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3 Contexts that you should know before writing your MBA Application Essay

Context MBA Application EssaysWith the 2014-15 essays, the word count has increased, although not to the pre-2013 levels but a comfortable level that will allow MBA Applicants to offer context before writing about challenges and how they reacted to it.

Most Essays follow a well-defined format:

Situation -> Behavior (Driven by values and Experience) -> Self-Development (Learning through Failures & Successes)

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Unfortunately, applicants use few words to describe the context in which the situation occurred. They assume that the AdCom will figure out the context, the rationale behind the behavior, and understand the learning opportunity that the situation offered. If the applicant fails to explain the situation with proper context, the essays will look like an analysis of her behavior, more than her ability to handle problems with maturity and integrity.

Ideally, the essays should look like this:

Situation -> Context -> Behavior (Driven by values and Experience) -> Self-Development (Learning through Failures & Successes)

Don’t assume that the AdCom understands context. On failing to explain the context, AdCom will typecast the applicant. Some of the popular typecasts are American investment banker, Indian IT applicant, and Russian energy trader. That is a far greater risk than getting overboard on essay word limit by 10 or 20%.
What are the various factors that define the context of the behavior?

Situation defines the problem while context gives AdCom a broader picture of the limitations, environment, and the framework in which the problem was solved. Here are three factors that influence context:

a) Power

Any situation and environment will have power owners and distributors. The CEO, project managers, and team leaders have different level of power ownership. Someone working as a team member has power ownership over certain tasks and resources. In MBA application, leadership experience is read closely. Applicants, who had fewer years of experience or did not get a chance to lead the team, might hesitate to write about experiences that required efficient management of resources, although not human resources. This is a fallacy. If the situation required greater problem-solving skills and ownership of tasks and resources - collaborating with team members is an equally valuable skill.

b) Deadlines

When the disposable time is unlimited, admission team cannot measure your ability to solve a problem under true conditions. Deadlines make the problem-solving skills measurable. When applicants explain the situation, Ad Com should understand the time pressure under which they had to act. When the clock is ticking, and the stakeholders have serious doubts about the applicant’s ability to solve the problem, the pressure to complete the challenge becomes even more interesting.

c) Communication

The bureaucracy of bigger companies, nimbleness of start-ups or evolving processes in small to mid-sized Businesses; whatever be the communication framework in the company, applicants are more likely to face challenges while communicating crisis messages to major stakeholders. It requires courage, maturity, ability to take ownership for error spotting, and timely reporting of issues before escalation. AdCom will understand the applicant’s behavior in a much better way when she defines the boundaries of the communication framework: direction of commands, dos and don’ts of communication, and under which circumstances escalation was allowed.

The context is complete when applicants describe power ownership, communication framework, the deadline, and the environment.

For General Essay Writing & School specific tips, Download our Winning MBA Essay Guide


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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.

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Storytelling!

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Pages: 666

Winning MBA Essay Guide Includes
+Harvard MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)
   Sample Harvard MBA Essay – Gratitude & Giving Back (318 Words)
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+
Stanford
MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Sample Why Stanford MBA Essay (Consulting)(399 words)  
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+ Chicago Booth MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
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+ Columbia MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
   Sample Columbia MBA Essay 1: Enterprise to Consumer Marketing (495 Words)  

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+ MIT Sloan MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
     Personality Type (Accepted MIT Sloan Students)   
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+ Kellogg MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Sample Essay 1: Demonstrated Leadership (Marketing) (449 Words)
     Sample Essay 2: Demonstrated Leadership (Technology) (449 Words)   
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+ INSEAD MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
   Sample Essay 1: Candid Description, Strengths & Weaknesses
    Sample Essay 2: Achievements and Failures

    Sample Essay 3: Extra-Curricular and How enriched you are
+
Haas
MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample MBA Essay: Non-Profit   
     Sample MBA Essay: Technology   
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     Sample MBA Essay: Getting Fired   
     Sample MBA Essay: Diverse and Inclusive Culture   
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     Sample MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goal & How Pre-MBA Experience will help  
 
+ Yale SOM MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    
Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Business Development (Mobile Start-Up)(486 Words)
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    Sample MBA Essay: Finance Professional who was a former member of a rock band (96 Words)   
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    London as the Financial Hub   
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    How to Cite the Curriculum (Example)
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+ Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Framework for Answering the Duke Fuqua Short-Answer Essay Questions   
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+ NYU Stern MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
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     5 Examples with Images

+ Darden MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself (100 Words) (Near Death Experience)
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+ Wharton MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    7 Professional Gains
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+ 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 Winning MBA Essay Guide (2020 Entering Class)




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