Job Essay 1: Briefly summarise your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of budget, clients/products and results achieved. (200 words maximum)
Okay folks, no real need to be creative here, or dramatic, or “interesting.” Why say that? Because if you attempt it, it may come across as an insecurity. You’re the guy who doesn’t understand when straightforward is actually a show of strength.
Be brief, straightforward, and get into the details…fast. One way of looking at this is simply to flesh out (somewhat) your latest entry on your resume. Just, turn it into a readable paragraph so that anyone reading it can understand exactly where you work, exactly what it is you do, and exactly what your accomplishments mean (i.e., you’ve given us enough context to be able to make sense of them). And that’s all, folks.
Job Essay 2: What would be your next step in terms of position if you were to remain in the same company? (200 words maximum)
Assume for a minute that you are going to STAY at your current place of work for the next twenty years (just pretend). Presumably, you’ll rise in the ranks in SOME capacity. Even if you’re the CEO of a start-up, your position will evolve somehow as your company grows. Imagine that spectrum between today and 20 years from now sub-divided into five major bumps. What’s the very next one? Explain the bump in terms of what is it you do/oversee today and how it will CHANGE once you’re promoted or rise in the ranks some other way.
All we’re trying to do is understand where you are in life. That’s it. No need to explain that you truly want to do something else; we’re just getting our bearings.
Job Essay 3: Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. Describe your career path with the rationale behind your choices. (300 words maximum)
This is where it starts to get real. Whereas the first few can be extremely devoid of “carefully chosen words,” here, you need to express ideas clearly, and compellingly.
…and this is gonna take some thought.
Start by explaining the context behind your very first post-graduate decision, by way of some overarching goal — as clear or as nebulous as it may have been. Given that you one-day wanted to X, you decided to pursue Y as your first official move after university. Explain your developments, skills gained, ways in which you advanced your career interests (or gained clarity on what it was you truly wanted to do), and let that guide your description of whatever major thing happened next. Presumably, you were promoted, or you chose another job, or you chose another industry, or a life circumstance spun things in a new direction, etc. Whatever it is, keep in mind that this is all part of a single narrative that connects each juncture along a single spectrum that takes us from the first job after university to wherever you are today, with your decision-making as your rudder at each key moment. We should be able to read this essay and then repeat back not just what the steps were of your career, but why you made your choices at each step.
Optional Job Essay: If you are currently not working or if you plan to leave your current employer more than 2 months before the programme starts, please explain your activities and occupations between leaving your job and the start of the programme.
Only answer if this one if it applies to you. If you’re explaining the “not working” aspect, be extremely straightforward. The more it seems like you’re justifying something, the “guiltier” you’ll come across. Imagine you’re re-assuring the person who just hired you why there’s this strange gap that we just noticed. Before we get cold feet, make that feeling go away quickly, with extreme confidence, clarity, and brevity.
If you’re answering the other option, CREATING a gap (whether by choice or not) that gives you the ability to spend your time somehow before the program begins, you’ll want to approach it similarly, but this time, you may need to add a touch of justification, lest it arouse suspicion. Say, for example, that gap is six months, and there doesn’t seem to be any real reason for it. Here, you may have decided to travel the world, or learn a new language, or… you get the idea. Just about anything CAN be an amazing reason, we just need to be sold on it, is all. Brevity here is your best best best friend. A long optional essay can be a death sentence. Stay crisp, aim for 150-250 words.
You can also read through our team’s analysis of the rest of INSEAD’s application essays.
Learn more and explore each step of the INSEAD full-time MBA application process here.