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Decoding The Video Essay

The video essay has been steadily gaining in popularity over the past few years. It’s quite natural for candidates to feel that another obstacle has been thrown in their path after a lengthy and exhausting written application. However, while it does add another step to the process, it’s necessary to understand the logic behind the video essay and accept and even embrace it so that it can be used to their advantage.

The purpose of the MBA application is to gauge the candidate’s capabilities, potential, and fit with the culture of the school. This is traditionally assessed through test scores and a written application to determine the candidate’s suitability for an interview. However, the video essay allows schools to see candidates in a different light, to understand their personality beyond their writing skills. It provides them with a powerful tool to further refine the list of candidates for the next stage.

The video essay provides the admissions committee a great way to gain a more holistic introduction to the candidate. While essays and recommendation letters do offer insights into the candidate’s experience and potential, a video essay allows the admissions committee to screen for a completely different set of aptitudes and competencies including confidence, communication and presentation skills, and spontaneity, which cannot be determined through the written word.

While candidates may find the thought of a video essay daunting, they have to treat it as an opportunity to display qualities and skills that can’t be showcased with essays or recommendation letters. The video essay allows them to express themselves beyond the written word, to infuse life into their applications by putting their personalities on display. While the video essay is certainly about communication skills, it’s also about showcasing authenticity.

It’s important to note that while the video essay is a relatively recent phenomenon, it’s only going to be adopted by more schools over time. As such, it shouldn’t be treated as an afterthought but considered to be an integral part of the application instead, and used effectively to make a stunning first impression and to demonstrate your suitability for the MBA program. In short, the video essay should be seen as a positive addition to the application.

The efficacy of the video essay in the MBA admissions decision-making process is there for all to see. At the same time, the additional stress it creates among candidates is also undeniable. However, if candidates adopt a more positive approach, wherein the video essay is seen as a powerful means to distinguish themselves from the competition, it can serve as a strong motivator to apply themselves confidently to the task and look forward to giving a stellar performance.


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