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Essay Topics For Mba Entrance

In India, IIMs hold the prestigious position of being the best institutions from which to pursue MBA studies and launch a successful career in business management and administration.

Many MBA aspirants dedicate months of study to clearing MBA entrance exams to pave their way to study at the IIM of their choice. Countless institutions provide coaching and mock test rounds to prepare students to easily tackle the questions and also to manage their time efficiently. In recent years, Written Ability Test(WAT) or Essay Writing Test have become popular at the IIMs and are usually followed by the Personal Interview (PI) round. This is in line with the admissions policy employed by the best B-Schools around the world.

The WAT-PI stage of the admissions process can have 30 to 70 percent value in the overall score. WAT topics differ from one IIM to another but are on the whole meant to gauge a student's comprehension ability and command over language. This article lists some of the most popular WAT topics used by IIMs in the entrance exams and also examines which topics should be prepared by students for the upcoming MBA entrance exams to the IIMs and other prestigious B-Schools.

IIMs & Other MBA Colleges Using WAT (Writing Ability Test)

  • Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
  • Indian Institute of Management Bangalore
  • Indian Institute of Management Lucknow
  • Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode
  • Indian Institute of Management Indore
  • Indian Institute of Management Shillong
  • Indian Institute of Management Rhotak
  • Indian Institute of Management Ranchi
  • Indian Institute of Management Raipur
  • Indian Institute of Management Tiruchirappalli
  • Indian Institute of Management Udaipur
  • Indian Institute of Management Kashipur
  • SP Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR) - (psychometric test + written communication test for MBA admissions 2017-19)
  • International Management Institute (IMI)

WAT Essay Topics

Here's a look at some of the essay topics that have been a part of the selection process in various IIMs and other MBA colleges in the previous years:

  • Business and ethics don't go hand in hand these days.
  • Financial crisis in Europe
  • The recent financial crisis highlights the perils of Capitalism
  • Women's Reservation Bill
  • Banning politicians with criminal records from contesting elections is against their right
  • India versus Bharat: a divided nation
  • Union Budget is a useless exercise and activities like recession put it off-track
  • Essential services like water, electricity should not be privatized
  • Is disinvestment in profit making PSU's advisable?
  • Should Petroleum Subsidy go away?
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Discuss the role of Public Private Partnership in India's Economic Growth
  • Voting should be made compulsory
  • IIM should make one year of social service compulsory for all students
  • Should there be reservation for women in MBA colleges?
  • Bollywood is capitalizing on people with disabilities
  • In India mass mobilization can only be achieved through religion
  • IPL is a death knell to Indian cricket
  • Legalizing doping in sports in modern times
  • Cricket is cannibalizing the space of other sports in India
  • The greatest tennis star of all time
  • Vishwanathan Anand is as good a brand ambassador as Sachin Tendulkar

WAT Topics to be Prepared: IIM Admissions 2017 - 2019

While one can't predict what topic(s) you will get for your essay but it is wise to stay in touch with all current events and the biggest stories of the year. Some of these were:

  • Management Lessons from Narendra Modi
  • Social Media and Politics
  • Rail Budget
  • Mangalyaan - Making India a Science & Technology Superpower
  • The rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria
  • Peshawar school attack
  • Ebola outbreak
  • The creation of Telangana state
  • Communal flare ups in India - conversions, Ghar Waapsi, Saharanpur riots
  • Unrest in Ukraine
  • Disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight, MH370

If you have a comprehensive understanding of the issues that made headlines in 2017, you will be able to comfortably write on most topics.

If you are aspiring to post-graduate studies in management or business-related fields in international business schools, start looking for inspiration as you will need to prepare several essays. Check those Essay Writing Tips

How many essays

Actually, if you are an international applicant to an MBA or a Master’s programme you may need to write one essay in your English language exam (TOEFL or IELTS), one essay in the GMAT test, plus several essays as part of your application package for admission.

What is more, if you apply to several B-schools, as most applicants do, keep in mind that each admissions office requires different essays. Even if the essay topics of different schools sound alike, your essays should not, must not, be the same, because the schools and their programmes differ.

Types of essay

All these types of essay have their own purpose:

Essays in the language tests are meant to demonstrate your level of English language – grammar, spelling, punctuation, structure, clarity of expression and vocabulary – as well the relevance of your ideas to the essay question.

The GMAT essay – Analytical Writing Assessment – tests your skills to analyse statements and their supporting arguments and to express your analysis in writing in a clear and logical structure. Of course grammar and vocabulary are evaluated, but the GMAT does not test your language proficiency. Rather it checks your analytical skills.

Admissions essays, which are part of the application package for business schools, aim to reveal your personality and your motivation to pursue post-graduate studies in the chosen universities.

Check out: 2017 Top European MBA Essays

Essay Writing Tips for B-school admission

The focus of this article is to help you craft your admission essays. To immerse yourself more in the topic you can check out the 2016 Top US MBA Admission Essays and try to get into the shoes of prospective applicants who have about two or three months to prepare their full application package, including several essays of about 500 words each.

Read 9 Do’s and Don’t’s on Preparing Admissions Essays

Start early

No matter how much time you have before the application deadline, start thinking over the essay questions and your answers as soon as they are announced and the admissions process is open. There is never enough time for the essays and normally they take much longer to craft than initially anticipated. Typing 500 words can be done in less than 30 minutes, but preparing a well-thought-out 500-word essay can take you 30 hours or 30 days and certainly the night before the application deadline. Don’t fall into the trap of postponing it.

Take your time

An outstanding essay does not appear overnight. Some of the essay topics, as illustrated above, can concern topics on which you have no clarity yourself yet, e.g.  what your immediate post-graduation career goal is  or  which famous person you would like to invite to dinner and what you will discuss. While thinking about the essay topics, make sure you put down all the ideas that flash through your mind. Take notes – you will need them when you start writing.


You can do it on your own, with a friend or with a professional consultant. Stick to the rules of brainstorming – let your ideas flow and write them down. Don’t evaluate them; don’t yet decide which is worthwhile and which is silly or inappropriate. The essence of your essay is the content. And the added value of your content is that it conveys your personality. So, nurture each idea. It will also bring new ideas.

Check out 2016 Top US MBA Admission Essays

Uncover the uniqueness

Your essays should be like no one else’s. When admissions officers read them they should be able to imagine you, and just you. They should be able to give you a tag – the ‘Asian lady banker who raised money for an orphanage’ or the ‘Paris engineer with several successful start-ups’. Stay away from any general talk. Think twice if you feel something in your essays could be true for other applicants. There is certainly a way that sets you apart. Find it!

Stay Coherent

Essays are not stand-alone. They are an integral part of the application package – CV/resume, recommendations, academic transcripts, etc. All these are pieces of a single puzzle which brands you for the admissions committee. Information should be complementary, logical, self-explanatory and focused on your goal: to gain admission to business school. Don’t lose your focus.

Read How to Prepare Outstanding MBA Essays (Q&A)

Draft, draft, draft

Your list of brainstorming ideas will go through numerous transformations before the final essay is born. Try different approaches until you find the ideas, style and structure which portray you in the best way. Keep the different drafts – do not just throw them angrily in the rubbish bin. One of them could turn out to be the best.

Edit, edit, edit

Edit on you own or ask a friend or a professional. The aim is to make sure your ideas, language and expression are clearly perceived by readers. You know what you want to say, but maybe your writing doesn’t yet convey it. Editing also aims to limit your essays to the word limit. Do not exceed the word limit because if you have to upload your essays into a text box any extra words may be automatically cut. Besides this purely technical inconvenience, disrespecting the limit will not be appreciated by admissions officers.

Take a fresh look

Plan to have some time left after you complete the full application in order to ‘sleep on it’ and then take a fresh look. Make sure it conveys the image and attitude which you really want the admissions committee to have about you. It is always a great idea to have an outside review of all your work to ensure that everything is clear.

See the big picture

Always try to imagine how your portfolio will stand in the context of what your competitors will present.

Check out PrepAdviser’s infographic on Essay Writing Tips:

Do you have some more essay writing tips to add? Please, do it in comments below!

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