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MGI Prize Q&A

Do you want to check your eligibility to enter the MGI Essay Contest, know if you can make a submission as a group, find out how the judging will take place, or how to submit an application? All your questions are answered in our Q&A.

Can I base my essay on prior work and research?

Yes, we would like to have the highest quality submissions, and past work can play into that. The essay submitted, itself, however, must be original and not previously published, with normal rules of referencing past work.

Can I still use and publish the essay myself after submission?

Yes, the author is free to use and publish the essay in any way - but only after the announcement of the winner, to maintain the originality of the work during selection.

I don’t live in Europe, can I still submit an essay?

Yes, the Essay for Europe prize is open to anyone in any part of the world, as long as they are not employed by or affiliated with McKinsey & Company or the Jacques Delors Institute.

My colleagues and I have discussed #EssayForEurope and we want to submit an essay together. Can we do that?

There is a limit of one entry to the competition per person, which includes entries made as a joint submission, which means that you should submit your entry through the principal author. It is not possible to submit your work as a group. It would be against the rules of the prize to enter the competition on behalf of a third party or an entity, such as a company.

I am employed by a public body that deals with economic/political matters. Can I submit an essay?

Absolutely. We encourage entries by people who are close to the economic and political challenges in Europe. Please check with your employer or institution regarding limitations on outside publications.

I am an elected official and am not permitted to accept third-party payments. Can I submit an essay?

Should your essay win, please consult your employer’s exact rules and restrictions on receiving awards. You would be free to donate the prize money to a foundation of your choice.

I am a student under 30, developing the essay with my professor, who is above the age of 30. Do I qualify for the Young Authors Award?

No. To be eligible for the Young Authors Award, every author needs to be below the age of 30.

Is there any background reading I can do on the prize and the issues it covers?

Yes. You can download a brochure on the prize at and you may also want to read the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report from 2015, which was the inspiration for MGI launching the prize: A Window of Opportunity for Europe. As with all MGI research, this is available for free online and also at

How will the judging take place? For instance, could the judges remove a submission if the author works at a competitor of McKinsey’s?

No. The judging of the submissions will be blind. Upon submission to MGI, the essays will be anonymized for the remainder of the sorting and judging process.

I am under 30 and I intend to enter. But if I won, does that mean that I am eligible only for the Young Authors Award of €25,000? Or could I receive €85,000 in total?

The first prize of €60,000 can be won by contestants of any age. The €25,000 award can only be awarded to an applicant under 30 years. If someone under 30 wins the first prize of €60,000, he or she will not be eligible for the Young Authors Award. In this situation, the €25,000 will go back into the prize pool to be distributed for special mentions at the judges’ discretion.

How do I submit my essay?

The submission process is described at

  1. Open
  2. Go to the “Application & Resources” section.
  3. Download the application form and read the terms and conditions. These are binding upon the submission of the application.
  4. Complete application form.
  5. Submit your essay via email to, with the following attached:
    • (i) the completed application form
    • (ii) the essay, which must be in English and no more than 5,000 words (including any exhibits), and in either PDF or Microsoft Word format
    • (iii) a color picture of each author in JPEG format
    • (iv) a short biography of each author (no more than 200 hundred words)

          6. You will receive an email confirming the receipt of your submission.