MBA essay questions include questions on ethics and challenges as well as diversity, goals, failure, team spirit and leadership. The MBA essay questions intend to understand the non-academic aspect of the applicant. Ethical dilemma questions aim to gauge the candidate’s maturity in handling issues.
Examples of ethical dilemma questions
Describe the most difficult decision you have made and its effect on you.
Describe a situation in which your ability to perform ethically was challenged. What was the issue, how did you handle it, and what did you learn from it?
Describe an ethical dilemma that you faced and how it was resolved.
When have your values, ethics or morals were challenged? How has this shaped who you are today?
For an incident to be an ethical dilemma, it should follow three conditions. First, there should be a decision-making authority, second, there should be at least two equally difficult choices which do not provide a complete solution and third, irrespective of the solution or course of action taken, some ethics were compromised.
Ethical Dilemma MBA Essay: The decision maker
MBA Essays are an attempt to know the social side of an applicant. The essay is about experiences of the applicant. The decision maker is the first and foremost condition for the MBA essay on ethical dilemma. If you were not the decision maker, this is not your essay. Please do not write it. You do not have to be embroiled in a big ethics issue to be able to write down an essay. The focus is on your decision-making skills and not the complexity of the case.
Ethical Dilemma MBA Essay: The ethical dilemma
Answers to questions on ethical dilemma are difficult to write because while it should not show you as an ethical person, being portrayed as an extremely honest person is also not recommended. Ethical dilemma questions are aimed to test the applicant’s maturity and judgement skills and not integrity. While answering questions on ethical dilemma, avoid quoting incidences which are illegal and question your integrity.
Uncomfortable situations lacking a choice do not qualify for ethical dilemmas. Worked under a tough boss who has made you work hard does not qualify to be an ethical dilemma.
Briefly, describe the incident. Also, mention what led to the situation along with your position on the issue.
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Ethical Dilemma MBA Essay: The options
When penning down MBA essays on ethical dilemma, always use an incident which has two or more solutions. Along with ‘ethics’ which is about right or wrong, the anecdote should focus on ‘dilemma’ this is about choosing one of two or more solutions. The situation should have two or more solutions which are equally difficult and unsatisfactory as well as unable to provide a complete solution. Therefore, the choice should not be between a right and wrong solution, but between two or more equally unsatisfactory solutions.
Ethical Dilemma MBA Essay: The conflict and resolution
There should be a clear conflict in the options towards resolutions. Discuss the circumstances which have caused the situation to arise as well as your personal values that have conflicted in the decision-making process. Along with the incidence, mention the pros and cons of each option and the affected parties. Analyse the consequences of the actions in all the options.
Elaborate on how you tackled the situation. Defend your decision. You should also be able to defend or explain why you chose one over the other. Was the decision favoured by all the decision making as well as affected parties? Discuss your decision and how you have reached the decision. Also, the merits it had over the other option? This will demonstrate your ethical decision-making skills.
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Ethical Dilemma MBA Essay: The impact
Measuring the impact of the decision is as important as the decision taken. Was the impact as expected? If no, what went wrong? What was the result of your decision? How did the decision impact you?
Ethical Dilemma MBA Essay: The experience
Analyse your learning. What were the lessons from this experience? What did you learn from the experience? Would you do it again if similar circumstances arise? Will you handle it any differently? Will you take some precautions?
Apart from the ethical dilemma, B-schools ask questions on diversity, goals, team spirit, leadership, passion etc.
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However, Laser Quest was not a very lucrative establishment. In fact, it was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, but it had a few young, repeat customers. These loyal customers represented untapped potential, so I proposed establishing a Laser League to spur continuous competition and more social interaction. The league was a hit, greatly increasing our revenues.
No less importantly, I learned a vital lesson, which over the years became one of the guiding values in my life: If I realize the full potential to make a change and take the initiative, I can make a real difference. With time I learned that empowering others to do the same is equally important, and can lead to unusual impact and results that were seemingly impossible before.
I remember the first time I felt I can really encourage others to make their lives better. Before I started my undergraduate degree I traveled in India and spent 3 weeks in a small village. Our group befriended our guesthouse owners, who a year before experienced a disaster when a fire burned their guesthouse and home. Now, they were very poor and considered relinquishing their business and moving away. Yet I was eager to help them stay.
While analyzing the situation, I noticed that most guesthouses around don’t have a modern toilet room. I told the family that if they would be able to build a toilet, their guest house would be immensely more attractive. The father was reluctant, saying “costs are too high.” I then pitched the idea to other guests and convinced them to help build the toilet room.
We traveled for half a day to buy the necessary materials and everybody helped to build the rest room, which was up and running in 3 days. The word was out, and more tourists came to spend their time in the guesthouse, helping cover the debts of rebuilding their home. Again, I learned that initiative and empowering others can make a real difference.
I took this attitude with me to my professional career as well. I was a young project manager appointed with the development of the international corporate site of one of the largest food companies in my country. Soon after, my client rejected the initial site design, saying it had no “vision or excitement in it”. I quickly realized that to succeed in this project, we would need to deliver quality creative concepts.
However, this was a problem. For one thing, our company rarely provided creative services. Moreover, the project’s budget included no allocation for such services. After some thought, I realized that some of our employees were skilled enough to produce quality creative concepts. I then decided to pitch to management forming our own in-house creative team.
I talked with my CEO, but he was initially against my idea. A day later I came up with my final “sales pitch”. I offered that we do a pilot by delivering an initial creative concept just for the site’s homepage and present it to the client. I was thrilled when my CEO agreed to give my idea a chance.
I assembled and led a 7-member creative team, we built a new creative concept, and presented it to our client. The client‘s Corporate Brand Manager was excited: “This creative team adds huge value to our project” he said. He then agreed to enlarge the original project budget by 15% to include our creative services. Eventually we delivered the corporate site and it was approved by our client, securing $1.2 million in revenues.
This experience reinforced what I already knew – if I succeed in empowering peers and subordinates to realize their full potential, we can do great things together as a team. This is exactly the attitude I want to take with me to Kellogg.
Surrounded by fellow students, the sharpest minds from a wide range of professional and cultural backgrounds, I want to do my best to empower follow students and work together as a team to get the most of our MBA experience, in study groups, group projects, and any program we take part in.
Moreover, I would love to share both my international and corporate experience and insights with fellow students during classes and in Kellogg’s clubs, such as the Entrepreneurship Club, while helping other students realize their own initiatives.