When Harvard Business School started the first MBA program in 1908, Frederick Winslow Taylor’s Theory on Scientific Management was finding fame with the four-step principles in General Management:
• Converting Information to Rules for completing tasks
• Using a scientific approach to train workers
• Monitoring workers to follow the scientific approach
• Dividing the works of Managers and Workers so that Managers plan and workers perform the tasks.
Modern Management practitioners might cringe at the use of the word ‘Worker’ and would find it impossible to follow a simple four-step process.
MBAs now are more than a person who manages ‘workers’. They should be specialists, generalists and most importantly a master persuader to direct the team towards project/company goals. That is how leadership has taken precedence in MBA lexicon. Unfortunately, students tend to exaggerate their managerial roles as leadership initiative, and quite often the admission team assumes the transgression as an exaggeration.
We can’t blame the applicants.
Schools hardly mention the difference between leadership and Managerial roles when they give guidelines for writing an essay.
Manager vs. Leader (Know the difference for your MBA Application Essay)
There is a thin line between a Manager and a Leader. As a leader, you are expected to have worked with more than one person, persuaded them to follow your suggestions and impact the team in a positive way.
When you write about success and offer context, understanding the difference between a Manager and a Leader is paramount.
1) Managers Micromanage Leaders Stay Away
A traditional Manager is someone who asks for the status of a task every 15 minutes. Newly promoted professionals might assume that it is productive to keep the team on their foot, but their inexperience shines through when the team’s productivity dips. There is nothing wrong in writing about how you successfully navigated a tight schedule but any hint that you micromanaged the tasks will naturally cross you over from a leader to a Manager. Always remember – top MBA programs are looking for passionate leaders or candidates with leadership potential.
2) Leaders Persuade; Managers Order
Another inherent characteristic of a leader is their ability to persuade, not through some sophisticated techniques but by finding common grounds and listening empathetically to each team member. Most leaders are good at brainstorming, and guiding the team when they are stuck at crucial junctures of a project delivery. A leader should earn the respect of the team before persuading. She should be willing to listen to the team's fears and insecurities from a career and growth perspective. If the conversation is all about project delivery, the team will quickly categorize you as a Manager. You will have little influence over the team. Business Schools want to learn how you persuade. Even if you followed an unconventional method, share it with the admission team. They are looking to learn something new from your essay.
3) Managers Monitors; Leaders Inspire
Managers are good at monitoring the task, and following it up with the team. Leaders don’t look at tasks in isolation. They are involved, and in cases where the team needs guidance, the leader does not hesitate to take the ownership of a few sub-tasks. Autonomy during initial stages of the project, when the problems are poorly defined, is not ideal, and if the team lacks experience, they are looking for the expertise of the leader. A Manager goes by one rule – autonomy and constant monitoring while leaders understand that a one-rule system does not work for everyone in the team. Stating examples of two personality types in your team, whom you inspired would be an ideal narrative for essays about leadership. Explain how you addressed their insecurities.
4) Leaders Mentor; Managers Facilitate
Leaders make sure that the interaction with the team is not a one-off show for the project. They value personal relationship. When one of the team members escalates a problem in the project, the leader takes partial ownership of the task. A Manager has the least skin in the game and looks for experts in the team to take ownership. What happens during such facilitation is that experts are not obliged to follow through, and the escalated problems soon become the reason for project delays and poor team performance. Leaders also understand that the team members with lower experience will grow as a professional when the project concludes. For the leader, the learning goals are equally important, and he encourages the team member to take extra functional and technical training. The initiative shows how you evaluate the team’s strengths and weaknesses – a critical skill as a leader.
5) Managers Define Roles; Leaders Take Complete Responsibility
During the initial phase of the project, Managers define roles, and each professional is expected to focus on the tasks assigned. The team member takes the ownership in case of any failure. Leaders take complete ownership of the team’s failure even if the team member is at fault. The leader’s pro-active problem solving ensures that the team member who is behind the schedule is not left out as an outlier. With the leader creating a protective shield for the team, the environment is ripe for innovation. Explain how you encouraged the team to come up with an innovative solution. What process did you follow? How did you mitigate the risk of failure?
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