• Management Masters

Video Essays for MBA Applications

Updated: Sep 20, 2020

Many top business schools have started asking for impromptu video essays as a key part of their application process.


Are you prepared well before attempting your MBA video essays?

Please note the following before you continue: this article only deals with impromptu video essay questions from schools such as INSEAD, Kellogg and Yale. We do not cover the topic of recorded video essays which are asked by schools like MIT Sloan in this article.


As per the INSEAD admissions team: "The video should be seen as a unique opportunity for you to share your passions, your motivations and who you truly are. The MBA Admissions Committee is interested in obtaining an authentic view of you as a person, to see how you think on your feet and how you convey your ideas."


The Kellogg School of Management has similar expectations from its video essays: "The video essays provide you with an additional opportunity to demonstrate what you will bring to our vibrant Kellogg community — in an interactive way. You will respond to several short video essay questions. The questions are designed to bring to life the person we have learned about on paper."


So how do these video essays work? What do the schools ask? What are they trying figure out?


We tackle all these aspects in this blog post, along with some key tips on how to prepare for them.

Why ask for video essays?


Before we even begin talking about these video essays, which literally feel like an extra hassle for the candidates after they have gone through the entire, exhausting written application, the first question that comes to mind is - why!?


Over the years, more and more schools have started asking for video essays, and have made it an important part of their application. The premise is simple - video essays help them see the candidate in a different light, compared to the written application.


While you might have excellent writing skills, and know your story well, videos help the schools gauge your real-life personality.


Are you someone who can interact easily with their future classmates?

Are you able to think quickly and structure yourself in a short-span of time, while maintaining your calm?

Are you able to present yourself confidently?


All these points are tackled very easily through a video presentation, when you are faced with multiple, unknown questions.


How to tackle video essays?


The first thing to keep in mind while addressing the video essays is that their purpose is NOT to filter candidates, rather help the admissions committees get a better idea of their personality.


One key thing that all schools look to understand from their video essays is - how does the candidate react in unfamiliar, unexpected situations. (To know about specific questions asked, scroll down to the bottom of the article.)


The trick to sailing through, therefore, is to remain calm, and be prepared!

How to prepare for video essays?


We suggest a very simple, step-by-step process to help prepare for video essays.