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MBA Essay Tips


Cities define the experience of an MBA class. Columbia, NYU Stern and Cornell, all hosted in New York, want to hear how you would take advantage of the location. Even London Business School fearing the repercussion of Brexit have focused internally on London. HEC Paris taunts the vicinity to the world’s fashion capital as a defining characteristic. The only school that avoids mentioning the host city as a plague are economies that are not doing particularly well but have excellent Business Schools (IESE and IE in Spain).

Understanding the positioning strategies of Business Schools would help you position your essays accordingly. Seek help here with our Essay Review Service.

Blindly reusing the brilliant turn of phrases for all top MBA programs or about New York’s brilliance for Stern’s goals and Columbia’s NYU essay rarely works although anecdotally the testimonial from those who successfully implemented such strategy are shared the most in social media and forums.


So how do you create a unique association with the host City?

Military MBA Applicants are conditioned to categorize obstacles to smaller problems, allocate the right resources to tackle each of them and apply the full force of their might to achieve the objective. Not many applicants have this natural inclination to systemize the problem and hit one goal after the other.


When regular applicants spend an inordinate sum on improving their status (through college, employer) acquiring the skills through private courses and embracing one extra-curricular experience after another, the ‘outside’ work for Military applicants is limited to the zone of their operations and path to military confined to a few schools.

Most are in deployment at far corners of the world, dealing with the fallout of the geopolitical turmoil. The risk is real and the challenges of integrating multi-national forces many. For the military applicants guarding the borders, the challenges could be in the form of a hostile neighbor or the terrain in which they are operating.

While applying for MBA Admissions, many assume that the adaptability without incentive, discipline, emotional intelligence and the bias toward action is the norm in the corporate world.

Most applicants don’t have continuous involvement with one non-profit. When they learn that the spike in activity, 1 year before admissions would be judged as manipulation by the US schools, the geographic spread of their target schools widens. European schools don't have such heavy emphasis on volunteering and extra-curricular. However, if you were among those who had decent involvement (3-4 months each) in a non-profit while managing an impressive career progression, positioning the extra-curricular experience is necessary for a Winning MBA Application.

Here are 5 ways to position your volunteering/extra-curricular experience


1) Choice of Organization

When clients share their post-MBA goals, I first evaluate their resume, volunteering experience, motivation, and career progression. The combination of the evaluation factors almost always determines the feasibility of the goal.

The follow-up questions are primarily skewed towards understanding six factors:


1) Motivation for Post-MBA Goals

Round 1 can be brutal. Most of you who applied to Harvard and Stanford were rejected. Recuperating from the injury to your self-esteem, many take a break. The week-long break becomes a period of sulking and self-defeating thoughts. Many call me in the first week of November when most results are published and ask ‘what should I do.’

What was the error in my strategy?


How should I approach the essays in R2?

Should I aim lower?

The number of GMAT test takers peak in December, just before the Christmas break. Then there is a mad rush to create new narratives and sometimes rephrase the ‘creative’ Harvard essay for other schools. Many assume that a turn of phrase praising their stint as a class monitor would offer a balanced perspective on their potential.




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