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Avoid these 5 Common Exaggerations & Lies in MBA Application Essays

Exaggeration MBA Application Essays
While verifying the claims and exaggerations, Admission team has a resume side by side with the essays. The verification process is not limited to the information offered in the resume. Student database, wikipedia, job portals, blogs, and LinkedIn offer copious amount of information about organizations, universities, companies, and job roles.

MBA admissions team do fact checking while reading the essays or delegate the task to other specialists in the team. Applicants tend to exaggerate, knowingly or unknowingly, mostly overstating facts, roles, or achievements. By wearing your ‘Fact Checking hat,’ you can avoid some embarrassing mistakes before the final review.

Here are five Common Exaggeration & Lies:

1) Employment Details

Most applicants tend to hide gaps in employment, feeling that any revelation regarding poor employability would lead to low profile scores. On the contrary, Admission Committee (AdCom) respects applicants who are open about the Employment Gap due to factors like failed venture, working for non-profit, and trying other career paths. A separate space in MBA Application essays is included to cover such anomalies. We have showed how to write the Optional Essay in Winning MBA Essay Guide.

AdCom often finds inconsistencies when they read your essays and notes that you have suspiciously missed mentioning anything about the first job. Most professionals make several mistakes during their first job, and it is unlikely that they will not include experiences about that tenure in one of the failures or lessons learned essays.

2) Company & Project Details

Most applicants make minor mistakes regarding the revenue of the company, profits, or the customer base, but these minor gaffes start affecting your credibility when it is closely tied to your achievements. Quantifying result is an important exercise for MBA application essays, and most applicants will not have the exact numbers on the profits or revenue share. To quantify your contribution, we recommend creating an IMPACT table.

Some recommenders might hesitate to reveal such numbers due to confidentiality agreements, but they are willing to put a range on the numbers. When there are inconsistencies in the number quoted by the applicant and the recommender, the results look bloated. Make sure that you check the numbers with the recommender, preferably someone who is a project manager or knows the numbers. AdCom can easily make a quick estimate on the revenue earned per project based on the size of the company.

3) Transcript

Most experiences shared in Essays are related to professional lives, but there are some essays that require you to introspect, and reveal how your interest in a particular subject began. Some applicants cleverly incorporate the grades, cite the professors that influenced them, and trace the origins of their career path. This is all fine. What troubles AdCom is the tendency to exaggerate the grades, or emphasize that the grades were top 1% or 5%.

Business Schools have an accurate understanding on how each university grades. Even if you argue that the grading was different for your year, the school has enough information to make a call on that claim. Therefore, it would be risky to exaggerate the importance of your grade while choosing your career path. If you were genuinely motivated by the grade, include that detail in the essay. If you exaggerate the grades, a quick crosscheck with your original transcript will reveal the truth.

Related: F1GMAT's Winning MBA Essay Guide

4) Roles


The most common exaggeration that we have seen is related to roles. Almost all MBA application essays require you to specify your role and the duties that were part of the role. You cannot explain your achievements, without offering some context about the role but strangely, applicants take this as a hint to exaggerate their role as leaders. This is unnecessary.

Leadership has several qualities. Active listening, pro-activeness, focus, personal responsibility, humility, fast learning, creativity, and active communication are some of the common ones. Not all leadership roles require managing 3-4 team members. Once you understand what leadership means, the pressure to exaggerate roles will not consume you. With a balanced narrative, AdCom will understand your contribution.

5) Business School Contacts


AdCom detests applicants who overuse the names of the alumni, a current student, or even members of the admission team. Agreed that to show enthusiasm for the MBA program, citing conversation with one of the current students is important. That does not mean you have to exaggerate the number of communications or the influence that the contact had on your decision. Include multiple factors for your choice, and focus on one Business School contact as an influence. Introspect, and find whose opinion had the most impact, and include that person’s name. Don’t drop names just to impress the AdCom.

Another common mistake is including dates of campus visits. Even if you have visited the campus several times, details of your visit during an official event will be a better pick for describing your impression about the school. Without going into specifics, mention the importance of your other visits.

"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.

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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   

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Wharton
(Coming Soon)
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MIT Sloan
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     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)
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Insead
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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) 
  

+ London Business School (Coming Soon)
+ Sample Essays
+ The Art of Storytelling 
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+ The Secret to "unleashing" your unique voice
+ How to write about your Strengths
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