10 Scenarios where you should Rewrite MBA Application Essays

As we had recommended in the Essay Writing process, in a 3-week schedule, 1 week should be dedicated for rewriting the essay. Applicants depend on consultants and editors to rewrite the essay, at least to kick start the process. Ideally, avoid borrowing phrases from consultants, but include your unique voice and rewrite the essay for these ten scenarios:

1) Style Mismatch

A formal or a conversational style throughout the essay would be counterproductive. Mixing and matching the two would have a better impact. Phrases and sentences synthesized from multiple levels of consciousness - creative and routine, or widely separated writing sessions can lead to inconsistent style for the narrative. Each paragraph should look like it came from the same author. A free flowing first draft or an iterative essay writing process will prevent style mismatch. Read Winning MBA Essay Guide to learn how.

2) Flow Mismatch

It doesn’t matter whether you are using Pillaring technique or found a method of your own. A flow of a paragraph is the frequency of the pronouns, nouns, and verbs, intermingled in a sequence that hooks you to the sentence. A great writer effortlessly finds the right frequency and takes the reader to the core of the idea, instead of making them aware of the prose. Everybody has a flow. You will find one after the first or perhaps the third or fourth draft. Once you get it, reviewers can easily find the difference between paragraphs that have been rewritten and made better, and the paragraph you left untouched, for the worst. Find the right reviewer to point out the flow mismatch. It is extremely tough to critique our own writing.

3) Poor Opening

As copywriters would advise, the idea of writing a memorable opening is to motivate the consumer to read the next sentence. A positive anxiety is healthy in the review process. The Admission team also feels loss aversion. They don’t want to miss out on a great candidate. How will they know that you are an interesting candidate?

The opening line should be a hint. It should force the reviewer to the next line. We have noticed opening lines with clichés that highlight an applicant’s greatest achievement, or goals that have been written to death or dialogues that look out of place. The ones that hooked us to the essay used phrases or sentences that we rarely read in any other essay. They were based on personal values or the dynamics of a relationship or the vision for a future that inspired us to read the next line. How you phrase the first sentence has a huge influence over your candidacy. Instead of obsessing over what to write in the opener, write your first draft and start the rewrite process with the opening line.

4) No Proper Middle in the Essay

Writing and rewriting require an active awareness about the process. Most applicants are highly motivated when we reveal the process, but the challenges of work deadlines, take them away from writing, and when they come back, the flow is missing. Maintaining a high energy and motivation towards writing and rewriting should come from knowing that most movies, articles, and books become mediocre when the middle part of the narrative lacks a coherent connection with the first or last half of the creation.

A forced writing to meet the deadline or the word limits might have pushed the applicant to skip the transitionary middle, essential to keep the Admission team’s interest in your candidacy. The middle is the exact point where the Essay reviewer asks to herself – “Should I continue?”

One way to counter the loss of engagement is by considering the 2nd paragraph as the first and use a good opener again. Write the complete paragraph, and then rewrite the first line of the second paragraph to connect with the idea from the first. Most applicants struggle to use the transitionary words – moreover, however, in addition etc. Maybe, you don’t have to use any transitionary words. Go directly to the idea by connecting one sentence from the first paragraph. That is all we need to know that the 2nd paragraph is related to the first.

5) Concluding too Soon

Writing is not fun even for established writers. Larry David, who made millions writing for the 90s hit show - Seinfeld, while accepting the Paddy Chayefsky Award, shared, "I hate writing. Nothing puts me to sleep faster than picking up a pen. I hate all kinds of writing – recommendation letters, thank you notes, condolence letters, excusing my daughter from school…" When you start the writing process as a job to do, it will reflect in your essays. Even when I was writing these 10 scenarios, I was procrastinating for a couple of days, before a surge of motivation, transcended me into a 6-hour, writing, and rewriting zone. My motivation – at least some of you will take the rewriting process seriously and see it as an essential part of writing. Don’t conclude too soon. You will be able to fit your essay into the recommended word limit, but don’t let that thought hinder your writing process.

Submit your Essays here or contact us to learn more about F1GMAT’s Essay Review/Editing Services.

For hands-on Essay writing tips, use Winning MBA Essay Guide.

6) Poor Conclusions

The ambiguous ending works in movies where the director wants the moviegoers to keep the conversation going by posting theories in forums, blogs and sharing them on social media. The audience is doing the marketing for the Producers. In MBA Admissions, you are trying to capture the attention of the Essay Reviewer away from an equally competitive, perhaps even more qualified applicant. Conclude by reiterating your motivation. Keep the focus of the essay on that one idea – “Why you want to do an MBA.” All the manipulation of phrases and hooking the reader to your narrative is for this one last conclusion. We have seen applicants writing brilliant narrative, and concluding with a half-hearted motivation or information that has nothing to do with the question. You have the freedom to phrase the conclusion, but always end with your motivation when the question is a slight variation of “Why MBA,” or “Why MBA now.”

7) No Supporting Data

Quantifying results to the right degree is tricky. Applicants overdo the IMPACT part with a string of numbers with little emphasis on narrative or write at great length about how great they are without using numbers to offer any context.

Data should directly support the example you are constructing. Don’t use revenue per employee when the narrative is about “how being part of a great company culture” influenced your decision to pursue an MBA program.

Context is the key. Data should directly support your argument without making all your action converted into dollar terms. When it is all dollar talk, the attention of the essay moves away from you as a person to the question, “Does the number add up?” Your story should inspire the Admission team, not force them to be critical of the data. We have shown how you can use narrative mixed with the right numbers for a lasting impression (Download Winning MBA Essay Guide to know more)

8) Clichéd Motivation

The majority of motivations are clichéd. Joining as a consultant post-MBA, switching career from Technology, or citing strong Quant skills as the reason for entering Investment banking are a few we have seen getting repeated again and again. The number of feasible industry and job functions are limited but you can find specialization within the industry or job function, and use them strategically in your narrative. Not many applicants bother to explore the details. Your attention to the nitty gritty won’t be just a line in your essay, but a value that is demonstrated throughout your application.

9) Uninspiring

The volume goal of the admission team takes the joy out of the review process. They are reading the work of amateurs. Only 3 in 10 understand the power of narratives, the value of quantifying results and turning mundane words into memorable phrases. Most common reason for rejection is an uninspiring story. Either the applicants feel that there is a template to follow or they have done mediocre work. Most applicants fall in between the two extremes. Quite a large number of applicants underestimate their life journey as devoid of any major twists and turns. Without confidence in your life story, it is hard to search for turning points that defined who you are. Plotting those moments, and defining a story arc is essential to building an inspiring Essay. We have demonstrated the storytelling technique in Winning MBA Essay Guide.

10) Mismatch between motivation and Post-MBA Goals

MBA is not a get me out of jail card. Feasibility for switching careers depends on what the Alumni have achieved over the past 10 years. The Employment report is a useful tool to analyze what is possible and what is not. If the majority of the alumni have entered Consulting and Finance, with say 3% in Technology, your plan to get into Technology would look less persuasive. The Admission team is aware of the numbers. Unless you had a clear career progression and influence in Technology, the words and intent wouldn’t matter.

An MBA is an opportunity to bridge the skill gap, and find influencers. Empty promises and outrageous career path won’t find any takers. For the admission team, the essay measures your potential contribution in the class. Your motivation should cite experiences where your skills in fundraising, marketing, creative problem solving, or collaboration had an impact on your Employers or the non-profits you volunteered.

Send your Essays here for review or contact us to learn more about F1GMAT’s Essay Review/Editing Services.

To learn how to write a Winning MBA Essay, Download our 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: 666

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 Switch(Finance to Green Energy Consulting)(394 Words)
    Sample Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? (740 Words)
+ Chicago Booth MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Sample Booth MBA Essay #1: Oil & Gas to Consulting (475 Words)
     Sample Booth MBA Essay #1: Social IMPACT to Marketing (478 Words)   
     Sample Booth MBA Essay #2: Leadership experience (Father’s Restaurant Business)(493 Words)   
     Sample Booth MBA Essay #2: Leadership experience (Teach for America)(640 Words)

+ Columbia MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
   Sample Columbia MBA Essay 1: Enterprise 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) (248 Words)  
    Sample Columbia MBA Essay #3 - Team Failure (Pharma) (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 (2019 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 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   

    How to Cite the Curriculum (Example)
    Sample LBS MBA Essay (A Career Switcher from Technology to Consulting for FinTech) (489 Words)
    Sample LBS MBA Essay (A Career Switcher from Hospitality to Consulting) (499 Words)
+ Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Tips (2019 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 (2019 Entering Class)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (498 Words) (Finance)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (494 Words) (Consulting)
     Essay 3:  Personal Expression (a.k.a. "Pick Six")    
     5 Examples with Images

+ Darden MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself (100 Words) (Near Death Experience)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself (100 Words) (Networking and Job Offer at an Unlikely place)   
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself (100 Words) (Mountaineering)
     Sample Darden MBA 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)
+ Wharton MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    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)

+ 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)

Navigate F1GMAT

F1GMAT Services (MBA Applicants) 

MBA Research

MBA Salary(Latest Salary Data)
MBA Admission Interview Tips



MBA Application Essays

GMAT Tutorials

GMAT Question Bank

Top MBA Programs

Get F1GMAT's Newsletters (Best in the Industry)
Included in the Newsletter:

  • Ranking Analysis
  • Post-MBA Salary Trends
  • Post-MBA Job Function & Industry Analysis
  • Post-MBA City Review
  • MBA Application Essay Tips
  • School Specific Essay Tips
  • GMAT Preparation Tips
  • MBA Admission Interview Tips
  • School Specific Interview Tips
  • Funding Guidance and
  • Special Consultation Service (only for Subscribers)

Subscribe to F1GMAT's Newsletter