The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business Essay Analysis 2020–2021

The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business Essay Analysis 2019–2020 - mbaMissionThe application essay questions for the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University give candidates an opportunity to add some detail and depth to their profiles beyond the statistics and other basic data conveyed in the rest of their application. The school’s first required essay is a rather traditional career goals statement, and for the second essay, applicants must share a significant achievement from their past and explain how the experience has equipped them to be an additive member of the Fisher MBA community. If needed, a 250-word supplemental essay is also available for candidates with unusual or unclear elements in their profiles. All aspiring Fisher MBAs must complete a video interview soon after submitting their application, and although this is not technically an essay, we offer tips on preparing for it as well in our complete essay analysis, which follows.

You will be required to complete two written essay responses. The essay questions give you the opportunity to present yourself more fully to our MBA Admissions Committee and to provide insight into your experiences, goals, and thought processes.

ESSAY TOPIC 1: What are your short-term and long-term goals? How/why will an MBA help you achieve those goals? (Maximum words: 500)

The Fisher admissions committee is hardly breaking any new ground with this essay prompt. Like all MBA programs, Fisher is interested in hearing where you see yourself going after you graduate and how you believe a business degree will equip you to fulfill your vision. Because this essay question covers several of the main components of a traditional personal statement, we encourage you to download a free copy of the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, in which we offer detailed advice on approaching these topics, along with multiple illustrative examples.

ESSAY TOPIC 2: Please tell us about the accomplishment you are most proud of. How will this experience allow you to contribute a unique perspective to the Fisher community? (Maximum words: 400)

We imagine that at this point in your life, you have achieved a number of things both personal and professional that you could use as fodder for an application essay. However, your goal here is not simply to impress the admissions committee with the scale or impact of your accomplishment but to offer one that best fits the prompt. This means you will need to select one that was truly meaningful for you on a profound level and that also left with you with a belief, mind-set, or understanding that would make you a valuable member of the Fisher network. The school does not stipulate whether the achievement you discuss should be from your career or your personal life, so thoroughly consider all your possibilities to identify the one that is most appropriate for this submission. Although sharing a non-work-related accomplishment in this essay could serve as a nice complement to your discussion of your career goals in Essay 1, do not feel that this is strictly necessary. What is most important is that the story you present clearly conveys your values (why you feel most proud of this achievement in particular) and explains how your takeaways have molded you into the kind of person Fisher would want in its ranks.   

We would recommend using only the first 100–150 or so words of this essay to describe your chosen experience, so that you will have sufficient leeway in which to then clearly reveal what you learned from it and how it has equipped you to contribute to the Fisher community in a substantial way. Do your best in this limited space to “show,” or really spell out, how things unfolded—rather than just stating the accomplishment or flatly presenting the situation—to give the admissions reader some perspective on how you conduct yourself and achieve. 

You will then need to demonstrate both self-awareness and a thorough understanding of the Fisher MBA experience by outlining your takeaway(s) and drawing a connection between what you learned and what you can subsequently bring to the school as a member of its community. For example, you may have gained some useful insights you could share with your classmates in a related class or club, or maybe you now have an interesting viewpoint on commitment, determination, teamwork, or other such value. To effectively illustrate a connection between your takeaway from the experience and your expectation for applying it at Fisher, you will need to fully familiarize yourself with the program’s various resources and the characteristics of its community. Go the extra mile in learning about the school—connect with multiple students and alumni, read through recent school press releases and student blogs, peruse the OSU Fisher YouTube channel, and, if offered, consider attending admissions events in your area (safely!). This will provide the kind of in-depth insight that will show the admissions committee you are really serious about Fisher and understand how and why you belong there. 

SUPPLEMENTAL ESSAY (OPTIONAL): This optional essay can be used to address any circumstances you’d like the Admissions Committee to be aware of (gaps in work history, academic performance, choice of recommenders, etc.). (Maximum words: 250)

This short essay is your opportunity—if you need it—to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer might have about your candidacy, such as a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GRE or GMAT score, or, of course, one of the issues Fisher lists in the prompt. If you feel you might need to submit an additional essay for such a reason, consider downloading a free copy of our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, in which we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay (along with multiple annotated sample essays) to help mitigate any problem areas in your profile.

Video Interview: Each applicant will be required to complete an online assessment comprised of pre-recorded video questions (delivered via Fisher’s Kira Talent platform). Since live interviews are by invitation only, the video interview is a way for us to virtually meet you and get a sense of your personality and potential beyond what you’ve included in your application. Shortly after submitting your application, you’ll receive an email invitation from Kira to complete your video interview.

HOW IT WORKS: The process is simple—you will be asked a question, given prep time, and a set amount of time to respond. It should only take 20 to 30 minutes to complete and can be done on your own time. We recommend watching our “7 Tips to Ace Your Kira Video Interview” webinar to understand how it works and to improve your application.

WHAT YOU NEED: You will require an internet-connected computer with a functioning webcam and microphone. The system allows for unlimited practice sessions but once you start the formal interview questions you only get one chance—this allows us to see your candid responses. Be yourself!

We know that required videos often strike fear into the hearts of business school candidates, but let us reassure you a bit and unpack this component of the Fisher application process, in hopes of helping you relax and put your best self forward. First of all, keep in mind that these video questions are not meant to trip you up or entice you to do or say anything that would get you immediately disqualified from consideration. Video submissions most often are opportunities for the admissions committee to put a “face,” so to speak, on your written application and learn a little more about your personality, energy level, communication style, and other such intangibles. In an admissions blog post from the year the video element was first added, a Fisher representative states, “We really like to get to know all of our applicants but given the volume of applications we receive, it is not possible to meet or speak to everyone. This platform allows us to get to know you much better than anything else you’ll submit.” If you focus on being authentic and sincere, you will provide the admissions committee with exactly what it is seeking.

Before you begin preparing for this portion of the application, take time to watch the recommended webinar (a good rule of thumb is that whenever the admissions committee encourages you to do something in preparation for applying, do it!), which is brief, at just under six minutes, but full of helpful guidance. Fisher does not reveal exactly what candidates will be asked in the video segment, but in the school’s recommended video, a practice question appeared on the screen—“Imagine that you’ve been sent back in time to the year 1900. . . . How would you explain the internet to someone of that time period?” Just how reflective of the school’s actual questions this is we can only guess, though. In addition, the video shows (but does not overtly discuss) the option for a written response, so keep in mind that this might also be a possibility. Thankfully, Fisher’s Kira system is set up so that you can practice an unlimited number of times, so you will not have to go into this portion of the application cold. This is a valuable opportunity that we cannot encourage you enough to make the most of.

Fisher recommends using the STAR method when responding to its video questions to ensure that your answers include all the relevant information the admissions committee seeks, so be sure to do some research on what that technique entails, and make it a central part of your practice efforts. We suggest practicing in front of a mirror to exercise maintaining a natural expression as you speak and timing yourself to ensure your answers do not tend to run long. Although you can prepare as much as you want, you will have only one chance to record your response(s) when you do the official interview. If you stumble while answering or ultimately are unhappy with your answer, unfortunately, you will not be able to rerecord anything or try again another time. This may make you nervous, but we encourage you to view the situation a little differently. As we have noted, Fisher wants to get to know the real you through these video essays. If you fumble for words or lose your train of thought, just laugh or shrug and continue with your response. Accepting a mistake with a sense of humor and grace will give the admissions committee a more positive and natural impression of your personality than rigid scripting and overpreparation ever could.

For additional sample questions—albeit more traditional ones than the example in the school’s video—you can use to practice, consider downloading a free copy of the mbaMission Interview Guide, in which we present a list of 100 common interview queries.

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2020–2021 MBA Essay Analysis

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