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MBA Application Essays: 5 Common Errors

In September 2015, The EPA found Volkswagen Cars sold in the US with suppression software that hid emissions above the unsafe mark. Over 4,00,000 cars in the US were installed with the cheating device. After the news had broken, whenever I saw a VW car, I began making assumptions about the owner of the car. He must be a cheat. See how the mind works. Brand association is strong.

When editing essays, I find myself making negative judgment whenever I see:

1) Estimation Error


Errors in project estimation with cost, revenue, and impact as a team member are some of the common ones. The first question that comes to my mind when I see discrepancy is, “what is the data source.” A simple search on the revenue of the company will take us to the company website if it is multinational. For start-ups, the information will not be easily available. But reviewers can make a guess based on the products, the size of the market, the number of years in the market and the niche where the company is operating.

Numbers ring suspicion only when the quotes touch Billions or hundreds of millions. The other extreme also brings the question – how impactful was the applicant if he has only contributed hundred thousand dollars for a 3-month project. Unless you have worked on projects that earned in millions (over $1 million), quoting revenues in hundreds of thousands ($), especially for someone working in Asia, after converting their Yen, Yuan or Rupee to dollars, would not be a good idea.

A better strategy would be to use a metric - Project Revenue to Company Revenue ratio, when listing the most impactful projects, and list only the project that has the largest number.

2) Location Error


For narrative effect, applicants mistakenly use continents for countries, cite the wrong city, cite a city in a different country, or misrepresent distance when offering background information on the reach of the project. The first impression about American applicants is – she has not traveled outside the US, apart from that one summer in Africa, posing a smile for the UN foods program or the ‘shovel pose’ for building the village in Haiti.

Many applicants assume that one summer outside the states is enough. Some form of travel is always better than nothing, but mistakes in citing location will destroy your credibility. Any clever analysis after that wrong statement will never compensate the loss of trust. Underline all the locations in your essay and check again, before uploading your essay.

3) Contextual Error


A contextual error is tough to spot if the reviewer does not have experience or expertise in the area. Most common errors in context come from incomplete, inconsistent, or irrelevant information that doesn’t convey a complete picture of the circumstances under which you achieved the goals or failed to do so. The primary reason is the linearity of the narrative. Most applicants for top MBA programs have a logical disposition. The narrative follows their thought process. Covering all bases is left out in favor of fitting the story to the word-limit. Don’t overdo the background information part. Use pillaring technique to cover the bases while keeping the narrative interesting.

Communication between two Doctors, Lawyers, Software Engineers, Financial consultants or Investment Bankers might seem alien, for the third-party with no experience in the respective field, but that doesn’t mean the interaction is invalid. Understanding the awareness and knowledge of the essay reviewer will help you add more information, or avoid jargons. Some jargons have become mainstream that you don’t need to offer any additional context. An independent review will iron out the jargons that are yet to find total acceptance in the admission team.

4) Naming Errors


If you want to hook the reviewer until the end of the 500-word, “Why MBA,” or, “Why you are a good fit” essay, you have to move the attention away from “me,” and to the support system in your project or life. A common mistake although minor one I have seen is introducing more than one person from the same gender in one paragraph, and referring them in the next line using, “he”, or “she”.

Reviewers are trying to process information about the narrative, your profile, motivation, and post-MBA goals. Make it a point to use the name of the person again if necessary instead of using pronouns when there are two persons of the same gender. I know that repetition is not the best way to construct your essay but any effort that improves the fluency of the narrative will reflect well on your thought process. Another approach is to separate the two persons into two different paragraphs strategically.

5) Perspective Error


The conclusion of an essay or the learning experience is mostly summarized in an insight or a perspective. I read a book on culture and found a well-known author attributing the shabby way his hotel room was switched at will without notifying him as part of the Japanese culture. “If the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail” never found more meaning in those pages. Not all your life experiences can be turned into tales of trials & tribulations or a journey of the leader. Some events have no particular meaning. They were you doing work to get that paycheck. Don’t be fooled by the process of “Essay Writing” and spin any and every event as stories for your essay. The reviewer can see the spin from a mile away.

Shortlist relevant life events and create an IMPACT Table. We have shown how in Winning MBA Essay Guide.

Submit your Essay here and let us spot a few of the five errors. You will be surprised at the assumptions that you made while narrating an event.

"Pressed against the deadline, I ordered F1GMAT's Winning MBA Essay Guide as their blogs always had something interesting to say. It was by far one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Going through the Essay Guide, I learned the art of storytelling, using various ploys mentioned in the book. Most important one being the “W pattern,” a strategy of information sharing that creates a sense of excitement in the mind of the reader." - MIT Sloan MBA Candidate


Only 1 in 900 gains admission to Harvard MBA program. If you write your essay focused only on your achievements, post-MBA goals, and your pre-MBA experience, you will be among the 899 rejected applicants.

ATTENTION is the secret ingredient. How will you get the attention of the essay reviewer?

You know why parables shared 1000 years ago are still shared among us?

Storytelling!

Yes, the art of storytelling has won presidency for Obama, transformed Apple from an unknown start-up to a brand synonymous with Quality, and gained admission for the average MBA Applicant.

F1GMAT's Winning MBA Essay guide will teach you how to transform your essay to an epic life journey with trials and tribulations that will move the admission team.

Who Should Buy The Winning MBA Essay Guide?

If your essay looks too bland, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will show you, with examples, on how to use the elements of Storytelling like Incorporating "The Struggle", Using Emotional connectors, narrating the Journey and the use of Chronology, Vividness and Active Verbs to transform your essays.

If you are stuck in the Writing process, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will show you how to silence the Analytic Mind and overcome mental blocks.

If you feel that the essays are not persuasive, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will teach you how to use the W-Pattern narrative, Contexts, Turning Points and "The Show Don't Tell Approach" to write a Winning MBA Essay.

If you don't have enough leadership experience, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will show you how to highlight non-obvious qualities like Trust, Focus, Listening Skills, Personal Responsibility, Humility, Self-Knowledge, and other secondary traits to prove your leadership.

If you don't know how to review your essays, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will demonstrate how to improve readability with the power of iteration, and maintain your original voice by removing review biases.

Pages: 546

Winning MBA Essay Guide: Includes the latest Essay Tips for
+Harvard (2018 Entering Class)
    Sample MBA Essay – Gratitude & Giving Back   
    Sample MBA Essay – Entrepreneurship (Influence of Childhood)   

+
Stanford (2018 Entering Class)
    Sample Essay A
+ Chicago Booth (2018 Entering Class)
    #1. Modern Art = Make you Think   
    #2. Teamwork and Individual Ambition   
    #3. Adventure   
    #4. Diversity = Creativity   
    #5. Classroom Experience   
    #6. Harper Center   

+ Columbia (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample MBA Essay – Most Passionate About   
     Sample MBA Essay – Free Day   

+ MIT Sloan (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample Cover Letter
+ Kellogg (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample Essay - Leadership and Challenges   
     Sample Essay - How you have grown and intend to grow   

+
NYU Stern
(Coming Soon)
+
Insead
(2018 Entering Class)
    Sample Essay 1: Candid Description, Strengths & Weaknesses
    Sample Essay 2: Achievements and Failures
    Sample Essay 3: Extra-Curricular and How enriched you are

+
Haas (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample MBA Essay: Non-Profit   
     Sample MBA Essay: Technology   
     Sample MBA Essay: Marketing   
     Sample MBA Essay: Getting Fired   
     Sample MBA Essay: Diverse and Inclusive Culture   
     Sample MBA Essay: Leadership   
     Sample MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goal & How Pre-MBA Experience will help  
 
+ Yale SOM (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample MBA Essay – Investment Banker
     Sample MBA Essay - Consultant  
     Sample MBA Essay - Technologist  
     Sample MBA Essay - Marketer  
     Sample MBA Essay - Entrepreneur  
 
+ Ross (2018 Entering Class)
    Sample MBA Essay: Finance Professional who was a former member of a rock band  
    Sample MBA Essay: Technologist (Idea to Action)  
    Sample MBA Essay: Creative Marketing (Idea to Action)  
    Sample MBA Essay: Consulting (Made a Difference)  
    Sample MBA Essay: Losing a Client (Resilience)  
    Sample MBA Essay: Finance to Marketing (extra-curricular)  
    Sample MBA Essay: I am Aware that I am different  
    Sample MBA Essay: I find it Challenging when People  
    Sample MBA Essay: A valuable thing I have taught someone  
    Sample Essay – Part 2 (Short-term & Long-Term Goals, skills relevant to your career goals and how
    Ross prepares you for the goals) 
  

+ Wharton (2018 Entering Class)
    8 Professional Gains
+ London Business School (2018 Entering Class)
    London as the Financial Hub   
    London as the Technology Hub   
    London as the Consulting Hub   
    How to Cite the Curriculum (Example)   
    Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals - How Prior Experience & LBS MBA will contribute (486   
    Words)
   

+ Sample Essays
+ The Art of Storytelling 
+ Leadership Narratives
+ Review Tips
+ Persuasion Strategies
+ The Secret to "unleashing" your unique voice
+ How to write about your Strengths
+ How to write about your Weaknesses

Download Winning MBA Essay Guide (2018 Entering Class)

Top 31 MBA Programs + Analysis of 24 Industries (United States)


We analyze the MBA Curriculum, Class Profile, Total Cost and Post-MBA Salary of Top 31 MBA programs in the US.

+ Industry Trends

+ Future of Aerospace, Agriculture, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automobile, Clean Tech, Education, Energy, Fashion, Financial Services, Insurance, FinTech, Government, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Military, Manufacturing, Maritime, Media/Advertising, Technology, Tourism, Trade, Transportation and Logistics, Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR).


Pages: 327

Reviews

"I have not reviewed many books for MBA Admission consulting companies but doing it now to give all applicants a brief idea on what the book covers. The book includes 31 top MBA programs - almost all the top schools you have heard or considering for your MBA application. Each chapter is categorized by US States where there is at least one top MBA program. So you have California and Massachusetts with the most number of MBA programs and several states with one top program (Washington, Minnesota, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Virginia, and Maryland) and other states with two to three MBA programs. The book focuses on four aspects of an MBA program - curriculum, cost, class profile and post-MBA salary. For me, the breakdown of the cost and post-MBA industry was useful to make my decision on selecting the top 5 programs for 2017-18. It is a fascinating read in an industry where consultants overprice for their expertise. I recently bought a 30-page guide for $49. Compared to the obvious observation in that book, the 300+ page, MBA in US - the Ultimate guide is a goldmine of information and analysis." - Verified Purchase (21st June 2017)

"I bought the ultimate guide after a friend recommended it for me. The guide covers a lot of ground on the history of each prominent US states and goes into the reasons why a certain industry emerged from each state. In addition to the analysis of the economy, trends and expected changes in the next 5 years, the book features top MBA programs in each state with an extensive study of its curriculum. Ultimate guide is an essential reference book for MBA Applicants if they want to shortlist MBA programs based on value and cost, and not just ranking. " - Verified Purchase (14th June 2017)

"Should be a required reading before applying for an MBA. School events and MBA Tours are PR events disguised as a Q&A. On the contrary, the book is an unbiased analysis of each Top MBA program in the US supported by a large dataset and historical context on each industry. The guide builds a case for indstries that are likely to emerge as favourite for MBA graduates. Thorough and a valuable book." - Verified Purchase (15th June 2017)

"What I liked: The breadth of the information. Some of my favorite nonfiction books have taken the same approach as the ultimate guide have - cover background information in-depth. In the book, the author uses parallel threads to demonstrate the history of the state and the rise of industries. Will make you think how schools thrive based on the policy set by the state. California's obsession with Technology has revolutionized how we do Business and changed post-MBA trends. Many MBA applicants will be consulting or doing marketing for a Technology company. That is one key finding from the book. The latest development in AI, FinTech, and Automation is an additional context that I found valuable in the book.

Very informative. I would recommend that you read the book at least once in chronological order before using Table of Contents." - Verified Purchase (2nd July 2017)

Download How to Choose the Best MBA in US: The Ultimate Guide
(2018 Entering Class)

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