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Why Good Narrative Matters in MBA Essays?

MBA Application Essays NarrativeWhen the Admission team is reading your essays, they are not expecting writers who can take them to a world far far away. What is the point anyways? Post-MBA, your job would be to cut the fluff, and focus on the problem. Memos, reports, and emails expect you to stay as far away from narratives and backstories. Then why do MBA Admission teams expect applicants to write interesting narrative?

Experience what the Applicant Experienced

Empathy is not a learned skill. It’s part of our DNA where we feel what others are feeling. The study on empathy took a hysterical high with “Mirror neurons,” when Graduate Students at the University of Parma, Italy, accidentally found out how empathy is ingrained in monkeys. The students were conducting studies on macaque monkeys by implanting electrodes in their brain. During the lunch break, they accidently kept the electrodes on the monkey and came back with food. As one of the students was reaching out for the food, the neurons in the monkey started firing signals in the same region of the brain that is responsible for planning and movement. By merely watching humans eat, macaque monkeys were able to experience the hand movement.

I am not suggesting that the MBA Admission teams are like monkeys, but interesting narrative helps us experience movement, and for the essays reviewers, narratives that help them experience movement, make the review process interesting. Without evoking interest in your profile, you don’t have much of a chance.

Guard the Brand


There are very few people in the world who can narrate stories like Nolan or Spielberg, and even few MBA Applicants who can write interesting narratives in a Quant oriented world. The few who try to emulate the great writers, fall for the grandiose of the writing process, and starts creating stories that magnify their achievements, or fudge facts to make the journey of the hero interesting. The admission team knows that it is a privilege to be included in an elite Business School brand. The reviewers understand the privilege, and they know that with a few bad choices, the brand value can dilute. The applicants will no longer consider being part of the brand a privilege.

Remember BlackBerry - the darling of the Enterprise world. It was a privilege to own a blackberry phone, but with iPhone’s entry, and a small dip in the market share, the owners of BlackBerry began to panic, and started making models for the masses while Apple focused on their core market – the hip tech savvy crowd. By accepting the ‘commoners’ to experience BlackBerry, the brand no longer catered to the Managers and CEOs, and the sales started dropping. The loyal customers switched brands to the ‘elite’ Apple iPhone. The Admission team will continue to keep the 5-10% acceptance rate in 2008 like depression or 2000 like boom. No matter how much fun you make of the Apple Customers, boy wouldn’t you love to have loyalty like that. “Be like the Apple Customer. Believe in the MBA brand. It will reflect in your narrative.”

Spot the Liar

When you write essays with just facts not evoking any emotion, the Admission team has to do two things: do fact checking, and do due diligence to make sure that your profile is not like hundreds of other applicants. With volume goals, the reviewers don’t have the luxury to run fact checking through each sentence. Narratives, on the other hand, entertain the reviewer and make it easier for her to spot the inconsistencies.

That is why being a movie critic is the easiest job. You have to spot inconsistencies in behavior – for both protagonist and antagonist, inconsistencies in the plot or inconsistency in motivation. When you narrate your achievements, imagine that your story will be adapted to a movie. How will the movie critic rate your story? Will they find inconsistencies in the hero’s (you) journey, behavior or the external circumstances that forced the hero to change?

To make your MBA Application Essay narratives interesting we have a written an extensive How to guide. Download it here.


80+ Sample Essays + Essay Writing, Review & Editing Tips + 15 School-Specific Tips = Winning MBA Essay Guide

"Pressed against the deadline, I ordered F1GMAT's Winning MBA Essay Guide as their blogs always had something interesting to say. It was by far one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Going through the Essay Guide, I learned the art of storytelling, using various ploys mentioned in the book. Most important one being the “W pattern,” a strategy of information sharing that creates a sense of excitement in the mind of the reader." - 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.

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?

Storytelling!

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

Who Should Buy The Winning MBA Essay Guide?

If your essay looks too bland, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will show you, with examples, on how to use the elements of Storytelling like Incorporating "The Struggle", Using Emotional connectors, narrating the Journey and the use of Chronology, Vividness and Active Verbs to transform your essays.

If you are stuck in the Writing process, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will show you how to silence the Analytic Mind and overcome mental blocks.

If you feel that the essays are not persuasive, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will teach you how to use the W-Pattern narrative, Contexts, Turning Points and "The Show Don't Tell Approach" to write a Winning MBA Essay.

If you don't have enough leadership experience, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will show you how to highlight non-obvious qualities like Trust, Focus, Listening Skills, Personal Responsibility, Humility, Self-Knowledge, and other secondary traits to prove your leadership.

If you don't know how to review your essays, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will demonstrate how to improve readability with the power of iteration, and maintain your original voice by removing review biases.

Pages: 787

Winning MBA Essay Guide Includes

+Harvard MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)

   Sample Harvard MBA Essay – Gratitude & Giving Back (318 Words)
   Sample Harvard MBA Essay – Entrepreneurship (Influence of Childhood) (667 Words)
   Sample Harvard MBA Essay - Volunteering (Mental Health Awareness)  (776 Words)

+ Columbia MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)

   Sample Goals Essay 1: Enterprise Technology to Consumer Marketing (496 Words)   
   Sample Goals Essay 2: Healthcare (Finance to Consulting) (499 Words)   
   Sample Goals Essay 3: FinTech (Product Manager to Strategy) (482 Words)   
   Sample Columbia Good Fit Essay 1: Value from NYC (237 Words)   
   Sample Columbia Good Fit Essay 2: Entrepreneur Mindset (237 Words)   
   Sample Columbia Good Fit Essay 3: Teamwork and Learning (242 Words)   
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #1 (Elon Musk) (250 Words)   
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #2 (Father) (244 Words)   
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #3 (Mother) (243 Words)   
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #4 (Math Teacher) (242 Words)   
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #5 (Co-Founder) (250 Words)    

+ Wharton MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)
   Sample Wharton MBA Essay:Gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (473 words)  (Consulting to Finance)
   Sample Wharton MBA Essay:Gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (482 Words) (VC to Consulting (Healthcare))
   Sample Wharton MBA Essay:Gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (497 Words) (Business Development to Finance (Non-Profit in Energy))
   Sample Essay #2: Math Tutoring and Experimental music’s (388 Words)  
   Sample Essay #2: Non-Profit – Obesity Epidemic and Healthy Lifestyle (399 Words)  
   Sample Essay #2: Non-Profit – Energy Efficient Offices (395 Words)   
+ Stanford MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)

    Sample Why Stanford MBA Essay (Consulting)(400 words)    
    Sample Why Stanford MBA Essay (Tech Entrepreneur) (390 words)    
    Sample Why Stanford MBA: Finance to Green Energy Consulting (389 Words)
    Sample Why Stanford MBA: Private Equity to Operations(399 Words)    
    Sample Essay A: What matters most and why? (740 Words)(Balance in Life)    
    Sample Essay A: What matters most and why? (750 Words)(Vulnerability and Learning)    
    Sample Essay A: What matters most and why? (748 Words)(Freedom and Commitment)

+ Chicago Booth MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)   

   Sample Goals Essay #1: Oil & Gas to Consulting (475 Words)
   Sample Goals Essay #2: Social IMPACT to Marketing (Non-Profit) (472 Words)
   Sample Goals Essay #3: Accounting to Entrepreneurship (Fashion)(495 Words)
   Sample Goals Essay #4: Technology (Programming to Product Development) (493 Words)
   Sample Leadership Experience & Choices Essay #1 (492 Words)(Father’s Restaurant Business and Leadership)
   Sample Leadership Experience & Choices Essay #2 (639 Words) (Teach for America and Leadership)
   Sample Leadership Experience & Choices Essay #3 (496 Words)(Opioid Crisis and Healthcare Innovation)  
   Sample Leadership Experience & Choices Essay #4 (500 Words) (Disrupting the Food Supply Chain)

+ INSEAD MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)

    Sample Essay: Candid Description, Strengths & Weaknesses (Marketing Lead) (499 Words)  
    Sample Essay: Candid Description, Strengths & Weaknesses (Consulting to Product Development) (492 Words)  
    Sample Essay: Achievements and Failures (398 Words) (Technology Consultant)
    Sample Essay: Achievements and Failures (395 Words) (International Relations) (Negotiations)
    Sample Essay: Extra-Curricular and How enriched you are (272 Words) (Hiking and Vlogging)
    Sample Essay: Extra-Curricular and How enriched you are (298 Words) (Improv Acting)

+ Haas MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)
     Sample Haas What Makes you feel Alive (Start-up in Cryptocurrency) (294 Words)
     Sample Haas What Makes you feel Alive (Design as a tool for Change) (294 Words)
     Sample Haas What Makes you feel Alive (Flying and AI in Healthcare)(299 Words)
     Sample Haas MBA Enhance Leadership Profile (Trust-Based Leadership)(Team Building – Technology) (292 Words)    
     Sample Haas MBA Enhance Leadership Profile (Need-based Leadership) (Non-Profit for working Mothers) (300 Words)
     Sample Haas MBA Enhance Leadership Profile (Perspective-based Leadership) (Leadership by Trial and Error) (299 Words)       
+ Yale SOM MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)      

     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Business Development (Mobile Phone Start-Up)(485 Words)  
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Investment Banking (IB)(404 Words)
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Consulting (447 Words)
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Technology (448 Words)
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Marketing (491 Words)
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Entrepreneurship (496 Words)
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: IMPACT Investing (495 Words)
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Oil & Gas to Clean Energy (Consulting) (464 Words)

+ Ross MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)      
    Sample MBA Essay: Finance Professional & a former member of a rock band (96 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Marketing Professional with a talent to do Impression (100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Life Philosophy through an Entrepreneurial failure (94 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Consulting for a Pharma Giant (Made a Difference) (91 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Three-Level Sanitation Campaign (100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Water Conservation Kit (99 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Losing client (100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Misreading Market Conditions (93 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Strategic Planning vs. Tactical Dominance in Chess (97 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Out of my comfort zone(extra-curricular) (93 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Out of my comfort zone (Daily Science Show) (99 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Simplifying Operations (extra-curricular) (90 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I am aware that I am different (Leadership and Culture) (98 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I am aware that I am different (Technology Project) (98 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I am aware that I am different (Making Business metrics relevant to a Creative team) (91 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I find it Challenging when People (Timidity)(98 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I was challenged when (Change in Scope) (99 Words)  
   Sample MBA Essay: I was challenged when (Team Failed) (100 Words)  
   Sample Essay – Short-term Goals and why the goal is the right choice for you (Private Investment as a Tool for Change) (294 Words)
   Sample Essay – Short-term Goals and why the goal is the right choice for you (Education to Consulting) (299 Words)

   Sample Essay – Short-term Goals and why the goal is the right choice for you (Software Development to Sales to Marketing) (293 Words)
+ Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)
    Sample Why MBA Right Next Step for you (100 Words) (Gap in Knowledge in Strategy and Finance)   
    Sample Post-MBA Career Goals (99 Words)(Marketing for FinTech)   
    Sample Why MBA Right Next Step for you (98 Words)(Engineering to Marketing)   
    Sample Post-MBA Career Goals (94 Words)(Marketing Consulting firm and Product Marketing)   
    Sample Why MBA Right Next Step for you (100 Words) (Hobby to Business)   
    Sample Post-MBA Career Goals (99 Words) (Interior Design Business with AR)   
    Framework and Examples for Answering Duke Fuqua 25 Random Things with 5 Samples
    Sample Duke Fuqua Essay: The Fuqua community and you (784 Words)  
+ NYU Stern MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (500 Words) (Finance)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (495 Words)(Consulting)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (500 Words)(Product Management)
     Essay 3:  Personal Expression (a.k.a. "Pick Six")    
     5 Examples with Images

+ Darden MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)   

     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Meaningful IMPACT (Fear-based to team-based culture) (199 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Different Perspective and IMPACT on worldview (Life Experience) (191 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Different Perspective and IMPACT on worldview (Courage)(199 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Different Perspective and IMPACT on worldview (Team Diversity) (193 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself Personal, Professional or Both (100 Words) (Near Death Experience)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself Personal, Professional or Both (99 Words) (Networking)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself Personal, Professional or Both (100 Words) (Mountaineering)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay: Short-term Post-MBA career goal (150 words) (Technology to Consulting)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay: Short-term Post-MBA career goal (150 words) (Product Management)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay: Short-term Post-MBA career goal (149 words) (Investment Banking to Private Equity)
     Sample Essay – Where you want to go with Darden (47 Words) (Uganda)
     Sample Essay – Where you want to go with Darden (49 Words) (Sweden)
     Sample Essay – Where you want to go with Darden (48 Words) (China)

+ MIT Sloan MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)   
    Personality Type (Accepted MIT Sloan Students)   

    Cover Letter Checklist   
    Sample Cover Letter – Technology to Consulting (284 Words)    
    Sample Cover Letter – Healthcare Entrepreneurship (297 Words)    
    Sample Cover Letter – Consulting to Technology (298 Words)    
    Sample Cover Letter – Wealth Management to FinTech (299 Words)    
   Sample Cover Letter – Manufacturing to Consulting (Retail) (299 Words)    
   Sample Cover Letter – Strategy to Consulting (297 Words)   

+ Kellogg MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)  
   Sample Essay: Demonstrated Leadership, the challenges you faced and what you learned (Marketing) (449 Words)   
    Sample Essay: Demonstrated Leadership, the challenges you faced and what you learned (Technology) (447 Words)   
    Sample Essay: Demonstrated Leadership, the challenges you faced and what you learned (Non-Profit) (441 Words)   
    Sample Essay: Values important to you and how have they influenced you? (Changing the Traditional Recruitment Formula)(443 Words)
    Sample Essay: Values important to you and how have they influenced you?(Seniority-Based to Performance-based Culture)(444 Words)
    Sample Essay: Values important to you and how have they influenced you?(From machine-centric to Human-centric customer support)(446 Words)
+ London Business School MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)   
    London as the Financial Hub   
    London as the Technology Hub   
    London as the Consulting Hub   
    How to Cite the Curriculum (Example)   
    Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals  (489 Words)(Technology to Consulting)
    Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals (493 Words)(Hospitality to Consulting)
    Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals  (500 Words)(Government/Non-Profit to Technology)
    Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals  (495 Words)(Medical Doctor to Investment Banking)

+ 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

Pages: 787
Sample Essays: 80+
Version: 2020 Entering Class


Download Winning MBA Essay Guide (2020 Entering Class)




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