One thing that INSEAD MBA Managing Director shared in a recent interview with me was that he discourages any editing of essays that destroys the original voice of the applicants.
In his words, "with thousands of essays reviewed every year, the MBA Admission Committee can tell to the point as to which top consultant has edited the essay."
Wow! I thought.
I didn't contest his point of view as when we edit, that is the exact idea I convey to our clients - "Our editing will maintain your original voice"
But there is a genuine challenge that I see with essays written by technologists, bankers, and consultants. The phrasing is too..how you say it - bland. The uniqueness of their personality is never captured. But the moment I talk to the person on the phone, the personality always shines through.
On a few occasions, when I felt that the applicant is sticking to some pre-conceived notion of writing an essay and creating a cookie-cutter narrative, I encouraged them to record the answer with the uuh..ahh..and all the inconsistencies of a casual conversation.
The imperfections don't matter. Just talk, answer the question, and record it. Transcribe your answer. Read what you have said. I can guarantee you that you will find at least 30-40% unique phrases that are unlikely to be found on any sample essays.
Three Steps to Find your Unique Voice - MBA Application Essays
If you were contemplating writing the MBA Application Essay for this year, I would highly recommend that you practice one of the ideas:
1) Record your answers first before writing the draft version of the essay
2) Start a podcast about a topic that interests you (industry, hobbies, economy, or values/philosophy that guide you every day).
Create 1 podcast (5-minute length) a day for 30 days. It doesn't matter whether you publish it, but the anticipation of creating something for the public will improve the quality of your recording. If you don't want the unwarranted attention, just record it without publishing.
3) Write a 250-word (half page) observation about life, economy, or future, every day, for 30 days
Within a month of writing every day or recording a podcast, you will find a unique voice.
It is unlikely that an Editor like me would ask you to rephrase the essay. The MBA Admission team desperately seeks unique phrases in a pool of clichéd narratives.
To help you create a memorable MBA Application Essay, I have written Winning MBA Essay Guide. Download it here.
About the Author
Atul Jose is the Founding Editor of F1GMAT. He is the author of the best-selling book: Winning MBA Essay Guide – a how-to guide on using elements of storytelling to create a unique MBA Application Essay.
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 Essay A
+ 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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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