Top MBA Programs Deadlines and Essay Prompts 2019-2020

The schools are listed in the order they appear on US News & World Report’s 2020 Best Business Schools.

Schools highlighted in red have not released their deadlines and essay prompts for this admissions cycle. (*This article will be updated as dates and prompts are updated on school websites.)

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Application Deadlines:
R1 9/17/19
R2 1/7/20
R3 4/1/20

Interview Dates:
R1 10/29/19
R2 2/13/20
R3 4/16/20

Decision Dates:
R1 12/18/19
R2 3/26/20
R3 5/8/20

Essay Prompts:
Essay 1
What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

Essay 2
Describe an impactful experience or accomplishment that is not reflected elsewhere in your application. How will you use what you learned through that experience to contribute to the Wharton community? (500 words)

Additional Question (required for all Reapplicants):

Explain how you have reflected on the previous decision about your application, and discuss any updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, extracurricular/volunteer engagements). (250 words)*
*First-time applicants may also use this section to address any extenuating circumstances. (250 words)

Guide:
How to Tackle the Wharton MBA Essay

 

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Application Deadlines:
R1 9/12/19
R2 1/9/20
R3 4/8/20

Decision Dates:
R1 12/12/19
R2 4/2/20
R3 5/21/20

Essay Prompts:
Essay A
What matters most to you, and why?

Essay B
Why Stanford?

(Your answers for both essay questions combined may not exceed 1,150 words.)

Think about times you’ve created a positive impact, whether in professional, extracurricular, academic, or other settings. What was your impact? What made it significant to you or to others? You are welcome to share up to three examples. (Up to 1500 characters, approximately 250 words, for each example)

Guide:
How to Search Your Soul in Your Stanford GSB Essays

Harvard Business School

Application Deadlines:
R1 9/4/19
R2 1/6/20

Decision Dates:
R1 12/10/19
R2 3/31/20

Essay Prompt: 
As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA Program?

Guide:
How to Write a Great HBS Essay

MIT Sloan School of Management

Application Deadlines:
R1 10/1/19
R2 1/21/20
R3 4/9/20

Decision Dates:
R1 12/19/19
R2 3/31/20
R3 5/7/20

Essay Prompt:
Cover Letter
Submit a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA Program. Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence, include one or more examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria above, and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions (300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation).

Video Statement
Please introduce yourself to your future classmates via a brief 60 second video statement. (This video will be used for application purposes only and will not be shared.) Videos should be a single take (no editing) lasting no more than one minute and consisting of you speaking directly to the camera. We recommend using an application such as QuickTime or iMovie to record yourself.

Upload the video file according to the detailed instructions within the application. We support the following file formats: .avi, .flv, .m1v, .m2v, .m4v, .mkv, .mov, .mpeg, .mpg, .mp4, .webm, .wmv

Guide:
MIT Sloan on Top: Five Tips for Your MIT Sloan Cover Letter

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Application Deadlines:
R1 9/26/19
R2 1/7/20
R3 4/2/20

Decision Dates:
R1 12/5/19
R2 3/19/20
R3 5/21/20

Essay Prompts:
Essay 1
How will the Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term post-MBA career goals? (250 word minimum)

Essay 2
Chicago Booth immerses you in a choice-rich environment. How have your interests, leadership experiences, and other passions influenced the choices in your life? (250 word minimum)

Guide:
How to Answer the Booth 2019-2020 MBA Essay Questions

Columbia Business School

Application Deadlines:
August Start
Early: 10/4/19
Regular: 4/10/20
January Start
Regular: 10/4/19

Decision Dates: Rolling

Essay Prompts:
Short Answer Question
What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)

Essay 1
Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)

Essay 2
Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you? (250 words)

Essay 3
Who is a leader you admire, and why? (250 words)

Guide:
How to Nail the CBS 2019-20 Essays

Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

Application Deadlines:
R1 9/18/19
R2 1/8/20
R3 4/8/20

Decision Dates:
R1 10/11/19
R2 3/25/20
R3 5/13/20

Essay Prompt:
Essay 1
Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip & inspire brave leaders who create lasting value. Tell us about a time you have demonstrated leadership and created lasting value. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (450 words)

Essay 2
Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you and how have they influenced you? (450 words).

Guide:
Things to Keep in Mind for the 2019-20 Kellogg Essays

Haas School of Business (University of California, Berkeley)

Application Deadlines:
R1 9/26/19
R2 1/9/20
R3 4/2/20

Decision Dates:
R1 12/12/19
R2 3/26/20
R3 5/7/20

Essay Prompts:

Essay #1
What makes you feel alive when you are doing it, and why?

Essay #2
At Berkeley Haas, we are redefining leadership. We value different opinions and perspectives, recognizing that we always have more to learn about others’ lived experiences and histories. We encourage speaking up and listening, and courageously use our power to address barriers and drive change for positive impact.

Tell us how a Berkeley Haas MBA would enhance your leadership profile, incorporating specific examples.

Guide:
Haas Essay Hacks

Yale School of Management

Application Deadlines:
R1 9/10/19
R2 1/7/20
R3 4/14/20

Decision Dates:
R1 12/4/19
R2 3/24/20
R3 5/19/20

Essay Prompt:
Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words)

Guide:
Four Tips for Committing to Yale SOM

Fuqua School of Business (Duke University)

Application Deadlines:
EA 9/19/19
R1 10/14/19
R2 1/6/20
R3 3/11/20

Interview Dates:
EA 10/2/19
R1 11/1/19
R2 1/31/20
R3 3/25/20

Decision Dates:
EA 10/28/19
R1 12/18/19
R2 3/19/20
R3 4/20/20

Essay Prompt:
Short Answer Questions
For each question, respond in 500 characters only (the equivalent of about 100 words).

Why is pursuing an MBA the right next step for you?
What are your post-MBA career goals?

Essay 1
25 random things about yourself. Present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may be only a few words, while others may be longer. Your complete list should not exceed two pages.

Essay 2
Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, how do you see yourself engaging in and contributing to our community outside of the classroom? Your response should be no more than two pages in length.

Guide:
Duke Fuqua 25 Random Things: Do’s and Don’ts

4 Tips for the Duke Fuqua Community Involvement Essay

Stephen M. Ross School of Business (University of Michigan)

Application Deadlines:
R1 9/30/19
R2 1/6/20
R3 3/30/20

Decision Dates:
R1 12/18/19
R2 3/18/20
R3 5/8/20

Essay Prompt:
Short Answer Questions
Select one prompt from each group of the three groups below. Respond to your selected prompt in 100 words or fewer (<100 words each; 300 words total).

Group 1
I want people to know that I:
I made a difference when I:

Group 2
I was humbled when:
I am out of my comfort zone when:

Group 3
I was aware that I am different when:
I was challenged when:

Essay
Michigan Ross is a place where people from all backgrounds with different career goals can thrive. Please share your short-term career goal. Why is this the right choice for you? (300 words)

Guide:
Insider Insight to Nail the Ross Essay (and Short Answers!)

Tuck School of Business (Dartmouth College)

Application Deadlines:
R1 10/7/19
R2 1/6/20
R3 3/30/20

Decision Dates:
R1 12/12/19
R2 3/12/20
R3 5/7/20

Essay Prompts:

Essay 1
Tuck students can articulate how the distinctive Tuck MBA will advance their aspirations. Why are you pursuing an MBA and why Tuck? (300 words)

Essay 2
Tuck students recognize how their individuality adds to the fabric of Tuck. Tell us who you are. (300 words)

Essay 3
Tuck students invest generously in one another’s success even when it is not convenient or easy. Share an example of how you helped someone else succeed. (300 words)

Guide:
Tips for Tackling Tuck’s 2019-2020 Essay Prompts

New York University Stern School of Business

Application Deadlines:
R1 10/15/19
R2 11/15/19
R3 1/15/20
R4 3/15/20

Decision Dates:
R1 1/1/20
R2 2/1/20
R3 4/1/20
R4 6/1/20

Essay Prompts:
Essay 1
Professional Aspirations (500 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
What are your short and long-term career goals?
How will the MBA help you achieve them?

Essay 2
Personal Expression (a.k.a. “Pick Six”)
Describe yourself to the Admissions Committee and to your future classmates using six images and corresponding captions. Your uploaded PDF should contain all of the following elements:

  • A brief introduction or overview of your “Pick Six” (no more than 3 sentences).
  • Six images that help illustrate who you are.
  • A one-sentence caption for each of the six images that helps explain why they were selected and are significant to you.

Note: Your visuals may include photos, infographics, drawings, or any other images that best describe you. Your document must be uploaded as a single PDF. The essay cannot be sent in physical form or be linked to a website.

Essay 3: Additional Information (optional)
(250 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee. This may include current or past gaps in employment, further explanation of your undergraduate record or self-reported academic transcript(s), plans to retake the GMAT, GRE, IELTS or TOEFL, or any other relevant information.

University of Virginia Darden School of Business

Application Deadlines:
EA 9/3/19
R1 10/4/19
R2 1/6/20
R3 4/6/20

Decision Dates:
EA 10/9/19
R1 12/11/19
R2 3/18/20
R3 5/6/20

Essay Prompts:
Essay 1
Darden strives to identify and cultivate responsible leaders who follow their purpose. Please provide an example of a situation in which you have made a meaningful impact. (200 words)

Essay 2
Diversity and inclusion are critical to our mission, and they work best when they are an integral and celebrated part of our community. Read University of Virginia’s Diversity & Inclusion Vision Statement. Share a time in which you engaged with a perspective, identity, community or experience that was different from your own and how it impacted your worldview. (200 words)

Essay 3
The Batten Foundation Worldwide Scholarship provides all Darden students in our full-time MBA program with an opportunity to participate in a Darden Worldwide Course. If you could choose any location in the world, where would you want to travel, and why? (50 words)

Essay 4
Tell us what you would want your learning team to know about you – personally, professionally, or both? (100 words)

Essay 5
What is your short-term, post-MBA career goal and why? (150 words)

Guide:
How to Write Great UVA Darden Essays

Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management (Cornell University)

Application Deadlines:
R1 10/8/19
R2 11/5/19
R3 1/8/20
R4 4/8/20

Essay Prompts:
Goals Statement
A statement of your goals will begin a conversation that will last throughout the admissions process and guide your steps during the MBA program and experience. To the best of your understanding today, please share your short and long-term goals by completing the following sentences and answering the enclosed short answer question:

Immediately post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.
Targeted Job Role:
Target Job Company:
Industry:

In 5 – 10 years post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.
Targeted Job Role:
Target Job Company:
Industry:

How has your experience prepared and encouraged you to pursue these goals?

Impact Essay
At Cornell, we value students who create impact. Please indicate the opportunities for impact that you’ve identified through engagement with our community and describe how what you learned has influenced your decision to apply to Johnson.

Back of Your Resume Essay
The front page of your resume has given us a sense of your professional experience and accomplishments as well as your academic summary and extracurricular involvement. If the back page reflects “the rest of your story,” please help us get to know you better by sharing the experiences that will give us insight into your character, values, and interests.

Guide:
4 Keys to Writing the Cornell Johnson Essays

UCLA Anderson School of Management

Application Deadlines:
R1 10/2/19
R2 1/8/20
R3 4/16/20

Decision Dates:
R1 12/18/19
R2 3/26/20
R3 5/21/20

Essay Prompts:
a) Tell us about your MBA goals AND why you are applying to UCLA Anderson now:

  • Describe your short term and long term goals (150 words maximum)
  • Why is UCLA Anderson a good school for you? (150 words maximum)

b) At Anderson, we believe our students are engaged, courageous, humble, and open. Describe a time when you demonstrated one of these traits in your personal life. (250 words maximum)

c) Optional: Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions committee should be aware. (250 words maximum)

Guide:
La La Land: More than a Movie…Tips to get you to UCLA Anderson

Tepper School of Business (Carnegie Mellon)

Application Deadlines:
R1 10/6/19
R2 12/19/19
R3 3/2/20

R4 4/9/20

Decision Dates:
R1 12/11/19
R2 3/4/20
R3 5/4/20

R4 5/21/20

Essay Prompt:
Please select only ONE of the options below to complete the essay requirement (maximum 300–350 words).

Option #1: Carnegie Mellon University is an institution that never stops looking and moving ahead, pioneering the next way forward with technology, business and research to answer questions big and small. Personally or professionally, in what way have you been a pioneer?

Option #2: Amidst the ambiguous and unchartered nature of change, Carnegie Mellon University students and alumni rise above to envision and create. Discuss how you have anticipated change in your professional life. In what ways did you effectively collaborate to create your desired outcome?

Option #3: At Carnegie Mellon University, our difference is what we imagine for the world and how we answer its challenges. What impact have you had on the world around you?

USC Marshall School of Business

Application Deadlines:
R1 10/15/19
R2 1/5/20
R3 3/1/20
R4 4/15/20
R5 Rolling

Decision Dates:
R1 12/31/19
R2 3/15/20
R3 4/15/20
R4 6/15/20
R5 Rolling

Essay Prompts:
Essay 1
What is your specific, immediate short-term career goal upon completion of your MBA? Please include an intended position, function, and industry in your response. (word limit: 100)

Essay 2
Please draft a letter that begins with “Dear Admissions Committee” (word limit: 600)
This letter is meant to be your personal statement that provides the Admissions Committee with an understanding of your candidacy for Marshall beyond what is evident in other parts of your application. This essay is purposely open-ended. You are free to express yourself in whatever way you see fit. Our goal is to have an appreciation for and an understanding of each candidate in ways that are not captured by test scores, grades, and resumes.

Kenan–Flagler Business School (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Application Deadlines:
EA 10/14/19
R2 1/6/20
R3 3/2/20
R4 4/6/20

Decision Dates:
EA 12/9/19
R2 3/2/20
R3 5/8/20
R4 6/1/20

Essay Prompts:
Essay 1
(500 words) Please respond to the questions below that will assist us in learning more about you:
– Tell us what your immediate career goals are and how you will benefit personally and professionally from earning an MBA at Kenan-Flagler Business School.
– As the business world continues to evolve, circumstances can change and guide you in a different direction. Should your goals that you provided above not transpire, what other opportunities would you explore?

Essay 2
Please select one topic below and respond to the prompt. (250 words)
– Topic 1: What is one thing that we do not know about you that you want us to know?
– Topic 2: Provide us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it? Did you achieve the results you were looking for?
– Topic 3: Tell us about a time when you felt or witnessed someone being marginalized. How did you feel? What did you take away from the experience and how has it encouraged you to be an inclusive leader?

Guide:
How to Stand Out in Your Kenan-Flagler Essays

McCombs School of Business (The University of Texas at Austin)

Application Deadlines:
R1 10/8/19
R2 1/7/20
R3 3/31/20

Decision Dates:
R1 12/17/19
R2 3/26/20
R3 5/7/20

Essay Prompts:
Essay 1
We will learn a lot about your professional background through your resume and letter of recommendation. We want to get to know you further. Please introduce yourself. Select only one communication method you would like to use for your response.

a. Write an essay (250 words)
b. Share a video introduction (one minute in length)

Essay 2
Picture yourself at graduation. Describe how you spent your time as a Texas McCombs MBA to achieve your personal and professional goals. (500 words)

Guide:
As Big as Texas: Tips for McCombs’ MBA Essays

Goizueta Business School (Emory University)

Application Deadlines:
R1 10/4/19
R2 11/15/19
R3 1/10/20
R4 3/13/20

Decision Dates:
R1 11/29/19
R2 1/24/20
R3 3/13/20(Domestic)
3/20/20 (International)
R4 5/1/20

Essay Prompts:
Essay 1
Define your short-term post-MBA career goals. How are your professional strengths, past experience and personal attributes aligned with these goals? (300 word limit)

Essay 2
The business school is named for Roberto C. Goizueta, former Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, who led the organization for 16 years, extending its global reach, quadrupling consumption, building brand responsibility, and creating unprecedented shareholder wealth. Mr. Goizueta’s core values guide us in educating Principled Leaders for Global Enterprise. Provide an example of your leadership – professional or personal – and explain what you learned about yourself through the experience. (300 word limit)

Video Essay

Please select ONE of the following topics to share with us using the video essay feature. Your comments should last no more than 60 seconds and you have the option to re-record until you are satisfied, before submitting.

Of Goizueta Business School’s core values (Courage, Integrity, Accountability, Rigor, Diversity, Team, Community), which one resonates the most with you and why?
What is the best advice you have received and how have you used it in your life or career?
Outside of family and work, what is something that you are passionate about and why?

Guide:
Goizueta MBA: It’s the Real Thing

Foster School of Business

Application Deadlines:
R1 10/8/19
R2 1/8/20
R3 3/17/20

Decision Dates:
R1 12/20/19
R2 1/31/20
R3 5/22/20

Essay Prompts:
Essay 1
Post-MBA Plans (750 words maximum)
Tell us your ideas about what lies ahead for you in your career. What are the gaps or deficiencies currently preventing you from pursuing these potential career paths? How do you plan to use your time in the Foster MBA program to fill these gaps and advance your career?

Essay 2
Inspiring Experience Essay (500 words maximum)
Tell us about an experience that inspired or confirmed your decision to pursue the MBA.

Indiana University (Kelley)

Application Deadlines:

McDonough School of Business (Georgetown University)

Application Deadlines:
R1 9/30/19
R2 1/6/20
R3 3/24/20
R4 4/27/20

Decision Dates:
R1 12/13/19
R2 3/19/20
R3 5/1/20
R4 5/27/20

Essay Prompt:
Please select one of the following three essays to complete in 500 words or less and include the essay prompt and your first/last name at the top of your submission.

Essay Option One: It can be said that life begins outside your comfort zone. Describe a situation when you were asked to lead outside of your comfort zone. What leadership characteristics did you exemplify in this situation that allowed you to succeed? ​

Essay Option Two: “Failure is not something to be ashamed of, it’s something to be POWERED by. Failure is the high-octane fuel your life can run on. You’ve got to learn to make failure your fuel.” -Abby Wambach. Describe a situation when failure has been your fuel. What was your failure (or when did you not succeed to your full potential), and how did you use this as motivation to move forward and be successful in a future situation?

Essay Option Three: Your personal brand reflects your values and beliefs, and impacts your relationships and community. Describe the personal brand that you will bring to business school using examples or experiences that support how you’ve developed it. How do you believe your personal brand will strengthen the McDonough community? As you complete your MBA program, how do you hope to see your personal brand evolve through the transformative experience of business school?

Video Essay: We ask that you introduce yourself to your cohort in one minute or less. The Admissions Committee would like for you to appear in person during part of your video, and we strongly encourage you to speak outside of the experiences we can read on your resume. Use this video as an opportunity to bring life to your application. For more instructions, view our Video Essay Guide.

[International Schools]

 

INSEAD

Application Deadlines:

R1 9/18/19
R2 11/6/19
R3 1/15/20
R4 2/26/20

Essay Prompts:
Job Description Essays

Essay 1: Briefly summarise your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of budget, clients/products and results achieved. (short answer)

Essay 2: What would be your next step in terms of position if you were to remain in the same company? (short answer)

Essay 3: Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. Describe your career path with the rationale behind your choices. (short answer)

Essay 4: Discuss your short and long term career aspirations with or without an MBA from INSEAD. (short answer)

Motivation Essays

Essay 1 Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person), stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary. (500 words max.)

Essay 2 Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and explain why. In addition, describe a situation where you failed. How did these experiences impact your relationships with others? Comment on what you learned. (400 words max.)

Essay 3 Tell us about an experience where you were significantly impacted by cultural diversity, in a positive or negative way. (300 words max.)

Essay 4 Describe all types of extra-professional activities in which you have been or are still involved for a significant amount of time (clubs, sports, music, arts, politics, etc). How are you enriched by these activities? (300 words max.)

Guide:
Five Tips to Nail Your INSEAD Essays

London Business School

Application Deadlines: [Listed Here]

Essay Prompts:
What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School programme contribute towards these? (500 words)

Guide:
London Calling! Five Tips for the LBS Essays

IESE Business School

Application Deadlines: [Listed Here]

Cambridge Judge Business School

Application Deadlines: 

R1 9/9/19
R2 10/28/19
R3 1/13/20
R4 3/9/20
R5 5/9/20

Essay Prompts:
Essay 1
Please provide a personal statement. It should not exceed 500 words and must address the following questions:

What are your short and long term career objectives and what skills/characteristics do you already have that will help you achieve them?
What actions will you take before and during the MBA to contribute to your career outcome?
If you are unsure of your post-MBA career path, how will the MBA equip you for the future?

Essay 2
What did you learn from your most spectacular failure? (200 words)

Essay 3
Describe a situation where you had to work jointly with others to achieve a common goal. What did you learn from the experience? (up to 200 words)

HEC Paris

Application Deadlines: [Listed Here]

Essay Prompts:
Essay 1
Why are you applying to the HEC MBA Program now? What is the professional objective that will guide your career choice after your MBA, and how will the HEC MBA contribute to the achievement of this objective? (500 words)

Essay 2
What do you consider your most significant life achievement? (250 words)

Essay 3
Leadership and ethics are inevitably intertwined in the business world. Describe a situation in which you have dealt with these issues and how they have influenced you. (250 words)

Essay 4
Imagine a life entirely different from the one you now lead, what would it be? (250 words)

Essay 5
Please choose from one of the following essays: (250 words)

A. What monument or site would you advise a first-time visitor to your country or city to discover, and why?

B. Certain books, movies or plays have had an international success that you believe to be undeserved. Choose an example and analyze it.

C. What figure do you most admire and why? You may choose from any field (arts, literature, politics, business, etc).

Oxford Saïd Business School

Application Deadlines: [Listed Here]
Essay Prompts:
Essay 1
Consider a statistic or trend that shocks you. Why it is important to you and how could it be changed for the better? (Maximum 500 words)

Essay 2
Is there anything not covered in the application form which you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you? (Maximum 250 words)

Rotman School of Management

Application Deadlines:
R1 10/1/18
R2 1/7/19
R3 3/4/19
R4 4/29/19

Decision Dates:
R1 12/14/18
R2 3/8/19
R3 5/3/19
R4 5/31/19

Essay Prompt:
Please describe why you are pursuing an MBA? Why Rotman? Why now? (500 words)

Reflection Question: List 3-5 attributes or characteristics that best describe you. (5 words)

Required video interview (2 questions) with a new timed written response component. (10 minutes in length)

Guide:
Showcase Your Spike Factor for Rotman Essays

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