HKUST follows the traditions and mindset of leading and transforming individuals into future leaders. It welcomes a diversified set of goal-oriented, ambitious groups and keeps a broader perspective on contributing to society. The university has two main essay questions for MBA applicants that require elaborative answers.

Let’s discuss the questions and how to go about the process:

Essay 1


The HKUST MBA mission is to inspire and transform individuals into future business leaders for Asia and the world. We embrace diversity and are looking for ambitious and open-minded candidates passionate about contributing. It is the first day of orientation. Please introduce yourself, highlighting what drives you in your personal and professional life.


Begin your answer by introducing yourself briefly, focusing on your background and which profession you are currently working in. Then mention the vital areas from your academics, professional career till now, how is your relationship with the management & clients, etc. This is the opportunity to highlight your significant achievements & awards received – take the help of the promotions and options you have been granted. If you have international experience, don’t forget to utilise a good paragraph on it. Here, it is all about showing performance transition throughout past years.

Now, narrow down the approach to 1-2 particular aspects or values you highly regard. The key here is to show passion and zeal with the help of the work: professional, community service, projects, activities, courses, etc. You can also include some of your hobbies that somehow contribute to your current status and have helped you better yourself. Illustrate these achievements in a story format – it engages the reader and adds credit to your score. List all your successful experiences – however small or big, or unexpected. A big piece of advice here is to go beyond your professional life and think out of the box. The other two areas can be personal life and extracurricular activities. Pick one or two significant examples from each and present the values through them.

The most famous trick is to use the STAR Methodology. Situation→Task→Action→Result. Think of a situation and describe it as an event to give a detailed background to the reader. Move on to explaining the expectation of the situation from you and what consequences it may/may not hold. Then gel this information with the values and attributes to show how it drove you to certain success. It is essential to show what the outcome of the action was and what the results are that you obtained. Conclude by showing how this value will continue to drive you to pick similar things in the future.

As an applicant, your responsibility is to demonstrate a unique perspective from your experiences. HKUST welcomes students from over 20 countries, and the maximum limit of a class is 100 students. Suppose your professional background is in a heavily represented group – IT or finance, for example. In that case, it is highly recommended to highlight your most exceptional professional experience in this essay and the personal qualities, extracurricular involvement, and values that differentiate you. You must prove your potential to the admission committee, be accurate and project your strong points well.


Essay 2


Tell us about your post-MBA goals and, based on that, why is the HKUST MBA the ideal program for you, and how do you plan to engage and enrich our community? (500 words)


This is a traditional goals essay with a twist of tying those goals to your future engagement and enrichment of the HKUST community. The admissions office is making it clear that they expect to hear how you will enhance the education of your peers. There are several ways to express your opinion to show your long-term goals. Start by describing your current designation and critical responsibilities at work. Then state your short-term and long-term goals. During your time as an undergrad student and a professional, you must have acquired a no. of skills all these years; this is where you enlist them all. The low points and weaknesses hold a special place in this essay – explain why you have specific weaknesses. Now show how an MBA from such a prestigious school can help change anybody’s life and bridge the gap between your skills to achieve your short-term goal. 

Break your answer into two parts: first, explain your goals and why MBA is necessary for you. Second, you must establish why or how the said program is the right fit for you. The first half needs a strong introductory paragraph about yourself and your latest desire to achieve specific goals that an MBA would help you with. For the next part, focus on your innate skills and strengths. Management schools expect and instead prefer to see ambitious academic records, good progress in career, leadership quality, and some international experience. Highlight these achievements by mentioning the awards and recognitions you have received, the promotions you attained, and tea leaving activities.

Once you have established that, explain your long-term goals and how your present status is hindering that achievement or desired transitions. Specify the need for an MBA and how it will fill your career gaps. Discuss how it can enhance your business acumen, soft skills, leadership, and presentation skills that will further help your network grow. It is all about stating the opportunities an MBA degree would come with. Now, to answer why HKUST builds your argument and reasons that align with your plans and how MBA holds a greater place in it. Make sure that your reasons show a holistic approach you intend to take. Summarise your answer and confidently portray how you believe the HKUST MBA program is the perfect next step or logical step to achieve your career goals and how you would be a great fit and valuable addition to the class if selected.


Want to check out more on HKUST MBA?

GyanOne Interviews Towni Lao (HKUST MBA Admissions Team)

HKUST MBA essays – what makes them different

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