Booth's mystery trips are particularly interesting. The destination is not revealed beforehand. Students sign up for the trip and join other Boothies (2nd year and 1st year) whom they have never met, at the Chicago O’Hare Airport. One such trip involved traveling to the former Soviet Union, and getting surprised by a mock kidnap, or taking a cruise ship from Baltic to Tallinn. The permutation and combinations of experiences in the Mystery Trips are many.
While evaluating Top MBA programs for my book: How to Choose the Best MBA in US - The Ultimate Guide, I noticed a pattern. Every program had some form of travel and global experiential learning integrated into the curriculum. Despite the importance of travel in MBA, most applicants don't include travel experiences in the Essay. Many don't have such experience as part of work, but almost all the applicants have at least one trip under their credit. Although they don't consider the travel as important, any experience that demonstrates that you are comfortable with traveling and experiencing a new culture is worth considering for your Essay. If you had several work trips, don't hesitate to summarize the experiences in the Essay when the question involves showing your ability to get out of the comfort zone.
While reviewing Essays, I have seen some common mistakes when applicants cite travel experiences:
1) Don't overromanticize
A village woman, in traditional outfit, selling handicrafts might be an experience of intrigue for travel bloggers, but as an MBA, most likely, you will be working with community leaders, Non-profits and local companies to solve the woman's problem. While defining the problem statement, you would have to break down the mystery and go to the core of issues plaguing the women - poverty, social injustice, lack of access (education, water, electricity), and overall apathy from the government. It is not all colors, Sitars and Spicy food. There are deeper issues. Don't write like a travel blogger. Balance your narrative with the reality of the people's lives.
2) Experiencing New Culture # Coming out of Comfort Zone
Applicants assume that just because they traveled and interacted with people who don't speak their language, it equates to coming out of the comfort zone. You might not remember all the background information on the region or the culture. Read up on the history and traditions of the region, before you incorporate one such experience in the essay. Only include experiences where you had to solve a problem in the new environment. As part of the Global Experiential learning component of the MBA program, you will be doing just that. Demonstrate that you won't be lost in a new environment. Adaptability is a 'winning' trait for an MBA Applicant.
3) Don't Generalize
The greatest part of reviewing essays is learning through the eye of the applicants. Some are brilliant at going at the details. Many hesitate from word constraints. When the Maasai tribe's leader touched the applicant's face, I was intrigued and kept reading the essay. The revelation of the tradition hooked me to the narrative. The essay then brilliantly went into the socio-economic issues facing Kenya. Instead of generic statements, the applicant balanced the narrative with the uniqueness of the culture and the social issues. The secret was 'specificity.' Reflect and find that 'unique' experience, and capture it in one or two sentences. That in itself will help you stand out from other applicants.
4) Avoid Mentioning Touristy Spots
The Essay Reviewer might be familiar with the touristy spots. If you mention cliched experiences about New York, Paris, London or Agra, you are missing out on a chance to share a unique 'slice of life' experience in your essay. Any revelation of a quirky custom will elevate the essay, but don't depress the reader with stories of pickpocketing and inflated prices. Give background information on the location, and then include an experience that reveals a common 'trait' that binds all of us together. Recognizing emotion and motivation is an essential quality of a leader.
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Sample Essays + Essay Writing, Review & Editing Tips + 15 School-Specific Tips = Winning MBA Essay Guide
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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