Filter by School

Filter by Topic

MBA Application Essay Editing

In early 2008 when the seeds of Entrepreneurship were sowing into my mind, I used to hang out with Entrepreneurs a lot – technologists who want to revolutionize the consumer market, small business owners who had scaled, and any relative who extended the brand to multiple geographies. One such legend was a gentleman in his mid-60s, who had his humble beginnings in an obscure village in South India but went on to create a recognizable Consumer Goods brand. I would assist his meetings and initiate conversations with potential customers. Through his authenticity and obsessive focus on reaching a win-win deal, he would close one deal after another, with a signature, “My team will reach out to you later today.” There was no shortage of showoff. The meetings were always in luxury hotels with the tab taken over by the Entrepreneur. In one of the weeks where the deals hit some ungodly record, my reminder for the meeting at 11:00 am went unanswered. I visited his house. He had a few extra liquid courage the night before. Sitting at the palatial bungalow, I would see what it seems like a small stone in his hand. He was engaged in a wrestling move, fighting to squeeze the last drop of paste out of the tube.

I was intrigued by the duality of luxurious spending and austerity for toothpaste.


Applicants learn the fundamentals of writing a persuasive essay when we brainstorm the most relevant stories, edit and captures the most impactful achievements in the resume, and share techniques of storytelling through Winning MBA Essay Guide. The brainstorming, as part of capturing the most relevant life experience, involves writing narratives on your motivations, leadership skills, and life lesson. This exercise, although exhaustive would give applicants the start to bring experience to life through persuasive phrases. But not all narratives start in the right direction

First Draft

The first draft of an essay is messy with the applicant’s consciousness poured into the answer without structure, relevance, and sometimes missing the intent of the question. The flawed output could be discarded as a rambling of an applicant desperately seeking admissions. But through the process of pouring one’s heart out, the applicant touches upon points that missed the initial brainstorming sessions or captures a moment of vulnerability that breaks the ‘foolproof’ impression that one gets from the resume.


MBA Re-application is a painful process. The wounds are not fully healed, and you are back at evaluating profile weakness, re-taking the GMAT, and talking to new recommenders. Although the number of re-applicants accepted to top MBA programs varies, and most schools have not revealed the numbers, close to 10% of all applications are from re-applicants. The volume is so consistent that some schools have begun offering the option to apply as a fresh applicant.

Here are 10 winning strategies for MBA Re-application

1) Class Size

The first metric that should interest the re-applicant is the class size. With Harvard explicitly mentioning that "Of the 900+ students in the Class of 2017, 94 of us were reapplicants.", the class size makes the whole difference. For smaller class size, the percentage of re-applicants decreases as applicants tend to apply where the odds are better. Re-applicants, taking advantage of this trend, should target smaller but reputed MBA programs

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.


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

Although schools don't openly share this uncomfortable trend, applicants from Fortune 100 companies have a clear advantage over applicants building their multi-functional skills in a start-up or performing above their peers in a 200 to 500 ranked Fortune company. When you have 3-4 years of experience in one organization, the sub-conscious question that admission team would have is - can the applicant excel in a highly...

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.

During the extensive profile evaluation and strategy session, the client and I often create narratives of their three weaknesses. Without recognizing...

Helping MBA applicants create memorable Essay forces consultants like me to differentiate the cliched from the original. It is not obvious to MBA Applicants. So, here you go:

Top 5 characteristics of a cliched MBA essay:

1. Attribution Error

You can’t write interesting narratives without reflecting and connecting two events. This essential skill can lead to misguided attribution and flawed causal relationship. The success of a project – timeline, exceeding quality guidelines and helping the company acquire a new asset or improving their stock value or reputation, depends on multiple factors.

In a hurry to quantify IMPACT, MBA applicants either overestimate their contribution or doesn’t cover the direct correlation of their contribution to the company’s quarterly/annual results.
Both stem from Attribution Error.

The sales-oriented applicant (working in Advertising/Marketing) has a natural inclination to exaggerate while applicants from Finance/Technology underestimate their contribution or pigeonhole themselves to a function without simplifying their function for IMPACT.

The brainstorming as part of...

Navigate F1GMAT

F1GMAT Services (MBA Applicants) 

F1GMAT's Books

MBA Salary(Latest Salary Data)
MBA Admission Interview Tips



MBA Application Essays

MBA Recommendation Letter

GMAT Tutorials

GMAT Question Bank

Top MBA Programs

Get F1GMAT's Newsletters (Best in the Industry)
Included in the Newsletter:

  • Ranking Analysis
  • Post-MBA Salary Trends
  • Post-MBA Job Function & Industry Analysis
  • Post-MBA City Review
  • MBA Application Essay Tips
  • School Specific Essay Tips
  • GMAT Preparation Tips
  • MBA Admission Interview Tips
  • School Specific Interview Tips
  • Funding Guidance and
  • Special Consultation Service (only for Subscribers)

Subscribe to F1GMAT's Newsletter