September 23, 2018

Carnegie Mellon Tepper Business School MBA Optional Essay

CMU Tepper

Tepper MBA Optional Essay

There also is an optional essay for additional information about your candidacy that you may wish to share with the admissions committee. Use this essay to convey important information that you may not have otherwise been able to convey. This may include unexplained resume gaps, context for recommender selection, etc. If you are a re-applicant, explain how your candidacy has strengthened since your last application.

Given that you only have 300-350 words total in the form of required writing, we may recommend finding some ANGLE of your profile that hasn’t been exposed… that you think needs to be exposed.

Now, you’ll need a compelling REASON to air this, it needs to not be a similar attribute to anything you’ve written about your main essay. That’ll just come across as weak. Best for this to be something unusual about your profile that would move the needle somehow and make the adcom go “hunh, now that’s interesting,” something they almost certainly WON’T get from perusing your resume, LORs, or any other application materials. This is not an “anything goes” scenario, but there is probably an angle that you can write about here that would help to fill out (and ‘complexify’) your profile.

Think of it this way: they’re gonna review all your stuff WITHOUT this optional essay, and sketch a portrait of you. The thing you write about here should AFFECT that sketch somehow. If it doesn’t, skip it. If it does, find the most surprising or unusual version and give it a shot.

This is of course if you have NO red flags to address as you would normally in an optional section on a typical business school app.

Go ahead and read our team’s complete take on the idea of the optional essay, including a brief (recent) history of b-schools’ relationship with it, and how our recommendations have evolved over the years, right here.

You can also read through our team’s analysis of the rest of Tepper’s application essays & learn more and explore each step of Tepper’s full-time MBA application process here.

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