The MBA Re-applicant Essay
While the process of re-applying differs according to each MBA program, with a few exceptions, one component is standard: the need to express significant growth since your last application.
As a leader in global business, Wharton is committed to sustaining “a truly global presence through its engagement in the world”. What goals are you committed to and why? How do you envision the Wharton MBA contributing to the attainment of those goals? How has your candidacy improved since the last time you applied? (Wharton 2009-10, 1000 word limit)
Required essay for re-applicants only – Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (Kellogg 2009-10, 400 word limit)
Required for Reapplicants - How have you enhanced your candidacy since your previous application? Please detail your progress since you last applied and reiterate your short-term and long-term goals. Explain how the tools of the Columbia MBA will help you to meet your goals and how you plan to participate in the Columbia community. (Columbia 2009-10, 750 word limit recommended)
Simply stated, MBA adcoms expect you to have successfully improved on the weaknesses in your previous application, whether those weaknesses are straightforward gaps (e.g., low GMAT/TOEFL, lack of leadership experience or community impact) or more insidious (e.g., vague goals, mixed messages, missed opportunities, boring or cliché stories). The latter are harder to detect and you can benefit from a second or third opinion here, but both require extensive effort to improve in a limited amount of time.
Writing about your improvement should be straightforward, and you should openly admit your initial mistakes/weaknesses, avoid making excuses, and measure your improvement to the extent possible. As the questions above indicate, you also have to be brief. The re-applicant essay is a measure of your ability to identify growth areas, and your motivation and capacity to grow, essential qualities for success.