Most MBA Aspirants ask us about the best practices for MBA Application Essays. The first thing we say is that don’t assume what the MBA Admission committee wants to hear but look at how you can represent yourself, honestly.
Here are the must read Tips for your essays:
1) Don’t Fake it
Internet is filled with how important it is to have a diverse experience and the importance of volunteer work for MBA Admissions. Applicants are programmed to stress that part in their application. Don’t write what the admission committee wants to hear. The two common mistakes seen in applications are about volunteer work and traveling.
Don’t just say that you would like to travel if you had not shown any interest in traveling until now. With Social Media, it has become much easier for AdCom to verify your travel habits. Applicants know that Volunteering is important, so they start joining Non-Profits, a year before the application. That is a red flag. It is much better to highlight your leadership skills that to join Non-Profits just to fill your resume.
2) No Excuse Policy
Business Schools are looking for MBA candidates who are responsible for themselves and for the society. If you blame others or circumstances for your failures, it shows lack of responsibility.
The most common question to measure this is the question about weakness. Read the guidelines for answering weakness question.
Another question that measure how you handle failure is the optional question that asks about any weakness in your application. Most applicants will provide an explanation about their low GMAT or GPA score. Make a strong case why you have a low score. You can’t make excuses like I was too busy or I am not a good Computer Adaptive Test taker. Even though you didn’t have a high score, your effort will be appreciated. Like if a low GPA was mainly contributed by Quant courses in your undergraduate degree, did you take any courses to compensate that and add that to the transcript?
3) Relevance vs. Honesty
When we talk about honesty, most applicants ask us how honest can we be? Applicants should focus more on relevancy rather than brutal honesty. Admission Committee is not interested in personal details that are not relevant to your MBA Admissions or the question in hand.
Most applicants are confused on what is personal and what is relevant. Any experience that shows lack of judgement from your side is a red flag. You can go as personal as you want but remember the Golden Rule – “Lack of Judgement and Maturity – Low Chance of Admission”.
4) Cleaning your Social Profiles
A necessary step to ensure that you don’t portray a lack of judgement is cleaning your social profiles. MBA Admission Committee don’t want to read about your maturity and check your Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus profile to see the contrary.
To what extent do you want to clean the profile?
If you had a fun party and want to share the pictures, make the profiles private and share pictures only with you closest friends. Delete Tweets and Facebook Updates that show lack of maturity or judgement. We live in a free country – Agreed. But stakes are high. For a few retweets or likes, you don’t want to jeopardize the chance of getting into your dream school.
5) Say NO to Exaggeration
Exaggeration is another common mistake seen in Essays and Resume. It is tough not to oversell yourself. You need friends, family or experts to evaluate your essays and resume.
What are the exaggerations commonly seen in Resume?
With one year of experience, applicants add Managerial Roles in their resume. It is understandable how they got the idea of putting a managerial title in their resume. We have seen many European Business Schools asking for 3-5 years of Managerial experience as a requirement. Always ask the school representative about what they mean by Managerial experience. Is it about the Title or more about the Roles and Responsibilities?
You would be surprised to know that what these schools mean by Managerial experience are more about roles and responsibilities.
What are the exaggerations commonly seen in Essays?
Overestimating your achievements is a common mistake. Admission Committee reads 1000s of Essays. There are applicants who undersell and those who oversell and a few that strike a balance. Profiles similar to yours are many. AdCom has a clear idea on what work you do and what success means in your domain. If you exaggerate the achievements or the hours that you put in to achieve the goals, it shows lack of confidence and honesty in stating your achievements in a balanced way.
6) Remove Irrelevant Extra-Curricular
How do you find whether the extra-curricular are relevant? Any achievement that doesn’t highlight your Leadership, Maturity or Communication Skills should not be mentioned in your resume or your essays.
The format of your resume is also important. When you create a resume for your job, you go into the details of the project like roles, technology, software used etc. Resume for application are different. Depending on your background and experience, you have to customize the resume to highlight your skills and achievements. Download 6 Sample Resumes from candidates of different backgrounds to learn how to create a resume for your profile.
7) Avoid Inconsistencies
Another common mistake seen is the inconsistencies between resume and your essays. You resume is the most important point of reference. Remember that in many MBA Admission Interviews, the Interviewer might not read your essays but they would definitely read your resume. However, the AdCom would have gone through your essays, a couple of times. After the Interview, the AdCom and the Interviewer will discuss about your profile and check for inconsistencies.
If your resume has a list of non-profits for which you have worked but your essays have avoided mentioning them, then it is a red flag. Keep your essays and resume side by side and check whether you have missed any extra-curricular or achievements. If you don’t have a relevant question in the essay to mention your achievement, avoid mentioning them in the resume.
8) Balanced Focus
It is little tricky to strike a balance between your personal achievements and your team achievements. Many experts ask applicants to count the number of “I” vs. “We” and recommend striking a balance between both to generate an impression that you are a good leader and a good team player.
Our rule is that if you purely go by the count of “I” vs. “We”, the essays would look unnatural. Instead, after completing your draft essay, count how close are the frequency of “I’s “ and “We’s”. If there are too many of them in consecutive sentences, edit them and make it more readable.
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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?
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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)(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
+ 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