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MBA Essays: Four Leadership Examples

Four Examples of LeadershipWhen you are writing your MBA Application Essays, don’t just randomly write about your leadership experience. Instead, check whether your experience falls within the four leadership examples that the MBA Admission team is expecting.

Four Examples of Leadership – MBA Application Essays

1) Handling Constraints

Leadership roles come with constraints - small budget, limited human resource, lack of motivation, lack of trust in your leadership (your first project as a leader), or a culture that believes in the status quo. How you navigate the constraints with a clear strategy will highlight your leadership skills.

Focusing on goals despite constraints has been written to death, but a different way to write about goals is to differentiate between survival and growth goals. In any project, there are Minimum viable performance indicators – minimum number of sales, minimum acceptable feature list, the minimum number of marketing channels to propagate your brand message or minimum number of prospects you approach before a sale.

Whatever job function you might have led, communicating survival goals is key to motivating the team.
 
We as individuals are easily distracted. When we are stressed, the tendency to seek distraction is at the highest. This is the time when we need a leader to guide us towards one unifying goal. Explain how you guided your team towards that ‘one’ goal. If you are writing about budget constraints, demonstrate how you asked the team to focus on that ‘one feature’ that allowed a sign off for the first phase of the project.

2) Handling Dynamic Goals

If you have worked in the service industry, meeting the demands of an overbearing client might have been wrongly equated as “the Customer is always right”. Many Businesses accommodate outrageous demands, which mean that as a team leader, you don’t have much of a choice. Accepting new requirements involve changing your plan dynamically, and in some cases, during the very last week of the project. Motivating a team who does not believe in changing scope of the project randomly has to be one of the toughest jobs for a leader.

How do you motivate a team in such scenarios?

If you were open about the reasons for the change in goals, explain how the conversation worked. Either the client was unaware of the project complexities, or there were no clear change management processes. In any case, openness about the problem and the corrective measures you have taken (setting up rules for accepting changes/accommodating time for unplanned goals) will push the team to pursue the unexpected goals.

3) Accountability beyond Responsibility

Accountability is often associated with fear – the fear of getting fired, fear of losing your position when revenue targets are not met and fear of innovation. Teams are not empowered when innovation that led to missed goals are met with punishments? For leaders, accountability is about owning the output of the team. This means that as a leader you were responsible for defining roles, assigning tasks, motivating each team member to own the task and a general sense that you are responsible for the team – both their strengths and weaknesses. The team will follow through when you give them complete autonomy and empower them to find the solution within the target deadline.  

Accountability is about continuous improvement. It comes from a culture where feedback is accepted without prejudice or judgment. Teams accept weaknesses when they are honest. That can happen if the leader is not judgmental but encourages the philosophy that no one is perfect, and needs time to master their skills.
An emotional reaction that clouds the team’s problem-solving skills will not solve the complexities of the project, but an environment that encourages open debate, collaboration, and peer learning will certainly do. Leaders create such environment.

4) Motivating team After Failure

Morale of a team affects productivity and collaboration. Keeping the motivation of the team high is not a task reserved for setbacks. Even after the team meets a seemingly impossible milestone, leaders have a way of keeping the hunger alive. From a personality point of view, motivating the team after failure requires a higher emotional intelligence and understanding that dominant individuals influence the psyche of the team. Influencing the pack leaders within the team require strategies that are tailor-made for that type of personality.

Facing failure has been discussed with two approaches – be stoic or be empathetic.

A stoic leader
will not be surprised by success or failures. Successes are stepping stones to greater legacy, and failures are stepping stones for greater challenges. The problem with stoic leaders is that, the high, that teams experience when they meet a milestone will be missing, but at the same time, the lows that they expect to feel when the goals are not reached would also not impact the team. A sense of duty/professionalism is driving the team towards action.

An empathetic leader shifts the focus to a recent success and looks for life lessons from the failure.  

An ideal leader is a mix of two – empathetic enough not to be critical/negative about the team, and stoic enough to openly discuss the problems they overlooked. By maintaining the balance, failure becomes another event and not a feedback on the team’s character.


Sample Essays + Essay Writing, Review & Editing Tips + 15 School-Specific Tips = Winning MBA Essay Guide

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MIT Sloan MBA Candidate

Only 1 in 900 gains admission to Harvard MBA program. If you write your essay focused only on your achievements, post-MBA goals, and your pre-MBA experience, you will be among the 899 rejected applicants.

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Storytelling!

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Pages: 666

Winning MBA Essay Guide Includes
+Harvard MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Sample MBA Essay – Gratitude & Giving Back (319 Words)   
    Sample MBA Essay – Entrepreneurship (Influence of Childhood) (401 Words)   
    Sample Harvard MBA Essay - Volunteering (Mental Health Awareness)   (774 Words)   
+
Stanford
MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Sample Why Stanford MBA Essay (Consulting)(399 words)  
    Sample Why Stanford MBA Essay (Tech Entrepreneur) (390 words)  

    Sample Why Stanford MBA: Career Switch(Finance to Green Energy Consulting)(394 Words)
    Sample Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? (740 Words)
+ Chicago Booth MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Sample Booth MBA Essay #1: Oil & Gas to Consulting (475 Words)
     Sample Booth MBA Essay #1: Social IMPACT to Marketing (478 Words)   
     Sample Booth MBA Essay #2: Leadership experience (Father’s Restaurant Business)(493 Words)   
     Sample Booth MBA Essay #2: Leadership experience (Teach for America)(640 Words)

+ Columbia MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
   Sample Columbia MBA Essay 1: Enterprise to Consumer Marketing (495 Words)  

    Sample Columbia MBA Essay 2:  New York for Marketing Professionals (244 Words)  
    Sample Columbia MBA Essay #3 - Team Failure (Marketing Lead) (242 Words)  
    Sample Columbia MBA Essay #3 - Team Failure (Technology) (248 Words)  
    Sample Columbia MBA Essay #3 - Team Failure (Pharma) (244 Words)  

+ MIT Sloan MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
     Personality Type (Accepted MIT Sloan Students)   
     Cover Letter Checklist   

     Sample Cover Letter – Technology Consulting (286 Words)
     Sample Cover Letter – Healthcare Entrepreneurship (296 Words)
+ Kellogg MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Sample Essay 1: Demonstrated Leadership (Marketing) (449 Words)
     Sample Essay 2: Demonstrated Leadership (Technology) (449 Words)   
     Sample Essay 3: MBA as a Catalyst for Growth (Technology) (438 Words)
     Sample Essay 4: MBA as a Catalyst for Growth (Non-Profit to Consulting) (442 Words)
+ INSEAD MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
   Sample Essay 1: Candid Description, Strengths & Weaknesses
    Sample Essay 2: Achievements and Failures

    Sample Essay 3: Extra-Curricular and How enriched you are
+
Haas
MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample MBA Essay: Non-Profit   
     Sample MBA Essay: Technology   
     Sample MBA Essay: Marketing   
     Sample MBA Essay: Getting Fired   
     Sample MBA Essay: Diverse and Inclusive Culture   
     Sample MBA Essay: Leadership   
     Sample MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goal & How Pre-MBA Experience will help  
 
+ Yale SOM MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    
Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Business Development (Mobile Start-Up)(486 Words)
     Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Investment Banking (IB)(404 Words)
     Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Consulting (442 Words)   
     Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Technology (452 Words)   
     Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Marketing (492 Words)
     Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Entrepreneurship (497 Words)
 
 
+ Ross MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Sample MBA Essay: Finance Professional who was a former member of a rock band (96 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Marketing Professional with a hidden talent to do Impression (100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Life Philosophy through the prism of an Entrepreneurial failure (94 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Consulting for a Pharma Giant (Made a Difference) (91 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Three-Level Sanitation Campaign (100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Water Conservation Kit (99 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Losing client (100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Misreading Market Conditions (93 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Strategic Planning vs. Tactical Dominance in Chess (97 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Out of my comfort zone(extra-curricular) (93 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Out of my comfort zone (Daily Science Show) (99 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Simplifying Operations for Manufacturing (extra-curricular) (90 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I am aware that I am different (Leadership and Culture) (98 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I am aware that I am different (Technology Project and Last-minute change) (98 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I am aware that I am different (Making Business metrics relevant to a Creative team) (91 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I find it Challenging when People (Timidity)(98 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I find it Challenging when People (Laziness)(100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I find it Challenging when People (Pessimism) (96 Words)   
   Sample Essay – Short-term Goals and why the goal is the right choice for you (Technology to Marketing)(299 Words)   
+ London Business School MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    London as the Financial Hub   
    London as the Technology Hub   
    London as the Consulting Hub   

    How to Cite the Curriculum (Example)
    Sample LBS MBA Essay (A Career Switcher from Technology to Consulting for FinTech) (489 Words)
    Sample LBS MBA Essay (A Career Switcher from Hospitality to Consulting) (499 Words)
+ Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Framework for Answering the Duke Fuqua Short-Answer Essay Questions   
    Sample Short-term Goals Essay – Technology to Consulting (100 Words)   
    Sample Long-term Goals Essay – Consulting for Government (100 Words)   
    Sample Long-term Goals Essay – Plan B (89 Words)   
    Framework for Answering the Duke Fuqua 25 Random Things   
    Sample Duke Fuqua Essay: The Fuqua community and you (Max 2 Pages)  
+ NYU Stern MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (498 Words) (Finance)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (494 Words) (Consulting)
     Essay 3:  Personal Expression (a.k.a. "Pick Six")    
     5 Examples with Images

+ Darden MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself (100 Words) (Near Death Experience)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself (100 Words) (Networking and Job Offer at an Unlikely place)   
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself (100 Words) (Mountaineering)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Where you want to go with Darden (47 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Evolving Leadership Style (198 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Meaningful IMPACT (200 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay: Short-term Post-MBA career goal (149 words)
+ Wharton MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    7 Professional Gains
    Sample Wharton MBA Essay 1: Gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (473 words)   
    Sample Wharton MBA Essay #2: Math Tutoring and Experimental music’s value (388 Words)

+ Sample Essays

+ The Art of Storytelling 
+ Leadership Narratives
+ Review Tips
+ Persuasion Strategies
+ The Secret to "unleashing" your unique voice
+ How to write about your Strengths
+ How to write about your Weaknesses

Download Winning MBA Essay Guide (2019 Entering Class)




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