2023-2024 MBA Essays: Tips for Madison, University of Wisconsin

Wisconsin School of Business,  University of Wisconsin - Madison

This year’s MBA application prompts aren’t out just yet, but it’s a good idea to start brainstorming what your topics will be. Wondering where to start, what to write? No worries, we have all the tips you need to get a nice start on writing a quality essay for Wisconsin School of Business.  

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. UW Madison is looking for students who are aim to become trusted leaders in their future careers, and students who are effectively inclusive to their peers. Our personal skills and values can change the world for good, if we know how to use them properly. 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 UW Madison. 

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. UW Madison 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.

Career Goals

The short answer questions are required and are an opportunity for you to share more information about your career goals. Please answer the questions in full. Essay responses are limited to 600 words each.

  • The Wisconsin MBA allows you to specialize in a functional area of business, please tell us why you have selected that functional area of business. What are your post MBA career goals and how will the specialization help you reach your career goals?


The Behavioral Essay

To make it simple: the behavioral essay is meant to show UW Madison that you have developed some sort of leadership skills, what your values are as a leader, and how you are going to most benefit from their development programs. 

The admissions committee is looking for applicants that are self-reflective. Whether it’s through a setback you’ve experienced, or how you dealt with situations that have gone awry, the school is looking for students who are resilient and able to learn from their mistakes. 

Do not overexaggerate (or underexaggerate!) the situations you decide to write about. Be honest about what happened; UW Madison is looking for genuine people to join their campus community, and they are less likely to admit an applicant who has overinflated their prior experiences. 

Last but not least, make sure to describe what you learned and how you implemented this in a subsequent situation. This is an expected element of the behavioral essay, even if it’s not directly written in the prompt. Madison’s full-time MBA program works to blend leadership principles within academic learning to produce graduates able to navigate a quickly changing world. They want to see in your essay that you have already sought this growth, whether or not you succeeded. The drive to become a better leader is half of the battle. Prompts that deal with these topics can be daunting, especially when they require you to write about a weakness you have or a failure you’ve experienced.

Behavioral Essay

  • Share a time in which you engaged with a perspective, identity, community, or experience that was different from your own and how it impacted your worldview.
  • Share a time you took on a leadership role at work or within your community and how did that role helped shape you as a leader.


Optional Essay

  • Please use this optional essay to communicate additional information about yourself that is not otherwise represented in the application and that you feel would benefit the admissions committee. Limit essay response to 600 words.



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 Wisconsin School of Business.