Sample Business School Essays
Since many business school admissions officers encourage applicants to “write less, say more,” it is important to communicate your background and career ambitions in a concise and clear way. The essay gives admissions officers an opportunity to learn who you are, where you're going, what you have done and why their school is right for you. Use this small space to give the admissions officers a deeper sense of who you are by answering the prompt with brevity.
This section contains three sample business school essays:
- Business School Essay One - The Business of Recovery
- Business School Essay Two - Leadership in Action
- Business School Essay Three - Repair and Restore
The Business of Recovery — Sample Essay One
Prompt: What are your career goals? What skills do you expect to gain from studying at ABC Business School and how will they contribute to your professional career? (500 words).
Watching my brother transform from a man who had lost his ability to walk to a man who can play basketball with my father kindled my fascination of the physical therapy world. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates the field of physical therapy to grow faster than average in the upcoming years. I hope to join this field during an exciting time of growth, furthering the rehabilitation of those who have been injured.
Following graduation from ABC Business School, I intend to serve a marketing team in a local physical therapy company, such as Ridgeview Physical Therapy. My short-term goal is to lead a team, furthering success in the Ridgeview area. Due to the popular physical therapy company thirty miles from Ridgeview, much of the local population is unaware of the quality services Ridgeview Physical Therapy has to offer. I hope to increase visits by 40 percent in the first 5 years of my employment. My long-term goal includes extending the company’s reach into surrounding cities, and eventually beyond national barriers, becoming a global marketing manager.
I expect to gain skills and experiences from ABC Business School that will propel my short and long-term goals. I hope to develop an experiential and diverse learning experience and have the opportunity to interact with different groups of people to learn from their business insights and endeavours. From ABC Business School, I seek the tools and resources needed to further engage in my marketing knowledge, perform professional strategic analyses, and re-evaluate my past work experiences. I look forward to taking courses from Professor Jim. W. Reid, who has published the research of the success of Matthews and Marketing in his book, “Matthews Commerce,” which has helped me continue my career this far. I also look forward to taking the unique classes taught by Professor Rachel E. Davis, introducing me to the physical therapy world and enriching my business skills in that area.
When my brother’s car accident in 2011 caused immobility in his left leg, he never thought he would be able to play his favorite sport again. David Andrews, a 1994 graduate from ABC Business School, ensured that that would not come to pass. I spoke with Andrews about his journey, and he told me that it was through the opportunities and education he received from the professors and students at ABC Business School that helped him open his own practice. I hope to follow in Andrews’s footsteps. With the passion I have for the success of Ridgeview Physical Therapy, and the determination I learned from watching my brother, all I need to complete my goals is the knowledge available to me through an MBA at ABC Business School. I look forward to completing my career aspirations using the tools received from ABC Business School to contribute to my professional career.
The world of physical therapy is growing, and with my skills in marketing, I hope to grow the local Ridgeview services across the globe.
In this essay, the applicant is assigned to answer the prompt in approximately 500 words. The admissions officer expects a clear and concise essay that does not veer off the question and exemplifies quality writing, grammar, and punctuation. In questions similar to these, the admissions officers are looking for:
- Student’s understanding and knowledge in answering questions: The writer explains his short and long-term career goals, referencing the future of the career (Bureau of Labor Statistics) and quantifying his goals (Increase by 40 percent within the first 5 years).
- A deeper look into who the applicant is: Writer shares personal information that also relates to answering the question (brother in physical therapy). Make sure that any personal information you share does not veer off of the question that needs to be answered.
- Proper research on the school to adequately answer the second question: Student mentions names of professors who have demonstrated help in the past (professor’s business research book) giving credibility to the student that he believes they will be able to help him in the future. Avoid flattery and only speak of the school in a way that shows proper research and answers the question presented.
Leadership in Action — Sample Essay Two
Prompt: Present evidence of your leadership capacity and/or potential. (Approx. 550 words)
Nancy, the CEO of Jasmine Publishing House, bought me a coffee and told me I should invest in warm gloves as we sat down at a corner diner for what would be a game-changing business meeting. As the leading publishing house in Europe, Nancy informed me that JPH was interested in closing a multi-million dollar deal with our fashion magazine, Zoelle, provided we changed the magazine's appearance to attract a broader European audience.
As production manager, my job was to lead and supervise a staff of 30 to match Nancy's vision, working closely with the design team, photographers, production staff and marketing team. After three weeks of heavy brainstorming, we developed a fresh appearance for the magazine.
I invited Nancy to a meeting with me and three of our executive producers. I shared with her the strategy we had created in order to solve our appearance problem, as well as estimated costs and complications. Nancy agreed that the direction our magazine was going fit well with her vision and audience, and that JPH would be happy to work with us within the next week.
Although the team was excited to accept the offer, I was concerned that we were not prepared to complete the project so quickly. Though the executive producers did not understand, as our production team was to begin work on the next issue the following day, I explained that there may include deep financial consequences if we rush into the process. I wanted to ensure that JPH received a consistent layout from Zoelle magazine. Nancy agreed to wait until the upcoming issue was complete before beginning work on the new look.
We began work the following Tuesday, after the latest issue was produced. I collaborated with an eight member marketing team to develop new branding for our magazine and mediated this branding with the design team, ensuring that it was able to blend well with their ideas and insights based on the first meeting with Nancy. I led the operation of the first issue to be published via JPH, supervising 30 employees.
After the issue was published, our sales increased by 42 percent in the first week. After leading the Zoelle team to a business deal close and a fresh start, I learned that with the proper leadership, a staff of varied talents, insights and opinions can work closely together to produce a magazine that continues to increase its sells each issue. My initiative helped provide Zoelle with its largest new contract that year, a $2 million deal. Customers from Europe and the United States commented with positive remarks on the new look, showing interest in the replacement of the former look, which had been being published for seven years.
After this leadership experience, I was able to see my potential as a leader. I can communicate effectively with all members of a group and help connect them with one another to make a larger picture. I protect my business discernment even against an upset crowd, and am able to properly persuade others to understand other perspectives. Through learning more about leadership every day with my work in Zoelle, I hope to continue to strengthen these abilities and witness the success they can bring to media production.
In this essay, the applicant was asked to detail her leadership abilities through the application of a relevant example. She was asked to do this in approximately 550 words, using concise language and proper grammar and punctuation. In questions similar to these, the admissions officers are looking for:
- Applicant's ability to share leadership qualities with a relevant example: This writer shared leadership qualities of communication (brainstorming with different staffs and helping them connect their ideas together), listening (brainstorming and understanding staff concerns), delegating (ensuring each team did what was supposed to be done), and managing (managed and supervised a staff of 30) through the use of an example from her work with Zoelle Magazine.
- Proof of a potential growth in these leadership skills: The writer hopes to “continue to strengthen” her leadership skills. She provides examples of how she learned from previous leadership roles.
- How these skills will help further your career: The writer used an example from her current career and concluded her essay with a look into the potential of leadership in her field.
Repair and Restore — Sample Essay Three
Prompt: Describe a challenging situation you have faced in the past. How did you overcome the challenge? (450 Words)
I looked across my celebratory cheesecake and beamed up at my new coworkers. I couldn't believe I had finally landed my dream job. All of the senior editors were having lunch in the cafe across the street from the bakery where the finance team and marketing team shared dessert. I had been hired as a budget analyst at my favorite magazine. My job was to work alongside the business manager to help create a more healthy marriage between the finance and marketing departments, thus improving our sales and workplace environment. On my way home, I reflected on my relief in finally having an exciting and secure career.
Just three months later, we met at the same bakery where I had celebrated my new job. Every department from our small, close-knit staff was present. As the publication manager began to tell us the news, I remember how our faces fell. Our publication company was going out of business, and every publication was to be shut down. She explained that they had tried to find another publishing company without success.
Not only did I feel as though I failed the company, I also knew that I, as well as the other 17 employees, was out of a job. We went back to our offices and packed up our things. Writers and designers were frantically calling around, asking for open positions. An employee from the finance department began tweaking his resume, and the marketing department apologized to the publication manager and editor-in-chief, who responded graciously.
I had to leave my apartment not long after losing my job. I stayed with a friend on the north side of town as I tried to find a job in a shrinking economic suburb. It took six months to find a position, and though I had to move and leave behind my dream, I found a new way to work toward my new dream.
From this experience, I learned the importance of adaptability. Only through my ability to embrace the change happening around me was I able to find a new job and start a new life with new visions and goals. Applying for my MBA would have sounded bizarre to the disheartened, homeless idealist who lost her dream. But now, after finding in me the strength to persevere, I am able to take what I learned from my previous job and pair it with what I learn from the university. This knowledge will help me ensure that the future companies I work with will not have to endure a similar fallout.
However, if there comes a time when I am again involved in a lost company, I know how to repair. I know how to restore.
In this essay, the applicant was asked to recall a challenging situation to which the writer overcame the boundaries. The writer was asked to do this in approximately 450 words, using concise language and proper grammar and punctuation. In questions similar to these, the admissions officers are looking for:
- Applicant's ability to identify a challenging moment in her life: This writer uses a relevant example of a challenging situation, describing the challenge of losing a job, losing housing, and having to move to a different city.
- Examples of how the applicant overcame these challenges: The writer cites her “adaptability” as the reason why she was able to overcome this challenge. Instead of giving up, the applicant tells of applying for other jobs, even ones that were out of her comfort zone and in another city.
- Brief insights to what the applicant learned from the challenge: This writer learned how to maintain strength, perseverance and adaptability in challenging situations. The applicant tells of continuing the learning process in her MBA program and allowing it to help future companies.
Here are our top five tips for writing a business school admissions essay:
- State specific reasons as to why you are a good “fit” for the school, rather than simply stating “I am the ideal candidate for your program.” Why are you the ideal candidate?
- Use real life examples in your essay. This will help to bring your essay to life.
- If you’ve taken an unorthodox path to business school, don’t be afraid to play that up. Business schools appreciate those who are unafraid to take risks.
- Thoroughly research your target schools in order to have a clear idea of how to appeal to each of them. Every school is looking for something different in their students.
- Avoid flattery. A good school knows that it’s good, and telling them so just wastes valuable space in your essay. Use that space to talk yourself up, instead.
Although knowing all the right places to go to find scholarships isn’t as easy as it sounds, applying for scholarships to study abroad shouldn’t have to be a mammoth task.
With our scholarship applications FAQ, you’ll find all the information you need on applying for scholarships, with advice on where to find scholarships, how to submit your application and what to include. Good luck!
- What types of scholarships are available?
- What are my chances of gaining a scholarship?
- Can I get a scholarship for graduate study?
- Where do I go to find scholarship opportunities?
- Can I apply for a scholarship before being accepted into a university?
- How do I apply for international scholarships?
- How do I know if I am eligible to apply?
- What should I submit with my scholarship application?
- What should I include in my scholarship essay?
- When is the best time to apply for study abroad scholarships?
- How do I get help with my scholarship application letter?
- What are scholarship scams and how do I avoid them?
- Further questions?
1. What types of scholarships are available?
There are a huge range of scholarship opportunities available for university students across the world, ranging from partial scholarships which cover some tuition fees, to full scholarships which cover the duration of your studies. The majority of scholarships cover tuition fees only, leaving students to cover their own living costs.
There are also many different types of scholarships for international students from certain regions, or even students studying in a certain field. For instance, many students from developing countries, including parts of Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, can apply for specific scholarships, as can many students from all over the world looking to study in a STEM-related field (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
2. What are my chances of gaining a scholarship?
Don’t be fooled, scholarships are highly competitive. After all, there are many students around the world trying to get funding for their studies. Although some scholarships depend on outstanding academic records (‘merit-based scholarships’), your chances of success are often determined by the quality of your application, and whether or not you are in financial need. A number of universities in the US, including Harvard and MIT for example, offer ‘need-blind’ admissions policies, meaning that all students’ applications are considered regardless of their financial situation, with tuition fees then covered at least partly by the school.
There are a number of things you can do to improve your chances of gaining a scholarship. When applying for scholarships, you should make sure to include all the documentation requested, and dedicate plenty of time to writing your application. In particular, it’s important to clearly communicate your motivations for studying and how gaining a scholarship will support your ambitions. Stay within the deadlines and, most importantly, show the scholarship providers you have the potential to do great things!
3. Can I get a scholarship for graduate study?
Yes! In fact, graduate scholarships to study abroad tend to be even more common than undergraduate scholarships, due to the fact that universities and governments are often keen to attract highly skilled graduate students, often using graduate scholarships as an incentive.
Dependent on your level of study, there will be different opportunities available. While some scholarship schemes are open to all students, there are also dedicated master’s scholarships, PhD scholarships, postdoctoral scholarships and academic research scholarships. See the next question for information on where to find scholarships.
QS also offers US$1.2 million worth of graduate scholarships every year, exclusively available to attendees of the QS World Grad School Tour and QS World MBA Tour. If you’re interested in applying for one of our scholarships, register for an event close to you and then complete the scholarship application process.
4. Where do I go to find scholarship opportunities?
To find scholarships you are eligible for, it is advised to first look at the information provided by your chosen university. Funding information will be listed on the university’s website or in the prospectus, and this is also where you’ll find the relevant contact information should you have any questions about scholarship applications.
In many cases you will not be able to apply for university scholarships until you have gained acceptance onto a program at the university. If you are relying on a scholarship for funding, please see question five below.
As well as university scholarships (funded by your university), there may also be a range of external scholarships you can apply for, such as government scholarships or scholarships funded by organizations or charities with an invested interest in higher education.
To look for these scholarships you can either use a scholarships search service such as InternationalScholarships.com or FastWeb.com, or you can conduct a more thorough search by visiting official consular/governmental websites for yourself and tracking down any information provided on international student funding. Often current scholarships will be listed together, for example as on the government of Canada’s dedicated scholarships website, but sometimes they are trickier to find, so be patient!
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International scholarships listings:
5. Can I apply for a scholarship before being accepted into a university?
If you’re relying on scholarship funding in order to be able to study, you should let the school in question know of your situation. Some schools offer only ‘fully funded’ places, meaning all applicants must have sufficient funding in place. But many allow you to apply to a program before gaining scholarships, on the understanding that you let them know as soon as possible if you have to reject the place due to lack of funding . If you do not get the scholarship, you should still have time to withdraw your university application or find an alternative method of funding before the start of term.
6. How do I apply for international scholarships?
In most cases, schools, governments and external organizations will list their scholarship opportunities online, with details of how to apply found alongside these listings. Most will allow you to submit your application online, accompanied by any supporting documentation you are asked to provide (see below).
In rarer cases, the scholarship provider will specify an address for you to send your application in a printed format. If you have any specific queries about applying for scholarships, contact the provider using the contact information found on official websites.
For more application advice, as well as information on finding relevant scholarship programs, please see our Scholarships Advice site section.
7. How do I know if I am eligible to apply?
You will know if you are eligible to apply for a particular scholarship by reading the details on eligibility found on the provider’s website. Eligibility may depend on nationality, if the scholarship in question is targeted at students from specific regions. For subject-specific scholarships, the program you are enrolling on will also affect your eligibility.
In most cases, university scholarships are only open to students who have already been accepted onto a program at that particular university. Government scholarships will also have designated funds for domestic students, as well as separate funds for international students – so make sure you have found the correct scholarship scheme before applying.
Other common eligibility requirements include good grades at prior level of study, a degree from a reputed university (for graduate scholarships), and proficiency in English (e.g. TOEFL/IELTS, for English-language programs).
8. What should I submit with my scholarship application?
As well as a completed application form, which will include information about yourself and your contact details, you may also be asked to provide the following documentation to support your application:
- A transcript of grades
- Letter(s) of recommendation
- An essay on a given topic
For some ‘need-based’ university scholarships in the US, applicants will also be asked to submit a ‘Free Application for Federal Student Aid’ (FAFSA) to establish whether they are in need of financial aid.
9. What should I include in my scholarship essay?
The simple answer would be: anything that makes you stand out. Anything relevant to your studies, that is! The majority of scholarship providers want to know why they should fund you rather than any other applicant, so use your essay as a chance to prove your worth – mention your academic achievements, your ambitions and your interests and how they relate to the program you are applying for.
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10. When is the best time to apply for study abroad scholarships?
Many study abroad scholarships have similar deadlines, which often depend on the start dates of the academic year in the relevant country. For fall admission, scholarships for international students can be found up until the late summer months, and for winter admission you’ll often have until late in the fall to apply. For exact dates, be sure to check the details provided on the website of the scholarship provider and note them down in your calendar so as not to miss a key deadline.
11. How do I get help with my scholarship application letter?
If you need help gathering information about particular scholarship programs, you should get in contact with the scholarship provider directly. If you want advice and guidance on making your application a good one, see our Admissions Advice site section.
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12. What are scholarship scams and how do I avoid them?
To common way of determining scholarship scams is to ask yourself if the scholarship sounds simply too good to be true. If the application process seems too easy, or if you have to pay to apply, you should be wary. If a website is offering a ‘guaranteed scholarship’, or you receive an unsolicited email, you should be very skeptical.
If you are worried about the authenticity of a scholarship, conduct an online search to see if there is any more information online about the same scholarship. If there is very little information, or the information that is provided is somewhat vague or unclear, walk away!