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Sample Essay Scholarship Mba

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Business School / MBA Sample Essays
I have been hoping and planning to earn an MBA for the past six years since graduating from college and am excited to now be on the cusp of making that dream a reality. I’ve come a long way from the painfully shy college freshman who initially could hardly even stomach the thought of being a resident advisor because it would involve so much interaction with students I didn’t yet know. I conquered those first fears and went on to become the Resident Hall Council President and Freshman Orientation Leader...
In my experience one of the best places to learn true leadership skills is on the playing field. There are few situations in this world as intense, fraught with danger, and adrenalin inducing as participating in full-contact competitive sports. I have played soccer in a league for over __ years, and while this pastime is certainly not the focus of my life, the camaraderie and interpersonal skills I have learned from it will last me a lifetime...
I consider myself extremely fortunate to be here in the United States earning my education because I know how easy it would have been for this never to take place. Moving here all by myself from Shanghai to attend college was the most difficult thing I have ever done. I had never been away from my family before, I hadn’t even traveled outside of China prior to this trip, and I knew I was in for a big change...
Question: In 250 words or less, discuss your leadership or managerial style as it plays out in an organizational or group setting.

I have had the good fortune to work on several teams consisting of disparate people in a corporate setting. While many individuals shy away from trying to bring un-like minded people together, I see it as a challenge in which, if handled carefully, everyone can bring something unique to the group that will ultimately help us move the selected project forward in a more complete manner than if we all had similar ideas and styles...
Question: In 250 words or less, please describe your career goals and your educational objectives in participating in _____ University’s program.

I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This is the home of my heart even though I relish traveling to other countries and experiencing and learning from other cultures. I am in the United States now in order to further my education, improve my English, and make sure that I have the skills to work effectively with business leaders from everywhere in the world...
I come from a land of unparalleled physical beauty but sadly one that is also still struggling to overcome a strict class system that does not reflect the changing values of today’s Argentine people. I am one of the fortunate ones who has had access to an education and the opportunity to go to college in America, but many in my country are not so lucky...
Lying on my back, looking up at the stars while the camp fire crackles beside me, I can feel the utter peace of the ranch this I have loved since I was a boy. I would say that it would be a paradise to spend the rest of my life trekking through the rugged lands that, even though I have traveled them from my earliest memories on, still hold mysteries and new found beauty every time I come here...
Question: Please describe your experience of working in and leading teams, either in your professional or personal life. Given this experience, what role do you think you will play in your study group, and how do you intend to contribute to it?

Though I have had two work experiences outside of college, one as an accountant and the other as an investment analyst, in which I have had the chance to work on teams, contributing valuable experience and information that has been used to make multimillion dollar decisions, I still think my most vital experience of leadership took place in college simply because it was my greatest challenge to step up and take on a leadership role at that time, whereas in my jobs it was expected and I was prepared to do it...
Question: Student involvement is an extremely important part of the MBA experience and this is reflected in the character of students on campus. What type of student club or campus community event do you envisage yourself initiating? How would you set about organizing this, and how would you communicate it to the wider School community?

Having already learned first had the importance of becoming a part of clubs on campus during my undergraduate years I will most certainly be an active member, and possibly founder, of new ones at ________ University. My transition from Japan to America was made much smoother by my active participation in the Japanese Students Association, and if there is not yet a chapter such as this at ____ University, you can count on me to found it...
Question: Newton’s First Law of Motion states that an object in motion tends to stay in motion in the same direction unless acted upon by an external force. Tell us about an external influence (a person, an event, etc.) that affected you and how it caused you to change direction.

There is no event that has so affected my life trajectory as much as my decision to move to the United States to pursue my education. Prior to making this decision I was living what many would consider a perfectly satisfactory life in Cairo, Egypt. I come from a middle-class family, my parents are educated and kind, and I get along well with my two sisters...

Hayley Capp, winner of the 2013 QS Leadership Scholarship, shares her top tips on how to write a winning scholarship application essay.

There is no one way to write a winning scholarship application. If you gathered together all the scholarship entries that have ever won a prize, you would find it difficult to identify what made them the same. Each would offer a distinctive style employed by the author; a unique insight into his or her past, present and future aspirations.

This uniqueness is the key, and the first point to remember when you pick up your pen to write. Make your scholarship application essay exclusive to you, personalize it, delve deep into your passion and drive to study your subject, and create a response that could only ever relate to you. It is this individuality that stands out, and that’s exactly what catches a judge’s eye and defines a winner.

I won the 2013 QS Leadership Scholarship, so will base my guidance on my own thought process when shaping my application essay. However, the basic principles that I highlight with this example can be extracted and applied to other scholarship essay writing processes.

1. Read and re-read the essay statement you are being asked to respond to, and identify the key themes.

From my own example, the essay statement was: ‘Where I have demonstrated responsible leadership, or innovation, and how it made a difference either in my community or in my work’. I identified the key themes as ‘leadership’ and ‘community impact’.

2. Understand the meaning of the key themes.

After identifying the key themes, it is important to understand what each of these ideas really means, beyond the initial level. For instance, I acknowledged that the meaning of ‘leadership’ involved identifying the effects my leadership had – the actions taken and results achieved under my leadership – and not simply describing the position I held and my responsibilities. The more depth you bring to your understanding of the meaning of each theme, the more examples you will be able to identify to demonstrate your abilities.

3. Fill your scholarship essay with keywords/synonyms of keywords used in the scholarship statement.

Using the keywords from the scholarship statement throughout your essay will demonstrate your commitment to addressing the question being asked. For instance, I made a special effort to ensure references to ‘leadership’; ‘innovation’ and ‘impacting communities’ ran throughout my essay.

4. Make an engaging start to your essay.

If you are struggling to start your scholarship application essay, why not include a quote or statement that relates to your intended course, and which you can later link to the main body of your text. Showing wider knowledge and aptitude for your subject will help convince the judges that it is a worthwhile investment to support you in your chosen course.

5. Understand the criteria used by the scholarship committee to evaluate application essays.

Based on my own experience, I have outlined what I believe to be the key criteria used by scholarship committee judges for evaluating scholarship application essays on the themes of leadership and community impact. My advice would be to address all of these areas in your essay, whether the question explicitly asks for it or not.

What to include in scholarship essays about leadership:

  • The extent of the leadership experience and degree of accomplishment. What were the results? Did you manage to grow a society from 10 to 100 members through your tenure?
  • Why you got involved in the leadership experience. What was your initial inspiration and how did the experience make you feel? This is a very important aspect as it allows you to show your sincerity and demonstrates your passion.
  • What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them? Inspirational stories of perseverance despite adversity make readers (especially judges) want to help you succeed. It also shows that you have great leadership qualities: the ability to adapt to new situations and the determination to not give up.
  • What did you learn?How did these lessons shape you as a leader? Every experience brings new lessons and personal growth opportunities and the best leaders are humble and realize this. Speaking about these lessons indicates that you have truly reflected on your experiences and that you understand what leadership is. (In other words, you know that leadership isn’t just about getting a title like “President” or “Executive Director”.)
  • What does this mean for the future? A scholarship isn’t just an award; it’s an investment in your future. So if you plan to continue being involved in your particular leadership activity in the future, tell the judges.

What to include in scholarship essays about community impact:

  • How much time did you dedicate to the activity? The scholarship committee is likely to be looking for applicants who made a fairly long commitment to a community activity.
  • Why was it important to you? Joy from helping others? Excitement of trying something new? Opportunity to form relationships with others? Having a genuine reason helps build a convincing essay.
  • Why was it important to the community? Ask the question: What would be different for your community if you didn’t do what you do? It is most important to show that you recognize the real needs in your communities, and act to address these.
  • What did you gain yourself through giving to the community? It is important to show that you understand how through giving, you end up receiving more in the end. Sharing what community service has taught you and how it helped you develop demonstrates that you have truly gained from your participation and suggests you will continue doing so in the future.

My final point of advice when writing your scholarship application essay or cover letter is to really show that you know who you are. What are the relevant past and present experiences that demonstrate your abilities and where are you headed? Use carefully selected language to emphasize your passion, ambition and enthusiasm and remember to adopt a positive mindset, in which you believe in all the great things you have done and plan to continue achieving in the future. If you don’t believe in yourself, why would the judges?

Good luck!

Hayley

You can browse our various scholarship listings here, and QS also offers its own scholarships. Also, you can download our free guide for more advice on how to find scholarships to study abroad. 

Hayley Capp is the winner of the 2013 QS Leadership Scholarship. Covering up to US$10,000 of course fees for a graduate program, the scholarship is awarded to the applicant best able to demonstrate his/her ability to use entrepreneurial and leadership skills to make a positive impact on a community.

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