Essay 1: Please provide a personal statement. It should not exceed 500 words and must include the following:
1. What are your short and long term career objectives?
2. What skills/characteristics do you already have that will help you to achieve them?
3. What do you hope to gain from the degree programme and how do you feel it will help you achieve the career objectives you have?
All business programs want to be certain that you will benefit from taking the time to study at their school. This is the reason that they devote an entire essay to asking about your goals, your current skill set, and how you will utilize the EMBA to your advantage. As you write your essay, you should devote approximately the same amount of space to each of the three questions that are being asked in the prompt as they are equally important.
When discussing your career objectives, it is important to remember that at the executive level, it is incredibly important to have realistic career objectives. Major career changes are not as likely after gaining 7 or more years of experience in your industry. To make a major career change, you might have to accept a lower position or a lower salary than your current one. This is not the best outcome of an EMBA; therefore, discussing this type of change in your application is not advisable.
You should make sure that your career objectives are in line with your current career trajectory. If you want to stay in the same industry but make a lateral change to a position that is similar to your current one, that would be considered to be achievable. Or if you want to maintain the same position but jump to another industry, that would also be realistic. Career progression or pursuing an entrepreneurial venture are two other goals that would make sense given the level of experience of EMBA candidates.
When addressing the skills that you have to help you achieve your goals, you should not share a list of skills that you possess. Instead, clearly identify the key qualifications that you would need to achieve your objectives and briefly elaborating on each qualification or sharing a short professional example that confirms that you have that skill. This is a way to convince the admissions committee that you are well prepared to pursue your goals.
Finally, make sure that you show your research into the Cambridge EMBA program and what specific components you want to take advantage of in order to improve. Knowing what you want to achieve before embarking upon an EMBA shows maturity and self-awareness. Personal development is a major component of business school. That is why you should use the essay to name what interests you about the program and exactly what you hope to gain from it.
Essay 2: In your own words, please answer the following essay: Who would you like to hear from as a contemporary guest speaker on the Executive MBA programme, and what would you hope to learn from them? (Maximum 500 words)
It can be difficult to know where to start or how to brainstorm for such an open-ended question like this one.
When you read this question, one of two things probably happens. Either your mind draws a blank about which guest speaker would be right for this question or you have too many ideas and you are not sure which is the best one to use. For either case, here are my suggestions for brainstorming for this essay.
Oxbridge Union Guest Speakers
Start by reviewing the Oxford Union and Cambridge Union websites. These are the organizations at Oxbridge that hosts guest speakers from a variety of backgrounds. The Oxford Union is more active than Cambridge’s, which is why I have suggested reviewing both sites. By looking at past and future speakers for both unions, you can start to get an idea of the types of speakers that come to the universities and that could be a good fit for this essay.
List Speakers by Category
Try to think of people who inspire you within the following categories: a business executive, a politician, a public figure, or a leader in the non-profit world. These are the categories that I would consider when brainstorming for this essay. If you are able to list a few people in these categories, it will become easier to narrow down your selection to one person.
Read and Listen for Inspiration
Think about how you consume information. Is it by reading the newspaper or magazines? Or maybe you prefer watching TV? Or you might spend time listening to the radio or to podcasts? All of these mediums will have interviews with people in the public world. As you are brainstorming, you should look to the channels of information that you access the most. If you have a favorite magazine, search their online database for interviews. Or if you listen to podcasts, there are many business-focused podcasts out there. Choosing one and listening to interviews might help inspire you.
Once you have selected the guest speaker, the more important question in this prompt is “what do you hope to learn from them?” Your guest speaker choice should not be arbitrary, it should relate to your career thus far, to your future goals, or to your interests. You need to think about what this guest speaker can share that is relevant to your life and make sure to highlight that.
When it comes to what you want to learn, you can share something personal or professional. Many people are concerned about sharing anything too personal in their application; however, this is not a problem for business schools. You are a person with interesting personal circumstances and experiences; sharing them can add dimension to the essay. Still this is a careful line to straddle. Ultimately this is an application to a business program and you need to carefully to find the balance between sharing professional and personal information.
Rona Aydin is a graduate of Oxford Said's MBA program. She also spent one year in Cambridge as a partner to a Judge MBA student. She has in-depth knowledge of both Oxford and Cambridge and she has worked with many clients on their applications to both schools. If you would like to know more about Oriel Admissions' services and how we can help you with your applications, please contact Rona at email@example.com for a free consultation.