MBA Essays: How to Manage the Writing Process

From the hundreds of essays we have edited, only a few had unique phrases and expressions. Most of them were a rehash of sample essays or modified memos with no personal touch. A few that tried, changed the essay to narrative filled with dialogues. Maintaining a unique voice is tough but with these six guidelines, translating your uniqueness to words will be much easier.

1) Start Early

Applicants underestimate the time required to write, rewrite, and edit the essays. Each process requires a different mindset, skill, and quality control. Plan at least three weeks (21 days) for the entire writing process: 10 days for writing, 7 for rewriting and 4 for editing.

2) Write for Self-Expression

While writing the first draft, stop pre-judging every word that comes to the paper. Let your subconscious take control of the process. This advice might seem weird for someone working in a Quant heavy environment where brevity is rewarded over comprehensiveness, but if you self-censor your expression, the phrases are not your original thought. It is the version that you feel the admission team should hear. When you do that, the essay becomes just like hundreds of other essays in the Reviewer’s desk. It will lack any ingredients for long-term recall. Read the question. Start from an event in your life that reveals the answer. Use the SHOW Don’t Tell Approach we have shared in Winning MBA Essay Guide.

3) Don’t Read Sample Essays Before Writing

Even in our Winning MBA Essay Guide, we have recommended not to use the essay but read them only for inspiration. Writers are voracious readers. They get inspiration from multiple sources. You should too but don’t read them in hundreds as patterns of phrases from the source will start appearing in your original essay. Ideally, don’t read any Sample Essay before your first draft. Read our storytelling section before writing the first version.

4) Rewrite for the Admission Team

The writing process should be considered as an opportunity for self-expression, but the rewriting is your chance to narrow the scope of the expression to the audience. In this case - the admission team. Research about them. Visit the Staff Page. Most top Business Schools have one.

List out the name of the admission team and create an excel sheet capturing:

• Nationality
• Gender
• Pre-Admission Job
• Qualification (MBA/MA/Other Degrees)

Let us say the size of the admission team is four. What you rewrite should address the majority. Most reviewers share the responsibility of reading the essays. Some take a second opinion from their colleagues before dinging or accepting your profile.

For an Admission team with majority Arts background and work experience in publishing, Jargons is an absolute no-no. From someone from an IT or Finance background, quantifying results should be a priority. You can’t guess who will read your essay but categorizing the majority as Quant-heavy or Expression-heavy will help you tone down numbers or use them judiciously throughout the essay. Rewrite the essay based on the persuasion tips we have demonstrated in Winning MBA Essay Guide.

5) Edit for Original Voice

An editor can bring an unbiased perspective to your narrative. Family and friends don’t want to hurt your feelings. That two lines where you bragged how you overcame obstacles can be rephrased but your close associates assume that mentioning them might be bad for your self-esteem. For the Admission Consultant/Editor, the goals are to remove clichés and inconsistencies while maintaining the original voice. They want you to succeed as their reputation depends on your success. Use the services of the Editor/Consultants early as last minute edits can leave little time for brainstorming and debating about each line.

6) Volunteer to Rewrite after Each Review

We underline what needs to be rewritten and includes the reasons for the change in our Essay Review Service. To avoid our voice and style from interfering the applicant’s original voice, we almost always ask the applicant to rewrite in their voice. Most of us are lazy to write, let alone, rewrite, but keep an open mind about the process.

We suggest rewrite for 10 reasons:

1) Style Mismatch
2) Flow Mismatch
3) Concluding too Soon
4) No Proper Middle in the Essay
5) Poor Opening
6) Poor Conclusions
7) No Supporting Data (Resume/Essays)
8) Clichéd or Unfeasible Motivation
9) Uninspiring
10) Mismatch between motivation and Post-MBA Goals

Whatever be the reason, address them in your next rewrite. Don’t assume. Ask us again to understand why the sentence or paragraph needs rework.

Submit your Essays here or contact us to learn more about F1GMAT’s Essay Review/Editing Services. For writing the first draft, use Winning MBA Essay Guide.

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?


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: 671

Winning MBA Essay Guide Includes
+Harvard MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Sample MBA Essay – Gratitude & Giving Back (319 Words)   
    Sample MBA Essay – Entrepreneurship (Influence of Childhood) (401 Words)   
    Sample Harvard MBA Essay - Volunteering (Mental Health Awareness)   (774 Words)   
MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Sample Why Stanford MBA Essay (Consulting)(399 words)  
    Sample Why Stanford MBA Essay (Tech Entrepreneur) (390 words)  
    Sample Why Stanford MBA: Career Switching (Finance to Green Energy Consulting)(394 Words)  
    Sample Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? (740 Words)

+ Chicago Booth MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    #1. Modern Art = Make you Think   
    #2. Teamwork and Individual Ambition   
    #3. Adventure   
    #4. Diversity = Creativity   
    #5. Classroom Experience   
    #6. Harper Center   

+ Columbia MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Sample Columbia MBA Essay 1: Enterprise Technology to Consumer Marketing (495 Words)  
    Sample Columbia MBA Essay 2:  New York for Marketing Professionals (244 Words)  
    Sample Columbia MBA Essay #3 - Team Failure (Marketing Lead) (242 Words)  
    Sample Columbia MBA Essay #3 - Team Failure (Technology – Engineering Lead) (248 Words)  
    Sample Columbia MBA Essay #3 - Team Failure (Pharma – Product Manager) (244 Words)  

+ MIT Sloan MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
     Personality Type (Accepted MIT Sloan Students)   
     Cover Letter Checklist   
     Sample Cover Letter – Technology Consulting (286 Words)   
     Sample Cover Letter – Healthcare Entrepreneurship (296 Words)   

+ Kellogg MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)

     Sample Essay 1: Demonstrated Leadership (Marketing) (449 Words)
     Sample Essay 2: Demonstrated Leadership (Technology) (449 Words)   
     Sample Essay 3: MBA as a Catalyst for Growth (Technology) (438 Words)
     Sample Essay 4: MBA as a Catalyst for Growth (Non-Profit to Consulting) (442 Words) 

+ 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

MBA Essay Tips (2018 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 Phone 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 (2018 Entering Class)
    Sample MBA Essay: Finance Professional who was a former member of a rock band   
    Sample MBA Essay: Technologist (Idea to Action)   
    Sample MBA Essay: Creative Marketing (Idea to Action)   
    Sample MBA Essay: Consulting (Made a Difference)   
    Sample MBA Essay: Losing a Client (Resilience)   
    Sample MBA Essay: Finance to Marketing (extra-curricular)   
    Sample MBA Essay: I am Aware that I am different   
    Sample MBA Essay: I find it Challenging when People   
    Sample MBA Essay: A valuable thing I have taught someone   
    Sample Essay – Part 2 (Short-term & Long-Term Goals, skills relevant to your career goals and how Ross  
    prepares you for the goals)   
+ Wharton MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    7 Professional Gains
    Sample Wharton MBA Essay 1: What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (473 words)   
    Sample Wharton MBA Essay #2: Math Tutoring and Experimental music’s value for the Wharton Community (388 Words)   
+ London Business School MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    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 - How Prior Experience & LBS MBA will contribute (486   
+ Darden MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
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 (100 Words) (Networking and Job Offer at an Unlikely place)   
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself Personal, Professional or Both (100 Words) (Mountaineering)   
     Sample Essay – Where you want to go with Darden (47 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Evolving Leadership Style (198 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Meaningful IMPACT (200 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay: Short-term Post-MBA career goal (149 words)

+ Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    Framework for Answering the Duke Fuqua Short-Answer Essay Questions   
    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 (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (498 Words)    
     Essay 3:  Personal Expression (a.k.a. "Pick Six")    
          5 Examples with Images

+ 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 (2019 Entering Class)

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