Kelley MBA Essays: Tips for 2023-2024

At Menlo Coaching, we noticed that most MBA essays will fall into one of a number of categories: personal essays, career goals essays, behavioral essays, etc.. Read ahead for our expert guide on approaching these essays for the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.

Career Goals Essay

  • Discuss your immediate post-MBA professional goals. How will your professional experience, when combined with a Kelley MBA degree, allow you to achieve these goals? Should the short-term goals you have identified not materialize, what alternate career paths might you consider? (upload file, 500 words)

Personal Essay

  • Choose one of the following short essay prompts. (300 words)

a. My greatest memory is…

b. I’m most afraid of…

c. My greatest challenge has been…

d. I’m most proud of…

  • Share a brief fact about yourself that your classmates would find interesting, surprising, or noteworthy. (25 words)

Optional Essay

  • Is there anything else that you think we should know as we evaluate your application? If you believe your credentials and essays represent you fairly, you shouldn’t feel obligated to answer this question. (300 words)

Applying to Indiana Kelley

KSB aims to create a collaborative environment that spurs partnerships among students, faculty, and other areas of academic life on campus.  Through the story you relate in your essay, the admissions council is looking to see if you reflect the same values that the school does. Kelley is looking for students who take responsibility for their individual actions and are straightforward in their communication. The best way to represent that you possess those qualities is through the type of essay you choose to write. 

It’s crucial to pick the right experience to discuss in your essay, and the different types of prompts help narrow that down for you. Keep reading for a closer look at the different types of essays, and how best to utilize them in order to write a stand-out essay for Indiana Kelley.

The Career Goals Essay

You’re not the only one hoping you’ll have a job after you’ve graduated with your MBA. Admissions committees are looking for students who are motivated and clear in their intentions so that when they get a job post-grad, they’ll be more willing to speak positively of their experience in the program. And, of course, in the hopes that their alumni will earn enough money to become a donor to the school one day. 

There are three aspects to the career goals essay: 

Your aspirations need to be convincing, ambitious, and realistic. Indiana Kelley is looking for applicants who have meaningful goals grounded in their past experiences, and it’s important that you relate that notion in your essay, however it applies to your experience in life.

The Personal Story

Like we touched on earlier, schools are looking for the right fit for their campus community, just as you are searching for the school that aligns best with your goals. In the personal essay, this is your chance to show IU Kelley the values that drive you both as a person and as a student. These values tell the admissions council what you prioritize, the moral code you live by, and, most importantly, who you are as a person. 

In these essays, you can talk about almost anything; typically, applicants will write about relationships in their lives, or times when there was a hardship they had to overcome. Be warned, though: there are some topics to avoid, and we have outlined a few things to watch out for in this article

Optional Essay

Once you’ve completed your application, the optional Ross essay gives you an additional opportunity to provide the AdCom with any additional information or clarity that you feel would enhance your application.

One trap that MBA applicants fall into is using the additional space provided by this essay to write on a whole new topic. However, this is not always the best idea.

You should only make use of this essay if you what you write will provide context to an element of your application to improve your candidacy—you don’t want to jeopardize your chances by adding unnecessary noise to your application.

Conclusion

Writing strong, coherent, genuine stories is an essential part of your MBA application. These essays are meant to help you stand out among many other applicants, so it is worth your time to do the work and write about situations unique to your life and that you truly learned from. Visit our process page to understand how Menlo Coaching can help you with your MBA essays for the Kelley School of Business.

Early Birds Toolkit

Learn 3 Steps You Should Take NOW to Improve Your Profile for R1 2024

In MBA admissions, starting early can significantly boost your chances. 

But there are no shortcuts, and while R1 2024 deadlines might seem far off, building your profile takes time.

Our Early Birds Toolkit has everything you need to get started right now—leave your name and email, and we’ll send you three actionable steps to elevate your profile, plus time-saving tools for faster progress.