October 8, 2018

Nanyang Technical University MBA Essay 1

Nanyang Technological University

NTU MBA Essay 1

Briefly describe your involvement in any Social Responsibility or Sustainable Development activities. (Maximum 150 words)

150 words is not a lot of space. It’s one meaty paragraph, or two VERY lean ones. We need to attack it thoughtfully, therefore, in order to max out our ROI. Let’s start with some basic questions. Which is most important, the impressiveness of the activity/organization? Your achievements? Your REASONS for pursuing these activities? The answer is not… “all three.”

The best thing you can do in these 150 words is to demonstrate your ability to (1) establish a clear objective, and then (2) develop a tactical approach to solving that objective. If you can accomplish those two things, you’re in excellent shape. Having an idea of what you want, and then creating a systematic, thoughtful, sustainable, pragmatic way of going about achieving it.

Now, if you happen to have been SUCCESSFUL at it, and were able to leave behind some measurable impact, even better. But the “achievements” aren’t useful to Nanyang. The “algorithms” are. The brainpower BEHIND the achievements is what they are hoping to invest in. That’s the stuff you need to lay out here. The WAY IN WHICH (1) you established the goal and then (2) your approach to executing on it.

The focus must be on how committed you were to making a meaningful contribution, moving the needle, leaving behind impact. We want to see the way in which you were motivated by that in order to arrive at your ultimate strategy. That’s it. This is not a resume bullet, which they can see clearly on… your resume! This is the part where you get to showcase how thoughtful you are as a business mind.

Recommended structure:

Part 1 – Explain your goal, or your attraction to whatever cause you were motivated by. Be straightforward here, explain very quickly what the organization was, and briefly why you were drawn to the cause. The key is to move into what it was you wanted to ACHIEVE by getting involved – and again, be quick and lay out what it was you hoped would RESULT FROM your success. [50-60 words]

Part 2 – Now, move into the ideation/planning process of how you approached your involvement. What were you grappling with when contemplating the ways in which you could be MOST EFFECTIVE in whatever role you were in? Explain the ways in which you were optimizing for maximum impact, weighing pros and cons of various approaches. This is where we need to get a sense that you are a strategic powerhouse, and that “whatever you set your mind to, you will succeed at that thing.” This should be the focal point of this section. [90-100 words]


You can also read through our team’s analysis of the rest of NTU’s application essays.

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