The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management asks its applicants to provide several short essays, one of which is a very standard explanation of the candidate’s professional aspirations and motivation for pursuing an MBA. The three brief Membership Application essays are meant to reveal the applicant’s active dedication to The Consortium’s goals of inclusion and progressive diversity in higher education and the business world, not just in the future but also as an MBA student and in the past. If needed, an optional essay is available for offering clarification on any ambiguous or potential trouble areas in one’s profile. Key to all these submissions will be honesty, clarity, and enthusiasm. Read on for our full analysis of The Consortium’s essay questions for this season.
Consortium 2023–2024 Essay Tips
Core Essay 1: Please describe your short- and long-term goals post-MBA. How has your professional experience shaped these goals and influenced your decision to pursue an MBA degree? (2,000-character limit)
The first essay is required and used for admission purposes only. It provides an opportunity for you to express your strengths, attributes, experiences and other traits or abilities you believe are relevant to your educational goals and career objectives.
With this rather no-nonsense query about your expectations for where you will go with your MBA after graduating, The Consortium simply wants you to spell out what you have in mind as you approach this phase of your life and career. You have only 2,000 characters with which to respond, so avoid going into excessive detail about your past, but be sure to offer enough information to provide context and support for your stated goals so that the progression from one stage of your professional career to the next is clear and reasonable.
Although the word “why” never actually appears in this prompt, the overall query actually involves some implied “why” requests. In addition to soliciting the reasons behind your specified career aspirations, the school wants to know why you believe an MBA is the next logical step on your professional path. We believe that the crux of the prompt as a whole is that The Consortium wants to know that you have considered this next step in your career very carefully and thoroughly and are applying to business school for very clear reasons—not because you feel you are supposed to or because you are following in a parent’s footsteps, and definitely not because you do not know what else to do at this juncture in your life! (Believe it or not, these are all actual reasons some people choose to pursue an MBA.) All business schools want engaged, driven, and focused students who are ready to be an active part of the MBA experience and to do big things with the knowledge and skills they acquire from it, and this prompt is asking you to reveal yourself as such.
Because this prompt encompasses several of the core elements of a traditional personal statement essay for the most part, we encourage you to download our free mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which helps applicants respond to these types of questions. In short, though, the most effective way to address this query is to simply provide the information requested, though we encourage you to also try to incorporate a sense of your personality and individuality into your essay to make the delivery of these basic facts more interesting to your reader.
Core Essay 2 (Optional Essay): Is there any other information you would like to share with us that is not presented elsewhere in your application? (1,000-character limit)
The optional essay lets you bring additional information to the attention of the admissions committee. These may explain gaps in employment or shortcomings in your academic record, specific plans to retake the GMAT®/GRE or other relevant information. If you answer “yes” to any of the questions in the Personal Certification/Signature section, you must provide an explanation. If necessary, you may use this essay to explain your circumstances.
This optional essay question starts out sounding like an open invitation to discuss almost anything you feel like sharing, but the explanatory text dials things in a bit and puts more of a spotlight on addressing problem areas and unclear issues specifically. This is not an opportunity to simply share another cool story or otherwise try to impress or pander to The Consortium reader. If you do not truly need to explain an issue or potentially confusing element of your candidacy such as the ones listed (and have no “yes” responses in your Personal Certification section), we do not recommend that you submit an optional essay, and if you do have issues to clarify, keep things concise. In our free mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay, with multiple examples, to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.
Membership Application Essays: Our mission, through the strength of our growing alliance and extended network, is to enhance diversity and inclusion in global business education and leadership by striving to reduce the significant underrepresentation of African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans in both our Member Schools’ enrollments and the ranks of global management across the following sectors: For- profit corporations, Nonprofit corporations, Government agencies and contractors, and Entrepreneurial ventures in both for-profit and nonprofit environments.
*Please address the three questions noted below. Please use specific examples pertaining to our target populations and clearly articulate your involvement, actions and results.
– What have you done pre-MBA in your business, personal or academic life to demonstrate commitment to this mission? (2,000 characters)
– What will you do while enrolled in your MBA program to demonstrate your commitment to the mission? (2,000 characters)
– What will you do post-MBA with respect to community service and leadership involvement to demonstrate your continued commitment to The Consortium’s missions of diversity and inclusion? (1,000 characters)
Understandably, The Consortium wants to be confident that the candidates it accepts as members (and especially those to whom fellowships are granted) are individuals who are devoted to and will be effective at promoting its aims and continuing to effect positive change for the underrepresented populations it seeks to support. And these three prompts get directly to the heart of this—what have you already done, what will you do as an MBA student, and what will you do in your career after graduating that can demonstrate your commitment to championing The Consortium’s mission?
With respect to what you have already done in the past, you need to offer clear evidence of your dedication to what The Consortium is working to achieve. The past few years especially have offered numerous opportunities for people to “show up” for or act on behalf of others who are different from them—such as participating in an organized protest, speaking up or stepping in when someone was being harassed or marginalized, or actively working to bring diverse people together in a harmonious and productive way—though the longer a history of involvement you can provide, the better. The Consortium wants concrete examples of how you have acted on your values and ideals and wants to understand what compelled you to do so. Your goal is to show initiative and input in the interest of others and to make sure both your actions and motivations are readily understood so The Consortium reader gets a clear picture of what you have accomplished and the aspects of your character that have inspired and enabled you to do so. To do this, you can draw examples from your career, academic past, community endeavors or volunteer work, and/or personal life. Be sure to clearly specify, if applicable, the populations you have served (African American, Hispanic/Latino, and/or Native American) rather than speaking more broadly about working with diverse groups of people.
The prompt does not specify that you must have served as a leader in the effort you are describing, though an example in which you did lead would likely be ideal if you have one. You could also share a story in which you acted completely independently. Perhaps, for example, you instituted a mentorship program at your company, in which employees with different tasks and personal backgrounds were matched to learn from and support one another. In any case, you need to be sure that both the extent and the nature of your contribution(s) are front and center.
With respect to what you will do as a business school student, examine your target programs carefully to identify existing activities, groups, and events that align with the organization’s goals. Also consider opportunities that are lacking at your selected schools that you might establish while enrolled there. Authenticity is important here. Your goal is not to simply offer a list of things you could do, based on your research, but to show where you believe you would be most useful and demonstrate your enthusiasm for those options. Only discuss ones that you truly intend to become involved in or that you at least feel strongly hold such potential. Your choices will also show The Consortium where your priorities lie within its broad goal and which skills and strengths you are prepared to commit to your efforts. We have no doubt that The Consortium evaluators can easily discern pandering or shallow claims from true passion and dedication, so be sincere in both your claims and your ardor.
And finally, with respect to what you will do after graduating, first keep in mind that the group’s mission is not just about increasing diversity and inclusion in the workforce but also “in global business education.” So, bringing greater numbers of underrepresented individuals into the MBA and other higher-education realms is just as valid as the focus of your anticipated efforts as increasing their numbers in the business world. And these efforts could target or involve potential candidates, the schools, The Consortium itself (e.g., participating in local events or orientation activities), or even other organizations like it. So again, dig deep to uncover the areas and opportunities that resonate most with you—that genuinely match what you feel is important to focus on, what you believe you can offer, and what you will be inspired to engage in wholeheartedly.
The character length maximums for these three prompts are fairly restrictive, giving you roughly 300 to 500 words for each of the first two essay sections and approximately one-half of that for the third. So, you do not have room for subtlety or extended explanations. Choose your words carefully and focus on conveying your core messages as clearly and directly as possible.