Storytelling is an outline of your relationship with time, world, future, and yourself. The inner conflict between your ego and the challenge put forward by the outside world is similar to the turmoil that the reviewers go through on a daily basis while reviewing your essays or pondering over their future.
Two things are common in master storytelling: interesting characters and believable life events.
Since the story is about your life journey, the essay should demonstrate why you are interesting.
Here is how you do it:
1. Differentiate Just Enough
The background information that you capture should strip out the clichés and break away from the expectation of your profile. But don’t veer too far away from what reviewers expect from an applicant from your nationality and profession.
Take the example of the cult-classic track “Hey Ya!.” The 2003 song was unlike what early 2000s pop/hip hop/rap or rock songs were. Radio stations hesitated to play the song. The André 3000 song was tough to categorize in a Genre or even interpret. But once an obscure Radio jockey gave the green signal, the song caught on and remained in Billboard Top 100 for 32 weeks.
You might not be as lucky as Outkast.
Processing fluency -- the ease with which information is processed, influences likeability. It is rare that the admission team accepts applicants who are not likable. The familiarity of your profession and worldview help the reviewer evaluate your fit.
Yesterday, I saw my son intrigued by a kid’s waving gesture, a toy rotating meaninglessly under gravity and my skills of anticipating and repeating rhymes that I had heard a thousand times. Toddlers are in an endless awe. Occasionally, he points at nature and reminds me that I should also be in awe of the world's magnificence.
Each of you has at least 3-5 intriguing daily responsibilities that are guaranteed to surprise me. You assume that it is common knowledge. Think like a child when you share the uniqueness of your world and share how the blocks fit into your eco-system.
Every story has a flashback to where it all began. The superhero movies have the origin story, Forrest had Mama & Jenny, and you had a loving caretaker or a role model. Essays limit how much you can indulge in your childhood story, but we all had one life event that changed us.
The event demonstrated a new life skill, a passion, or a vision for what you would like to do in this world. Not everybody is lucky to follow their passion, but most of you found your strengths at an early age. Share them through stories.
4. Love Hate and Beliefs
We tolerate bad traffic, obnoxious bosses, and mediocre experiences. What we tolerate is rarely expressed in rants or 280 character tweets. They don’t define us. A character’s belief system is reflected in what she loves and hates. We avoid what we hate and broadcast it to the whole world, and embrace opportunities to do what we love. Essays are never a tool to explicitly mention your love-hate, but past actions are hints.
Listing extra-curricular activities and mapping it to your Love-Hate matrix is an exercise that will flesh out character details that other applicants take it for granted.
Volunteering for the World Food Programme
Hate: Inequality, Poverty Love: Compassion
Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity
Love: Building sustainable communities
Volunteer for Teach For America
Love: Teaching, Equal Opportunity Hate: Lost Opportunity
Perfection is unreal, arrogant, and uninspiring. This might seem counterintuitive for applicants. Weakness essay measures your ability to self-reflect and in a certain way humanizes your journey. Applicants who are defensive or delusional or doesn’t understand the purpose of essays, hide their weaknesses, hoping that the admission team will be moved by their heroic journey.
Flaws hidden beneath the wit of the writer works great in novels. In MBA essays, there is limited scope to put in that clever one-liner. Applicants who stand out learn to mix flaws, with comeback stories and hope. There is no space for negativity.
I have never felt bored with survivor stories. Strategically incorporate your flaws in such stories.
My interactions with clients taught me two things:
• Most have a critical view of themselves, especially applicants from Ivy League schools. The expectation from society, siblings, friends, and parents put them in a chokehold, leaving few real moments to enjoy their achievements.
• Apart from professionals in Sales & Marketing, not many have the inclination to pitch their story.
Taking too much time narrating our achievements is looked down among our peers. Unfortunately, essays require just that. Most applicants rush through their achievements, hoping that the reviewer doesn’t construe their ‘success stories’ as tales of arrogance.
Humbleness should be in the tone of your narrative not in citing what you had achieved.
List even the trivial achievements. You will be surprised to see what you categorize as trivial turning out to be one of your defining successes.
Subscribe to our Essay Review Service and I will help you flesh out authentic character profile from your life story.
Reading Winning MBA Essay Guide would be another alternative.
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.
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)
+ Stanford 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
#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)
+ 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
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