Nanyang MBA Essays

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The Nanyang MBA (also referred to as the NTU MBA) is one of Asia’s and Singapore’s top MBA programs, and the admissions essays are one of the most critical elements that Nanyang looks for in its admissions process. It is one of Asia’s top business schools and offers a unique learning environment with students from more than 30 nationalities, small class sizes and an emphasis on learning by doing in a cross-cultural context. The program is based in Singapore, which is one of the most dynamic cities in Asia. If you’re an ambitious executive who wants to learn about the Asian market, this could be a good option for you. The Nanyang MBA is a truly global experience.

Admissions to the Nanyang MBA / NTU MBA generally begin with the first deadline in October or early November, followed by a second one in the following January and a final one in March. Admissions involve an application (with several essays to be answered), followed by an admissions interview (if selected). The Nanyang MBA essays are a critical part of the Nanyang MBA application.

The Nanyang MBA essays give you a chance to highlight what makes you unique, including your leadership style, your professional achievements and your personal strengths.

Nanyang MBA essay 1
Elaborate on your post-MBA career plans (3-5 years) and why now is the right time to pursue an MBA? Further highlight why the Nanyang MBA is the right fit for you (500 words)

GyanOne Analysis

This Nanyang question combines the traditional post-MBA goals essay with a question about what makes Nanyang right for you. In our experience, applicants shy away from writing about their MBA applications in their essays, but this is one place where you can do so.

To start, we recommend that you discuss your post-MBA goals first. The most important aspect of this question is to identify two career goals that are: (1) ambitious, but not pie-in-the-sky; and (2) realistic given your experience and skillset.

As you discuss these career aspirations, keep in mind that they should be realistic rather than ambitious. While it is great to have big career dreams, your goals must be achievable. Remember to include specifics regarding your desired industry, function and location; three essential elements of any MBA goals essay. You may also want to briefly mention a few companies that interest you. Finally, be sure to include why now is the right time for you to do an MBA. This likely will relate to your work experience and how it has prepared you for this next step in your career.

In terms of ambition, you want to aim high, but not so high that it becomes unrealistic. For example, if you have never worked in a company’s marketing function and have no prior experience in marketing, saying you want to be the CMO of a Fortune 500 company in five years is probably not realistic. However, if your goal is vice president of marketing at a small tech firm or marketing director at a Fortune 500 company, those are more realistic goals.

The Nanyang Business School is “experience driven”, so it’s important that you demonstrate that you have taken advantage of opportunities to develop leadership skills and experience teamwork.

Nanyang MBA essay 2
Team-work and peer-to-peer learning is an important component of the Nanyang MBA. Imagine you are working with your project team of 4 members on the SPAN project and one team member is not contributing to the project or not pulling their weight. How will you deal with such a situation? (500 words)

GyanOne Analysis

This question requires you to think about how you work in teams, which is an important part of almost any MBA program (and any career). For this essay, first come up with your general strategy for dealing with a difficult team member – do you bring in a third party? Do you confront them directly? – then tell us how you will actually use that strategy successfully.

You can use this essay to show your interpersonal skills and ability to lead, manage conflict and negotiate effectively. The way you answer this question will give the admissions committee an indication of how you would interact with your fellow students in a team environment.

What is the problem? For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that the erring team member is a male. He is not contributing to the project or not pulling his weight. This might be because either he doesn’t have time or he is not interested in putting in an effort.

What can you and your team do?

A) Determine if there is a time issue – If the reason for not contributing is lack of time, then you could ask your teammate to share his workload with others. Alternatively, you could ask him if he could put in extra hours during weekends instead of taking a break. You could also offer help to reduce his work and thus create time to do other things.

B) Determine if there is a motivation issue – If the reason for not contributing is that he is not interested, then you could try to motivate him and make it more fun by asking him about his interests and see if the project can be modified to suit it. If that doesn’t work, you can assign tasks which are suited to his interests (which are aligned with the project goals) and hope that this helps motivate him. Often, in business school, students are self-motivated, so this isn’t a frequent issue, except when they feel they don’t have the skills to contribute to a project. Check this out too.

C) Show your teamwork and influencing skills – This is not a situation when you can be confrontational. You need to explain to him why he is not pulling his weight and show him how you are willing to work together with him to come up with solutions. Approach this problem as a teachable moment, do not take it personally and do not demonstrate any negative measures. Talk to your team, and share with them what they can do to improve the situation.

Nanyang MBA essay 3
Reflect on your career to date and share one professional achievement that you are proud of and one challenge that you overcame. What did you learn from these situations? (500 words)

GyanOne Analysis

If you’re a person with a rich professional background, and many achievements and challenges to show for, you may find yourself in a difficult situation trying to decide which experience to write about.

We understand that it’s hard to choose from your own career history. Take the time to think about all your accomplishments, challenges and interesting situations you encountered along the way. Pick those that are relevant for Nanyang MBA application.

You should pick an accomplishment and challenge that shows your leadership skills, your ability to work under pressure or against deadlines, or simply shows how you were able to overcome obstacles and turn them into successes. Consider also examples where you were able to succeed in a multidisciplinary environment, or where you had to collaborate with other members of the team in order to finish the job on time.

What is important here is not so much what exactly happened or what role you played in it, but what did you learn from this experience and how can it be applied in other situations? What skills did it teach you? How can they be relevant for your future MBA studies?

The idea here is to show that you have leadership potential. Leadership is about taking initiative and taking responsibility. The best stories do both. They show that you started something and finished it by overcoming obstacles along the way.

That sounds simple but it’s not what most people do in their essays because they’re afraid of sounding like they failed at something. If you’re not willing to share a story in which there were setbacks, then you’re not being authentic. Great accomplishments always have setbacks and failures along the way.

Here are some examples of questions that can get you thinking about your story:

Did I start something new? Did I improve or innovate something? Did I lead a team? Did I solve a problem? Did I turn around a failing project? What did I change or accomplish? What were the results of my actions? How did those results benefit others (e.g., customer satisfaction, company revenue)? What did I learn from this experience?

Nanyang MBA essay 4
Briefly describe an activity where you created an impact on one of the following aspects – Environmental, Social, or Corporate Governance (200 words)

GyanOne Analysis

Through this essay, the Nanyang MBA wants to know about your impact on the environment, social issues or corporate governance.

So you have free rein here to choose an aspect of your career where you can describe how you had an impact on a social issue, environmental aspect of your job or how you made a difference in corporate governance.

Remember that example you choose can be something work related, like CSR activities, or something personal, like volunteering at a soup kitchen in your personal capacity. The ‘why’ here matters as much as the ‘what’.

Try to describe what you did in enough detail so that people will understand how much work you put into this project or effort, and what result you achieved (quantify it if possible).

Remember that this essay should be 200 words long, so make sure that your point is made in as few words as possible, but with enough detail so that it is clear what exactly you did and the results of your effort.


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