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MBA Application Essay Sample

MBA Application Essay Sample

Sample 1 – Graduate School Psychology Application
Sample 2 – Dental School Application
Sample 3 – MBA Application

Sample 3 – MBA Application

The reasons behind my application to the University of York's MBA program lie far away, decades in time and thousands of miles in space, to my growing up in the country of Sierra Leone. While my native country has today become synonymous with unnatural violence and anarchy in the world's headlines, when I grew up there I knew it only as a land of unnatural beauty.

However, poverty has plagued my native land as, indeed, it has plagued much of the African continent. As a result, I - like many before and after me - left Africa to pursue an education in the West. This process culminated in my receiving a degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Massachusetts in 1997.

Like most political and economic exiles, I was preoccupied with my homeland even as I studied such arcane disciplines as macro- and microeconomic theories in the halls of academe in the West. While it may be idealistic, I sought every opportunity to convert my Western education to become a means of furthering development and prosperity in my homeland. The story of the "brain drain" from the Developing World to the industrialized West is a well-known phenomenon of life in our global village. I sought - in my own small way - to reverse that process.

Thus, in the late 1990s I returned to Sierra Leone and became a manager of an international import-export company specializing in precious gems. As one may know from contemporary media reports, diamonds are Sierra Leone's most valuable natural resource and provide the fuel for its current civil war. However, as economic analysts also observe, the country's diamond reserves also represent its greatest hope for the future.

The worsening of the nation's civil war eventually forced me into exile in the West once again. I worked to put myself through university in the United States; all the while volunteering to assist other migrants from Africa in settling into their new country, and disseminating information on current events in Africa to Americans.

It is in this history that one may find the reasons for my application to the University of York’s Co-op MBA program. To put it quite simply, I consider that furthering my personal education will allow me greater opportunities to assist in the development of my native land and Africa in general. The future of Africa lies not in food aid from the West, or in UN peacekeeping missions, but in the promotion of the economic prosperity of its population.

I acknowledge that this reason may seem somewhat idealistic. As many business students might observe, idealism and a buck will get you a cup of coffee. However, economics and business have undeniable social aspects; as may be seen in the close association of the University of York with its surrounding community and industries.

In the process of advancing my education through the Co-op MBA program I believe I will not only gain valuable theoretical knowledge of economics at the graduate level, but that this will be complemented with real-world application. It is precisely through this mixture of theory and practice that I believe I may better contribute to my own community; both in the United States and back in Africa. It is for this reason that I am applying to the University of York's Co-op MBA program.

I thank you for you time and consideration.


  • This applicant faced the challenge of translating a complex and diverse career and educational history into a successful MBA application. Such diversity can often be “read” by admissions as illustrating a lack of career focus. The designer of the above sample addressed this problem in two ways:

    (1) initially explaining it a being the result of circumstances beyond the applicant’s control, and
    (2) incorporating a strong element of idealism into the application.

  • In its emphasis on the theme of idealism, note how the above sample is careful to address the natural scepticism on the part of the reader. Often applications will reference applicant’s strong commitment to this or that cause or community value. This is so common an occurrence as to engender a healthy scepticism in those tasked to read these applications. Therefore, the above sample addresses this scepticism “head on”: “idealism and a buck will get you a cup of coffee”. This open acknowledgement of the reader’s views in reviewing the application was intended to appear “refreshing” and to distinguish the successful applicant from competing applications.
  • In the above sample, note how the application makes reference to the “close association of the University of York with its surrounding community and industries”. This is important as it will be read as a sign that the applicant is not simply mailing out generic applications but has researched the school to which he is applying in particular. Such particular references indicate that the applicant has done his “homework” with regard to the institution to which he is applying. This shows a level of commitment that will be positively interpreted by the application’s reader(s).

Sample 1 – Graduate School Psychology Application
Sample 2 – Dental School Application
Sample 3 – MBA Application