Babson College asks for a pair of essays, only one of which is required. The mandatory essay is a Why Us prompt, but has the unique twist that you may submit a video example instead of the more standard written statement. This is a departure from the norm but makes sense in the context of Babson’s focus on business and entrepreneurship.
The “optional” prompt is on an extracurricular you participate in, or a job you have held. It is technically optional, but we still suggest answering it. Each piece of information you send to a school is another way they can evaluate you, and gives admissions officers a better idea of how you will fit at their institution. “Optional” essay prompts, therefore, should always be answered if possible.
We’ll give you an example of each Babson essay from a previous Ivy Scholars student, and tell you what, exactly, Babson is looking for in these essays.
Your moment has arrived. Share with us the moments or experiences that have led you to apply to Babson College (500 words maximum). We invite you to submit your answer in either essay OR video format. If you choose to submit a video, please limit your response to a 1-minute video, which can be submitted via a shared link to YouTube or another video hosting website.
“Welcome to Wendy’s! May I take your order?”
I’m sure the fast food patrons were equal parts amused and befuddled by the sight of an 11-year-old wearing an oversized headset at the drive-thru window. Formative years spent cleaning counters, coordinating kitchen timers, upselling at every opportunity, and welcoming each customer with a big smile at my father’s local Wendy’s franchise gave me an appetite for entrepreneurship and spicy nuggets alike.
While my experience in the service industry has taught me broadly applicable skills, I have never been more thankful for my grease-stained childhood than two years ago when I was working on my school’s yearbook. When I learned in late October that the yearbook club was in danger of insolvency, I knew it was time put on my metaphorical Wendy’s uniform. In place of cold-selling ad spots to bored cashiers, I approached the pitch manager and asked: “Do you still have your yearbook?” Through personal questions like this one, I translated my experience upselling Baconators to Meal Deals into growing small-scale ads into hundred-dollar ad buys. Using the sales tricks I’d picked up in the service industry and my patent “Welcome to Wendy’s” smile, I closed deal upon deal, and earned the title of Yearbook Marketing Director. Who knew fries and drinks had so much in common with yearbooks?
Later that year, one of my upperclassmen teammates noticed my business aptitude, and recommended me for Atlas Scholars, a three-year, hands-on business mentorship program. Through this extraordinary opportunity, I have acquired invaluable communication and public speaking skills, and learned much about the business landscape from company executives and representatives; Atlas opened my eyes to the wide world of business beyond Frostys and senior pictures, and gave me skills and knowledge that I am eager to further develop in college.
Not only does Babson offer the same focus on professional and leadership development, constant teamwork training, and unrelenting friendly competition as Atlas, but the university’s ample career and networking opportunities will enable me to situate my business acumen in a context that will propel me toward a successful business career. Through unique events like the Diverse Leaders Program sponsored and run by Blackstone, I will be able to start building an executive level network as an undergraduate. Furthermore, I am incredibly excited to explore diversity in the classroom through the Global Business Management concentration, taking full advantage of Management Consulting Field Experience (MCFE) with an international company.
Babson’s emphasis on community service is also a major draw. Through programs like Service Immersion, I will be able to learn not only how to run a profitable company, but also how to give back to the very communities that supported me through my professional journey.
At 500 words, this prompt is quite long to talk about nothing but Babson, and the question itself implies that they want more from your response than that. They aren’t asking merely why you applied to Babson, but what led you to apply to Babson, which is subtly different.
Babson is a school which focuses entirely on business and entrepreneurship, thus this essay can be seen as asking “why business” as much as it is asking “why Babson.” In the example above, the author clearly shows how they came to be infatuated with business, and how studying at Babson is a natural continuation of their current interests.
Thus, this question can be thought of as two essays in one. First, you should explain your passion for business, and how it came to be. Second, you should show how this passion naturally leads you to Babson, and how Babson in particular will let you achieve your dreams in business.
In the example above, the author tracks their development and growth in business, from working in their family’s franchise, to mastering the art of sales through the yearbook, to their exposure to the broader world of business through an internship. This shows a natural growth; a progression of their involvement with and interest in business. The author then transitions to discussing Babson itself, bringing in examples of how the curriculum and programs offered by the school will enable them to more fully explore the world of business, and take their passions to their logical conclusions.
This essay focuses primarily on the academic aspect of Babson, and this is the best approach. While there are many enjoyable extracurriculars at Babson, those are not the main draw of the school, the business education is. Thus your essay should focus primarily on how you want to explore business through Babson.
The Video Response
You have the option, in place of an essay, to submit a video explaining what has led you to apply to Babson. This video should be the same sort of sales pitch, but will necessarily be far briefer than an essay can be. This may be a good option for you if you are far more confident in your speaking skills than your writing.
This video is a sales pitch: why Babson is right for you, and why you are right for Babson. It will need to be more focused than the essay, due to the shorter length, but can be more personal, tailored to fit your individual style and diction. Play to your strengths as both a speaker and salesman when composing this video.
Whichever option you choose, the goal is the same: to let Babson know why you are interested in business, and why you want to pursue that interest at Babson specifically.
Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences.
As Leading Scholar at my internship with Atlas, my primary role was to secure the legacy of the Atlas Scholars program through recruiting and mentoring. When I asked teachers at my school for leads on diligent and enthusiastic students, Sarah’s AP Seminar teacher singled her out in a heartbeat. When I approached her, Sarah asked insightful questions about the program, showing exactly the attentiveness and dedication I was looking for.
I called the director, telling her that Sarah was the embodiment of an Atlas Scholar: thirsty for knowledge, a team player, and a natural leader. She would not only be a great addition to the program, but a prime representative to continue the legacy of Atlas Scholars. To support my argument, I reminded the director that I myself had a lot at stake in pushing for Sarah’s acceptance. While my own tenacity had brought me to the Leading Scholar position, I still had to demonstrate my ability to correctly judge the character of others.
The director decided to give her a chance, and I was unsurprised when she excelled in the program, and became the Leading Scholar in her year. My role in Sarah’s success reminded me that leadership is far more than just giving orders and passing judgements; I have never felt more like a leader than when I worked to secure not just my legacy, but that of my organization.
The other essay Babson asks for is optional, but we still recommend completing it, as the more the school knows about you, the better they will be able to judge you as an applicant. The prompt is very open, asking you to elaborate on an extracurricular activity. You should take this opportunity to tell admissions officers something they would not otherwise know about you, especially if you can demonstrate leadership.
The one thing you shouldn’t do is write about an extracurricular which is the main focus of another of your essays. Telling admissions officers the same information twice squanders a valuable opportunity to give them deeper insight into who you are and what you’ve accomplished. If you are limited in terms of the number of activities you participated in, then the essay should focus on a new aspect of an activity.
In the example above, the author discusses an internship they were a part of. This does two things to advance their candidacy. First, it shows how they have involved themself with business before this point. Second, it details a time they demonstrated leadership.
Babson cares deeply about leadership, noting it as one of the most important qualities they look for when evaluating students. This essay is your best opportunity to show off your leadership experience, especially if you haven’t held official titles.
Leadership doesn’t just come from being the president of a club, but from showing initiative and taking the lead in an activity. In the example above, the author has a leadership position, and then uses that to try and better the organization as a whole. While the essay still discusses the extracurricular, the focus is on how the author demonstrated leadership.
While leadership does not have to be the focus of this essay, if you have a chance to demonstrate your leadership potential, we encourage you to take it. Whatever you choose to write about, you should pick a value to express in this essay, rather than merely discussing what you have done dryly.