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MBA Application Essay Editing

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...

The first deliverable in Basic/Detailed profile evaluation is the creation of an IMPACT table. The joint exercise between the MBA admissions consultant and the applicant lists all possible events – successes, failures, individual projects (hobbies, extra-curricular and volunteering) and team projects (professional projects, group sports, and volunteering) that marked the applicant’s growth in the company or made their skills attractive for Business Schools.

What I learned evaluating hundreds of applicants’ growth is that individual projects tend to have a clear IMPACT over team projects. This seems counter-intuitive as what you do professionally as a team should have defined you as a person.

Unfortunately – it doesn’t

Team Size – Magic Number

When the team size crosses 5, individuals put less effort to reach the goals. This is not a conscious decision. We tend to fall for what Social Psychologists call Social Loafing.

As an individual – most tasks allocated to us has a clear performance indicator and deliverables. With a team, the burden of the responsibility is shared and depending on the company culture – individual performers are revered or...

I have written two books this year. One on France with details of top MBA programs and funding options. Another one a similar book on MBA in the UK.

When May 5th hit, I faced what you are likely to face in the next 3-months - writer's block.

Hope you have read the first part of the series on creating a worry audit to write freely.

Another useful tip that has helped me write over 2000 articles in F1GMAT and over 10 books is the 'replace Blank Stare with questions'

In any form of writing, we pause to collect the thoughts, frame the sentence or add elements of storytelling.

Don't add questions when you are thinking. Let the thoughts rush to you or flow around until you convert them to meaningful or memorable phrases.

Depending on your writing style and the frequency with which you create, you might have become accustomed to a routine.

It is tough to articulate how long the words play around your head before changing its state to a format that is...

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