Tips for answering the Why MBA Essay

"Why MBA?" is the first and the most important question asked when you think of an MBA and during your application and interview. When a school asks you "why you need an MBA to reach your career goals?" it is asking you "Why you need an MBA from our school and how our resources can help you reach your goals?" Get prepared with a robust and appealing answer for this MBA admission essay. MBA admission committees are very particular about this essay. Nearly all business schools ask you about your reasons for joining an MBA program at this stage of your career. You will even be asked to link up your reasons with your background and your future career goals. You need to justify your reasons and discuss your past experience, achievements and future goals in context of your candidature.  

“Why MBA?” is undoubtedly a compulsory question asked by every business school and is also the most important essay that you write. This question is not only asked in application essays but also in interviews. Therefore, prepare thoroughly for this question. Your reasons will reveal a good deal of information about you, whether you are well prepared, whether you are focused and whether you know where you are heading to.

To begin, find the generic cause of pursuing an MBA program. We all have our own reasons for pursuing MBA. Some of the common reasons cited by MBA applicants are: 

  • Career progression or getting a better gob in same industry
  • Starting your own business
  • Making more money
  • Making new friends and expanding business or professional network
  • To have more interesting work
  • Career change
  • To expand horizon and gain strategic vision

First you have to find your generic reasons for an MBA. However, simply mentioning these generic reasons in your MBA admission essays will not help your candidature. Using the generic reasons, you have to develop concrete short-term and long-term goals. Then you have to discuss how an MBA from the particular school would help you achieve your goals. A good answer should contain the following elements necessarily to sound appealing to MBA admission committee.

  • Your work experiences, skills and abilities.
  • Your short-term and long-term goals. Please read our tips for writing compelling short-term and long-term goals
  • A self assessed statement of your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Mapping past experience and present skill set with goals.
  • Analysis of skills required to achieve your short-term and long-term goals.
  • Present MBA as a bridge between what you are now and what you would like to be.
  • How do you think this particular MBA program will fulfill your needs. This is an important part of the whole answer. You have to show strong connection between your career goals and school's curriculum/resources. Therefore, to develop a well convincing answer you have to perform a thorough research. Go thorough the school's website, analyze the modules, checkout the club activities and career  or professional development opportunities at the school. Further, attend career fairs and meet the admission directors, current students and alumni. All this will provide you a fair knowledge about the school and help you in your decision making and essay writing. Some schools offer you a day at their school, where you can attend a lecture, particiapte in a case study and have conversation with current students and lecturers. Do not miss the opportunity. This provides the best opportunity to experience the program before committing yourself to the school.

Suggested structure for your Why MBA essay: We recommend the past, future and present sequence for this key MBA admission essay. Open your essay with a brief description of your past work experience (Where do you stand today?). In one or two sentences, you should be able to sum up your experiences. Else, it will be waste of precious word count and repetition of information presented in resume. Then discuss your short-term and long-term goals (future). Remember to follow the SMARTI framework described in the  MBA goals writing tips . After that, discuss your present skills and the gap. Discuss what you lag to achieve your goals and how an MBA is the best logical progression for you to bridge the gap. The gap analysis is crucial. While analyzing the gap consider skills such as technical knowledge, analytical skills, people management skills, customer relationship management skills, leadership skills, business management skills, general management skills, project management skills, risk management skills and communication skills. This list is not exhaustive, the skills completely depends on your career goals. Once you zeroed on the skills, then discuss how an MBA from the particular business school can help you develop the desired skills.

Short-term and long-term goals
 are the most important elements in why MBA essay. Therefore, you need to pay special attention to this element. Simply mentioning career progression, fat salary or job stability for pursuing MBA is not convincing. You have to discuss specific goals. E.g. Post-MBA I plan to join as a Strategic Consultant in top-tier company such as Bain. In long-term I plan to start a boutique consulting firm with a focus on strategic consulting services for emerging market clients.

You need to focus on providing strong reasons for your desire to pursue an MBA. Make sure to connect your past experiences with your specific objectives. Every applicant has the same need as you for pursuing MBA, but you need to skillfully articulate your essay to convince the MBA admission officers and give them a reason to select you amongst the crowd of applicants. Avoid writing trivial motivational factors. You also need to discuss in your MBA application essay how you think you will be benefitted on completion of MBA. In what position you foresee yourself or what steps of success you think you can climb. The MBA admission people prefer realistic answers. 

You should be able to explain what motivates you for an MBA, and justify as of why you have decided to join at this particular time. Writing, that you want an MBA because it will make you rich and prestigious is not an option. You need to focus on how you will utilize an MBA for your growth. For example, you can say that you have gathered enough experience for yourself and now want to become a leader who will make a significant difference in an organization/society/the world. You need to show how you fit with the mission of the particular business school. The essay should equally focus on the timing of decision to pursue an MBA. Here, you should not sound like defending his choice of timing, but the whole profile should be oriented so that it looks like there could not have been a better time to go for MBA. Again, presentation of work experience, professional aspects lacking in the profile and orientation to the b-school’s program play a major role to address this issue. The important point to remember is that the reader should be able to understand it clearly and be convinced by it. 

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Any one essay, 500 words, single round reviewing with detailed feedback for improvement, no editing.