Updated: Mar 13
This is our third blog post in the tripart "Why" question series. We have talked about the "Why do you want to do an MBA?" and "Why now?" questions in the previous posts and we are concluding this series by sharing what you should include in the "Why Our School?" essay. Read on and find out what Faith Career's Study Abroad Expert & co-founder Tanmay Singh has to say.
Now that you have clearly written about "Why MBA?" and "Why Now?", it is time to focus on an often-overlooked part of the application. Yes, it is the "Why Our School?" essay. You have to pay enough attention to this essay because the admissions committee is eager to know your reasons for selecting and applying to their school especially when you had the access and means of applying to other schools.
This is especially true (and therefore, far more important) for international applicants. The adcom is duly aware that such applicants typically apply to multiple schools during the admission cycle. Whether you're a domestic student or an international applicant, you need to clearly articulate your specific reasons for your interest in that particular school.
#1) Be highly specific
Refrain from providing generic reasons. The more specific you can be, the better it is. If there is a certain course/s offered by your target school that piques your interest, highlight that by demonstrating how it can help you to accelerate your career trajectory. If the school of your choice offers a gamut of electives (as a 'specialization' or a 'concentration') that can accelerate your career by leaps and bounds, clearly write about that. If you plan to get into entrepreneurship post-MBA and the school has an accelerator (such as SKEMA Ventures) or an entrepreneurship club (such as ISB's Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club), provide brief but specific details of your plan to capitalize on these resources offered by the school.
#2) Be deeply personal
While it is strongly recommended to visit the campus of the business schools that you would be applying to, it's not always possible for every applicant to do so (especially for international applicants). Business schools regularly conduct recruitment events both online and in-person in different cities around the world. Therefore, if you have had a chance to attend events conducted by the university in your city and interacted with and learnt more about the school from a student recruiter (or an admissions committee member) that you met, talk about that in your essay. If you attended online events and learnt new & relevant information pertaining to the MBA program and the school, include that in your essays. For example, visit this link to learn more about the virtual and on-campus admission events which MIT hosts. Request current students and alumni of your target school/s for in-person or virtual coffee chats. You're likely to gain a lot of insider information by talking to these two groups of people.
#3) Be passionately curious
Dig deeper and go beyond the surface by reading the recent news about the school - you can find this either by a quick Google search or by reading dedicated e-newspapers and/or newsletters which are regularly published by the business school. If you are early in the process of applying to the B-school, you can subscribe to the newsletter and keep receiving latest news - you might want to include some of it in your essays. For instance, you can create your MIT Sloan profile and receive customized emails about admissions events, program updates, monthly newsletters, and application tips. Similarly, you can create your profile for Harvard Business School as well and receive personalized application-related information from them. Some examples of student-led newspapers include
The Harbus - published by Harvard Business School students (www.harbus.org),
Chicago Business - published by Booth School of Business (www.chibus.com),
School News published by Columbia Business School -(https://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/newsroom/topics/4/school-news)
In addition to this, search for and read admissions blogs published by the university (for example, London Business School's Admissions Blog - https://admissionsblog.london.edu/ or Tuck's TUCK 360 - https://www.tuck.dartmouth.edu/mba/blog) or by a student-run club (such as UBC's MM program's 'Life Stories' - https://blogs.ubc.ca/saudermmstudentlife/ or Smith's Student Blog - https://smith.queensu.ca/mba_programs/mba/blog/index.php)
#4) Be active
Most business schools have the names and contact details of their student ambassadors published on their website. Usually, they have a short introduction of the student as well. Find common grounds through the ambassador's profile (either via the introduction or via their LinkedIn profile) and ask them for a virtual or in-person coffee chat. Even if you're unable to find similarities, ask them for an informational interview with a genuine interest in the school. People are able to detect genuineness. Switch on your device's camera during the call (coffee chat) - this would help the other person to remember you. It can lead to lasting professional relationships and can permit you to communicate your interest.
Below are some success stories that you might find inspirational ✨
Smriti’s journey from Ambedkar University to London School of Economics (LSE) –https://www.faithcareer.org/post/progress-story-smriti-s-mpp-offer-letter-with-35-scholarship
Nikhil’s story of bagging offers from 5 B-Schools in the UK with scholarship, without a GMAT score - https://www.faithcareer.org/post/5-mba-offer-letters-in-4-months-without-gmat
Yash’s story of making it to Top 3 Canadian Universities (York University [Schulich School of Business], University of British Columbia [Sauder] and McGill University [Desautels]) - https://www.faithcareer.org/post/progress-story-yashashwat-s-mim-application-journey
Do you want to start your success story as well?
Writing your B-school essay or Statement of Purpose (SOP)/Personal Statement for engineering schools can be challenging for reasons more than one. But you don't have to do it all alone. Faith Career has seasoned experts who can help you with your essays. Reach out to us today and let us help you realize your dream.