Jones: More Than Energy! Tips for the Rice MBA Essay Prompts

Jones Graduate School of Business (of Rice University) is no longer just for those interested in oil & gas. Though still energy focused, key areas that Rice also focuses on include health care and entrepreneurship.

In fact, that entrepreneurial vibe is seen right from the get-go with the first essay question being a required video essay:

Everyone has a unique story and path that have led them to this point. What is your story from both a professional and personal standpoint? How does the Rice Business experience fit into your story? (3 minute limit)

We encourage you to be creative with your video! However, please note that the video essay must include you speaking on camera so that the admissions committee and can not only hear you, but can also see you share your story.

The Jones School of Business wants to get a holistic view of YOU – who you are, what drives you, what are your accomplishments?

Begin with what you are passionate about and then tie it to the narrative of your life including why you want to attend Jones and what you want to do after business school. They have asked for your story from BOTH a professional and personal standpoint. Make sure to include at least some details of your personal life, focusing on those that tie into your passion or have influenced you significantly to become who you are.

Don’t re-hash your resume! The admissions committee will view your video while looking at your resume so go beyond the statistics you have written there to touch on how you achieved your results, how you innovate and how you lead. If you do not have direct leadership experience, touch on how you manage peer or client relationships. Above all, be authentic.

Video tips:

Three minutes is an eternity in video.

Be sure to practice, practice, practice. Your pace should be conversational – do not rush! The admissions committee views thousands of videos and encourage creativity but remember that the average Rice graduate is a focused, intelligent, and an incredibly hard-working professional. (Hint: wear a suit)

• Get ready to edit.

When you review your video make sure you also pay attention to everything in the frame that is not you. Your background, extraneous noises…do they add value to your video? Make sure you are well lit and your sound quality is clear throughout. What about your body language? Is it consistent with your words?

Next, a classic, written essay question where they ask you to select one of three questions:

1. Describe a defining moment or event that changed your life. (300 word limit)
2. What are the top 10 items on your bucket list? (One-page limit, bullet points allowed)
3. Tell us something, different, quirky, and/or interesting about yourself that the admissions committee wouldn’t glean from the rest of your application or interview. (250 word limit)

It does not matter which prompt you choose; however your response should have content that supplements the video essay so that you give adcom the broadest view of your candidacy. Choose the prompt that will best express who you are but pay attention to “action oriented, innovative, thoughtful leadership”

Also, a common theme of all these prompts is how you will contribute to the Rice community. Rice has roughly 110 students; a very small class size for a business school. You will truly get to know your classmates and your professors. As such, the above questions are to get to know you and how you will fit into the culture. Therefore, it is important that you get to know the Rice culture personally. Visit campus, attend a Rice event (including Webinars or mixers), talk to Rice grads; think about how you will fit in. What would you bring to your class that the other 109 people won’t? This is what Rice wants to know.

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