Mccombs Study Abroad Application Essay

UT Austin / McCombs MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018

Following up on our post with the 2017-2018 2017-2018 UT Austin / McCombs MBA essay questions, we wanted to offer our analysis of this season’s UT Austin MBA essays.

The broad format of these essays is nearly identical to last year’s, with applicants introducing themselves to their cohort via a 250-word essay or video, and projecting how McCombs will enable their goals in a second required response of 500 words. In a subtle change, the school has altered the second response for this admissions season, establishing the setting of the commencement ceremonies.

UT Austin / McCombs Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018

Let’s take a closer look at each of the McCombs MBA essay prompts:

Essay 1

Introduce yourself. Select only one communication method that you would like to use for your response.

  • Write an essay (250 words), OR
  • Share a video introduction (one minute)

This is the fifth year running that McCombs has asked applicants to introduce themselves in some context, as part of the essay section of the application, and the fourth year that they’ve offered the option of doing so via video profile. This would suggest that the adcom has been pleased with the information this prompt has yielded.

We’ll comment a bit more on format in a bit. In terms of content, this essay allows the adcom to assess how prospective students would present themselves to their peers, requiring applicants to reflect carefully on the aspects of their backgrounds that would be most interesting and valuable to their future classmates. A brief mention of your professional background and even your career goals is appropriate. Of course, we also strongly encourage applicants to use this opportunity to showcase elements of their personalities and candidacies that they will not have the chance to address in their responses to the other application essay. Perhaps you have a particularly interesting accomplishment or hobby to share, or an aspect of your heritage or hometown of which you’re especially proud. Finally, it will be important to pay attention to the balance of content in your introduction. The most effective responses to this question will portray the applicant as sincere, well-rounded, likable, and excited about meeting his or her McCombs cohort.

As for medium, the video option provides an opportunity to make a vivid impression through visual communication. It also shows the admissions committee that one is willing to invest the time and effort to create something just for the UT Austin application, underscoring one’s investment in gaining admission to McCombs. Applicants whose leisure activities or workplace roles lend themselves well to film might do well to consider the video option.

All of that said, while taking risks in the admissions process is often worthwhile, you don’t want to step so far out of your comfort zone that you ultimately don’t make a good impression (this seems especially possible for camera-shy applicants attempting the video option). So, keep in mind that the written word is absolutely a viable option. Candidates choosing to submit an essay will want to use their 250 words wisely to give the reader a sense of who they are and how they would enhance the McCombs community (while avoiding overlap with Essay 2, which can deal with that theme as well).

Essay 2

Picture yourself at graduation. Describe how you spent your two years as a Texas MBA student, and how that experience helped to prepare you for the post-MBA world. (500 words)
Despite the creative twist of picturing oneself at graduation, this is a fairly straightforward career goals essay. Applicants should establish their post-MBA plans and motivation, and elaborate on how they were active during the Texas MBA to enable those goals.  To tailor this to McCombs, it would be best to frame this briefly in the setting of being at graduation—perhaps you are sitting next to a cohort member, or listening to an address from a professor whose class you found particularly meaningful.  Then, establishing one’s goals and motivation first will set the stage for the deeper dive into the value of the Texas MBA.  In the course of discussing why the Texas MBA is your ideal program, briefly explain what you got out of the program; however, don’t forget to emphasize how you would have engaged the community and fellow students in the course of the MBA program. For example, rather than merely listing off courses whose content would help you advance your career, it would be smart to comment on your ability to contribute to class discussions (perhaps based on your personality or foundational experiences). It would also make sense to comment on how you would participate — or assume leadership — in student organizations of interest, both those related to professional interests as well as more personal interests.

Prospective students should also note Director Malta’s comment in our interview that UT Austin students “bleed burnt orange,” i.e. that the adcom is looking for applicants who feel very strongly about attending McCombs and are likely to have pride in the school. To write convincingly on this point, it will be necessary to conduct very thorough research on the school and student culture, and to identify programmatic elements that are unique to the UT Austin MBA. Taking the time to learn the ins and outs of the school’s special programs and extracurricular activities–whether through a visit to campus, conversation with students and alumni, or reading the Clear Admit School Guide to McCombs School of Business–will pay dividends here.

Optional Essay

Please provide any additional information you believe is important and/or address any areas of concern that will be beneficial to the Admissions Committee in considering your application (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, or extenuating personal circumstances). (250 words)
Both the tone of this prompt and the examples of potential topics the candidate might address suggest that this essay will be best used to address liabilities or extenuating circumstances related to one’s application rather than to provide “bonus” information to the adcom. Candidates with questionable quantitative records, gaps in employment, or unusual recommenders should take advantage of this opportunity to offer explanations or outline plans to address potential issues. As is always the case with this sort of response, the comments in this essay should be straightforward and fact-focused, offering explanation without making excuses and humbly suggesting other areas of your candidacy that might compensate for identified weaknesses.

Clear Admit Resources
Before you start crafting your UT Austin McCombs essay responses, check out some of our resources to help you along the way:

Posted in: Application Tips, Essay Tips & Advice, Essay Topic Analysis

Schools: UT Austin / McCombs


Studying at one of the top MBA programs on the other side of the world seemed like an impossible dream to me. Yet here I am at McCombs, one of the best MBA programs that I could have possibly asked for.

My Life as a Student at McCombs

Often, we feel that we have limited resources. But in reality, even the ones available to us are more than we can handle. Before I joined McCombs, I explored all avenues offered by colleges to assess the value and quality of education: the coffee chats that schools offer, the contact details of student ambassadors and admins, the various websites with exhaustive information, and the information sessions that the schools host. After a thorough research, I was convinced that McCombs was the school that resonated with me on all levels.

How the McCombs Program Helps Me Blend In

The program that McCombs offers ensures that I cover my basics in the core classes before I move ahead in my journey and also allows me to choose which path I want to go down by providing a spectrum of electives to choose from.

While the academics are definitely a plus, I enjoyed the case challenges covering all the fields one could possibly want to enter after graduating, providing a taste of what it would be like to work in that particular industry. In addition to these, I found the micro-consulting projects that McCombs offers in partnership with various firms extremely valuable, as they helped a career explorer like me to narrow down my choices of industry. That said, no matter what industry I finally choose, McCombs has provided me a strong foothold in each of them.

“Any program, no matter how great, will not serve the purpose if you are not at ease in the environment.”

The one highlight of the McCombs culture is the extremely supportive environment and collaborative culture that makes one want to thrive and maximize one’s learning experience. I’d like to share an important experience to elucidate. An alumnus from a reputed school whom I met at a college fair once told me that the schools I apply to want to know what makes me a good fit for their program. I told him that while I admit it is a very important question, I also needed to figure out whether the school was a good fit for me. Any program, no matter how great, will not serve the purpose if you are not at ease in the environment. So, he advised me to talk to at least 3 people from the school, and if I feel I can have a conversation about anything with them, then it’s probably a culture that resonates with me. I followed his advice, and was pleased to find that McCombs was the one school I felt completely at ease with.

I regularly interact with people from all over the world who have all kinds of experiences to share. The second-year students have been a strong pillar of support throughout and I have been able to lean on my career and academic counselors whenever needed. Everyone at the university makes every effort to take care of your worries, so that you can focus on your priorities. One such major step is to ensure that no student has to go home alone late at night and is accompanied by a certified guardian.

Coming to McCombs has been one of the best decisions of my life and the way my journey is panning out, I feel that it will make all the difference in helping me accomplish my goals.

Posted in Study AbroadMBASuccess Stories


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