University Of Maryland Essay Topics

UMD Smith MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018

Following up on the announcement of the UMD Smith MBA Essay Prompt and Deadlines, we wanted to share our essay topic analysis for the 2017-2018 admissions season.


2017-2018 UMD Smith MBA Essay Topic Analysis

Required Essay
Why Smith? Why an MBA? Why now? Be sure to include your short-term and long-term career goals. (Please limit your response to 300 words.)

This prompt is a standard career goals essay that touches on one’s career plans, timing of one’s education and interest in the Smith MBA. While on one hand, it could work to directly address each prompt in order, establishing your goals first would lend meaning to your interest in an MBA and Smith from the outset. Think of it like having a map with the end destination already established—the reader will know where you are heading from the start and, therefore, have a foundation to understand the richer reasoning behind the path. You may therefore begin with a brief mention of long-term plans, as these would lend meaning to your proposed short-term goals. Then, identify the function or job title you plan to pursue after business school, as well as your target industry and perhaps one or two target organizations. This position should be a logical first step toward a longer-term role that you hope to hold 10 or so years after your MBA.

It would also make sense to include a few sentences about how your work experience has prepared you for these future roles, as well as the skills and knowledge that you still need to gain in order to move successfully along this path. With this “why MBA” piece established, candidates will then want to offer a brief assertion about the timing of pursuing an MBA—perhaps you have made as much progress in your current role as you can, or perhaps an MBA is the only way for you to gain the necessary skillsyou’re your future goals. Detailed treatment of the ways specific elements of the Smith MBA program would help you to bridge the gap between your current skill set and their future plans. We recommend that candidates aim to devote at least 100 words to this section of the essay, if not a full half of their response.

To get as much mileage as possible out of this essay, you should aim to develop a very detailed response that explains how lessons from key classes and participation in certain student organizations will position you to accomplish your professional objectives. The adcom will also be interested in hearing about how you see yourself contributing to the community and enhancing the experience of other students, so naming some events that you would like to help organize or a club you would hope to lead will also bolster your case. Covering all of this ground within a 300-word essay is no easy task, so zeroing in on the aspects of the Smith MBA program that are most closely aligned with your goals will be important to developing an effective response; an in-depth review of the program website, conversations with current students and alumni, or visits to campus, are all viable sources of the information you’ll need here.

Optional Essay
Please use this essay to discuss anything additional about your candidacy that you have not yet shared in your application.

While there is no set word limit for this essay, it would be wise to keep this under 300 words, given the length of the required essay. Optional materials also create more work for the reader, so it’s important to keep that in consideration while being concise in one’s explanations.

Because there are no additional fields in the online application for liabilities such as gaps in work experience or a low GPA, it would be wise to use this space to briefly cover any potential weak points in one’s candidacy. Such discussions should be direct and to the point, providing an explanation and pointing to mitigating factors without being defensive or making excuses. Mitigating one’s weakness or weaknesses here should be prioritized; however, given the open-ended nature of the question, there is also potential to discuss a particularly meaningful activity or project that could not be covered in the application materials. Determining a topic will depend on the information already covered elsewhere, so this may be worth revisiting after you have a sense of what you are able to share in the application process. Because this is an optional essay, a selected anecdote or additional information should enhance your candidacy and highlight a strong skill or special interest to stand out, as opposed to just be an extension of the short required essay.

Clear Admit Resources
Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s UMD Smith MBA essay topics. As you work on your UMD Smith MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s University of Maryland offerings:

Posted in: Admissions Tips, Essay Topic Analysis, Essays

Schools: UMD / Smith


Q: How can I apply to the University of Maryland (UMD)?

Students applying for freshman admission to the spring or fall semester will use the application provided by The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success.

Q: Does the University of Maryland (UMD) use a single application portal?

Yes. As in years past, UMD will only offer one application. UMD uses the application offered through The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success. We do not offer or accept paper applications.

Q: Why has the University of Maryland (UMD) chosen to be a part of the Coalition?

UMD, with more than 90 other public and private institutions, has joined the Coalition because we are supportive of its mission to increase college access and affordability for all students. Also, the innovative platform is designed to assist all students by providing free resources and collaborative tools that will help them prepare for the college search and planning process. To learn more about the Coalition, watch this brief video.

Q: What are the main components that make up the Coalition application?

There are three main components of the Coalition application: the Application Portal, the Locker and the Collaboration Space. The University of Maryland (UMD) only requires applicants to utilize the Application Portal to submit their application. While you are encouraged to use the Locker and Collaboration Space to prepare for the admission process and get feedback from teachers and mentors, UMD does not require their use. UMD admissions staff will not review nor have access to the items in your Locker.

Q: When can I begin to use the Coalition platform?

You can begin using the Coalition platform at any point in your high school career. Once you create an account, you can access the Locker and Collaboration Space to organize items for your college application. When you are ready to apply, you can access the Application Portal to submit your completed application. 

Q: How do I share my profile information with the University of Maryland (UMD)?

To access the Locker, Collaboration Space and Application Portal, you must first open an account on the Coalition Platform and complete your profile. Profile information can later be transferred directly to the Coalition Application. You can then search for universities you are considering and indicate your level of connection with that university – researching, interested or applying.

When you indicate that you are applying to a university, you will have access to the Application Tracker, which tracks your progress toward the application’s completion.

Q: Will the University of Maryland (UMD) be reviewing or giving feedback to documents in my Locker?

No. The Locker is a private space for students to invite their high school counselors, teachers and mentors to review documents prior to submitting these items as part of their application. UMD admissions staff do not have access to your Locker and will not review application materials prior to their submission.

You can learn more about the Locker by watching the Coalition’s video overview.

Q: What essay questions will the University of Maryland (UMD) use on the application?

UMD will use the essay questions provided by the Coalition.

Q: When is the application deadline?

The Freshman Priority Application Deadline for fall admission is November 1. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply by the priority deadline, as they will receive best consideration for admission to the university, merit-based scholarships, and special programs. Visit our website for a complete listing of application deadlines.

Q: Is the priority application deadline binding? If I’m admitted, when do I have to confirm my enrollment?

The November 1 priority application deadline is non-binding. Admitted students have until May 1 to confirm their enrollment at Maryland.

Q: What happens if my application is incomplete by the November 1 priority application deadline? What about the regular application deadline?

If you are unable to complete your application by the priority deadline, you can still be considered for the regular application deadline if you submit a completed application and all required materials by January 20.

Applications completed after the regular application deadline will only be reviewed on a rolling, space-available basis.

Q: How does the University of Maryland (UMD) review applications for admission?

The undergraduate admissions process is rigorous and individualized. Maryland employs a holistic review process that utilizes 26 unique review factors.

Q: What does a competitive freshman applicant look like?

Admitted freshman students have a strong A-/B+ or better average in their high school coursework and are enrolled in the most challenging courses available to them including honors, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses. Recent admitted freshman profile information can be found on our About Maryland page.

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