Mccombs School Of Business Video Essay Examples


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

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McCombs MBA Essay 1

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

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

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

Introductions can take place in a variety of ways. Standing in a circle of a few at a cocktail party. In a one-on-one interview. First day on the job.

The version we’re after here is much different. McCombs just handed you a mic, dimmed the house lights, and threw a spotlight onto you. This is your time not just to introduce yourself, but to perform. A performance is artful. And requires a special type of messaging. Your challenge isn’t to hold the attention of the guy sitting across the desk who is usually forced to tune in. Your challenge is to capture and sustain the attention of a room full of people, whose magnitude (by itself) tends to make it an uphill battle from minute one.

Golden Rule:

Dullness is deadly.

Don’t be dull. Don’t be quiet. Don’t be average. Don’t be monotone. Don’t be… safe.

Now’s your chance to tap your inner Louis CK. Your inner MLK. Your inner Seth Macfarlane. Charm. Wit. Risk. Energy. A deviating from that safe, straight, center pathway.

Whether it’s an essay or a video, the very first thing you need to do is grab your audience’s attention. There’s no real room for a slow burn here. If this were a two hour movie, and you had a proven track record, maybe an audience would spot you an unceremonious beginning, trusting in a future payoff. You have no such luxury here, my friend. Your cohort doesn’t know you. You need to be spectacular and attention-worthy from second 1.

What makes for a good opener? Well, practically speaking, “it” can be absolutely anything, which is to say it can take the FORM of just about anything. But what most great opening moments have in common is this: they knock the reader/audience off balance. For most of you, that may sound great, but it still may not mean much. “How the hell am I supposed to throw the reader off balance?” Well, one way to think about it is to leave some stuff OUT. The more buttoned up your opening is, the more likely your audience will feel secure. And secure—for now—is lethal. Bad.

“My name is Craig Blodgitsnick. I am 27 years old. And I’m a banker.” Great. Super clear. And therefore… too clear? It’s all buttoned up. The audience needs a reason to hear more. With an opening like that, however, we’re left with no such desire. Here’s an alternative.

“I make people cry for a living.”

Um, say what? What the hell does that mean. Did he just say that? I have no idea who this guy is, I have no idea how I feel about him, I have no sense of whether that’s a good or bad thing. What I do know… is that I’m dying to hear more. Success. This speaker has the audience in the palms of his hands.

“Pond. Cigarette. Abandoned BMW. These three things almost got me arrested, led me to my future wife, and ultimately set me on a path of world domination.”

Huh? I mean, I couldn’t be more in. Who the hell says that? How on Earth are those three things connected? After everyone gives their boring standard speech, I can bet you money I’m gonna remember the person who said THAT.

Throw your reader off balance. Give them a reason to want to read more. Now, not to scare you, but this isn’t easy. It is a touch risky, and it requires some finesse. But it is absolutely worth working toward. But just for a moment, let’s talk about the downside…

If you can’t quite pull it off, and it seems forced and inauthentic, then you run the risk of seeming like you’re trying too hard. And that’s a liability. So, get a gut check from a second set of eyes (doesn’t have to be a pro, could be anyone—see if they buy it). If it’s just not passing muster, there is recourse. Which is to tell a very honest, earnest story. Your story, a personal story. But, it’s gotta be a cool story. If it’s a straightforward, you are toast. There’s gotta be some GRIT in there, some adversity, some uniqueness. That can be equally compelling.

“Hi, my name is Glenda Crevitz and I became an adult when I was five years old when I was separated from my parents and grandparents. My first job was…”

Yah, I’d listen to that person. (But did you notice how even here, the author has thrown the audience off balance? This is not happenstance.)

Whichever medium suits you best, take advantage of it. Don’t choose the video if all you do is read an essay. If you use video, it has to be because there’s something about your look and body language and visible energy that communicates something a written essay can’t quite capture. If you choose an essay over video, it’s gotta be because there are certain things you’re able to do with the written word that would be MORE effective than a video version.

Keep your audience on the edge of their seat, though, by throwing them off balance.

Now that we’ve handled that, onto Essay 2?


Read more and explore each step of the Texas Mccombs full-time MBA application process here.

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