Sample MBA Application Essay - Before
Essay 1: Please discuss the factors, both professional and personal, influencing the career decisions you have made that, in turn, have led you to your current position. What are your career goals for the future, and why is now the appropriate time to pursue an MBA at XXX? How will you avail yourself of the resources at the XXX to achieve these goals?
PAST CAREER DEVELOPMENT AND FUTURE GOALS
Have you ever seen, heard of or witnessed any of the following things?
-- The surface of the sea littered with dead sheep.
-- A domestic waste landfill explosion leading to a number of deaths due to the resultant flood of waste?
-- Tea vendors offering radiation-contaminated tea for half-price?
-- A little girl's death resulting from her fall through an open sewage manhole in her school garden?
-- Radioactive waste sold to unsuspecting scrap dealers, causing their deaths.
-- A twenty year-old tanker breaking into pieces, spilling hundreds of tons of crude oil and killing sea life.
Unfortunately, such environmental disasters have become common place in Turkey.
Concerned about such situations, and aware of the insensitivity of the authorities towards our environment and health, I sought to learn ways to prevent these types of disasters. At the age of fifteen, I decided to focus my studies on environmental sciences, in order to equip myself with the technical tools I would need to do just that.
I went on to earn a Master's degree in environmental sciences, subsequently attending a professional international management certificate program in order to gain management perspective.
In order to make use of my technical knowledge and management skills in an effective way, I was aware of the fact that I should start working in a large company that would in turn would provide me insight experience from various industries and the international business arena.
I have now worked in the energy and environment group of Lec Corporation headquarters, the first and biggest diversified conglomerate, for nearly two years as a project engineer, mainly responsible for environment and energy sector investments of our holding companies.
This work position gave me an opportunity to interact with businessmen from all over the world which expanded my international perspective. Working with American partners and English consultants, I gleaned the subtle meaning of being a professional. Though it was unusual for a young associate to be a representative for my company at such events, I am proud to say that my outstanding work performance allowed me to seize the opportunity to attend various meetings with local and international governmental bodies such as OPIC, IFC and the World Bank that increased my self-confidence and improved my management skills.
While working in various business lines, such as automotive industry, consumer durables and energy sector, I have realized that the root cause of many environmental problems is financial. I believe that many people in the environmental sector are so ignorant or insensitive that they will cheat customers to increase profits. Furthermore, businesses do not prioritize environmental investments and, as a result, insufficient funds are allocated to adequately prevent problems. For instance, with a population over eight million people, Istanbul, the biggest city in Turkey does not have a properly operating sewage system, and in most of the areas wastewater is discharged directly to Bosphorus.
Ultimately, I am interested in helping to solve my country's problems by starting my own environmental services business in Turkey, serving both local and international customers giving cost effective and appropriate solutions differing from waste management to safety management.
WHY MBA AND XXX SCHOOL?
Despite my experience, I still lack some important knowledge and management experiences/skills, especially in finance, marketing and entrepreneurship. I also miss important knowledge of American environment. It is essential that I master these skills since dealing with aspects of international business will be an integral part of my job as an entrepreneur.
The XXX School's MBA program is the bridge where I am and where I want to be.
The inventiveness and uniqueness of the XXX School's both entrepreneurial and finance programs impressed me. I believe that I will increase my practical knowledge of entrepreneurship from interacting with my XXX School classmates. I value the fact that at the XXX School, entrepreneurial education does not stop at the classroom but continues through internships and extracurricular activities. I feel that a business school for entrepreneurs should balance a dose of theory with real-world application. The XXX School's curriculum and hands-on experiences through associations, internships and the management field study provide this balance, as demonstrated by the variety and success of its alumni.
I am also drawn to XXX School because of its emphasis on teamwork and technology. XXX School's MBA program proposes such exciting courses and programs as High Technology Entrepreneurship, International Finance,12-week field application projects, global immersion program directed to teach thinking and acting globally.
Further, the XXX School's flexible entrepreneurial program allows students to choose electives from 200 courses that will allow me to tailor my course of study directly to my career interests.
After a long search I found in XXX a top quality business school, able to provide me with the opportunities to gain the knowledge I need for my future in addition to putting me in contact with a diverse student environment and ensure my perception of American values. Moreover, my background and my desire to succeed will allow me to flourish in the XXX program.
I liked the alumni network and student clubs present at XXX.XXX has one of the strongest and largest alumni networks with 70,000 alumni in more than 130 countries of which I would like to be honored to be a member of.
I count very much on earning a XXX School MBA degree to help me strengthen both my finance knowledge and entrepreneurial skills, necessary to enable me to secure a position as an environmental specialist in a multinational American-based firm; this, in turn, will prepare me to accomplish my long term ambition of starting my own company and helping Turkey improve its environmental record.
I am now on my way to the next step in my career planning which involves receiving an MBA degree from XXX. My experience and technical knowledge guided my success during each new venture I attempted. These early accomplishments boosted my confidence that I would soon be closer to my goal of being a successful young entrepreneur.
I believe I am on the right path to achieve my goals. I now anxiously await the next phase in my development. I know that my skills along with my experience will continue to aid in achieving my long-term objective.
Essay 2: Describe a personal achievement that has had a significant impact on your life. In addition to recounting this achievement, please analyze how the event has changed your understanding of yourself and how you perceive the world around you.
When I was an undergraduate, I was asked, as part of a class, to select a project on which I wished to work with supervisor whom I was interested in studying with. I had chosen to study with the Head of the University's Chemistry Department on a project named "Environmental Risk Assessment of Hazardous Materials." After the earthquake disaster that hit Turkey, causing approximately 30,000 people to die, the State Planning Organization of Turkey has used the model we developed in the project to determine the risks posed by materials spilled around the region devastated by the earthquake.
In addition to working with me on my project, my supervisor also provided me with other important assistance. My supervisor was a person who not only lectured about the issue at hand but also shared his vast knowledge about the practical experience of his professional and personal life. His main goal was to shape his students into well-educated and socially active engineers with strong personal and professional ethics. He took me to many seminars, fairs, and conferences in order to give me the background necessary to become an engineer of whom he could be proud. On my own, I became president of the Environment Club, organizing technical site visits and meetings regarding environmental engineering for freshmen students.
One day, my supervisor told me about a non-profit organization named Cekud of which he was a member. I was impressed with the group's activities. Cekud's main activity is a tree-planting campaign called "Seven Trees." The idea for the campaign comes from the assumption that the average person consumes almost seven trees for his or her needs annually.
I decided to organize a planting day with Cekud. We have rent a bus and went to the decided planting are together with forty-five students. There were also small kids of ages between eight to fifteen associated with Cekud representatives. When I asked who they were, I am informed that they were the participants of one of the other Cekud activities named " Education for our future". Main purpose of the program is to educate children of poor families who can not afford to take preparatory courses for college and/or university entrance exams. At that day we have planted 650 trees and named the little forest as our Club's forest.
I was impressed with Cekud's activities and decided to work at Cekud as a volunteer especially for the education program. While working with Cekud , I have also learned about their other activities such as restoration of historical houses.
I have noticed that Cekud is the place to make one of my childhood dreams come true.
I spent much of my childhood moving around Turkey because my father was an officer in the Turkish army. The perspective and insight gained during that time have been significant factors in my personal development.
In the early 1980's, there was a great deal of political unrest in Turkey, and security was a major issue for citizens. For a time, we attended school in the company of soldiers. I attended three different primary schools because my family moved so often.
We stayed in least developed towns of Eastern Turkey. People were suffering from unemployement as a result welfare. My classmates were from poor families who could hardly speak Turkish and could not afford to get school uniforms even hardly afford to receive basic human needs such as medicine, food, education to survive. Those regions were much affected by the unpredictable economic conditions and terorism present in Turkey in those days.
Because of this instability, the quality of my education suffered. Yet I was well aware that I would need to study hard in order to succeed in life. With my determination and perseverance, I did well in my college and university entrance exams, winning admission to one of the best colleges in Ankara and to university in Istanbul.
With our luck and ambition, we succeeded in receiving the best education possible, but I knew first hand the difficult lives these children were facing. Early in life, I vowed to help the people if I was ever able to do so. Knowing about the facts of Turkey as a well educated and a loyal Turkish youngman., I am feeling responsible for those people.
I started allocating approximately six hours at the weekeneds educating those kids. Giving them mathematics, physics and chemistry lectures. I took the responsibility of two kids who were at the age of ten and eleven years old. We targeted to make them pass through the private college entrance exam that will be governmentally sponsored all through their education life.
After a seven months of period we succeeded. They entered the colleges. This summer they are going to graduate from high school. I not only lectured them but also became their brother by listening their problems and trying to solve them. We also went to picnics and arranged city sight seeing tours to make them also socially strong citizens. Cekud became the chance I needed to honor my vow.
I consider helping these two kids to be my most significant personal accomplishment to date.
As one of our famous poets Nazim Hikmet mentioned;
"Karanliktan sikayet edecegine bir mum da sen yak"
"Do not complain about the darkness, instead add a candle". My candles are still burning.
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Eight Steps Towards a Better Scholarship Essay
Writing a scholarship essay can be very difficult – especially if you want to do it well. Your essay will need to wow the reader, and speak directly to the goals of that organization, as well as the objectives of that award. If done properly, you will very rarely be able to submit the same application to multiple awards – it is not a one-size-fits-all; most essays will need to be tweaked or completely altered to show the reader that you are deserving of the award above and beyond any of the other participant who also applied.
Read on to find eight steps to help you write a better scholarship essay so that you can get the money you need to fund your international education.
Step 1: Read the Essay Prompt Thoroughly
Many schools and other organizations that give out scholarships will give you a "prompt" or a question which the essay is supposed to address. Read the question or prompt carefully and try to "read between the lines." For example, the prompt you are to answer might be, "Describe a book that made a lasting impression on you and your life and why?" Ask yourself, "Are they really interested in my literary preferences or is there something more to this question?" More than likely, they want to get a better idea of who you are—not only what types of books you like but also what motivates you and what sorts of stories or topics interest you. They may also be interested in getting a sense for how promising a student you are based on the type of book you choose and what you have to say about it.
Tip: Always keep in mind that any scholarship essay question, no matter the topic, should demonstrate your interests, your background, and most importantly, highlight the experiences you've had that fit with the goals and mission of the funding organization.
Instead of being given a prompt, you might be asked to write an essay on the topic of your choosing. Although challenging, this is also an opportunity to demonstrate your creativity. Finally, if anything about the directions aren't clear, don't be afraid to contact someone at the funding organization and ask for clarification.
Step 2: Make a List of Important Points and Keywords to Include
Looking for sample essays?
Check out our Sample Essay section where you can see scholarship essays, admissions essays, and more!
Regardless of the essay prompt, you will want to make sure to include the important and relevant information about your experiences and background that makes you an ideal candidate for the scholarship award. To complete this step, it can be helpful to first research the organization to which you're applying and try to find their mission statement on their website. Circle a few key words from the mission statement and make sure to include those buzzwords in your essay.
Scholarship committees are not only looking for good students, they are often looking for a person that fits their organizational goals. You should gather your other application materials such as transcripts and resumes so you can review your qualifications as well as make note of what is missing in these materials that needs to be included in the essay.
For example, if you're applying for a general academic scholarship, you might want to talk about a specific class you took that really piqued your interest or inspired your current academic and career goals. The committee will see the list of the classes that you took on your transcript but they won't know how a particular class inspired you unless you tell them. The essay is the best place to do this. Your list of important points to make might also include:
- Any academic awards or other honors you've won.
- Any AP or college-level courses you took in high school.
- Any outside courses, internships, or other academic experiences that won't necessarily appear on your transcript.
- Why your experience and the mission of the funding organization match.
- What you plan to major in during college and how you think that major will be useful to your future career goals.
- Any special training or knowledge you have, or a project you completed in school or as an extracurricular activity.
- An example of how you overcame a challenge.
- Your financial circumstances that makes it necessary for you to finance your studies through scholarship money.
The challenge now is to integrate those points that you want the committee to know with an essay that answers the prompt. You can see our example scholarship essays to get a better idea of how to do this.
Step 3: Write an Outline or a Rough Draft
Not everyone likes to make an outline before they begin writing, but in this case it can be very helpful. You can start with your list of important points to begin writing the outline. For many, telling a story is the easiest and most effective way to write a scholarship essay. You can tell the story of how you found your favorite book, and how it has changed and inspired you. Start with large headings in your outline that describes the basic storyline. For example:
- High school composition teacher recommended book
- Read it over one weekend
- Made me see the world around me differently
- Inspired me to pursue a career in social justice
Now you can start filling in the subheadings with points from your previous list:
- High school composition teacher recommended book
- Favorite class in high school
- Class opened my eyes to new ways of thinking
- Teacher noticed my enthusiasm—recommended outside reading
- Read it over one weekend
- Was the first time I was so drawn in by a book, I read it very quickly
- I realized my academic potential beyond getting good grades
- Made me see the world around me differently
- Started to look for jobs in social justice
- Interned for a summer at a law firm doing pro bono work for the poor
- This was a big challenge because I realized you can't help everyone and resources are limited
- Overcame this challenge by knowing that small change can be big, and working hard in a field you are passionate about will inspire you everyday
- Inspired me to pursue a career in social justice
- The book is a constant source of inspiration and will keep me motivated as I pursue my career
- The book will always remind me how people with limited financial resources can still make a huge difference in others' lives
Step 4: Write a Strong Statement that Summarizes Your Points
You will want to include one strong thesis statement that summarizes all the major points you will make in your essay. It is often easy to start writing with this simple statement. Your essay doesn't have to begin or end with the thesis statement, but it should appear somewhere in order to tie all the individual sections together.
For example, your thesis statement might be, "You will find that various experiences from both my academic career and my personal life align very well with your organization's mission: shaping community leaders who are working towards a more just and sustainable world." Starting with this sentence can help you organize your thoughts and main points, and provide you with a direction for your essay. When you've finished your essay, be sure to reflect back on your thesis statement and ask yourself, "Does this essay further explain and support my thesis statement?"
Step 5: Fill in the Missing Parts
Now that you have a thesis statement, an outline, and a list of important points to include, you can begin to fill in the missing parts of your story. The first sentence is particularly important: it should capture the attention of the reader, and motivate him or her to continue reading. We recommend starting your story by painting a vivid picture of an experience about which you will be talking in the essay.
For example: "It is 6 am on a hot day in July, I've already showered and I'm eating breakfast. My classmates are all sleeping in and the sun has yet to awaken, but I'm ready to seize the day, as I couldn't imagine spending my summer any other way but interning at a local law firm that specializes in representing the poor. I work a typical 8-5 day during my summer vacation and nothing has made me happier. But I wouldn't be here if it weren't for one particularly savvy teacher and a little book she gave me to read outside of class."
Step 6: Rewrite, Revise, Rewrite
A good writer rewrites and revises his or her work many, many times. After getting a first draft on paper, take a day or two away from the essay and then come back to it with fresh eyes. Make appropriate edits for content, and pay attention to proper spelling and grammar. If need be, you might want to write an entirely new draft and then integrate the best of both into a final draft. Writing a new draft can inspire you to think of new ideas or a better way to tell your story. Some other tips to think about as you rewrite and revise:
- Make sure it sounds like your voice. You want the scholarship committee to feel like they are getting to know you. If you don't sound authentic, the committee will know. It is better to be yourself than to say what you think the committee wants to hear.
- Strike a balance between modesty and arrogance. You should be proud of your accomplishments, but you don't want to sound arrogant. Don't exaggerate a story; instead be clear about what you did and the impact it had and let that speak for itself.
- Check to make sure you are answering the prompt and fulfilling all other requirements of the essay as directed by the committee, such as font preference and word count limits.
- Don't just list your accomplishments; describe them in detail and also tell the reader how you felt during these experiences.
- A scholarship essay is not a dissertation. You don't need to impress the committee with big words, especially if you're not completely clear if you're using them correctly. Simplicity and clarity should be the goals.
- Make sure your essay will be read from the beginning to the end. Committee members won't dedicate much time to reading the essay, so you need to make sure they are given motivation to read the entire thing. If you are telling a story, don't reveal the end of the story until the end.
- Check to make sure the buzzwords from the mission statement appear. It is easy to forget the scholarship committee's goals as you write. Return to their mission statement and look for spots to place keywords from the statement. Be sure, however, that you're not copying the mission statement word-for-word.
Step 7: Have someone else read your essay
Ideally, you could give your essay to a teacher or college admissions counselor who is familiar with scholarship essays and the college admission process. If such a person is not available, virtually anyone with good reading and writing skills can help make your essay better. When your editor is done reading and you've looked over his or her notes, be sure to ask the following questions:
- Was the story interesting and did it hold your attention?
- Were there any parts that were confusing?
- Did you find any spelling or grammar errors?
- Does the essay sound like my voice?
- Does the essay respond appropriately to the prompt?
- Is there anything you would have done differently or something you thought was missing?
After having an editor (or two or three) look over your draft, it is time again to revise and rewrite.
Step 8: Refine the Final Draft
Once you feel satisfied with the draft, review it one more time and pay particular attention to structure, spelling, grammar, and whether you fulfilled all the required points dictated by the committee. If you are over the required word count, you will need to make edits so that you are within the limit. If you are significantly under the word count, consider adding a supporting paragraph.
Essay Writing Center
Misconception: No one actually reads your scholarship essay! – Wrong!
Fact: Your essay is the key to your scholarship application. It is an opportunity to demonstrate to the selection committee that you are a well-rounded individual, that you are more than your GPA, that you are a strong writer, and it gives you a chance to talk about your experiences and qualifications in greater detail than what appears on your resume or transcripts.