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Posted by Chioma Isiadinso
Switzerland’s IMD Business School‘s MBA admission essays focus less on career paths and more on personality and character.
Essay 1: Describe yourself in two hundred words or less.
To me, this is one of the simplest yet toughest questions of all. Clearly defining your personal brand- if you have not already- will make this question a lot easier. Use this space to focus on the most important elements of the narrative that you are presenting. Instead of a laundry list of characteristics, focus on telling a story. There are so many ways to tell your story, but whatever way you choose, it should highlight your values, motivations, professional experiences, goals and passions.
Essay 2: Give an example of a time when you were confronted with an unrecoverable event. How did it affect you and what were your greatest learnings?
It is important to note IMD’s word choice here. They are not looking for a setback or a minor failure- they are looking for “an unrecoverable event”. I would recommend focusing on a professional event, as IMD is most interested in how you handle yourself in the business world. If you do wish to focus on an event that has transformed your personal life, make sure that you say how that event impacted your career, and how it made you grow as a professional. Above all, be honest. Do not skate over your own role in a particular failure. It is hard to come across as sincere if you will not even admit your own mistakes. Do so, and then focus on the positive- how that failure shaped you and what you learned.
Essay 3: On your 75th birthday someone close to you presents your laudatio. (It can be a friend, colleague, family member, etc.) Please describe in detail what they would say about you and your life.
In case you were wondering, a laudatio is an address of praise. This question allows for a good bit of imagination and creativity, and once again, it is important to tell a story. Before answering, take some time to think about all of the things you could possibly accomplish by age 75. Look to older people in your life for inspiration, and tick off items on your own “bucket list” of hopes and dreams. Focus particularly on how business school might help you achieve those goals, and how the values that IMD represents- diversity, internationalism, leadership- will be reflected in your future.
For more information, visit IMD’s website.
Deadlines: Round 1- February 1; Round 2- April 1; Round 3- June 1; Round 4- August 1; Round 5- September 1