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.
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