3 Steps to Find your Unique Voice

One thing that INSEAD MBA Managing Director shared in a recent interview with me was that he discourages any editing of essays that destroys the original voice of the applicants.

In his words, "with thousands of essays reviewed every year, the MBA Admission Committee can tell to the point as to which top consultant has edited the essay."

Wow! I thought.

I didn't contest his point of view as when we edit, that is the exact idea I convey to our clients - "Our editing will maintain your original voice"

Bland Narrative

But there is a genuine challenge that I see with essays written by technologists, bankers, and consultants. The phrasing is too..how you say it - bland. The uniqueness of their personality is never captured. But the moment I talk to the person on the phone, the personality always shines through.

On a few occasions, when I felt that the applicant is sticking to some pre-conceived notion of writing an essay and creating a cookie-cutter narrative, I encouraged them to record the answer with the uuh..ahh..and all the inconsistencies of a casual conversation.


The imperfections don't matter. Just talk, answer the question, and record it. Transcribe your answer. Read what you have said. I can guarantee you that you will find at least 30-40% unique phrases that are unlikely to be found on any sample essays.

Three Steps to Find your Unique Voice - MBA Application Essays

If you were contemplating writing the MBA Application Essay for this year, I would highly recommend that you practice one of the ideas:

1) Record your answers first before writing the draft version of the essay

2) Start a podcast about a topic that interests you (industry, hobbies, economy, or values/philosophy that guide you every day).

Create 1 podcast (5-minute length) a day for 30 days. It doesn't matter whether you publish it, but the anticipation of creating something for the public will improve the quality of your recording. If you don't want the unwarranted attention, just record it without publishing.

3) Write a 250-word (half page) observation about life, economy, or future, every day, for 30 days

Within a month of writing every day or recording a podcast, you will find a unique voice.

It is unlikely that an Editor like me would ask you to rephrase the essay. The MBA Admission team desperately seeks unique phrases in a pool of clichéd narratives.

To help you create a memorable MBA Application Essay, I have written Winning MBA Essay Guide. Download it her

About the Author

Atul Jose is the Founding Editor of F1GMAT. He is the author of the best-selling book: Winning MBA Essay Guide – a how-to guide on using elements of storytelling to create a unique MBA Application Essay.

11 Top MBA Essay Guides in 1 Book + Sample Essays + The Art of Storytelling + Leadership Narratives + Review Tips + Persuasion Strategies + The Secret to "unleashing" your unique voice

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 Essay Guides
will teach you how to transform your essay to an epic life journey with trials and tribulations that will move the admission team.

Winning MBA Essay Guide: Includes Essay Tips for
+ Harvard
+ Stanford
+ Chicago Booth
+ Columbia
+ Wharton
+ MIT Sloan
+ Kellogg
+ NYU Stern
+ Insead
+ Haas 
+ London Business School
+ 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 the Winning MBA Essay Guide

Other F1GMAT Books you might enjoy

Stanford MBA Essay Guide
Harvard MBA Essay Guide
Wharton MBA Essay Guide
Kellogg MBA Essay Guide
MIT Sloan MBA Essay Guide
NYU Stern MBA Essay Guide
Insead MBA Essay Guide
MBA in Canada
MBA Admission Interview Guide
Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide
Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning
Winning MBA Essay Guide (Complete Essay Tips)