Graduate Blog / Graduate Admissions

May the Force Be With You or the Optional MBA Essay Revisited

Greetings from the Babson Wellesley campus! This is a big week for all Round 2 full time applicants – we will release admissions decisions on Friday! So much work went into assessing all Round 2 applicants and it was amazing to see the quality of the candidates. It makes us all so excited about our incoming One-Year MBA, Two-Year MBA and MSEL classes this summer.

We also had Monday off in celebration of President’s day so I finally went to the movies and saw The Force Awakens. I feel like I can write an entire blog post just about that but I need to stay on topic – the optional essay!

So what is the deal with the optional essay? Everyone talks about it and no one knows exactly how to deal with it. My predecessor and great friend wrote about it on this very blog a few years ago and her advice is still solid.

Here are my additional five tips:

  1. Read about Babson’s Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® (ET&A). Yes, I do mean that this is a good first step when you are considering whether or not to submit an optional essay that explains a career gap, an unusual tack in your professional path or a not-so -stellar GPA or test score. ET&A will help you understand the abilities we look for in a candidate. And my advice for the optional essay aligns with the ET&A principles.
  2. Start With the Means at Hand. Know your story, know the future you aspire to and know how Babson fits into the picture. If the required application materials do not provide enough opportunity to get your story across – write an optional essay!
  3. Take the First Step (and then take the next step). Tell us about your “shortcoming” but don’t make excuses. Explain the circumstances and address how you will ensure this is no longer a shortcoming. A quick example – your undergraduate GPA was low. Tell us why. Show us the steps you took – a post-undergraduate class where you performed really well, or a very strong GMAT score – that will alleviate the underlying concern about your academic ability.
  4. Make a Difference. What we look for at Babson are candidates who will make a difference. We look for great new members of the Babson community, great ambassadors for the Babson brand and above all, entrepreneurial leaders who create economic and social value. Show how you will make a difference. Make it meaningful and credible.
  5. Get Started. Write that optional essay (and the required ones, please) and submit your application. Don’t let worrying about one piece of your application overshadow the sum of your accomplishments and potential.

If you have questions about your specific concerns, email me at and I will be happy to provide guidance. Later this week, I will write about Round 3. Stay tuned.

May the ET&A be with you!


We all have our own goals. Live yours.