Ethical Dilemma Essays Mba

MBA Essay Tips for Describing an ethical dilemma that you faced and the way you resolved it

The honesty and integrity of a leader is what makes people admire him. If you are a person of high integrity – ethically, legally and morally, then you have the confidence to go the extra mile, do more than what you had promised and you will not find a single obstacle on your way. The world always admires and benefits those that have high integrity. This is an important mantra for garrisoning the top list of winners. Therefore, in this essay the admissions committee wants to know about a situation where your values, ethics and morals have been challenged and the way you dealt with it. They aim in finding out how you have employed your leadership skills to deal with a certain problem without ethically going against your conscience. To be very honest, no one can ever deny of being trapped in such kind of situation. You too have something similar to discuss, but, the reason to worry about is, how you share such an experience without your integrity being questioned. Choosing the right topic to share is the most difficult aspect of this essay, as your topic lets the admission committee test your values and character. 
This essay is to help analyze your judgment in face of adversity. Hence you may discuss the following points;

Explain the situation and the challenge that made you the most uncomfortable.

  • Clearly explain your options and why the ethical alternative was the difficult one.
  • Discuss what made you fall in such a situation?
  • Explain what did you do to overcome the challenge and delineate your decision making process. Discuss the techniques you adopted to deal with the situation. Explain how your personal values helped you in handling it.
  • Conclude with the result of your action and how successful you were in maintaining your integrity?
  • Mention why and how was this experience valuable?
  • Explain the lessons you learnt and the way it impacted you as a person/leader.
Present the pros and cons of your options, and explain the principles and values that guided your final decision. Honestly discuss the situation in your essay but at the same time do not provide the admission committee an option to raise finger on your integrity. Tactfully inscribe how you dealt with the situation. It should be evident from your words that you are a person of integrity and you are capable of dealing with situations where you face a challenge sustaining your values, ethics and morals. Discuss the way it influenced you and what positivity did it impart on your growth and skills.
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Any one essay, 500 words, single round reviewing with detailed feedback for improvement, no editing.


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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