How to write Persuasive MBA Application Essays

Persuasive MBA Application Essays
Now that you have understood the importance of context and emotional intelligence let us start writing a compelling essay. This is the time, when you have to start creating a draft essay. The words and structure might not be perfect but create a 500-word essay on “Why MBA.”

With the word-limit going down for most MBA application essays, applicants have to be judicious with the use of words. The acceptance rate of top schools is in the 5-8% range. Applicants cannot rely on the general advice that experts offer, and stand out from the competition. They have to find strategies to be more persuasive.

We have created a five-step process that would make your essays more persuasive:

Like -> Understand -> Agree -> Remember -> Enthusiasm

1) Like

The first step in the process of persuasion is ‘like.’ The Admission Committee (AdCom) member has to like your profile, background, personality, or outlook towards life.

What makes an AdCom member like you?

a) Balanced Tone:
With only written words available to the AdCom, first impression depends on the tone of the essay. Lack of confidence or bragging about the smallest achievements is both detrimental. When you read a sentence about your achievement - ask these two questions:

• Am I bragging about my achievement or writing about it objectively?
• Am I selling myself short by not stating that the achievement was rare?

b) Respect Word Limit: The word limit should be respected even for open-ended questions. As a safe bet - assume that the word-limit is 500 words.

c) Precision: Don’t beat around the bush. Answer the question first, and then support it with good arguments. The last thing that you want to do is to bore an AdCom. She might have read several essays in a row, and is eagerly looking for an essay that is precise, but take the liberty to use a catchy ‘introduction,’ preferably the opening two sentences.

2) Understand

AdCom will not understand you as a person if you merely use facts. Use words that convey emotions – strong and weak, and reveal your human nature. Without emotions, the AdCom will not connect with you. Their guards will be up, and the whole process becomes a question of “Whether I should eliminate this applicant or not?”

5 Easy Steps that will help you connect with the AdCom

1) When you explain circumstances, challenges and failures, use words that portray emotions.
2) Mention your apprehensions about the outcome.
3) Explain how you overcame your apprehensions.
4) Cite individuals and circumstances that inspired you.
5) When you cite public figures as inspiration, make sure that the AdCom member recognizes them.

3) Agree

To agree with your actions and values, make sure that you describe your action vividly so that the values are implicit in the action. AdCom member is not different from other individuals who believe in fairness and other fundamental values.

For applicants, here is a list of values that you should consider. You don’t have to include instances where you have demonstrated all the values, but pick values that truly represent you as an individual.

• Accountability
• Adaptability
• Alertness
• Assertiveness
• Balance
• Boldness
• Bravery
• Calmness
• Camaraderie
• Cheerfulness
• Clarity
• Commitment
• Compassion
• Competence
• Concentration
• Confidence
• Consistency
• Conviction
• Courage
• Decisiveness
• Determination
• Diligence
• Drive
• Efficiency
• Endurance
• Ethics
• Fairness
• Faith
• Firmness
• Flexibility
• Grace
• Honesty
• Humility
• Inspiration
• Integrity
• Intuition
• Keenness
• Leadership
• Open-mindedness
• Passion
• Perseverance
• Professionalism
• Resolve
• Resourcefulness
• Sincerity
• Teamwork
• Volunteering

Related: F1GMAT's Winning MBA Essay Guide

4) Remember

For top Business Schools, the competition is intense, and no matter how much thought you have put for the essays or how precise the essays are, AdCom will remember you only if your narrative is different from other applicants.

a) Storytelling

Storytelling in essays is not the typical format that you follow in fiction or other short stories, but if you follow the traditional Q&A format, your essays will not stand out. Take the extra effort to narrate life events, setbacks and successes in a story format without indulging too much on the description.

b) Focus on the positive

AdCom does not want to read fake positive stories, but would love to read about a positive journey even if it were marred by failures and setbacks. We are drawn towards inspirational stories and narratives that offer life lessons. Narrate one event from your life that transformed you as a person.

c) Shock

Shock element in your essay will help you gain attention. If you have read sample essays, you will have a fair understanding of the examples that applicants normally use. The element of surprise in the essay will happen when you go against the flow. Don’t include typical examples that other applicants use.

Read a few samples essays and understand what other applicants are writing:
a) Make sure that you do not include such examples.
b) List five examples that are atypical for someone from your background.

Ex: A Banker writing about creativity or an arts major writing about logic; something that the admission team doesn’t expect from your profile.

c) Now, include examples where you can demonstrate your values, implicitly.

5) Enthusiasm

AdCom will shortlist your essay over other equally or better-qualified applicants if your essay stands out from the boring and typical essays. However, eagerness to be part of the Business School community should be explicit in the essay, preferably conclude the essay with it. Most applicants go through a lot of pain to review and rewrite the essay several times but miss this crucial aspect. Even if you are the most qualified applicant, demonstrate enthusiasm for the MBA program.

Will the admission team act on your essay? Yes -only if you follow the five principles of a persuasive essay.

Next Step

For expert help that would make your application essay stand out, consider our essay review service or you can download our Essay Guide for comphrehensive Essay Writing Tips

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: 618

Winning MBA Essay Guide Includes
+Harvard MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    Sample MBA Essay – Gratitude & Giving Back   
    Sample MBA Essay – Entrepreneurship (Influence of Childhood)   

MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    Sample Essay A
+ Chicago Booth MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    #1. Modern Art = Make you Think   
    #2. Teamwork and Individual Ambition   
    #3. Adventure   
    #4. Diversity = Creativity   
    #5. Classroom Experience   
    #6. Harper Center   

+ Columbia MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample MBA Essay – Most Passionate About   
     Sample MBA Essay – Free Day   

+ MIT Sloan MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample Cover Letter
+ Kellogg MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample Essay - Leadership and Challenges   
     Sample Essay - How you have grown and intend to grow   

+ Insead MBA Essay Tips (2018 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 (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample MBA Essay – Investment Banker
     Sample MBA Essay - Consultant  
     Sample MBA Essay - Technologist  
     Sample MBA Essay - Marketer  
     Sample MBA Essay - Entrepreneur  
+ 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 (2018 Entering Class)
    8 Professional Gains

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 (2018 Entering Class)
    Case Study Method   
    What is valued at Darden?
    Framework for Answering the Darden Essay Question   
    Sample Darden Essay: When your opinion evolved through discussions (499 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

Download Winning MBA Essay Guide (2018 Entering Class)

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