As the admissions committee itself admits in the prompt, this 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 Note the admissions committee’s acknowledgement that it already has a lot of information about you from the other parts of your application, including your resume, extracurricular activities, recommendations, short-answer question responses, academic transcripts, and GMAT/GRE score.
And despite the somewhat formal intro the school provides—“Dear Admissions Committee”—keep in mind that this is an opportunity for you to present yourself as a well-rounded, dynamic individual who would be a positive addition to the Marshall community, so do your best to infuse your essay with authenticity and personality, as well as information.
In general, we believe candidates should use a school’s optional essay to explain confusing or problematic issues in their candidacy, which this prompt does indeed allow.
Our analysis of all USC Marshall’s 2019–2020 essay questions follows.
Essay #1 (Required): What is your specific, immediate short-term career goal upon completion of your MBA?
After a serene prologue set in a packed theater where the adult David Copperfield (Dev Patel), standing at a lectern as if he were Spalding Gray in the 19th century, speaks the famous opening lines of Charles Dickens’s beloved novel, “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life…,” this adaptation stomps on the accelerator and barely lets up.
David’s existence is told episodically—appropriate given the source material—and at a whimsically breakneck pace that can be off-putting.After a brief foray last year into creative territory with its application essay prompts, the University of Southern California (USC) Marshall School of Business has embraced a much more traditional approach this season.For the first required essay, applicants must detail their immediate short-term career goal—without much elaboration, given the 100-word limit.“This is a true story” reads the opening title card to director Mc G’s fictionalization of the school and town’s efforts to overcome the catastrophe by rebuilding their football program, quite a boast considering that it gets the basic particulars right but then embellishes them with all sorts of maudlin melodramatic moments ripped straight from the Hollywood male-weepie playbook.After barely paying attention to the doomed players and staff, whose fateful accident is depicted via a -style cut to silent darkness at the moment of lethal impact, Mc G spends a good chunk of time fetishizing the grief of the deceased’s loved ones—which includes a school board member and factory worker (Ian Mc Shane) whose son was a star running back, his boy’s fiancé (Kate Mara), a player (Brian Geraghty) who fortuitously overslept and thus missed the flight, and the young son of the squad’s play-by-play radio announcer—with somber, golden-hued compositions.So, if you need to, use this opportunity to address any questions the admissions committee might have about your profile—a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT or GRE score, a gap in your work experience, etc.Consider downloading our free However, Marshall clearly leaves the door open for you to discuss any other information about your candidacy that you feel may be pivotal or particularly compelling—that you think the admissions committee truly needs to know to be able to evaluate you fully and effectively.For example, if you aspire to work in a field or position for which Marshall is not known to have particularly strong courses, professors, or other offerings, or if you want to work for a company that has no recruiting history with the program, it might not be the best choice to get you where you want to go right away.At just 100 words maximum, your response needs to be fairly straightforward. Do your research to ensure that Marshall can indeed position you to attain what you intend, and simply spell things out.Many MBA applicants have a long-term vision for their career, of course, but with this prompt, Marshall is asking you to prove you have really given thought to the necessary steps in between.Your goal in this short essay is therefore to demonstrate that you do indeed have a , not just broad ambition.