When an MBA Admission Committee member is reading hundreds of essays, one factor that allows applicants to stand out is the readability of their essay. The focus on readability began in early 1940s with Dr. Rudolf Flesch, who introduced the ‘The Flesch Formulas’ that factors in average sentence length and average word length in syllables. Subsequently, word processing softwares began integrating many readability formulas. Let us look at the factors that influence readability the most.
1) Average Sentence Length
Misplaced modifiers, run-on sentences, and pronoun reference errors arise in complex and long sentences. Keep the sentences short, but not too short that it loses its impact. If you have read early 19th century novels, you will realize what we mean. The sentences are too long, complex, and often require greater mental energy to comprehend even the simplest ideas conveyed by the author. It was considered a virtue to write in a complex or a seemingly intelligent manner. We don’t have the time to read complex sentence structures when we are used to instant entertainment, information, and food. The 30 something AdCom member has also lived in such an era. Moreover, they have a job to do – read hundreds of essays.
2) One Idea per Paragraph
This mantra has worked miracles for MBA applicants. By conveying an argument, idea, or opinion in one paragraph, you set the expectation for the AdCom. They are aware that the next paragraph would be about a new experience, or lessons learned, and not the same idea that you have already explained. AdCom will lose interest if you break the pattern. Therefore, be careful before you follow this rule. The pattern should continue throughout the essay. If you don’t want to follow this convention, split the essays into paragraphs based on average sentences per paragraph. 5-6 sentences per paragraph have worked out best for applicants. Be consistent, no matter which rule you follow.
Related: Winning MBA Essay Guide
Another challenge that MBA applicants face is how to use words and phrases that are required to maintain continuity in the essay. “However,” “In Addition to,” “Therefore” often works as a connecting word or phrase, but you can do away with these words if the essay is more conversational and less formal. A conversational tone works best in MBA application essays. The challenge arises when paragraphs demands continuity. The point-based division works out for an ebook like this, but in an essay, this might not work. You don’t have to worry too much if you have developed a habit of outlining your essay.
4) How to Outline
To outline an essay, you have to understand the purpose of the essay - the paragraph that answers the question, the paragraph that support your answer & the paragraph that reveal your motivation.
Once an applicant understands what is required, it becomes easier to outline the essay. For example, for the question “What is your greatest weakness and what are the necessary steps that you have taken to overcome it,” the applicant should outline the essay in the following paragraph structure:
Paragraph 1: Write about real weakness
Paragraph 2: How you realized about the weakness
Paragraph 3: Steps, people, and influences that allowed you to overcome the weakness
Paragraph 4: What you learned about overcoming weakness, and why an MBA is necessary to overcome your functional weaknesses.
There are no set rules on whether you should maintain the same number of sentences in each paragraph. Some paragraphs, like paragraph 3 in the above example, require greater length as it considers several factors.
By outlining, you have already taken into consideration the readability of the essay. This would go a long way in creating a winnable essay. Several other factors contribute towards creating an effective essay. We have covered over 100 Essay writing tips in our essay guide. Don’t forget to download it here.
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.
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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 Why Stanford MBA Essay (Consulting)(399 words)
Sample Why Stanford MBA Essay (Tech Entrepreneur) (390 words)
Sample Booth MBA Essay #2: Leadership experience (Teach for America)(640 Words)
+ MIT Sloan MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
Personality Type (Accepted MIT Sloan Students)
Cover Letter Checklist
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
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
7 Professional Gains
Sample Wharton MBA Essay 1: Gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (473 words)
Sample Wharton MBA Essay #2: Math Tutoring and Experimental music’s value (388 Words)
+ 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