Top MBA Essay Questions

Read Time:
Posted on:
March 19, 2024
Updated on:
March 22, 2024
Share this article
a man n a suit and tie thinking about mba essay questions.

MBA essay questions and answers assist MBA application essays. Knowing the MBA essay questions or prompts helps you understand what top MBA programs looking for, and reading sample replies can help you brainstorm your own answers. MBA essays are important. Thus, many students hire MBA essay writers to help them write these essays. Others can use MBA admission consulting for essay draft critique. MBA essay questions are usually the same, but you may get a surprise. 

This article will provide  questions for MBA essay and how to answer MBA essay questions. We’ll also discuss prompts from prominent MBA schools and sample answers.

What do MBA essay admissions committees look for?

Grades and test scores don’t necessarily show applicants’ skills and experience. MBA essays offer a more complete picture of applicants’ personalities, interests, backgrounds, and goals to admissions committees.

Admissions departments evaluate applicants’ ability to meet program requirements through essays. Essay replies are used to assess pupils’ writing skills and determine if they have the written communication skills to succeed professionally and academically.

Common MBA Essay Questions

Many top business schools require short MBA essay questions. The MBA essay differs from the statement of purpose and personal statement, which focus on personal reasons and career aspirations. Most MBA programs have admissions committee-selected essay prompts.

MBA essay questions and prompts may change each year, but most institutions adhere to what works and ask all applicants about their personal reasons. Why do you desire an MBA is a typical essay question. Such questions aim to learn more about the applicant’s personal, professional, and academic life. These crucial questions help admissions committees assess your ability to create a short, intelligent, and compelling essay and your suitability for the MBA program. 

The essay is crucial to many programs’ applications and can determine if you need MBA interview prep. Many MBA essay topics are comparable to MBA interview questions and ask applicants why they want to pursue an MBA, why they chose a school, and how their strengths will benefit the MBA school.

Many top business school programs ask the same questions each year, and the admissions committee looks for specific traits and strengths in applicants. We’ll look at top MBA programs’ essay questions and sample replies below.

Harvard MBA Essay Questions

Only one MBA essay is required for admission to Harvard Business School. This year, the school has a 900-word restriction. However, 500-to-700 words are allowed. The Harvard Business School admissions committee values the essay, thus it can affect your application. Below, we’ve compiled Harvard MBA personal statement samples to give you more ideas.

Prompt: What else would you like us to know about you as we look over the application you submitted for the Harvard Business School MBA Program?


People have often said that I can’t commit to anything. Being too flaky of changing my mind or hopping from one opportunity to the next or one hobby to the next. The way this has always been said has been critical and sad. It’s always set off my defence mechanism because I never got why having a lot of hobbies or pursuing them would be bad. 

Many people didn’t think I should apply to this MBA program when I did. People who thought I wouldn’t be able to stick with this program. I decided to get an MBA, though, after I learned something very important about myself. I’d like to share that lesson with you.

My flakiness comes from how I was raised as a child. Like all kids whose parents were in the service, I was moved around a lot and went from one school to another. People don’t learn to put down roots; instead, they get used to moving around and starting over every time. This makes a rhythm and also makes you stronger and more flexible. Giving people the drive to see things through when they really matter does grow. 

As I got older and applied to college, my family gave me some shocking feedback when the programs I applied to turned me down. Their answer was to shrug and say that I wouldn’t have been able to commit to a four-year degree anyhow. That’s why it was best. I believed them at first, but in the end, my choice not to try again made me feel bad. I got into school after reapplying.

Throughout school and after graduation, I moved between jobs, never satisfied. Again, it made me feel better about how other people saw me and how I saw myself. I wasn’t able to commit. I did not have a plan. It turned out not to be me, though. Unfortunately, I wasn’t happy with my job because it wasn’t a good fit for me. Really, I didn’t want that. I gave up my job. 

I bought a plane ticket to go on a year-long trip abroad. I really thought about what I wanted to do with my life and what I didn’t want to do during this short year. That’s when I realized I needed an MBA. My subconscious had always considered it, and now it was necessary.

It changed how I saw myself as someone who couldn’t commit. I’m not a flake. I can change. When things go wrong, I know how to get back up and face the next goal. I’m ready for the task of going to business school and getting my MBA. I know I can try again and achieve if I don’t get in the first time. I think the fact that I seemed unable to commit was really a sign that I wasn’t happy. My past hasn’t made me weak; it’s made me strong and smart enough to do well in business. (494 words)

Stanford MBA Essay Questions

All people who want to apply to Stanford Business School must send two MBA essays. Both essays require a concise essay approach due to their 500-word maximum. How would you answer the question “What matters most to you, and why?” in Essay A for the Stanford MBA? The question for Essay B is easy: “Why Stanford?” Both of these questions appear to be straightforward, yet they might actually be quite challenging to answer. Sample solution to first Stanford MBA essay question below.

Prompt: What’s most important to you, and why? We want you to think about this writing a lot and write from the heart. Help us understand why what you’ve picked is important to you. One thing you could think about is why this is so important to you. What people, ideas, or events have changed the way you see things?


In both work and life, I’ve learned how important it is to have direction, a reason for doing something, and goals. And I’ve found that organization is the key to direction. Putting so much value on the organization might seem odd, but I think it’s important to be organized so that we don’t get disorganized. When things are disorganized, you can’t plan anything and reach your goals. Nothing but aimlessness and purposelessness grows from it.

When I was a kid, my grandfather taught me not to like mess. He and my grandma ran a hardware store and handyman business together for more than 25 years. The hardware store office where Grandma worked was as clean as a church. She was in charge of the books, hired and fired employees, and dealt with customers, sales, and wages. She was the organization that held the company together for many years. 

The shop where my grandfather worked could be in an episode of Hoarders. There are boxes all over the place on the shelves, tools strewn out on chairs and tables, and sawdust and wood shavings all over the floor. Even though this crazy person was a mess, he was never lost. What he needed was always there for him. It was clear that he loved and was good at woodwork and making things. His works of art sold out of the shop, and customers really valued his knowledge. They got married for business reasons, and it worked out.

Everything changed when my grandmother had a sudden heart attack and died. The people who were already working there did their best to fill in for my grandmother, but eventually, business started to slowly go downhill. Not being able to keep track of time well was a problem for my grandfather. He fell behind on work without my grandma telling him to and wouldn’t go into her office. 

When I did it myself, I found a clean but well-organized office. It was easy for me to get my grandmother’s old job, but not her old part. My grandfather wouldn’t let anyone rearrange his shop because he said it was set up the way he liked it. I chose to try a different method after some pointless fights. I asked him to show me how he organized things and explain it to me.

I believed that the company he had worked for for a long time would fail if we couldn’t figure out how to combine his creative mind with an organized structure. He told me to learn how he thinks so I could keep the part of the business that belonged to my grandfather. In all her hyper-organized glory, my grandma had left us with everything we needed to keep going. If my grandfather died, no one else could take over his business and carry on his name. There was no way to get there or set up.

My grandfather spent the whole day showing me how his system worked. I stuck close behind him and made notes and labels. I wrote down his organizational method, even though no one but he understood it, so I could keep the spirit of his business goals and direction. But I wouldn’t be able to do his job if I didn’t know how everything was set up. (496 words)

Kellogg MBA Essay Questions

Kellogg Business School’s essay questions are mostly about principles and being a good leader. Here is one of the writing questions that Kellogg Business School gives to people who want to get an MBA, along with an MBA essay example of how to answer it. You can only write 450 words for each of the MBA essay questions.

Prompt: Kellogg’s goal is to teach, train, and motivate brave leaders who make things better in the long run. Give an example from the last few months of when you were a leader and added value. What were the tough parts? What did you learn?


Not long ago, I got my first chance to take on a full leadership role at a job. For many years, I’ve worked as an assistant manager at a restaurant. For the past eight months, I’ve been the assistant manager. I have learned a lot of useful skills about how to lead and handle a team through this job. But my boss has always been there for me and helped me learn how to be a good leader. It’s always been her job to have the last word and lead when needed. 

A few months ago, she was put on short-term leave to treat an unplanned injury. Since our operation is usually short-staffed, I was put in charge of everything for a short time. Being able to jump out of an aeroplane without a skydiving teacher on your back felt strange at first. It was scary, and I needed some time to get used to it. Of course, it wasn’t long before the first real test of my leadership skills came up.

Soon after our boss went on leave, there was a fight between the waiters and staff that wouldn’t go away. At first, it was because of scheduling issues: two waiters wanted the best jobs but didn’t want to work with each other. The younger employees often said that the more experienced workers were controlling and used their experience to get their way at work. 

The conflict between people was affecting the rest of the staff, but no agreement had been made. I tried to solve it the same way my boss did when making the plan or giving out sections. We turned a corner during a very busy shift when I asked the top employee to help out at the lounge bar. I saw how good she was at working the bar. An idea came up.

It was my idea for her to work behind the bar full-time. Both she and the other staff could keep the shifts they wanted, and they wouldn’t have to talk to each other there. Plus, the top employee wouldn’t lose out on tips, and the rest of the staff wouldn’t be stuck in the middle. 

No one had thought about how well she would do behind the bar before, so she hadn’t been put there yet. When I talked to her, I learned how much she loved being a barmaid. I was glad to hear from the other workers that their shifts went better when they didn’t feel like they were being “supervised” by the other senior waiter.

When the boss got back to work, the disagreement between the two people had ended; both were happy with their new jobs, and the rest of the staff seemed less stressed out about the whole thing. Managing this disagreement taught me how important it is to look for new ways to solve problems, keep the lines of communication open and honest, and set clear goals with both staff members. It also taught me to pay close attention to how my staff acts. (499 words)

Wharton MBA Essay Questions

  • How would the Wharton MBA help you professionally?
  • Where can we see leadership in your background?
  • Describe a personal trait or background that will help the Admission Committee get to know you.
  • Describe a significant event or achievement not on your application. What will you add to Wharton with what you learned?

UC Berkeley Haas MBA Essay Questions

  • Why and what makes you feel alive when you do it?
  • How will getting an MBA help you reach your short- and long-term work goals?
  • The Berkeley MBA program makes leaders who follow our four defining principles of leadership. Introduce yourself to the admissions committee in a few words. Then, say which leadership principle speaks to you the most and how you have shown that principle in your personal or work life. (Video essay)
  • If you have any experience or contact in the areas of diversity, fairness, inclusion, justice, and belonging, please let me know. This could be from work, personal, or community groups.

Columbia MBA Essay Questions

  • Columbia Business School Master Classes epitomize theory-practice integration. Give a personal example of how practical experience taught you more than theory.
  • Why are you getting an MBA now, given your post-MBA and long-term job goals? Additionally, why is Columbia Business School right for you?
  • We know your career path from your résumé and referrals. What are your career ambitions for the next 3-5 years, and what is your dream job?
  • How will you capitalize on being “at the very centre of business”?
  • Please describe a team failure you participated in. If given another chance, what would you change?  

Booth MBA Essay Questions

  • Talk about a time when the feedback you got surprised you. What did they say, and why did they surprise you?
  • How did you pick your most recent job or internship? How did it change your plans for the future? What about the MBA from Chicago Booth makes you think it’s the best next step for your job right now?
  • Students at Chicago Booth are pushed to do things and take chances they might not do anywhere else. Please tell us about a time you took a chance and what you learned from it.

MBA Essay Questions – FAQs

Q1: Are there annual changes in the MBA essay questions?

Ans. While some institutions often switch up the MBA essay questions, others stick to the same ones year after year. Previous MBA essay questions are frequently available online and can be a useful resource for applicants wishing to get a sense of the type of questions that might be asked in the future. If at all possible, get in touch with instructors and existing students to talk about essay ideas and admission requirements.

Q2: How to answer MBA essay questions?

Ans. To answer MBA essay questions well, address each part. You should answer everything and speak honestly. Keep to the word count restriction. Write concisely and to the point.

Q3: Do I need to write the MBA essay?

Ans. Indeed, the MBA essay is usually an important part of the application process for any MBA program. For the best MBA schools, the essay is a very important part of your total evaluation. 

Picture of Lara Ramos
Lara Ramos
I'm Lara Ramos, a seasoned Blog Author. I've found immense joy in guiding students through the complexities of their thesis and dissertations.

Table of Contents