Why Good Narrative Matters in MBA Essays?

MBA Application Essays NarrativeWhen the Admission team is reading your essays, they are not expecting writers who can take them to a world far far away. What is the point anyways? Post-MBA, your job would be to cut the fluff, and focus on the problem. Memos, reports, and emails expect you to stay as far away from narratives and backstories. Then why do MBA Admission teams expect applicants to write interesting narrative?

Experience what the Applicant Experienced

Empathy is not a learned skill. It’s part of our DNA where we feel what others are feeling. The study on empathy took a hysterical high with “Mirror neurons,” when Graduate Students at the University of Parma, Italy, accidentally found out how empathy is ingrained in monkeys. The students were conducting studies on macaque monkeys by implanting electrodes in their brain. During the lunch break, they accidently kept the electrodes on the monkey and came back with food. As one of the students was reaching out for the food, the neurons in the monkey started firing signals in the same region of the brain that is responsible for planning and movement. By merely watching humans eat, macaque monkeys were able to experience the hand movement.

I am not suggesting that the MBA Admission teams are like monkeys, but interesting narrative helps us experience movement, and for the essays reviewers, narratives that help them experience movement, make the review process interesting. Without evoking interest in your profile, you don’t have much of a chance.

Guard the Brand

There are very few people in the world who can narrate stories like Nolan or Spielberg, and even few MBA Applicants who can write interesting narratives in a Quant oriented world. The few who try to emulate the great writers, fall for the grandiose of the writing process, and starts creating stories that magnify their achievements, or fudge facts to make the journey of the hero interesting. The admission team knows that it is a privilege to be included in an elite Business School brand. The reviewers understand the privilege, and they know that with a few bad choices, the brand value can dilute. The applicants will no longer consider being part of the brand a privilege.

Remember BlackBerry - the darling of the Enterprise world. It was a privilege to own a blackberry phone, but with iPhone’s entry, and a small dip in the market share, the owners of BlackBerry began to panic, and started making models for the masses while Apple focused on their core market – the hip tech savvy crowd. By accepting the ‘commoners’ to experience BlackBerry, the brand no longer catered to the Managers and CEOs, and the sales started dropping. The loyal customers switched brands to the ‘elite’ Apple iPhone. The Admission team will continue to keep the 5-10% acceptance rate in 2008 like depression or 2000 like boom. No matter how much fun you make of the Apple Customers, boy wouldn’t you love to have loyalty like that. “Be like the Apple Customer. Believe in the MBA brand. It will reflect in your narrative.”

Spot the Liar

When you write essays with just facts not evoking any emotion, the Admission team has to do two things: do fact checking, and do due diligence to make sure that your profile is not like hundreds of other applicants. With volume goals, the reviewers don’t have the luxury to run fact checking through each sentence. Narratives, on the other hand, entertain the reviewer and make it easier for her to spot the inconsistencies.

That is why being a movie critic is the easiest job. You have to spot inconsistencies in behavior – for both protagonist and antagonist, inconsistencies in the plot or inconsistency in motivation. When you narrate your achievements, imagine that your story will be adapted to a movie. How will the movie critic rate your story? Will they find inconsistencies in the hero’s (you) journey, behavior or the external circumstances that forced the hero to change?

To make your MBA Application Essay narratives interesting we have a written an extensive How to guide. Download it here.

Sample Essays + Essay Writing, Review & Editing Tips + 15 School-Specific Tips = Winning MBA Essay Guide

"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?


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: 618

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

MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    Sample Essay A
+ Chicago Booth MBA Essay Tips (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 MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample MBA Essay – Most Passionate About   
     Sample MBA Essay – Free Day   

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

+ Insead MBA Essay Tips (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

MBA Essay Tips (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 MBA Essay Tips (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 MBA Essay Tips (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 MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    8 Professional Gains

London Business School
MBA Essay Tips (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   
+ Darden MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    Case Study Method   
    What is valued at Darden?
    Framework for Answering the Darden Essay Question   
    Sample Darden Essay: When your opinion evolved through discussions (499 Words)

+ Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    Framework for Answering the Duke Fuqua Short-Answer Essay Questions   
    Sample Short-term Goals Essay – Technology to Consulting (100 Words)   
    Sample Long-term Goals Essay – Consulting for Government (100 Words)   
    Sample Long-term Goals Essay – Plan B (89 Words)   
    Framework for Answering the Duke Fuqua 25 Random Things   
    Sample Duke Fuqua Essay: The Fuqua community and you (Max 2 Pages)  
+ NYU Stern MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (498 Words)    
     Essay 3:  Personal Expression (a.k.a. "Pick Six")    
          5 Examples with Images

+ 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)

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