There were a number of application changes among the top business schools in the 2018-2019 MBA application season. MIT required an organizational chart; other top programs such as Wharton, Booth and Cornell also changed some of their essay prompts towards behavioral questions. These types of questions prompt applicants to demonstrate self-reflection, which serves to clarify why the next chapter in your life (which is the MBA experience) is so important.
Wharton asks the question – “Describe an impactful experience or accomplishment that is not reflected elsewhere in your application. How will you use what you learned through that experience to contribute to the Wharton community?”
Booth’s application in the past have often included an unorthodox question like pick a picture out of six and explain why it resonates with you. This year’s essay set included the prompt – “Chicago Booth immerses you in a choice-rich environment. How have your interests, leadership experiences, and other passions influenced the choices in your life?”
Cornell Johnson’s new “Back of Your Resume” essay emphasizes that the Admission Committee wants to know you beyond your track record. In fact, Cornell states, “The front page of your resume has given us a sense of your professional experience and accomplishments as well as your academic summary and extracurricular involvement. If the back page reflects “the rest of your story,” please help us get to know you better by sharing the experiences that will give us insight into your character, values, and interests.”
In posing these questions, the Admissions Committee provides opportunities for the applicant to reveal and share more than just his or her job. It provides an opportunity to articulate the events and experiences that have shaped your decisions and identity and how you will impact the community you hope to join. It is difficult to predict what to expect in the 2019-2020 MBA application essay sets but emphasis on self-reflection, on articulating why the MBA chapter is important is likely to continue.