While much of the Wisconsin MBA Application stays stationary from year-to-year, the essay can be a source of more significant change. For the Class of 2019, this will be the case. Starting in September 2016, the Fall 2017 on-line application will be released with new essay questions. While prospective students won’t be able to start an application for a few months, the essay questions can be previewed on the Wisconsin MBA website starting early July 2016.
Let me give you a sense of why we made the decision to change the essay questions before diving what is new.
- You wanted to tell us more. The application asks you for a lot of things that aren’t in your voice; your GMAT exam is a number, your recommendations are from other people, and your grades are set. You were asking for more ways to share your narrative and personality, and oftentimes used the optional essay to tell us about leadership opportunities, an organization you’re committed to, or a person who has impacted your life.
- You wanted more direction for the optional essay. Applicants would often ask the admissions committee questions about how to use the optional essay. Is there a strategy for using the optional essay? When do I write the optional essay? How much should I share with you? These were all questions we received, and we decided to provide more structure in order to set expectations.
Here’s an overview of what will be changing:
- The required essay changes slightly. There is only one required essay for the Wisconsin MBA application. You need only complete this essay in order for us to move your application through the review process. This question will focus on your goals, and how you can utilize the Wisconsin MBA to help achieve them.
- New addition of recommended essays. Recommended essays are not required in order to move your application through the review process, however are highly encouraged that you complete. This is an extra opportunity for you to share your personality and story with the admissions committee. Spoiler alert: there are three recommended essay topics of which you should choose only one question to answer.
- The optional essay remains. Much like last year, the optional essay will be a space where applicants can share additional information with the admissions committee. Oftentimes, applicants utilize this space to talk about lower GMAT scores, gaps in employment, or poor undergraduate academic performance.
The admission team feels it’s very important to know each applicant’s story, and hope that the required, recommended, and optional essays will provide ample opportunity to share your narrative.