Top MBA Programs

One of the most common errors made by MBA applicants is failing to properly research a program, and subsequently failing to write essays tailored to the individual school. At Veritas Prep, we have consultants from all of the top schools to make sure you have the expertise you need. Please learn more by selecting schools of interest below.

Business Schools
Chicago (Booth) Columbia Dartmouth (Tuck)
Duke (Fuqua) Harvard INSEAD
Michigan (Ross) MIT (Sloan) Northwestern (Kellogg)
NYU (Stern) Penn (Wharton) Stanford
UC Berkeley (Haas) UCLA (Anderson) Yale

Top 20 Business Schools Ranked By...

Each of the popular business school ranking systems below rely on a different set of criteria, including acceptance rates, average GMAT scores, and post-graduation salaries. Some also use more subjective criteria, such as peer ratings by administrators at other business schools, and how each school is rated by its current and former students. As you review the MBA rankings below, always keep in mind the criteria on which each publication bases its ranking system.

Application Round Deadlines

U.S. Business Schools

MBA Program R1 R2 R3 R4
UC Berkeley (Haas)* 10/16 1/8 3/12
Chicago (Booth) 10/3 1/8 4/3
Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)* 10/7 1/2 3/15
Columbia* 10/2 4/9
Cornell (Johnson)* 10/2 12/4 2/12
Dartmouth (Tuck)* 10/9 11/6 1/3 4/2
Duke (Fuqua)* 9/18 10/21 1/6 3/20
Emory (Goizueta)* 10/11 11/20 1/10 3/14
Georgetown (McDonough) 10/10 1/5 4/1
Harvard 9/16 1/6 4/7
Indiana (Kelley)* 10/15 1/5 3/1 4/15
Michigan (Ross) 10/1 1/2 3/3
MIT (Sloan)* 9/24 12/20 3/3
Northwestern (Kellogg) 10/16 1/7 4/2
NYU (Stern) 10/15 11/15 1/15 3/15
Purdue (Krannert)* 11/15 1/15 3/1 5/1
Rochester (Simon) 10/15 11/15 1/5
Stanford 10/2 1/8 4/2
Texas (McCombs)* 10/15 1/21 3/27
UCLA (Anderson) 10/22 1/7 4/15
UNC (Kenan-Flagler)* 10/18 12/9 1/13 3/14
USC (Marshall)  
Virginia (Darden) 10/15 1/7 3/27
Penn (Wharton) 10/1 1/7 3/27
Yale 9/25 1/9 4/24

International Business Schools

MBA Program R1 R2 R3 R4
INSEAD* 10/3 11/27 3/5
Cambridge (Judge)* 10/11 1/10 3/7 4/25
CEIBS 11/20 2/19 4/10
ESADE* Monthly Deadlines
HEC Paris* Monthly Deadlines
IESE* 10/6 1/5 3/2 6/8/td>
IMD* 2/1 4/1 6/1 8/1
Indian School of Business 9/15 11/30
London Business School
Oxford (Said) 9/13 10/25 1/10 3/14
Western Ontario (Ivey)* 5/6 9/23 11/18 1/13
* These schools do not operate on a typical three-round admissions schedule. See the schools’ web sites for more information.

Berkeley (Haas) Admissions Essays

Required Essays

  1. If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why? (250 words)
  2. What is your most significant accomplishment? (250 words)
  3. Describe a time in the last three years when you overcame a failure. What specific insight from this experience has shaped your development? (250 words)
  4. a. What are your post-MBA short-term and long-term career goals? How have your professional experiences prepared you to achieve these goals?
    b. How will an MBA from Haas help you achieve these goals? (750 word maximum for 4a. and 4b.)

Supplemental Information

  1. If you have not provided a letter of recommendation from your current supervisor, please explain. If not applicable, enter N/A.
  2. List in order of importance all community and professional organizations and extracurricular activities in which you have been involved during or after university studies. Indicate the nature of the activity or organization, size of the organization, dates of involvement, offices held, and average number of hours spent per month.
  3. List full-time and part-time jobs held during undergraduate or graduate studies, indicating the employer, job title, employment dates, location, and the number of hours worked per week for each position held prior to the completion of your degree.
  4. Please explain all gaps in your employment since earning your university degree.
  5. If you have ever been subject to academic discipline, placed on probation, suspended, or required to withdraw from any college or university, please explain. If not, please enter N/A. (An affirmative response to this question does not automatically disqualify you from admission.

Optional Essays

  1. Please feel free to provide a statement concerning any information you would like to add to your application that you haven’t addressed elsewhere. (500 word maximum)
  2. If not clearly evident, please discuss ways in which you have demonstrated strong quantitative abilities, or plan to strengthen quantitative abilities. You do not need to list courses that appear on your transcript. (250 word maximum)

Chicago (Booth) Admissions Essays

Short Answers:

  1. Please respond to the following two essay prompts:
    a) My favorite part of my work is...(250 words maximum)
    b) I started to think differently when...(250 words maximum)


The Chicago experience will take you deeper into issues, force you to challenge assumptions, and broaden your perspective. In a four-slide presentation or an essay of no more than 600 words, broaden our perspective about who you are. Understanding what we currently know about you from the application, what else would you like us to know?

Columbia Admissions Essays

Short Answer Question

  1. What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (100 characters maximum)


  1. Given your individual background, why are you pursuing a Columbia MBA at this time? (Maximum 500 words)
  2. Columbia Business School is located in the heart of the world’s business-capital – Manhattan. How do you anticipate that New York City will impact your experience at Columbia? (Maximum 250 words)

Dartmouth (Tuck) Admissions Essays

  1. Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA fit for you, and your goals and why are you the best fit for Tuck? (500 words)
  2. Tell us about your most meaningful collaborative leadership experience and what role you played. What did you learn about your own individual strengths and weaknesses through this experience? (500 words)
  3. Describe a circumstance in your life in which you faced adversity, failure, or setback. What actions did you take as a result and what did you learn from this experience?

Duke (Fuqua) Admissions Essays

Short Answers (250 Characters Each)

  1. What are your short-term goals, post-MBA?
  2. What are your long-term goals?
  3. Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize what alternative directions have you considered?


  1. Share with us your list of “25 Random Things about YOU.” (2 pages)
  2. When asked by your family, friends, and colleagues why you want to go to Duke, what do you tell them? Share the reasons that are most meaningful to you. (2 pages)

Harvard Admissions Essays


  1. You’re applying to Harvard Buisiness School. We can see your resume, school transcripts, extra-curricular activites, awards, post-MBA career goals, test scores and what your recommenders have to say about you. What else would you like us to know as we consider you candidacy? (no defined word limit)

Joint Degree Applicants

  1. How do you expect the joint degree experience to benefit you on both a professional and a personal level? (400 words)

INSEAD Admissions Essays

Job Description Essays

  1. Briefly summarize your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and, where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of budget, clients/ products and results achieved. (250 words maximum)
  2. Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. If you were to remain with your present employer, what would be your next step in terms of position? (250 words)
  3. If you are currently not working, what are you doing and what do you plan to do until you start the MBA programme? (250 words maximum)

Standard Essays

  1. Give a candid description of yourself, stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors, which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary. (600 words maximum)
  2. Describe what you believe to be your two most substantial accomplishments to date (if possible specify one personal and one professional), explaining why you view them as such. (400 words maximum)
  3. Describe a situation taken from your personal or professional life where you failed. Discuss what you learned. (400 words maximum)
  4. Discuss your short and long term career goals. (300 words) and b) How will studying at INSEAD help you achieve your vision? (250 words)
  5. Please choose one of the following two essay topics:
    a. Have you ever experienced culture shock? What insights did you gain? (250 words), or
    b. Describe the ways in which a foreigner in your country might experience culture shock. (250 words)

Northwestern (Kellogg) Admissions Essays

  1. Discuss moments or influences in your personal life that have defined who you are today. (500 word limit)
  2. What have been your most significant leadership experiences? What challenges did you face, and what impact did you have? This is your opportunity to explain how you Think Bravely (personally and/or professionally). (500 word limit)
  3. Imagine yourself at your Kellogg graduation. What career will you be preparing to enter, and how have the MBA and Kellogg helped you get there? (Please answer in terms of your program choice: One-Year, Two-Year, MMM, JD-MBA) (500 word limit)
  4. What one interesting or fun fact would you want your future Kellogg classmates to know about you? (25 words or less)

Michigan (Ross) Admissions Essays

  1. Introduce yourself to your future Ross classmates in 100 words or less.
  2. a. What about your professional experiences has led you to determine that business school is the right next step? (150 words)
    b. As you have researched MBA programs, what actions have you taken to learn more about Ross and what has led you to believe that Ross is the right MBA program for you? (150 words)
    c. What career do you plan to pursue after business school and why? (150 words)
  3. Describe a time in your career when you were frustrated or disappointed. What advice would you give to a colleague who was dealing with a similar situation? (400 word maximum)

MIT (Sloan) Admissions Essays


We are interested in learning more about how you work, think, and act. For each essay, please provide a brief overview of the situation followed by a detailed description of your response. Please limit the experiences you discuss to those which have occurred in the past three years. In each of the essays, please describe in detail what you thought, felt, said, and did.
  1. The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and generate ideas that advance management practice. Discuss how you will contribute toward advancing the mission based on examples of past work and activities. (500 words or fewer, limited to one page)
  2. Describe a time when you pushed yourself beyond your comfort zone. (500 words or fewer, limited to one page)

NYU (Stern) Admissions Essays

Essay 1: Professional Aspirations (750 words)

(a) Why pursue an MBA (or dual degree) at this point in your life?
(b) What actions have you taken to determine that Stern is the best fit for your MBA experience?
(c) What do you see yourself doing professionally upon graduation?

Essay 2: Your Two Paths (500 words)

The mission of the Stern School of Business is to develop people and ideas that transform the challenges of the 21st century into opportunities to create value for business and society. Given today’s ever-changing global landscape, Stern seeks and develops leaders who thrive in ambiguity, embrace a broad perspective and think creatively about the range of ways they can have impact.
(a) Describe two different and distinct paths you could see your career taking long term. How do you see your two paths unfolding?
(b) How do your paths tie to the mission of NYU Stern?
(c) What factors will most determine which path you will take?

Essay 3: Personal Expression (500 words or 5-minute video)

Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates. You may use almost any method to convey your message (e.g. words, illustrations). Feel free to be creative.
If you submit a non-written piece for Essay 3 (i.e., artwork or multimedia) or if you submit Essay 3 via mail, please upload a brief description of your submission with your online application.

Stanford Admissions Essays

Your answers for all of the essay questions cannot exceed 1,600 words.
  1. What matters most to you, and why?
  2. What do you want to do – REALLY – and why Stanford?
  3. Answer 1 of the 3 questions below. Tell us not only what you did but also how you did it. What was the outcome? How did people respond? Only describe experiences that have occurred during the last three years.
    a. Tell us about a time in the last 3 years when you built or developed a team whose performance exceeded expectations
    b. Tell us about a time in the last 3 years when you identified and pursued an opportunity to improve an organization
    c. Tell us about a time in the last 3 years when you went beyond what was defined or established.

UCLA (Anderson) Admissions Essays

  1. What are your short-term and long-term career goals, and how will an MBA from UCLA Anderson specifically help you achieve these goals? (700 words maximum)

Penn (Wharton) Admissions Essays

Required Essays:

  1. What do you aspire to achieve, personally and professionally, through the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
  2. Academic engagement is an important element of the Wharton MBA experience. How do you see yourself contributing to our learning community? (500 words)

Yale Admissions Essays

  1. What motivates your decision to pursue an MBA? (300 words)
  2. The Yale School of Management provides leadership education for broad-minded, rigorous, and intellectually curious students with diverse backgrounds; a distinctive integrated curriculum; connections to one of the great research universities in the world; and the broad reach of an innovative and expanding global network of top business schools. What motivates you to apply to the Yale School of Management for your MBA? What will you contribute to Yale and Yale SOM? (450 words)

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