Scott Edinburgh
April 20, 2022

What to Expect from the 2022-2023 MBA Essay Questions

Women Looking Outside

Many MBA hopefuls who have already narrowed their target school lists are anxiously awaiting the release of the 2022-2023 MBA application essay questions and deadlines.

In previous years, we have seen MBA essay questions released as early as the beginning of May. While we cannot perfectly predict the future, our 15 years of experience as an MBA admissions essay consultant and careful analysis of past trends can help us assess what MBA candidates should expect with this year’s MBA essay questions.

Using our insider knowledge of what each school is looking for, as well as successful business school essay examples from past admissions cycles, Personal MBA Coach has already begun working with our round 1 clients on a number of essays.

For this year’s prediction, we have divided top MBA programs into three categories and have included details on which MBA essay or essays to begin working on today!

  • MBA programs where at least one MBA application essay is unlikely to change
  • MBA programs where smaller changes are most likely
  • MBA programs with a higher likelihood of changing the MBA application essay questions

MBA programs where at least one MBA essay is unlikely to change:

For the programs below, Personal MBA Coach believes that at least one of the 2021-2022 MBA essay questions will return for the 2022-2023 MBA application cycle. If one of the MBA programs below are on your list, we urge you to get started on the relevant MBA application essay questions today!

  • Harvard Business School
  • Stanford GSB
  • Columbia Business School
  • Wharton
  • Chicago Booth
  • Kellogg

Harvard Business School

HBS has asked the same MBA application essay question over the past few years, and we expect this year’s question is likely to remain the same.

HBS’s 2021-2022 MBA Essay Question was:

As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA Program?

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Like HBS, Stanford GSB has not changed its MBA essay questions in recent years. While Stanford GSB has made some changes to the required essay length, we would be surprised to see a major essay question change from Stanford.

Stanford’s 2021-2022 MBA essay questions were:

Essay A: What matters most to you, and why?

For this essay, we would like you to reflect deeply and write from the heart. Once you’ve identified what matters most to you, help us understand why. You might consider, for example, what makes this so important to you? What people, insights, or experiences have shaped your perspectives?

Essay B: Why Stanford?

Describe your aspirations and how your Stanford GSB experience will help you realize them. If you are applying to both the MBA and MSx programs, use Essay B to address your interest in both programs.

Columbia Business School

Columbia Business School’s first MBA essay has taken a similar form over the past years. While the exact wording could vary, we do not expect any significant change in CBS’s first MBA essay question

Columbia’s 2021-2022 first MBA essay question was:

Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)

We also anticipate Columbia Business School’s essay about program fit to remain on the 2022-2023 CBS application.

This MBA essay question was:

Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you? (250 words)


As with CBS, Wharton has kept its first MBA essay question largely the same for the past few years, and we expect the same this year.

Wharton’s 2021-2022 first MBA essay question was:

What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)


As with Wharton and CBS, Kellogg also is unlikely to change its first essay question.

Kellogg’s 2021-2022 first MBA essay question was:

Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip and inspire brave leaders who create lasting value. Provide a recent example where you have demonstrated leadership and created value. What challenges did you face and what did you learn? (450 words)

Chicago Booth

Finally, Chicago Booth joins the list of schools for which Personal MBA Coach clients are working on essay #1.

Chicago Booth’s 2021-2022 first MBA essay question was:

How will the Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term post-MBA career goals? (Minimum 250 words, no maximum)

MBA programs where smaller changes are most likely:

  • London Business School
  • MIT Sloan
  • Duke Fuqua

Aside from minor tweaks or word limit adjustments, we would be more surprised to see major MBA application essay question changes from these programs.

If one or more of these schools are on your list, we suggest that you begin brainstorming, outlining and hopefully writing your essays as soon as possible. This will free up time (both personally and professionally) when the warmer weather emerges.

MBA programs with a higher likelihood to change the MBA essay questions:

Below is a list of MBA programs for which Personal MBA Coach recommends that our clients hold off drafting their MBA essays. For some schools in this list, we suggest that you begin brainstorming now as the risk of a change is smaller. For other schools, hold off entirely until the MBA applications open later this spring. There are plenty of other MBA application components that candidates targeting these MBA programs can get started on today!

  • Yale SOM (brainstorm only)
  • NYU Stern
  • Michigan Ross (brainstorm only)
  • UVA Darden
  • UCLA Anderson
  • Berkeley Haas (brainstorm only)
  • Dartmouth Tuck

Keep in mind, the details shared above are predictions only! As soon as this year’s MBA application essay questions are released, Personal MBA Coach will let you know what has changed and will share advice on how to tackle each MBA essay question.

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About Personal MBA Coach:

Founded by a Wharton MBA and MIT Sloan graduate who sits on the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants Board of Directors, Personal MBA Coach has been guiding clients for 15 years and is consistently ranked #1 or #2 by leading sources including Poets & Quants.

We help clients with all aspects of the MBA application process including early planning, GMAT/GRE/EA tutoring, application strategy, school selection, essay editing, and mock interviews. Our team includes former M7 admissions directors and former M7 admissions interviewers.