New Texas McCombs Video Review: Tips and Strategy

The entrance to Rowling Hall at the Texas McCombs School of Business.

Texas McCombs has made several notable and candidate-friendly changes to its MBA application. Key changes to the McCombs MBA app include:

  • Singular development question
  • New video review
  • Standardized test exemption (GMAT, GRE or EA)
  • McCombs Admission Connection – optional but strongly encouraged

Among the most notable is the launch of video assessment, which McCombs hails as a way for applicants to “share their story in their own voice” while simultaneously reducing bias in the application process through a “hands-on experience.” more structured and coherent evaluation”. In a recent briefing, McCombs admissions reps offered notable insights (what they’re looking for) as well as omissions (no sample questions yet). As a Fortuna Admissions Coach experienced in helping applicants position a successful application to McCombs, I offer my ideas on how to prepare for this new application component.

First, some background: Considered a “public ivy,” Texas McCombs is a world-class public university with a 40-acre campus nestled in Austin, the 11th largest city in the United States. In contrast, its full-time MBA class is made up of fewer than 250 students, making it one of the smallest MBA programs in the top 20. Its unique culture – both diverse and welcoming – is central to its identity, and the Princeton Review hailed it as the #1 MBA campus environment for three consecutive years (2019-2021). You would do well to keep this in mind when preparing your application.

McCombs is sincere when he says he wants to know who you are; more than once at a recent virtual admissions event, a representative from McCombs said the video assessment is where you can add “color and depth to your application.” As such, consider the new video assessment as an opportunity to showcase your personality and character, in addition to your verbal and presentation skills. As Fortuna director Caroline Diarte Edwards says in her related article on how to prepare for the MBA video essays“The MBA admissions committee wants to find out who you are in an unscripted way – your motivations, your personality, your communication style. They want to know how you think on your feet (an essential skill in the MBA classroom) . ”

Although a video component may seem like a formidable challenge (especially at seven questions), it is a big step up for candidates. There’s an energy you can convey in a video that a two-dimensional medium won’t have. Well done, you express yourself with a depth of sincerity and authenticity that is sometimes difficult to capture in writing.

Check out this 7-minute Strategy Session on MBA Video Questions with Melissa Jones de Fortuna, former Deputy Director of INSEAD, and John A. Byrne, Editor of Poets&Quants.


Here’s what we know so far about the new McCombs video assessment: All applicants will answer a total of seven questions – five randomly generated and two that will be the same for all applicants. Although the two standard questions have not been released, it’s a safe bet that they will include a version of “why MBA” and “why McCombs”. It’s also worth knowing that by distilling his written essay into a single question, McCombs removed his “introduce yourself” question, which was previously an optional written essay or 60-second video essay. (See my related blog on how to approach mccombs mba essay.)

Like video platforms for other MBA programs like Yale or Kellogg, the video assessment will be available to applicants who have submitted an application (and fee) for seven days from receipt of the invitation. You can practice as many times as they want before completing the final video assessment. You will have up to 30 seconds to think, then up to three minutes to answer each question.

Be ready to respond skill-infused behavioral questions which McCombs considers essential to success in business school and beyond. These eight skills include:

  • Adaptability/Resilience
  • Motivation
  • Empathy/inclusiveness
  • Collaboration
  • Ambition
  • career goals
  • Verbal communication
  • Self-awareness

With behavioral style questions, you can expect prompts on very specific examples of what you did – including why, what was going through your mind at the time, the impact on others, and the results. With only three minutes to respond, it is essential that your responses are clear and concise. An example of a behavioral question is: “Tell me about a time when you faced a challenge at work and how you influenced the outcome.” Although it doesn’t offer sample questions, the McCombs blog says more tips will be provided in the coming weeks. The full application will be open in August.

Beyond these stated skills, do your research to understand the school’s values ​​and what interests McCombs. Some possible questions that might match McCombs’ stated values ​​include:

  • Human-centered: Tell us about a time when you helped promote diversity and inclusion?
  • Future-oriented: Tell us about a time when you used technology to be more efficient?
  • Connected Innovator: Tell us about a time when you got other people on board for a new idea?
  • Collaborative spirit: Tell us about a time when you dealt with someone who was difficult. How did you handle this situation?

Finally, as you prepare, imagine how to convey what isn’t obvious in your resume, credentials, or LinkedIn profile. What will help make your app sticky and memorable, adding to your overall narrative? Think about the stories you want to tell and offer dimensions that might be missing elsewhere in your app.

For a deeper dive on how to shine in your MBA video assessment, including preparation tips and sample questions, watch MBA Video Essay Tipsby Caroline Diarte Edwards of Fortuna.

Sharon Joyce is an Expert Coach at the MBA admissions coaching firm Fortuna Admission and former Berkeley Haas Associate Director of Admissions. For a candid assessment of your chances of succeeding in one of the best MBA programs, register at a free consultation.

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