The George Washington University School of Business (GWSB) demands just a single 500-word essay from its applicants, one that covers several of the key elements of a traditional personal statement. In fact, on its website, the school refers to the submission as a “Statement of Purpose.” To craft an effective response, candidates will need to spend time really getting to know the program in depth. Reapplicants are asked to explain how their profile has changed (and ideally strengthened) since they last applied—also a pretty standard and straightforward request. Our full analysis of both prompts follows.
Admissions Essay (MBA Program specific)
In no more than 500 words, tell us why studying at the GW School of Business (GWSB) is the program best suited for you and your academic interests, and explain how you will leverage both your past professional career and future academic experience at GW to achieve your post-MBA aspirations.
With this rather plainspoken and traditional essay prompt, the admissions committee is requesting fundamental information that will help it understand your motivation for pursuing an MBA, and specifically one from the GWSB. By not explicitly requesting that you present well-defined short- and long-term goals, the school leaves the decision of how to frame your motivation(s) up to you. Nevertheless, one or both goals will likely play a part in your essay response. After all, explaining why you feel you need an MBA without referencing what you expect to do with it after you graduate would probably be pretty difficult. The school is naturally assuming that if you have reached a point in your professional journey where you believe an MBA is necessary to move forward, you must have an understanding of why the degree is a critical part of continuing on that journey. This is simply your chance to outline your reasoning and needs for the admissions committee so it can be confident you have given this important step an appropriate amount of thought and are committed to your decision.
To illustrate how the GWSB can help you, you must demonstrate a thorough understanding of what the program offers and a well-thought-out game plan for engaging with these offerings. Effectively doing this and subsequently writing a reasoned, nuanced essay requires that you familiarize yourself with the school’s various resources and pinpoint those that truly pertain to you and the direction in which you hope to head. Go the extra mile in learning about the program. This is where we would normally encourage you to visit campus and sit in on a class, and/or at least attend an admissions event in your area, but the ongoing pandemic precludes such options at this time. Instead, connect directly with students and alumni (online or via phone, Skype, Zoom, etc.), read student blogs and the program’s recent press releases, and peruse the GWSB’s YouTube channel. This will provide the kind of in-depth insight that will show the admissions committee you are serious about the school and are confident you belong there. Simply presenting a list of classes and clubs you think sound interesting will not suffice, and absolutely avoid vague, pandering statements about how great the school is. You must reveal clear connections between what you need to learn or experience (with respect to skills, network, experiences, exposure, and/or knowledge base) to be able to reach your aspirations and the specific resources and opportunities at the school that you believe will allow you to do so. Your goal is to convince the admissions committee that the GWSB is the missing link between who and where you are now and who and where you aspire to be in the future. An effective response will provide evidence (1) that you have done your research as to what is required to attain your goals, (2) that you understand where you are on that trajectory (what skills and experience you already possess that are key to success in your envisioned future), and (3) for why/how attaining an MBA from the GWSB will move you further in the right direction.
Although this prompt does not encompass all the elements of a standard personal essay, it does involve certain ones, so we encourage you to download a free copy of the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which could be helpful in crafting your response. This complimentary guide offers detailed advice on approaching and framing these topics, along with multiple illustrative examples.
Re-Applicant Essay: Please describe any actions you have taken to strengthen your candidacy since your last application. Focus on any steps you have taken toward professional and personal growth. (500 words maximum)
Thankfully, this essay is pretty clear-cut. Whether you have improved your academic record, received a promotion, begun a new and exciting project, increased your community involvement, or taken on some sort of personal challenge, the key to success with this essay is conveying a very deliberate path of achievement. The GWSB wants to know that you have been actively striving to improve yourself and your profile, and that you have seized opportunities during the previous year to do so, because an MBA from the school is vital to you. The responses to this essay question will vary greatly from one candidate to the next, because each person’s needs and experiences differ. We are more than happy to provide one-on-one assistance with this highly personal essay to ensure that your efforts over the past year are presented in the best light possible.