Applicants to Boston University’s Questrom School of Business can either submit a written essay or respond on video to three questions, though the school does not provide these prompts in advance. This approach gives Questrom candidates the opportunity to choose the format that better fits their character and personality and that they feel more comfortable with. An optional essay is available for any applicants who want or need to share additional information with the admissions committee. Our more in-depth analysis of the school’s rather straightforward prompts for 2023–2024 follows.
BU Questrom 2023–2024 Essay Tips
In order to get to know you on a more personal level, applicants to our full-time and part-time MBA programs are required to complete either three short video essays OR one written essay during the application process. Because everyone expresses themselves in different ways, the choice is yours.
If you’re someone who feels they can better express themselves and their reasons for applying to the Questrom School of Business through a video, we encourage you to complete the video essays.
We will first ask you a question that all candidates will receive. You’ll have thirty seconds to prepare, and then 60 seconds to record your answer. This will then repeat for two additional random short-answer questions.
You can practice an unlimited number of times with Kira Talent’s provided example questions, but once you start the formal video essay questions, you are only allowed one opportunity. This allows the committee to see your candid responses. The formal process should only take you about five minutes to complete, and can be done on your own time.
Questrom applicants will not know beforehand which questions they will need to answer in these short video essays. However, given that candidates can submit either these videos or a written essay—which implies that the two options are likely designed to elicit generally the same information from applicants—we suspect that the topics covered in the two formats are probably similar. In the written essay, which we will address more fully later in this post, the school asks candidates to “explain to the admissions committee why you’d like to earn your degree from the Questrom School of Business specifically. . . . address why you have selected the program you are applying to . . . and how that program will help you achieve your post-graduate goals.” So, in preparing to respond to the program’s video questions, be sure you are ready to speak to these subjects in case they are in fact addressed in the queries you receive.
You want to be prepared to respond to any questions that relate to your “fit” with Questrom as well. This means you should be able to provide evidence that you have done your research on the school and developed a true and thorough understanding of its culture. You should be ready, if needed, to convince the admissions committee that you are eager to take advantage of opportunities at the school, that you have thoughtfully considered your potential role and place within the program’s community, and that you understand what you could offer as a Questrom MBA student. To prepare, read student blogs, peruse discussion boards, catch up on the past year or more of the program’s press releases, and spend some time on Questrom’s YouTube channel. These are all good places to start (or better, continue!) educating yourself about what life there is really like.
When the time comes to record your video essays, you will receive three questions, one at a time. For each of them, you will need to respond in a video of one minute long, after taking 30 seconds to mentally prepare. While we know that videos—and spontaneous ones, especially—can sometimes be nerve-racking, let us reassure you a bit about this component of the Questrom application process, so you can relax and put your best self forward. First of all, keep in mind that these kinds of video/on-the-spot questions are not intended to trip you up or entice you to do or say anything that would immediately disqualify you from consideration. They are primarily opportunities for the admissions committee to put a “face,” so to speak, with your written application and learn a little more about your personality, energy level, communication style, and other such intangibles. Your goal is not to provide the “right” answer that the school is expecting to hear (because no “right” answer exists!) but to be yourself so as to convey a genuine impression of you as an individual. If you focus on being authentic and sincere, you will provide the admissions committee with exactly what it is seeking.
To get a bit more comfortable with the format before you complete these video essays, we suggest practicing responding to interview-type questions in front of a mirror to exercise maintaining a pleasant and 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, you will not, unfortunately, be able to rerecord anything or try again another time. This might make you nervous, but we encourage you to view the situation a little differently. As we have noted, Questrom wants to gain some insight into 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 sample questions 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.
If you’re someone who feels they can better express themselves and their reasons for applying to the Questrom School of Business in writing, we encourage you to complete the written essay.
Your written essay should be no more than 750 words, and should explain to the admissions committee why you’d like to earn your degree from the Questrom School of Business specifically. It should also address why you have selected the program you are applying to (Full-Time MBA, Professional Evening MBA, Health Sector MBA, Dual Degree, etc.) – and how that program will help you achieve your post-graduate goals.
To a large degree, this prompt is essentially a request for a personal statement, which typically covers (1) why the candidate feels they need an MBA, (2) why the MBA is necessary now, and (3) why they wish to attend the specific school in question. So, we will start by encouraging you to download a free copy of the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which includes detailed guidance on approaching and writing such essays, along with multiple illustrative examples.
To craft an effective essay response here, you will need to demonstrate a strong understanding of the Questrom program and everything it offers in relation to your professional needs and aspirations. So, if you initially skipped over the earlier section of this post that discusses the school’s video submission option, go back and read that now for our tips on how to familiarize yourself with the school in depth. In this essay, you want to present yourself as a well-rounded, dynamic individual who would be a positive addition to the Questrom community, so do your best to infuse your submission with authenticity and personality, as well as information.
Optional Essay: If you have any additional information to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee, you may address it in an optional essay of no more than 250 words. Acceptable topics for the optional essay include gaps in post-college work experience, choice of recommenders, and concerns about academic/test performance.
With this prompt, Questrom is acknowledging that some candidates have aspects of their profiles that might need a little special clarification. If this is you, this essay is your opportunity to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer might have about your candidacy, such as a legal or disciplinary incident, an unconventional recommender choice, or, of course, one of the circumstances the school suggests in its prompt. However, keep in mind that by submitting an optional essay, you are requiring the already overtaxed admissions readers to do additional work on your application, so you must ensure that the admissions committee’s extra time and effort are truly warranted and avoid being verbose or sharing more information than is truly necessary. If you feel you might have a valid reason for submitting this additional essay or are not sure if the issue you are considering would warrant doing so, we encourage you to download a free copy of the mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, in which we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay, along with multiple sample essays.