USC Marshall 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 USC Marshall School of Business.

Career Goals Essay

  • What is your specific, immediate short-term career goal upon completion of your MBA? Please include an intended position, function, and industry in your response. (word limit: 100)

Dear Admissions Committee Essay

  • Please draft a letter that begins with “Dear Admissions Committee” (word limit: 600) 
    This letter is meant to be your personal statement that provides the Admissions Committee with an understanding of your candidacy for Marshall beyond what is evident in other parts of your application. This essay is purposely open-ended. You are free to express yourself in whatever way you see fit. Our goal is to have an appreciation for and an understanding of each candidate in ways that are not captured by test scores, grades, and resumes. 

Optional Essay

  • Please provide any additional information you would like the admissions committee to consider. (word limit: 250)

Applying to USC Marshall School of Business

USC Marshall is a prestigious business school with renowned faculty and a focus on academic success. USC wants to admit students who are intelligent, determined, and prepared to undertake a rigorous curriculum. Further, USC has a strong networking community especially in Los Angeles, known as the “Trojan family.” Thus, Marshall MBA graduates will have some aid in the community when trying to enter the job market. Applicants should pay attention to the specific requirements and expectations set out by USC’s admissions committee when writing USC MBA essays. Through these MBA essays, applicants have a chance to demonstrate their skills, accomplishments, and personal interests.

Marshall’s Career Goals Essay 

The USC Marshall career goals essay provides applicants with a place to let the USC admissions committee know how the MBA program you want to attend will help you achieve your professional goals, including an intended position, function, and industry. This USC MBA essay is a great place to explain why USC is truly the best fit for you. 

It is vital for USC applicants to have a solid plan for their post-MBA career aspirations. First and foremost, this is because USC wants its graduates to succeed. However, there are a few selfish motivations for the career goals essay, including the fact that USC wants to have an impressive employment report and produce graduates who will become donors someday. Further, the USC Marshall admissions committee wants to ensure that applicants have a career plan that plays on their past experiences and thus ensures success. They also want applicants with the foresight to develop an alternate career plan in case their first choice does not work out. 

Other things to keep in mind for this essay is the necessity to have a career goal that is both ambitious and practical. Applicants should have meaningful goals that fit with what is offered at USC’s MBA program. Along this vein, networking is extremely important when preparing to write your career goals essay. The more you know about the program and how it can help you achieve your personal goals, the better.

Marshall’s “Dear Admissions Committee” Essay

The USC MBA essay is a hallmark of USC Marshall’s MBA application. Writing this genre of MBA essay may involve divulging information about the core values, morals, and passions that guide your behavior and motivate your decision to apply to Marshall. USC’s MBA admissions committee wants to know more about the actual people to which they are offering admissions, because each applicant is more than their transcript and resume. 

USC Marshall’s admissions committee wants applicants to provide information about personal relationships, hardships, and other individualizing information in this USC MBA essay. It is important to provide concrete examples to demonstrate how your values have influenced you in different areas of your life. Further, USC wants applicants to demonstrate leadership skills and articulate their reasons for wanting an MBA at USC. 

When writing this USC MBA essay, you should keep in mind that it is important to be open and let your personality shine through, with an engaging story told with an authentic voice for example. Therefore, as long as you are true to yourself, your USC MBA essay will be a success. 

Optional Essay

Once you’ve completed your application, the optional UNC MBA 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.


Applicants to USC Marshall should pay close attention to the specific expectations for each type of USC MBA essay. USC Marshall also has an additional USC MBA essay option where applicants can provide any other information they would like the admissions committee to consider. Although it may be tempting to look up sample essays and draw from these formats, it is most important to let your personal background guide the construction of your USC MBA essays.

Menlo Coaching can help you throughout your MBA essay writing process, offering one-on-one MBA application support and exclusive materials.

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