related services giant has multiple departments for ambitious individuals, such as myself, to apply. These range from product Management and Finance to Business Strategy and Operations. The golden opportunity to get involved with Google in identifying acquisitions and investments, monetizing strategies for products, or developing partners in emerging markets would clarify the process of venture selection and risk assessment.

There’s tremendous exposure to be had while living in the bustling city of New York. An MBA from Columbia Business School will undoubtedly significantly and positively impact my growth. It’s the tipping point from where I’ll begin a new journey as a leader for change in the future, not for my business ventures but the employment industry of Brazil as a whole.

Instructions for Part 2:  CBS Matters, a key element of the School’s culture, allows the people in your Cluster to learn more about you on a personal level. What will your Clustermates be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (100-250 words)

It wasn’t until I graduated from one of Brazil’s top-ranking universities that I realized how severely my nation suffers in providing opportunities for fresh graduates. It’s an unfavorable scenario to sustain bright minds. Smacked between the inability to choose between jobs and underwhelming compensation only push ambitious souls to travel abroad to taste luxury and success. 

As I like to term it, this brain drain from Brazil needs to be addressed. Instead of pointing fingers at an incompetent government and festering corruption, those with the means must take it upon themselves to convince our finest minds to stay and contribute toward a better future for us all.

It warms my heart to see various corporations directly involved in trying to improve on this significant social aspect. I intend to join their ranks one day and support my country in one way or another. I believe that the fastest way to address unemployment is through the industry. I plan to incorporate educational tools in my workplace to change people’s thinking patterns and accentuate their reasoning abilities. It may take half a century, but I am hopeful that if realized, my plan would make Brazil one of the world’s most competitive economies.

Instructions:  Please describe why you are pursuing an MBA? Why Rotman? Why now? (500 Words)

My academic background, industry experience and strong interest in new business developments equip me with excellent credentials to shine in the Desautels MBA program.

I graduated from the University of Toronto with an interdisciplinary degree. The broad spectrum of topics covered during my undergraduate program gave me a much more comprehensive understanding of how companies conduct their day-to-day operations and interact with society.

I have worked at multiple companies with a national presence in Canada, as my resume depicts. I have led numerous teams, negotiated with national brand business leaders, and always managed to deliver the highest quality service to our customers and business partners. During this journey, I have refined my interpersonal skills. I believe that without good communication skills, a person limits their potential to achieve the desired goals in professional life. In addition, I am a keen reader and am always working to improve myself further and adapt to a constantly changing globalized work environment.

In my previous endeavours, I have implemented strategies that have streamlined and modernized different processes, such as the customer service department and vendor management systems. During this time, my interest in corporate development increased significantly, and I decided to work in the sector in the future. Since then, I have tried to break into the corporate department of Big financial firms but have been unable to do so due to a lack of skill set and not having an MBA degree which is a requirement.

After my MBA, I intend to leverage my newly learned skills to change career paths and enter the financial services industry. I plan to join the corporate department of a top-tier bank where I can grow professionally while at the same time contributing positively to the growth of the organization.

My long-term career goal is to achieve a Director Level position in a major bank such as TD Canada Trust, Scotiabank or BMO. After acquiring the necessary tools and experience required to manage a large-scale global business, I plan to achieve that position by completing my MBA, starting in a product management position and working my way up.

An MBA from Rotman is a perfect fit for the roadmap I have set for myself to achieve my future career goals. It will complement my past work experience and fill the knowledge gaps I find lacking in my understanding of the business world. In addition, as a two-year program, it will provide me with the opportunity to undertake an internship in the financial sector, essentially retooling me to succeed in that sector.

Merely graduating from a good business school like Rotman does not guarantee success in today’s competitive work environment. The people at Rotman understand that, and that’s why they provide their students opportunities in co-curricular activities, such as the option to join different clubs and research centres. During my time at Rotman, I intend to join the Rotman Finance Association to develop new skills in the field and enhance my network of industry contacts. I would also look forward to taking part in case of competitions to hone my leadership skills. In addition, it would be an incredible opportunity to use the BMO Finance Research and Trading Lab to deepen my understanding of the financial markets by learning to use analytical tools.

Rotman admits that only the top talent from all over the world from an incredibly diverse range of academic and professional backgrounds will provide me with a truly global experience, hence preparing me for success in any environment. Lastly, its strong and diverse alumni network is what I am excited to be a part of.

Every MBA program requires applicants to write a personal statement, also known as a statement of purpose.

The school provides instructions on what to include in your piece, and most business schools have something unique to ask for. 

The MBA personal statement allows you to tell the admissions committee (adcom) about yourself.  

It also gives you a chance to tell the business school about your personality, liking, ambitions, and whether your goals and vision align with the program. The essay helps the panel learn about you as a person.

These essays are essential to your application, allowing you to market yourself and prove your mettle to the admissions panel.  It is not just a mere listing of your experiences or your resume  but a more coherent way of telling them who you are and why you will be a worthy addition to their program. 

It allows the program to understand what you value the most. Of course, a stellar personal statement will not guarantee admission, but it is crucial to your application. 

Yes, every MBA program requires a personal statement. 

However, most MBA programs will instruct what and what not to include in your essay. Therefore, you need to make sure that you follow  the instructions  provided to you. 

Sometimes these essays have word limits; for example, some business schools require a personal statement of no more than 500 words, whereas some have no word limit. So, before writing yours, ensure you have read and understood the instructions clearly.

Business schools are very welcoming when it comes to guiding applicants. So, if you have any specific concerns regarding the essays or feel confused about anything, it is always a good idea to  contact the schools admissions office . Remember that you will be investing time and money in applying to these B-schools, so seek clarification when necessary.

Sometimes you may want to talk about certain things that you cannot fit coherently into your statement. In that case, nearly all MBA programs allow you to write such information in an  ‘Optional Essay’  or  ‘Additional Information  section of the application. 

You can write about extenuating circumstances such as  Low GPA , mediocre   GRE/GMAT scores , or highlight any other significant achievements that you could not include in your essays or elsewhere in your application. Don’t try to squeeze everything into your statement of purpose – instead, use the additional essay to talk about the other things.

What Makes a Good MBA Personal Statement?

A perfect MBA essay shares some common elements.

All good MBA essays accurately depict who you are – not what you think the admissions committee will like.  So be genuine and communicate that clearly to the reader.  

Admissions panellists read hundreds of applications every year, and they can tell when you are lying. Talk about things that concern you – setbacks, weaknesses, health issues, depression, etc. 

Avoid making excuses and face your demons. For example, if spirituality, the purpose of life, etc., have recently played a lot on your mind and have shaped your personality lately, then talk about it with enthusiasm. 

If you are looking forward to an MBA because of some discomfiting experiences in your current field and, as a result, you want to switch, be straight about it. 

However,  don’t talk about ambitions not supported by your background . For example, if someone tells you that MBA programs admire applicants with a lot of volunteer work,but you don’t have any, so better not make it up.

Every applicant has a different story from the rest. 

Tell that. 

You will often stumble upon some successful applicants’ essays, and you will be inspired by them so much that you would want to imitate the story. 

That’s a bad idea. Do some introspection and reflect on that in your essay. 

For example, tech MBA programs like Stanford and GA tech get many similar technology-based startup failure stories from applicants with no background in startups. The internet is full of such stories, and you will likely encounter one. Don’t let such cliched stories influence your thoughts.

Schools want  diversity . 

If your research tells you that a specific MBA program is big on admitting applicants from a management consulting background and your goal is e-commerce, don’t hesitate to discuss it. Likely, such a business school don’t hear many e-commerce stories, so if you write one, it will catch their attention.

Your goals matter a lot. The more specific they are, the better it is. 

While telling about your career goals, don’t deploy generalized statements such as “I want to join consulting.” 

Instead, say, “ I want to be a part of management consulting such as McKinsey or AT Kearney focusing on the public sector in Malaysia. ” 

The first will make your goals unclear; the second statement will somewhat narrow down your goals. 

Show the reader that you are aware of the industry you want to be in and make your application a lot more credible.

Every business school is different from another. 

Do a lot of research about the program you are applying to. 

Don’t just go through the MBA school’s website. Get in touch with the alumni or on Linkedin. Talk to them. 

If you know someone in your network which has been a part of this school, talk to them. Try to get the inside details and specificities from them. They will tell you things you won’t find on the school’s website. 

Join   social media groups, follow Reddit, and try to find out what other applicants won’t know as much as possible.  

Then put this in your application – use this inside information to show why you are a good fit. 

Show the admissions committee that you have gone the extra mile to know everything possible about the program.

Many MBA schools conduct  live online Q&A sessions  and informative  webinars  these days. Be an active part of those and ask questions there. Then, put the answers in your application. 

This will show your passion for joining them and help you tell them that you align well with your vision. 

For example, everyone knows about the Harvard case study methods – it’s all over their website. However, at Harvard, very few know about experiential learning (solving real-world problems).

Since most business schools share personal statement instructions, it is important not to stray from them. Moreover , the essays have word limits  – so be wise with your writing. 

Keep the essays professional, and don’t be too humorous. You don’t need to be bland, but remember that the MBA is a serious degree, and the admissions committee expects  maturity  and professionalism from the applicants. So be  professional  but at the same time, be  conversational .

Most people don’t know about a brag sheet and its importance.

Writing a personal statement for the MBA program is time-consuming and requires 80-100 hours.

Moreover, you must write and rewrite 10-15 drafts before seeing a satisfactory final version.

But before you start writing a personal statement, you must do some introspection – soul-searching. First, you need to recall and list all your major or minor achievements over the years. Then, take a deep dive into your professional and academic history.

You can use a brag sheet to identify and list everything you can bring to an MBA program.

A brag sheet is a sketch of your essay. Then, expand on your brag sheet to make a final version of your personal statement.

Don’t be shy to brag about yourself. Just don’t sound patronizing – firmly show off your differentiating achievements.

Here is a template that you can use to make a brag sheet and then use it to start building your statement.

PROFESSIONAL & ACADEMIC

  • Describe an interesting work project.
  • Have you ever been promoted at work? If so, elaborate on it.
  • List all awards or honours you have received in college, at work, or otherwise.
  • Have you done any public speaking ever?
  • What are your computer skills?
  • Have you ever started up a business – large or tiny?
  • What are your short-term career goals (directly after graduating from business school)?
  • Where do you see yourself in 10-20 years?
  • Why do you want to earn an MBA?

EXTRA-CURRICULAR

  • List  all  languages you know and note the degree of proficiency.
  • Where have you travelled and lived? List continents, countries, and exciting cities.
  • List all the places where you have worked voluntarily.
  • List all of your interests and hobbies.
  • List all extra-curricular involvement (major and minor) during college.
  • Have you ever managed anyone at the office or in an extra-curricular setting?
  • Have you published anything? 
  • Do you have any patents?
  • Do you participate in any sports? Have you run a marathon? Are you part of a basketball league?
  • Describe a time you failed.
  • What are your three most significant weaknesses?
  • Describe all the defining moments in your personal life and at work. You can write about any experiences, books, meetings etc. that have changed the way you think or your path. 
  • Discuss any hardships, personal or professional.
  • Are you married? Do you have children?
  • What are your favourite books?                                        
  • What soft skills make you unique?
  • What does your immediate family do, and where are they from? What is your cultural heritage? Does your family have any unique traditions?

In general, business schools are looking for creative intelligence, leadership, teamwork skills, vision/innovation, and a demonstrated record of success in their candidates. So, make sure to add anything related to these traits in your brag sheet. 

Your MBA Essay must be:

  • A genuine narrative and your true reflection.
  • A unique and different story.
  • Try not to copy or be influenced by stories from other successful MBA essays.
  • Stay within the boundaries of the essay topic and do not stray from that.
  • Use compelling and robust language.
  • Review several drafts before submitting the best one.

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Application Corner: MBA Personal Statement Guide

Young Guy Working on Laptop in Home Office

The MBA personal statement is a rite of passage for most business school applicants. MBA application essays come in many shapes and sizes, but all of them serve the purpose of demonstrating your qualification for admission, your drive to succeed, and your reasons for choosing a particular MBA program.

For many MBA applicants, the personal statement can be challenging. Striking a balance between telling an engaging personal story and demonstrating your professionalism and preparation for the rigors of business school isn’t always easy. All too often, applicants simply rehash their resume, or write vague or generic essays that don’t help separate them from the pack.

We've put together a list of hints to help you craft a compelling narrative and nail your MBA personal statement.

Answer the Questions

If your business school of choice requires an MBA personal statement, they will often provide a question or set of questions to guide your writing. At least one of these questions is typically aimed toward helping you construct a business narrative in which you briefly name organizations for which you’ve worked and describe some specific roles and responsibilities you’ve had. This should only be a small portion of your essay—ideally, no more than 10 to 15 percent—and you should be brief but very clear in your response. 1

Applicants may also be asked more specific questions about their goals, their vision for the future, or their strength. Applicants to the Online MBA program at California State University, Chico are asked questions that cover each of these categories:

  • Discuss your background and why you want an MBA
  • What makes you a strong candidate for our Online MBA program?

You should be as honest and authentic in your answers as possible. Don’t try to anticipate what the admissions committee wants to hear. Your readers don’t want to see buzzwords or stock phrases, they want you to be real and unique, and draw meaningful connections between your skills, your goals, and the course of study you seek in their MBA program.

Don’t Be Generic

Above all, your MBA personal statement should make clear why you—specifically you—are a great fit for your program of choice. 2 Avoid generic statements like, "I am the ideal candidate," as they don’t tell the reader anything about you or provide depth beyond the superficial. You need to show your passion and vision rather than simply telling your reader that you are qualified.

Some key ways to achieve uniqueness in your personal essay are:

  • Focus on the "personal." This is your story, not anyone else’s. It is about how you got where you are and where you see yourself headed
  • Use illustrative examples from your life. Share some anecdotes that can help define you and give depth to your character. Don’t just say that you are a great leader: Narrate in detail a time when you demonstrated leadership
  • Highlight risks and bold choices. Business schools like to see courage and ambition in their MBA candidates. Describe a time you took a risk, even if the outcome wasn’t exactly what you hoped
  • Emphasize your passion. Taking things seriously and caring deeply are strong indicators of success, and admissions committees want to see how much you invest yourself in your work

Before you write, outline everything that makes you special. What obstacles have you overcome in your life and career, and what traits have helped you do so? These are the details that will get your statement noticed.

Focus on Your Goals

The goal of your MBA application essay is not to hammer your resume into paragraph form. Focus on content your readers can’t get anywhere else: Where do you want to go in your career? And how will the MBA help you get there? Discuss specific ways you can use the skills and knowledge you gain in an MBA program to solve real-world problems, and frame this effort as a meaningful personal goal. Make your readers see the value you will add in the business world and beyond with your graduate-level education.

Sharpen and Perfect

Your MBA personal statement should demonstrate impeccable attention to detail. This starts before you even begin writing: Outline your thoughts and organize your essay into discrete, manageable sections. 3 Refer to this outline frequently as you write to keep yourself on track and to ensure you don’t accidentally omit any key pieces of information.

Proofread your work carefully to eliminate any grammatical errors and typos. If you think it might help, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance with your essay. Find a friend or colleague whose writing you admire—ideally one who knows you well—and have them read your statement to determine whether it really captures your goals and business acumen, and to find any issues you may have missed. Even if you are a strong writer, having a second set of eyes on an essay this important is never a bad idea.

Start Telling Your Story Today at Chico State

With polished writing and a compelling story, your MBA application essay can be the crucial differentiator that secures your admission to the program of your dreams. Check out the application requirements for the Online MBA program at Chico State and read our blog post on requesting letters of recommendation for more helpful application tips.

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  • Retrieved on June 1, 2020, from businessinsider.com/how-to-write-personal-statements-for-mba-students-2012-7
  • Retrieved on June 1, 2020, from princetonreview.com/business-school-advice/mba-essay-tips
  • Retrieved on June 1, 2020, from mbamission.com/docs/mbamission_personal_statement_guide.pdf

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7 Tips for Writing a Great MBA Personal Statement

A successful MBA personal statement shows the applicant’s potential to be a great leader. Writing such an essay may seem like a daunting task, but if you abide by the following guidelines, your essay will stand a much better chance of impressing the admissions officers.

MBA Essay Tip #1: Focus on Relevant Experience

You may have demonstrated incredible leadership skills when you were the star catcher on your high school’s baseball team, but an MBA program is an entirely different playing field. Admissions officers want to see more recent accomplishments. Spotlight the professional achievements you’ve had since high school: internships, fellowships, and even entry-level jobs can show off your capabilities without wading into the warm fuzzies of nostalgia.

MBA Essay Tip #2: Tie Past Experiences to Future Goals

The summer you spent mucking stalls at a horse farm might have given you a great opportunity to test your resilience and bravery. However, admissions officers might not be interested in reading about how you held onto a rearing horse unless you plan to launch an equine-related venture. Choose your anecdotes carefully and be sure they tell a story about who you are and where you want to go in life.

Because many internships are unpaid, they often go to people of higher socioeconomic status who can afford to work without pay. If you haven’t had a prestigious internship or post-college work that ties directly to your future goals, don’t be discouraged. Ask yourself what you learned from these experiences. Admissions officers will want to know how these experiences led you to this point.

MBA Essay Tip #3: Absolutely No Cutting and Pasting

You might think you’re saving time by cutting and pasting information from your résumé into your MBA personal statement, but doing so will cost you in the long run. Admissions already has your résumé—they wouldn’t ask for a personal statement if they wanted a rehash of of it. The essay is your chance to dive into the specifics of those experiences and show how they made you who you are today.

Repurposing material from old essays is never a good idea. Admissions officers can tell when something isn’t fresh, and it just makes you look lazy. Lastly, cutting and pasting increases the odds that you’ll forget to make an important change. If you paste an essay you wrote for another school and forget to change the school’s name, it’s extremely off-putting to the admissions committee. Imagine if the person you are dating sends you a message, only in place of your name they’ve carelessly used someone else’s. Avoid committing this same faux pas in your MBA personal statement essay.

Are you ready to advance your career with an MBA? Explore our MBA program.

MBA Essay Tip #4: State Your Goals

MBA programs want students who are driven. Tell the committee what you hope to accomplish after you graduate with your MBA. Explain which concentration you’ll be pursuing—finance, leadership, entrepreneurship, or business analytics—and why. For example, if your long-term career goal is to start a small business, you should let the committee know that you plan on making entrepreneurship your concentration. To really make a splash with your personal statement, explain how this particular school or program is a good fit for you.

MBA Essay Tip #5: Do You

As the actor Will Rogers is supposed to have said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

In this case, your personal statement is the first impression you will make on the admissions committee. Don’t fill it with buzzwords and cliches. The committee does not want to read about how you “efficiently sourced materials that contributed to the overall synergy of the team.” They’ll know you really mean you were fast at getting coffee and they won’t be impressed.

Your essay needs to be a reflection of who you are and what you’ll contribute to the program. Don’t read someone else’s essay and then twist yourself in knots to make yours the same. It will come off as inauthentic. Remember, MBA programs are all about leadership. The strongest leaders are honest and unapologetically themselves. Be who you are, not who you think the admissions committee wants you to be.

MBA Essay Tip #6: No Excuses

There is a difference between excuses and facts. “I couldn’t do my coursework because my grandmother got sick and I had to take care of her” is an excuse. That your grandmother got sick is fact. That you didn’t do your coursework is another. But is it really a fact that you couldn’t do your coursework because she got sick? It may very well be. But the committee will look far more favorably upon it if you take responsibility and write, “I devoted less time to my coursework so that I could care for my ailing grandmother.” This way, the committee won’t have to wonder whether you are stretching the truth or whether you will find other reasons not to do coursework in the future.

It may seem unfair to have to take ownership of something that isn’t entirely in your control. You may feel like you are admitting wrongdoing. However, in most cases the opposite is true. By taking responsibility, you are showing the committee that you have integrity. You will show the committee that you’ll reflect well on the university and they’ll be excited to have you as a student.

If you need to supply a GPA explanation with your MBA application , keep these things in mind. If your GPA fell below 3.0, you do not need to make apologies for that. Simply make the committee aware of what was going on at the time, sticking as closely to the facts as possible.

MBA Essay Tip #7: Edit, Edit, Edit

The internet loves to poke fun at brands when they misspell words or leave grammatical errors in their copy. However, it’s not so funny when you’re the person who made the mistake and has to answer for it. Forgetting to edit makes companies look careless and lazy—this is not the impression you want to make in your MBA personal essay. Make sure there are no typos, missing words, run-on sentences, or misplaced apostrophes. An ideal candidate for an MBA program knows that professionalism is in the details.

Are you ready to write your personal essay and advance your career with an MBA? Explore Augsburg University’s MBA program or contact mbainfo@augsburg.edu to talk with MBA professionals today.

Are you ready to advance your career with an MBA? Explore our MBA program.

2 MBA Admissions Essays That Worked

These outstanding MBA personal statements resulted in admissions offers.

2 MBA Essays That Worked

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MBA admissions officials say they prefer personal statements that convey personality and demonstrate grit.

There is no secret formula to writing a compelling personal statement for an MBA application, university admissions officials say.

The key, they say, is to write a statement that feels authentic and makes your case.

Bruce DelMonico, assistant dean for admissions at the Yale University School of Management , is wary of personal statements that tell dramatic stories and stretch the truth. He says he is not looking for students to have exotic experiences, but for evidence of resilience, introspection and initiative.

Yale's business school recruits students identified as unselfish leaders – those who strive to improve the circumstances of others and help themselves rather than those who exploit others for personal gain, DelMonico says.

"We are looking to bring in students who will be inclusive leaders and who will bring people together," DelMonico says.

William Rieth, former senior director with the Fox School of Business at Temple University , says applicants sometimes struggle to write a memorable personal statement, but being memorable is vital.

"Students need to remember their audience," he says. "Schools are reading thousands of essays."

He says a solid personal statement requires a "compelling story" and an honest writing voice. "It should reflect your personality and sound like you."

How to Write an MBA Application Essay: A Few Tips

MBA admissions experts say a business school application essay should offer a convincing argument about why a candidate belongs in an MBA program at that particular school.

Wayne Hutchison, managing director for the MBA program at Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business , urges prospective MBA students to explain their reasons for applying to B-school and to describe whatever incidents spurred their interest in graduate business education.

"In addition, applicants should discuss the skills and abilities they have that will translate to academic and professional success," Hutchison wrote in an email, noting that failing to include this information can lead admissions officers to question an MBA hopeful's competitiveness.

Aaron Burch, who earned his MBA degree from the University of Texas—Austin's McCombs School of Business , says MBA essays should address the following questions:

  • "What do you want to accomplish career-wise that either requires an MBA or will be accelerated by an MBA?"
  • "Why is this the exact point in your career where an MBA would be most impactful?"
  • "What about this particular school is especially important for your career plans?"
  • "How will you contribute?"

Burch, owner of DiscoverContainers.com – a website that provides information about shipping container houses – suggests that MBA students convey that they are at a point in their careers where they can "pivot without being pigeonholed" while having meaningful accomplishments, including "real responsibility."

It's also essential for MBA candidates to showcase what they have to offer a B-school, Burch wrote in an email. "You want to demonstrate that you're not just a taker and you want to add to the prestige and reputation of the school, add to the experience your future classmates will have, etc."

MBA alumni say it's crucial for prospective MBA students to describe how they intend to use an MBA .

"Admissions officers will want to understand your vision behind why an MBA might help you, so it's incumbent upon you to articulate the plan you have for yourself, and how their institution is going to help your journey," MBA degree recipient Taylor Constantine – the partner channel lead with Rain, a financial services company – wrote in an email.

Margo Bell, senior assistant director of admissions with Pepperdine University's Graziadio Business School in California, notes that MBA essays are influential factors in the MBA admissions process. Application essays help B-school admissions committees gauge the compatibility of a prospective student with the culture and values of the institution.

"As applicants begin to write their MBA applicant essays, it’s important for prospective students to share who they are as an individual," Bell wrote in an email. "The essay allows MBA admission officers to get a better understanding of who you are, what you wish to accomplish and why you deserve to be accepted."

Michal Strahilevitz, associate professor of marketing with St. Mary's College of California , advises MBA applicants to view the application essay as an opportunity to provide context for deficits in their admissions profile. "For example, if your undergraduate grades were not great because you worked full time to pay for school, write about it," Strahilevitz explained in an email.

What to Keep in Mind About MBA Essay Prompts

MBA admissions consultants note that business schools often have distinctive essay prompts, so it's important for applicants to tailor their essay to every school where they apply.

"Each school asks a specific question in the essay, and one of the most important things you can do as an applicant is to answer that question – not the question you wished we asked or the one you want to answer," DelMonico wrote in an email. "The various elements of the application fit together, and we’re looking to get very specific pieces of information from the essay. So please follow the essay instructions you’re given and don’t feel as though you need to or should make the essay broader in scope."

Barbara Coward, founder of the MBA 360° Admissions Consulting firm based in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, notes that the first step in the essay writing process should be meticulously reading the question prompt. Think about the question for a few days while going about routine tasks so that ideas can "marinate."

Coward says that once prospective students have decided what they'd like to write about, they should let the words flow without filtering them because too much self-editing at the beginning of the creative process can interfere with productivity. Revisions and tweaks can come after an applicant has fully expressed his or her ideas.

Admissions experts note that MBA hopefuls who are struggling to figure out how to describe themselves may want to ask friends and family for advice. Prospective MBA students can also gain self-awareness by keeping a diary or creating a storyboard of their life.

Mistakes to Avoid in MBA Admission Essays

Taking too long to express the main idea or central thesis of an essay is a no-no, Coward says. Applicants should directly respond to a question and ensure that their essay is easily understood by an admissions officer. "Keep in mind that somebody is not reading a novel," she says. "They're going to be glancing through."

Excessively verbose essays don't make a good impression, Coward adds. Applicants should respect word limits and be concise, because doing otherwise creates extra work for admissions officers under time pressure, she explains.

Two other errors to avoid in MBA essays, Coward says, are being monotonous or melodramatic . It's important to have an introductory sentence that strikes the right tone, she adds. "You're not trying to create drama, but you don't want to put the person to sleep either," Coward says.

Examples of Outstanding MBA Essays

Here are two MBA essays that made the cut. The first is from the Fox School of Business and the second is from Yale. These essays are annotated with comments that explain why the essays charmed admissions committees.

Searching for a business school? Get our complete rankings of Best Business Schools .

Tags: graduate schools , business school , MBAs , students

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How to Write a Strong Personal Statement

  • Ruth Gotian
  • Ushma S. Neill

mba business administration personal statement

A few adjustments can get your application noticed.

Whether applying for a summer internship, a professional development opportunity, such as a Fulbright, an executive MBA program, or a senior leadership development course, a personal statement threads the ideas of your CV, and is longer and has a different tone and purpose than a traditional cover letter. A few adjustments to your personal statement can get your application noticed by the reviewer.

  • Make sure you’re writing what they want to hear. Most organizations that offer a fellowship or internship are using the experience as a pipeline: It’s smart to spend 10 weeks and $15,000 on someone before committing five years and $300,000. Rarely are the organizations being charitable or altruistic, so align your stated goals with theirs
  • Know when to bury the lead, and when to get to the point. It’s hard to paint a picture and explain your motivations in 200 words, but if you have two pages, give the reader a story arc or ease into your point by setting the scene.
  • Recognize that the reviewer will be reading your statement subjectively, meaning you’re being assessed on unknowable criteria. Most people on evaluation committees are reading for whether or not you’re interesting. Stated differently, do they want to go out to dinner with you to hear more? Write it so that the person reading it wants to hear more.
  • Address the elephant in the room (if there is one). Maybe your grades weren’t great in core courses, or perhaps you’ve never worked in the field you’re applying to. Make sure to address the deficiency rather than hoping the reader ignores it because they won’t. A few sentences suffice. Deficiencies do not need to be the cornerstone of the application.

At multiple points in your life, you will need to take action to transition from where you are to where you want to be. This process is layered and time-consuming, and getting yourself to stand out among the masses is an arduous but not impossible task. Having a polished resume that explains what you’ve done is the common first step. But, when an application asks for it, a personal statement can add color and depth to your list of accomplishments. It moves you from a one-dimensional indistinguishable candidate to someone with drive, interest, and nuance.

mba business administration personal statement

  • Ruth Gotian is the chief learning officer and assistant professor of education in anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City and the author of  The Success Factor . She was named the world’s #1 emerging management thinker by Thinkers50. You can access her free list of conversation starters . RuthGotian
  • Ushma S. Neill is the Vice President, Scientific Education & Training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. She runs several summer internships and is involved with the NYC Marshall Scholar Selection Committee. ushmaneill

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MBA Personal Statement Examples for Graduate Applicants

In this article, we look at MBA personal statement examples for graduate applicants.

How does a focus on challenges enhance your application? Keep reading to find out how a passion for finance, experience of diversity and a dream of running a social enterprise inspired three candidates to apply for an MBA.

Applying to MBA programs can be a challenging task. To be successful, you need to make sure that you have everything in order, from your transcripts to your test scores.

One of the most important parts of your application is your personal statement, which can help you stand out and get into the program of your choice. We have tips on the 8 key elements to include in your statement, as well as some example MBA personal statements.

MBA personal statement

Table of Contents

What is an mba personal statement, what to include in your mba personal statement, focus on the challenges to make your personal statement stand out, 9 steps to writing your best mba personal statement, mba personal statement example 1 – a passion for finance, mba personal statement example 2 – diversity and leadership, mba personal statement example 3 – a social entrepreneur, faq (frequently asked questions), more personal statement tutorials.

It’s an essay that is required when applying to a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program after completing your undergraduate degree. It is a summary of your qualifications and experiences, goals, and reasons for applying to your chosen MBA program.

It’s your chance to demonstrate the skills, experiences, and fresh perspective you can bring to the program. It is also a way for the selection panel to learn more about you.

Overall, a personal statement is an important part of an MBA application as it allows the candidate to demonstrate their strengths and suitability for the program.

This is your ‘why’ – why are you applying to this program?

  • Be specific: Instead of simply stating that your goal is to advance your career, be specific about the type of role or industry you hope to pursue after completing the program. For example, you might state that your goal is to become a marketing director for an international non-profit.
  • Connect your goals to your past experiences: Highlight how your past experiences have prepared you for your future goals. For example, you might discuss how your experience in sales has given you a strong foundation for a career in marketing.
  • Show how the program will help you achieve your goals: Explain how the MBA program will help you achieve your goals, whether that’s through providing you with new skills or knowledge, expanding your network, or giving you access to new career opportunities.
  • Discuss your long-term aspirations: While it’s important to focus on your immediate post-MBA goals, it’s also helpful to discuss your long-term aspirations. This can show that you have a clear sense of direction and are committed to ongoing professional growth and development.

2. Background

A strong background for a personal statement should include a description of your academic qualifications, particularly your undergraduate degree.

Other knowledge and skills, professional and personal goals, and experiences that have shaped you as an individual are also useful. The challenges section will help you out with some ideas!

It should also include an explanation of why you are the right fit for the program you are applying to.

3. Interests

I am particularly interested in learning more about how to manage a diverse global team, many of whom are still working online and may have never met in person.

Examples of interests that can be included in a personal statement include business acumen, leadership, problem-solving, strategic thinking, and research.

Leadership involves inspiring, motivating, and managing others. Problem-solving requires critical thinking, analysis, and creativity to identify solutions to issues and challenges.

Strategic thinking is the ability to anticipate the long-term implications of decisions and plan appropriately.

Research involves being able to effectively search for, analyze, and utilize information.

When writing a personal statement for graduate business school, it is important to showcase your commitment to academic excellence.

Additionally, it is important to demonstrate your ability to take on challenges, your creative problem-solving skills, and your ability to work both independently and as part of a team. Soft skills such as decision-making, time management, and people management are also extremely important.

Furthermore, an understanding of the goals and objectives of the program and how they align with your own goals and objectives will be beneficial.

5. Learning Experiences

I remain committed to setting the example of lifelong learning as a leader and entrepreneur.

When crafting a personal statement for graduate business school, it is important to include various types of learning experiences. These can be divided into three categories: academic knowledge, work experience, and personal growth.

Academic knowledge refers to the facts and theories you have learned throughout your education. It is important to mention the classes you have taken, the books you have read, and the research you have done in order to demonstrate your commitment to learning.

Work experience is also essential to include in a personal statement for graduate school. It is important to share your experience in the field, highlighting any applicable skills you have gained and any challenges you have faced.

By including these different types of learning experiences in your personal statement, you can demonstrate that you are prepared for the challenges of graduate school and are ready to make a positive contribution to your chosen field.

6. Motivation

Including your motivations in your MBA personal statement is crucial to demonstrate how you are a good fit for the program. Here are some tips to help you include your motivations effectively:

  • Share your story: Use your personal statement to tell a story about why you are motivated to pursue an MBA. For example, you could talk about a challenge you faced in your career and how an MBA will help you overcome it.
  • Connect your motivations to the program: Make sure to explain how the specific program you are applying to will help you achieve your goals. For example, you could talk about the program’s focus on entrepreneurship and how it aligns with your goal of starting your own business.
  • Be authentic: Don’t try to write what you think the admissions committee wants to hear. Instead, be honest and authentic about what motivates you and how an MBA will help you achieve your goals.

Remember, your personal statement is your opportunity to showcase your motivations, goals, and unique qualities to the admissions committee.

7. Achievements

Including your achievements in your MBA personal statement is an important way to demonstrate to the admissions committee that you have the skills and experience to succeed in the program. Here are some tips to help you include your achievements effectively:

  • Use numbers and metrics to quantify achievements
  • Show your role and impact
  • Provide context (You can briefly use the STAR model – outlining the situation, target, action and result)
  • Be humble and make it clear that it was a team effort

Use your achievements to demonstrate your skills, experience, and potential for success in an MBA program, but also make sure to include other elements, such as your motivations and goals, to provide a well-rounded picture of who you are as a candidate.

8. Strengths

I am an experienced coach and mentor, with a particular passion for mentoring and supporting other BAME women.

Strengths are an essential part of any successful personal statement and should be included to show any potential employer or academic institution the skills you possess.

Highlighting your strengths in your MBA personal statement is important because it helps the admissions committee understand what you can bring to the program.

Here are some tips to help you highlight your strengths effectively:

  • Identify your strengths
  • Use specific examples to demonstrate your strengths
  • Connect your strengths to the program
  • Be authentic

Writing about your life’s challenges is a powerful way to demonstrate resilience, determination, and personal growth. Here are some tips to help you include your life challenges effectively:

  • Choose a challenge that is significant, relevant, and has had a meaningful impact on your life.
  • Be honest and authentic when describing your challenge. Don’t try to sugar-coat or exaggerate your experiences.
  • Explain how your challenge has impacted your life and motivated you to pursue an MBA. Describe the specific ways in which you have grown and developed as a result of your challenge.
  • Connect your challenge to the program and explain how your experience will make you a better candidate. For example, if you overcame a difficult personal situation, you can explain how that experience has taught you resilience and determination, qualities that will be valuable in an MBA program.
  • While it’s important to be honest about the challenges you’ve faced, avoid dwelling on the negative. Instead, focus on how you overcame the challenge and the positive impact it has had on your life.

Some examples of life challenges that are relevant to an MBA personal statement include:

  • Explaining the need to migrate as a political refugee and how that experience has shaped your views on business.
  • Overcoming previous personal and professional failures in business. I learned more from a failed business than from 10 years in the industry.
  • Describing how you have embraced evolution and responded to the changing needs of society and the world.
  • Demonstrating an understanding of business ethics and customer service.
  • Articulating your strategy for success and how it has positively impacted your business.
  • Highlighting the importance of innovation and how it can move a business forward.
  • Displaying your understanding of process improvement and how it can help a business become more efficient.
  • Discussing how facing failure can be a learning opportunity. Watching my uncle fight back after a plant closure was inspiring to me.
  • Step 1: Start early

Make sure to give yourself enough time to work on your personal statement. You can never be too prepared!

  • Step 2: Show your passion

Approach your personal statement with enthusiasm and show your passion for the MBA program you are applying to.

  • Step 3: Keep it concise and pleasant

Choose to write only what is relevant and needed and stay away from being overly wordy.

  • Step 4: Write within the recommended length

Stick to the word limit specified – check carefully, every program is different.

  • Step 5: Write a separate statement for each program

If you are applying to multiple MBA programs, make sure to create a unique personal statement for each one.

  • Step 6: Follow the guidelines

Carefully research and read the admission instructions for the university you are applying to.

  • Step 7: Highlight key elements

When writing, include content that admissions committees are looking for and keep the reader’s attention with your writing.

  • Step 8: Maintain authenticity

Be honest and genuine in your writing. It is important to sound like yourself and not try to be someone else.

  • Step 9: Proofread and edit

Make sure to go through your personal statement one last time to make corrections and improvements.

Examples of effective personal statements for MBA applicants

Below we have outlined examples of personal statements for MBA applicants to help you understand what is required.

I am passionate about pursuing an MBA at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business to reach my professional goals. I have always dreamt of having a career in finance and making a meaningful contribution to society by supporting individuals to build individual portfolios of low-cost index funds. My ambition has been fuelled by my experience in the financial sector and the close relationships I have built with mentors and peers in the industry.

I am driven by the idea that I can use my knowledge and skills to create financial solutions that will benefit the wider world. To me, the opportunity to pursue an advanced degree in finance at the University of Virginia is an invaluable opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge I need to make a positive impact in a developing sector.

My passion for finance is bolstered by my commitment to delivering the highest quality of service in my work. I strive to make sure that each decision I make is one that will benefit the client and make them feel secure in their financial decisions. I believe that navigating the world of finance requires a great deal of knowledge and patience, as well as a keen eye for detail and an entrepreneurial spirit. With the right set of skills, I am confident that I can make a lasting contribution in the field of finance.

Steve Jobs said that “you have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right” if you want to stick it out. This statement has resonated with me deeply, and I believe that my passion for finance is precisely what will give me the motivation to stick it out during my studies and beyond. As more and more people embrace the idea of early Financial Independence, they need well-qualified independent financial advisors to support them to achieve their dreams. My ultimate goal is to make a lasting difference in the world of finance and to create meaningful financial solutions that will benefit a broad range of people by setting up my own online consultancy. I am confident that this course will be the perfect stepping stone into this world.

As a first-generation college student from a multicultural background, with Scottish and Nigerian heritage, I have experienced the transformative power of diversity. Growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina, a community that celebrated and valued diversity, I learned to appreciate the unique perspectives and experiences that individuals from different backgrounds bring to the table. Attending the North Carolina Highland Games and leading a volunteer team annually has led to a wealth of experiences which make me proud to represent my heritage and my community.

My experience with diversity has taught me to be empathetic, open-minded, and adaptable, skills that I believe are essential for success in today’s global business world.

Throughout my academic and professional journey, I have taken on leadership roles that have allowed me to put these skills into practice. For example, in my current role as a project manager at Smithron Company, I lead a team of individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures. As a leader, I strive to create a culture of inclusivity and mutual respect where every team member feels valued and heard. I believe that by embracing diversity, we can achieve better outcomes and make a positive impact in our community. I am an experienced coach and mentor, with a particular passion for mentoring and supporting other BAME women.

My experience with diversity and leadership has motivated me to pursue an MBA program that will provide me with the tools and knowledge to lead in a complex and ever-changing business environment. I am particularly interested in the program’s focus on global leadership, as I believe that the ability to lead effectively in a global context is essential for success in today’s interconnected world. I am particularly interested in learning more about how to manage a diverse global team, many of whom are still working online and may have never met in person, as this seems to be a growing trend in hybrid businesses.

In addition to my experience with diversity and leadership, I bring to the program a strong academic record and a track record of success in my professional career. I am confident that my unique background, skills, and experience will make a valuable contribution to the program’s community.

Overall, I am excited about the opportunity to pursue an MBA program that aligns with my personal and professional goals. I believe that the program’s focus on diversity, leadership, and global perspective will help me achieve my full potential and make a positive impact in the business world.

As a creative and independent thinker, I have always been drawn to new and innovative ideas. My passion for originality has led me to pursue a career in entrepreneurship, where I have had the opportunity to create and grow businesses that make a positive impact on people’s lives. My first successful enterprise was an organic food cooperative which partnered with our local women’s shelter and has consistently donated 20% of profits to supporting community charities.

I believe that entrepreneurship is a powerful force for good, and I am committed to using my skills and experience to create innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

In addition to my entrepreneurial pursuits, I am also deeply committed to giving back to my community. I have volunteered with several non-profit organizations that focus on education and social justice, and I am passionate about using my skills and resources to make a positive impact on the world. While I admire the Microloan model and have seen it have a massive impact in many developing countries I believe it’s important to acknowledge that not everyone is entrepreneurial in nature and it’s also important to provide stable jobs where possible. I feel that by combining my entrepreneurial spirit with my commitment to social responsibility, I can create businesses that not only generate financial returns but also create social and environmental benefits.

My goal in pursuing an MBA program is to gain the knowledge and skills needed to take my entrepreneurial ventures to the next level. I am particularly interested in the program’s focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, as I believe that this will provide me with the tools and resources needed to create businesses that make a positive impact on people’s lives. I am also drawn to the program’s emphasis on social responsibility, as I believe that this is an essential aspect of creating businesses that have a meaningful and lasting impact on the world.

Overall, I am excited about the opportunity to pursue an MBA program that aligns with my personal and professional goals. I remain committed to setting the example of lifelong learning as a leader and entrepreneur and believe that my originality, creativity, and commitment to social responsibility make me a strong candidate for the program, and I look forward to contributing to the program’s community of diverse and innovative thinkers.

Some of these questions were already covered in this blog post but I will still list them here (because not everyone carefully reads every paragraph) so here’s the TL;DR version

How long should my MBA personal statement be?

An MBA personal statement should typically be between 400-1,000 words so we have kept our examples on the lower end.

Ensure you are answering the prompt and focus on the specific program you are applying for.

Taking the time to craft a well-structured, thoughtful essay will make sure you stand out from the competition!

What format should I use for my MBA personal statement?

The most common format is the essay format, which should include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

In the introduction, the reader should be engaged, and the body paragraphs should present information about the applicant’s career aspirations and commitment to the profession and social responsibility.

The conclusion should be a concise wrap-up of the statement that leaves the reader with the impression that the applicant is the right fit for the program.

What should I write about in my MBA personal statement?

When writing your MBA personal statement, it is important to focus on the questions that the school has provided, as these will help you understand what they are looking for.

Be sure to stay on topic and provide relevant information to answer the prompt. Additionally, make sure to mention any experiences, skills, or goals that are relevant to the MBA program you’re applying to.

To truly make your statement stand out, provide specific examples of leadership skills and other successes. When you are done, make sure to read your statement over and ensure that you have answered the question thoroughly.

As above, we believe that focusing on challenges as well as what you are most passionate about is a great place to start!

What are some examples of successful MBA personal statements?

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for writing an effective MBA personal statement, but there are several examples of successful essays that have helped applicants gain admission to some of the world’s best business school programs.

Examples of compelling MBA personal statements include stories of resilience, introspection, and initiative. These statements should reflect the applicant’s personality and writing voice in order to make an impression on the admissions committee.

In this article, we have provided three MBA personal statement examples for you to review.

How important is my MBA personal statement in the application process?

It is important to remember that all parts of your application are significant, but there is no doubt that the personal statement is the most significant factor when it comes to making a lasting impression on the admissions committee.

While a high GPA and GMAT score may help you stand out amongst other applicants, it is the personal statement that gives you the opportunity to show who you are, what you are passionate about, and why you are the ideal candidate for the program.

The personal statement is your chance to shine and make a statement about what you have to offer the institutions.

In short, an MBA personal statement is absolutely essential in the application process. It is an opportunity to make your mark and show the admissions committee that you are the kind of individual they are looking for.

And finally…what are the qualities that make a good MBA personal statement?

Good MBA personal statements should have the following qualities:

  • Grammatical accuracy: it should be free of spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Readability: it should be engaging and easy to read.
  • Honesty: it should provide an honest story.
  • Uniqueness: it should present a unique story without any cliches.
  • Initiative: it should show evidence of initiative or an original idea.
  • Leadership: it should exhibit positive qualities of unselfish leadership.
  • Authenticity: it should feel authentic and make a strong case.
  • Goals: it should outline the writer’s goals.
  • Promise: it should demonstrate promise for success as you are an excellent candidate and deserve the chance to shine!
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Top 10 Personal Brand Statement Examples To Follow

Maddy Osman

Updated: March 11, 2024

Published: June 18, 2023

In a 2022 personal branding trends study, most respondents said they consider personal branding an essential component of work and their everyday life. 

what is a personal brand statement

It found that 75% of Americans trust someone with a personal brand, and 63% are likely to buy from someone with a personal brand. 

As an entrepreneur who is always on the lookout for customers or potential investors, you know that trust is key. Developing a personal brand for yourself can be an effective tool to help grow your business.

What is a personal brand statement?

A personal brand statement is a couple of sentences that highlights your unique skills and experience. It’s meant to be a quick introduction to people who discover you online because it summarizes what you can offer them.

Basically, it’s a catchphrase, tag line, or elevator pitch for you as a professional individual. While it showcases what you do professionally, you can also display your personality.

Why leaders should have a personal brand statement

You make a better first impression.

As the saying goes, “You only have one shot to make a first impression.” The challenge for entrepreneurs is that you don’t always know when that opportunity arises, as many first impressions happen online.

When a potential client or investor hears about you, their first instinct is to look up your social media profiles. If you’ve got a clear and well-thought-out personal brand statement, you’ve got a better chance at making them stick around for second and third impressions.

You can establish yourself as a thought leader

Thought leadership is a powerful content marketing tactic that can help you reach bigger audiences and generate leads for your business. When you’re known as a leader in your particular industry, that automatically gives you a higher level of credibility. 

A personal brand statement can strengthen your thought leadership strategy by clearly stating your area of expertise.

You can create networking opportunities

Whether you’re looking for top talent, new clients, or potential investors, networking is half the battle. 

Personal brand statements make it easy for potential connections to understand exactly what you do and what you value. Without it, you may miss out on opportunities simply because they didn’t know that you had something relevant to offer them.

Best personal brand statement examples for leaders

“bilingual creative who lives at the intersection of business & design.” —chris do.

mba business administration personal statement

Source: Chris Do’s LinkedIn page .

Chris Do is a multi-hyphenate: a designer, creative strategist, public speaker, founder, and CEO of The Futur, an online education platform.

What makes it great : Because he wears so many hats, Do’s personal branding statement is better than trying to explain everything he does.

“Helping people find their zen in the digital age.” —Shama Hyder

mba business administration personal statement

Source: Shama Hyder’s homepage .

Shama Hyder is the founder and CEO of Zen Media, a marketing and PR firm. She’s also written a book about digital marketing .

What makes it great : Hyder’s brand statement is an attention-grabbing play on her company’s name and showcases one of her key values: making clients feel a sense of calm in a fast-paced digital world.

“Write better sales emails faster with our in-inbox coach.” —Will Allred

mba business administration personal statement

Source: Will Allred’s LinkedIn page .

Will Allred is the co-founder of Lavender, an AI-powered email software startup.

What makes it great : Brooklin Nash, CEO of Beam Content, shares, “In one sentence, Allred captures the entire focus of his social presence: to help salespeople write better emails faster while demonstrating his authority and sharing his product in the second part of that headline.”

“Keeping it awkward, brave, and kind.” —Brené Brown

mba business administration personal statement

Source: Dr. Brené Brown’s homepage .

Brené Brown has a Ph.D. in sociology and is the author of several books that cover topics like shame, vulnerability, empathy, and courage.

What makes it great : Dr. Brown’s personal brand statement embodies her mission statement of encouraging people to embrace their vulnerabilities by sharing her own.

“Empowering ridiculously good marketing.” —Ann Handley

mba business administration personal statement

Source: Ann Handley’s homepage .

Ann Handley is a digital marketing expert and bestselling author. Her company helps marketers get tangible results.

What makes it great : Sharon Jonah, creative director and founder of digital marketing agency Buzz Social, shares, “In four words, we understand what Handley does, how she does it, whom she’s speaking to, and how she speaks.”

“Still just a girl who wants to learn. Youngest-ever Nobel laureate, co-founder @malalafund and president of Extracurricular Productions.” —Malala Yousafzai

mba business administration personal statement

Source: Malala Yousafzai’s Twitter profile .

Malala Yousafzai is the youngest Nobel laureate and an activist whose fund aims to remove the barriers to female education around the world.

What makes it great : Her bio highlights her impressive achievements with language that makes her sound relatable. 

“Marketing. Strategy. Humanity.” —Mark Schaefer

mba business administration personal statement

Source: Mark Schaefer’s homepage .

Mark Schaefer is an educator, speaker, marketing consultant, and author. He’s developed corporate marketing strategies for brands like Microsoft, IBM, and AT&T.

What makes it great : “It’s subtle, concise, and creative. It describes what Schaefer does, what he focuses on, and his unique and distinguished approach,” says Omer Usanmaz, CEO and co-founder of mentoring and learning software Qooper. 

“Empowering successful women to take control of their finances.” —Jennifer Welsh

mba business administration personal statement

Source: Jennifer Welsh’s LinkedIn profile page .

Jennifer Welsh founded Money School, a digital course that teaches women about personal finance. What makes it great : Welsh’s strong personal brand statement says exactly what she does and whom she does it for. 

“Let’s make Excel the solution, not the problem.” —Kat Norton (Miss Excel)

mba business administration personal statement

Source: Miss Excel’s homepage .

Kat Norton (known as Miss Excel) became famous on TikTok for her bite-sized Microsoft Excel tutorials. She now offers Excel courses on her website.

What makes it great : Norton’s clever statement shows that she understands her audience's problem and highlights her personality.

“‘The Customer Whisperer.’ I help marketers discover the hidden reasons why customers buy so they can become un-ignorable.” —Katelyn Bourgoin

mba business administration personal statement

Source: Katelyn Bourgoin’s LinkedIn page .

Katelyn Bourgoin is a creator and serial entrepreneur who founded a branding agency, a mentoring platform for female entrepreneurs, and a restaurant consulting firm. She trains entrepreneurs to uncover what makes their products “un-ignorable.”

What makes it great : Bourgoin’s clever branding statement effectively tells marketers that she can help them understand their customers better and make their brands memorable.

How to write a personal brand statement

Writing an effective personal brand statement can be tough because it requires you to be catchy yet compelling. It should give audiences all the necessary information in a sentence or two.

Here are some tips for writing your own:

Think about your unique value proposition

A unique value proposition (or unique selling point) is what makes you different. It tells people why they should try your product or service, network with you, or invest in your business.

Tip : Identify your core values, goals, and strengths.

If you don't know what those are, ask yourself:

  • Why am I building my brand?
  • What do I want my audience to know me for?
  • How do I do things differently?
  • Do I have a distinct skill set, experience, point of view, or passion?
  • What value do I bring to my audience?

Keep it short and sweet

Your brand statement should be simple and easy to understand. 

The goal is to have someone look at your profile or website and immediately understand who you are and what you do, so keep it brief. Keep in mind that you don’t need full sentences either. 

Start by writing one to three sentences that outline what you do, for whom, and how you do it. You can also add a sentence about values. 

Then, look at different ways you can shorten them. Or pick out the most specific and impactful words and see what happens when you simply list them. 

Showcase your personality

Injecting your personality empowers you to share what you do without being bland or boring. Being authentic also helps attract like-minded customers, investors, and peers. 

At the end of the day, there are other people out there who may offer similar services or solve the same problems for your target audience. Your personality can set you apart.

“Don't be afraid to inject a bit of humor, quirkiness, and passion. It’ll help make you more memorable and help you stand out from the crowd,” says Usanmaz.

Ideally, you want customers to know what you do and get a little taste of what it will be like to work with you.

A personal brand statement conveys your mission, differentiates you from competitors, and attracts your target audience. Use these tips and real-life examples of personal brand statements to inspire you to write your own.

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HHS Statement Regarding the Cyberattack on Change Healthcare

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is aware that Change Healthcare – a unit of UnitedHealth Group (UHG) – was impacted by a cybersecurity incident in late February. HHS recognizes the impact this attack has had on health care operations across the country. HHS’ first priority is to help coordinate efforts to avoid disruptions to care throughout the health care system.

HHS is in regular contact with UHG leadership, state partners, and with numerous external stakeholders to better understand the nature of the impacts and to ensure the effectiveness of UHG’s response. HHS has made clear its expectation that UHG does everything in its power to ensure continuity of operations for all health care providers impacted and HHS appreciates UHG’s continuous efforts to do so. HHS is also leading interagency coordination of the Federal government’s related activities, including working closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the White House, and other agencies to provide credible, actionable threat intelligence to industry wherever possible.

HHS refers directly to UHG for updates on their incident response progress and recovery planning. However, numerous hospitals, doctors, pharmacies and other stakeholders have highlighted potential cash flow concerns to HHS stemming from an inability to submit claims and receive payments. HHS has heard these concerns and is taking direct action and working to support the important needs of the health care community.

Today, HHS is announcing immediate steps that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking to assist providers to continue to serve patients. CMS will continue to communicate with the health care community and assist, as appropriate. Providers should continue to work with all their payers for the latest updates on how to receive timely payments.

Affected parties should be aware of the following flexibilities in place:

  • Medicare providers needing to change clearinghouses that they use for claims processing during these outages should contact their Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) to request a new electronic data interchange (EDI) enrollment for the switch. The MAC will provide instructions based on the specific request to expedite the new EDI enrollment. CMS has instructed the MACs to expedite this process and move all provider and facility requests into production and ready to bill claims quickly. CMS is strongly encouraging other payers, including state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies and Medicaid and CHIP managed care plans, to waive or expedite solutions for this requirement.
  • CMS will issue guidance to Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations and Part D sponsors encouraging them to remove or relax prior authorization, other utilization management, and timely filing requirements during these system outages. CMS is also encouraging MA plans to offer advance funding to providers most affected by this cyberattack.
  • CMS strongly encourages Medicaid and CHIP managed care plans to adopt the same strategies of removing or relaxing prior authorization and utilization management requirements, and consider offering advance funding to providers, on behalf of Medicaid and CHIP managed care enrollees to the extent permitted by the State. 
  • If Medicare providers are having trouble filing claims or other necessary notices or other submissions, they should contact their MAC for details on exceptions, waivers, or extensions, or contact CMS regarding quality reporting programs.
  • CMS has contacted all of the MACs to make sure they are prepared to accept paper claims from providers who need to file them. While we recognize that electronic billing is preferable for everyone, the MACs must accept paper submissions if a provider needs to file claims in that method.

CMS has also heard from providers about the availability of accelerated payments, like those issued during the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that many payers are making funds available while billing systems are offline, and providers should take advantage of those opportunities. However, CMS recognizes that hospitals may face significant cash flow problems from the unusual circumstances impacting hospitals’ operations, and – during outages arising from this event – facilities may submit accelerated payment requests to their respective servicing MACs for individual consideration. We are working to provide additional information to the MACs about the specific items and information a provider’s request should contain. Specific information will be available from the MACs later this week.

This incident is a reminder of the interconnectedness of the domestic health care ecosystem and of the urgency of strengthening cybersecurity resiliency across the ecosystem. That’s why, in December 2023, HHS released a concept paper that outlines the Department’s cybersecurity strategy for the sector. The concept paper builds on the National Cybersecurity Strategy that President Biden released last year, focusing specifically on strengthening resilience for hospitals, patients, and communities threatened by cyber-attacks. The paper details four pillars for action, including publishing new voluntary health care-specific cybersecurity performance goals, working with Congress to develop supports and incentives for domestic hospitals to improve cybersecurity, increasing accountability within the health care sector, and enhancing coordination through a one-stop shop.

HHS will continue to communicate with the health care sector and encourage continued dialogue among affected parties. We will continue to communicate with UHG, closely monitor their ongoing response to this cyberattack, and promote transparent, robust response while working with the industry to close any gaps that remain.

HHS also takes this opportunity to encourage all providers, technology vendors, and members of the health care ecosystem to double down on cybersecurity, with urgency. The system and the American people can ill afford further disruptions in care. Please visit the  HPH Cyber Performance Goals website for more details on steps to stay protected.

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  24. HHS Statement Regarding the Cyberattack on Change Healthcare

    CMS will issue guidance to Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations and Part D sponsors encouraging them to remove or relax prior authorization, other utilization management, and timely filing requirements during these system outages. CMS is also encouraging MA plans to offer advance funding to providers most affected by this cyberattack.