There is a big misconception about storytelling for MBA Essays. In at least one iteration, I edit and remove unnecessary scenery. Any phrases that take the attention away from the main character to "describe the room," always need a rewrite. Great Gatsby, regarded as one of the greatest novels of the 20th century did that. But the narrative only dragged when Fitzgerald tried to infuse more mystery to Gatsby's character. We have come a long way in understanding what storytelling is. The influx of streaming services and movies with parallel & reverse chronology has given us the cognitive capacity to predict ending.
When an essay reviewer is reading essays, she is predicting the structure. To break the predictive nature of the narrative, break the attention of the reviewer through interesting segue that takes the attention of the reviewer away from you, just enough, but not far enough that the reviewer loses their train of thoughts or investment into your story.
How much contextualizing is required to keep the admission team's interest in your story?
This is tricky. An independent eye can help you overcome 'creation biases.' Our baby always looks cuter to us than the rest of the world. The more we have invested in writing an essay, the more unlikely we would allow an independent reviewer to cut our world into pieces. The beloved phrases that looked untouchable become an easy edit for the reviewer. It is hurtful, but the writing process just like GMAT preparation can lead to irrational behaviors. The forum addicts craving for the extra-points as a contributor and the applicant who has a bias to fight for each phrase, miss the point of the whole process.
Essays and GMAT are tools to get into a top MBA program.
If you can't differentiate and appeal to the strengths of the MBA program, the admission team wouldn't be impressed with 'flowery phrases' or your GMAT 750+ score.
We all know our weaknesses. You can pretend not to know. But the more honest you are with yourself, the more likely the weaknesses will be captured in the essay without jeopardizing your admission chances.
Honesty vs. Vulnerability
An honest revelation of your weakness that indicates that your acceptance will impact teamwork or morale of the class will not convert to an admission letter.
Understanding how to balance honesty with vulnerability is key to differentiating your essay. Few applicants have the confidence to share their vulnerable moment. Most essays are brag sheet disguised as narratives. Imagine what an essay reviewer goes through when applicants - one after the other, talks about how he overcame setbacks or led a team to unachievable heights, without sharing any moments of vulnerability.
Vulnerability always triumphs Honesty. That doesn't mean you purposefully hide your weakness if the event was a defining moment in your life.
An applicant shared how his start-up failure changed his outlook on preparation and planning. The exuberance of his early 20s and the risk-taking that comes with lack of exposure helped him gain experience in an interesting start-up eco-system. He failed, but the learning experience was truly meaningful in 2017 when AI became mainstream. Suddenly, his experience in the eco-system, half a decade back became more relevant. The vulnerability of his youth and the irrational thoughts were shared in a heartwarming narrative.
The exciting part of reading essays of applicants showing vulnerability is that we tend to empathize and root for their victory. Applicants who write achievements after achievements without any vulnerability always fails to get the attention of the admission team. It shows lack of self-awareness and confidence in one's own skills.
Failure is just one event. No one is a failure because of one event. We all have failed. Many have quit or in start-up lexicon - pivoted. Many failures had life lessons. Many had no particular meaning. Many were failures in your learning path.
But look back and see the cumulative effect of the failure.
In retrospect, we can connect how one failure led to a chance encounter with another idea or a job opportunity or an interesting project that made your profile unique.
In a mad rush to create narratives, don't forget that contexts offer uniqueness.
Your projects, environment, and the team are unique.
You don't need flowery phrases to create a Winning MBA Essay.
Download Winning MBA Essay Guide and learn how to use contexts for interesting narratives.
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80+ Sample Essays + Essay Writing, Review & Editing Tips + 15 School-Specific Tips = Winning MBA Essay Guide
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?
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.
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 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 (Persistence/Creativity/Opportunity Seeking) (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)
Sample Essay #2: Math Tutoring and Experimental music’s value for the Wharton Community (388 Words)
Sample Essay #2: Non-Profit – Obesity Epidemic and Healthy Lifestyle at Wharton (399 Words)
Sample Why Stanford MBA Essay (Consulting)(400 words)
Sample Why Stanford MBA Essay (Tech Entrepreneur) (390 words)
Sample Why Stanford MBA: Career Switching (Finance to Green Energy Consulting) (389 Words)
Sample Why Stanford MBA: Career Switching (Private Equity to Operations) (399 Words)
Sample Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? (740 Words)(Balance in Life)
Sample Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? (750 Words)(Vulnerability and Learning)
Sample Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? (748 Words)(Freedom and Commitment)
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 in Life Essay #1 (492 Words)(Technologist - Father’s Restaurant Business and Leadership)
Sample Leadership Experience & Choices in Life Essay #2 (639 Words) (Education - Teach for America and Leadership)
Sample Leadership Experience & Choices in Life Essay #3 (496 Words)(Physician - Opioid Crisis and Healthcare Innovation)
Sample Essay 3: Extra-Curricular and How enriched you are
+ Haas MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
Sample MBA Essay: Non-Profit
Sample MBA Essay: Technology
Sample MBA Essay: Marketing
Sample MBA Essay: Getting Fired
Sample MBA Essay: Diverse and Inclusive Culture
Sample MBA Essay: Leadership
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)
Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Investment Banking (IB)(404 Words)
Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Consulting (442 Words)
Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Technology (452 Words)
Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Marketing (492 Words)
Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Entrepreneurship (497 Words)
+ Ross MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
Sample MBA Essay: Finance Professional who was a former member of a rock band (96 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: Marketing Professional with a hidden talent to do Impression (100 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: Life Philosophy through the prism of 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 for Manufacturing (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 and Last-minute change) (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 find it Challenging when People (Laziness)(100 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: I find it Challenging when People (Pessimism) (96 Words)
Sample Essay – Short-term Goals and why the goal is the right choice for you (Technology to Marketing)(299 Words)
+ London Business School MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
London as the Financial Hub
London as the Technology Hub
London as the Consulting Hub
Sample LBS MBA Essay (A Career Switcher from Hospitality to Consulting) (499 Words)
Sample Short-term Goals Essay – Technology to Consulting (100 Words)
Sample Long-term Goals Essay – Consulting for Government (100 Words)
Sample Long-term Goals Essay – Plan B (89 Words)
Framework for Answering the Duke Fuqua 25 Random Things
Sample Duke Fuqua Essay: The Fuqua community and you (Max 2 Pages)
+ NYU Stern MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (498 Words) (Finance)
5 Examples with Images
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)
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)
+ 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