Guest Post from Enyi, consultant for The Art of Applying and Consortium Fellow
Writing The Consortium’s Member School Essays: Our Exclusive Guide
The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management application features three types of essays: two core application essays, one or more member school essays, and the membership essay. This post focuses on the member school essays. (See all of The Consortium essay prompts here.) Each Consortium member school has school-specific prompts for applicants to answer. Some schools have just one extra essay, others have up to four extra essays. However, the themes of these prompts are often similar across different schools. We will go over common types of member school essays and how to approach them.
Topic: Introduce Yourself / Interesting Facts Essay
This type of prompt manifests in two ways:
- Describing an interesting fact about yourself, or
- Introducing yourself to future classmates.
If the prompt asks you to introduce yourself, you can think about the first days of high school, college, or a new job. How would you introduce yourself in new classes—or how do you wish you had introduced yourself? For essay prompts that ask for interesting facts about yourself, you can highlight a cool hobby, a quirky experience, or a defining personality trait. Alternatively, think about icebreakers you’ve encountered in the past that ask you to reveal something interesting about yourself. What are your go-to’s during icebreakers? Which quirky or little known facts about you intrigue people and stay in their memories? You can also treat the “introduce yourself” prompt as your personal elevator pitch. What are the most essential things to know about you in less than one minute? Of course, remember your audience, and make sure that what you are sharing is of interest to and appropriate for your audience (your classmates and the admissions committee). Your responses to these types of questions do not have to be very formal. Nor do they have to (or even should) focus solely on your professional background. Allow your personality and personal background to shine through as well. In addition, don’t talk about what you think the admissions committee wants to hear in a response. Above all, be honest and true to yourself. Who are you—really?
Why This School?
This question is popular among business school applications, because admissions committees want to know which applicants are truly interested in their schools and have done their research to be a well-informed applicant. Sometimes this question is embedded within a densely worded essay prompt alongside other questions; other times it is asked in simple terms. Also, at times this question is asked with the lens of how the school will prepare you for your post-MBA life, both professional and personal. Examples of how this question is weaved into essay prompts are listed below:
- How will the Michigan Ross program help you achieve your personal and professional goals? (250 words max)
- Tuck educates wise leaders who better the world of business. Please discuss why you are interested in Tuck specifically and how a Tuck MBA will enable you to become a wise leader with global impact. (500 words max)
- What actions have you taken to determine that NYU Stern is the best fit for your MBA experience?* (250 words max)
- 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 max)
- Why Haas? (2000 characters max)
In order to adequately answer a prompt asking you “Why our school?”, you need to:
- Have a genuine interest in the specific school
- Take the time to find out and address the intricacies of the school that attract you to the institution
In order to do this you need to connect with the school on multiple touchpoints, which you can do by talking to current students and alums (in person or via phone) and/or by visiting the school on campus. By doing so, you can gain a pulse of the school to the extent that you can pinpoint what matters to you about that particular school’s experience. More importantly, you can reference specific people in the community and mention details about the school’s culture, climate, and offerings that one cannot find through a quick online search. When answering this question, make sure your response is concise. You can discuss the 2-3 most pertinent reasons why the school is a great fit for you. Try not to answer from the perspective of why you are a great fit for the school. Overall, no reason is less powerful or right than another. Your “why” can refer to school culture, location, reputation, academic and professional opportunities, or anything else that you deem appropriate. What is most important is that your answer is that you demonstrate how the school offers a combination of specific things that you seek. Keep these tips in mind and you will be well on your way to submitting strong member school supplemental essays with your Consortium application.