If you have seen Memento, you know the power of Chronology, to be more precise – the reverse chronology. What the peculiar narrative does to the audience is that it forces them to miss the loo break. Every scene, clue, or characters in the sequence create questions in our mind. Did the new character kill the wife? Is the guy who is helping the hero, the real villain?
Wouldn’t we love if the essay reviewer were that hooked to your narrative about getting into Consulting or Finance? Don’t do a Memento for any random MBA Application Essay questions, but if the question is what event changed your life or any question with similar intent, play with the sequence of events.
When do you have to start with an Event?
For any event that had a negative impact on you – personally or professionally in the short term, but changed who you were in the long term - start with the event. Getting Fired, Meeting with an Accident, Dealing with a Friend taken away by Cancer or a failed fundraising; the examples are many. When you are looking to grab the attention without forcefully giving explicit statements about your personality - start the essay with a vivid description of the event.
When should you delay the Event?
If you intention is to move the reviewer emotionally by the end of the read, never start the essay with the event. Start with 2-3 sentences of backstory, slowly building up towards the event. The event should emotionally move the reviewer and fill the last 1/4th of the essay. Closing with a philosophical life lesson from the event works magic in such essays.
Power of Vivid Description
It does not matter how well you use pictorial nouns and interesting verbs, a set of commonly used ‘MBA’ phrases can ruin your narrative. Avoid the following phrases:
• variety of roles
• working with people from different cultures
• polished my skills
• in order to realize
• exposed to/exposed me to
• leverage the network
• develop the skills
Once you have avoided the commonly used non-emotional phrases, find ways to include specific verbs. Instead of saying, “I was fired,” or “I was let go,” write “The security staff escorted me out of the office while I balanced a pile of documents, a photo frame of Churchill’s ‘If you're going through hell, keep going’ quote, and my bonsai plant in a 2x2 feet box”. You can see what a vivid description can do to the reader’s emotions. It makes it real and personal. Without connecting with the reviewer at a human level, your words don’t mean anything. They are just fillers. Most applicants complain that they don’t have the luxury to include a vivid description in a 350 or 500-word essay. We agree. Mix it up. Use vivid description for events, and follow it up with precise sentences to meet the word count.
Use Active Verbs
When you describe an event, action is central, and verbs unavoidable, but one common mistake is the use of passive verbs. Which narrative is more effective?
“I moved my hands desperately around my rib cage looking for the hooks for the backup parachute. I didn’t feel anything. The parachute failed to open.”
“The backup parachute could not be opened by me. I had tried to open the principal parachute.”
By using active verbs, you are capturing motion, and it gives a sense that the action is happening right now. An essay is not all about reflection of events or auditing events in a sequence. Play around with the sequence, and let your focus be on capturing the event with a broad set of emotions reflected in each phrase.
“I moved my hands desperately around my rib cage looking for the hooks for the backup parachute” is a description of an event; ‘desperately’ captures what the applicant was feeling at the moment. ‘Around my rib cage looking for the hooks’ creates action images in our mind. A generic “The backup parachute could not be opened by me” doesn’t invoke any imagination. We are too lazy to imagine the action without the right words. Keep that in mind while you write about events.
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