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An article raises key questions about where MBA essay prompts have been, and where they are headed.

By Ben Feuer

Bloomberg Businessweek has a fantastic article today about why certain questions have survived in the process, and why others change every year.  The whole article is worth a careful read if you are planning to apply to business school this year, but here are a few of the highlights.

1.  If a question stays every year -- it's because the school likes the question.  Obvious?  Perhaps.  But Booth's Powerpoint essay, or Kellogg's new video essay, or Stanford's What Matters Most essay have become synonymous with the schools themselves.  Admissions officers believe (correctly!) that if you cannot figure out a way to answer these questions, these schools are not right for you.  And conversely, if you have a great answer to these questions, you might just be a great fit at these schools ...

2.  Authenticity is the goal.  All MBA candidates want to 'force' a fit between themselves and their target school.  It's only natural -- you want them, so you want to make them want you.  As anyone who has frequented eHarmony can tell you, life doesn't work that way -- but if you put yourself out there, you just might get lucky!  Safe, rote and formula responses are a recipe for rejection, as these admissions officers are eager to remind you -- it's part of why they shake up the questions each year.

3.  Video's relevance is on the rise.  It's a teleconferencing age, and b-schools are recognizing that.  Yale and Kellogg both have video components to their applications this year, and FT's crystal ball predicts this trend will spread.  Schools like the spontaneity of the video responses (and they like not having to read another essay).

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