If you assume that MBA Application Essay reviewers look at your Essays with a set of evaluation criteria without getting swayed by their personal biases and emotions, be aware that they are humans like us, evolved over millions of years, and operate their minds with two questions – “What is important” and “What is scarce”.
More than emotions, evaluating an essay is an intense exercise. With the tiny 3-pounder brain taking up 20% of our total energy, it is no wonder that as humans, we don’t want to waste our mental energy on trivial activities. We would rather spend most of our energy on survival – getting food and avoiding danger. There is no difference between the diligent reviewer and the quick reader. Both would like to avoid the trivial essays, and spend most of their times on the articulate ones. Why? It gives them a better social status.
As with any social groups, the Essay reviewer’s persona demands that they remain impartial, and read essays without any personal bias against any community, profession, country, or race, but deep down primal emotions dictate most of her thoughts. Reading through tens of articulate essays increases the chance of the reviewer to read the winning essay, and picking the right candidate. Even if the essay reviewer reiterates that she was just doing the job, deep down, she is looking for appreciation from the peer group, and with recognition, climb the social status ladder. What attracts the appreciation are the reviewer’s ability to pick candidates who encapsulate the culture of the school, the temperament of a leader, and the humility of a matured professional.
We make thousands of decisions every hour; most of them have become part of our unconscious mind. Had it not been the unconscious mind, we would have been overwhelmed by the daily chores. But what is interesting is that every time we make a decision, the pleasure-inducing neurotransmitter – dopamine is released. Yes, the same neurotransmitter that is released when we have sex, drink booze, do shopping or watch our favorite movie for the nth time. When we have a natural bias towards making decision, the essay review process creates the perfect environment to make the fast decisions – “reject the applicant”, “waitlist the applicant” and “consider the applicant.” With awareness about the deadlines and the acceptance rate (5-10%), the reviewer has the incentive to eliminate the candidate. Read 8 Must Read Tips for your MBA Application Essays to avoid being categorized in the “Rejected List.”
Eliminate Exaggerated Essays
By spotting essays where applicants exaggerate their role, achievements and experience, reviewers can eliminate the falsified and trivial essays. We have not read a single essay where the candidate has not exaggerated at some levels. It is natural for us humans. In a survey of professors in the United States, 95% of them reported that they were better than other teachers, and interestingly 96% of college students said that they were better than others in social skills. We tend to overrate our abilities, achievements, contribution, and charity. Most exaggeration is spotted when applicants with similar experience from the same organization quote different roles, or the revenue for the project exceeds the total revenue for the company. You might think that you are the only one applying for a top MBA program. Do you hear a non-stop typing in the next cubicle? Your colleague is completing his Harvard MBA Essay.
According to Cognitive psychologist George A. Miller, the number of objects an average human being can process at the same time is 7 ± 2. Agreed, an MBA Application essay reviewer is above average but if you bombard the reviewer with facts after facts, and interesting characters after characters, she will go for a coffee break to replenish the lost mental energy. God forbid if the reviewer has set a quota on the number of coffee breaks, she will let her automatic mind take over the decision-making process, which will be eventually based on personal biases, and typecasts of your demographic. When you plan the essays, fix the total number of data points and characters to under nine.
They don’t want to read the hundredth essay about running half-marathons or backpacking to Europe. What they want is the emotional reasons for running the half-marathon or the ‘life lesson’ that you intended to pick with the journey. Reviewing essays is an emotionally detached exercise. As an applicant, you are not sitting next to her, giving the puppy eyed look, or begging for a better future. You are applicant #535, and they are doing a job. Unless, you include the right emotional trigger words, writing about extra-curricular activities and your achievements, as a news report, does not trigger the emotional mind of the reviewer. There is a reason Paul Krugman’s Op-ed piece in New York Times is one of the most read article compared to better-written and reported series. We are suckers for personal opinions and emotions. That is how we learn lessons of survival: One on One from other human beings.
Evidence of Altruism
Although giving away your hard-earned money for Charity is an altruistic act, for MBA Application, it is a copout, unless you invested most of your money to start a non-profit. With 72% of Americans donating money, the 10-15% contribution annually has become the norm. The competitive altruism has enabled the US to rank #1 for Charity, according to the World Giving Index. The essay reviewer is looking for evidence of altruism in time, effort, and commitment. Unless you can show that you were involved with a non-profit continuously, and demonstrate the goals achieved, your essays will not move the reviewer.
For the admission committee, selecting candidates who meet the basic academic competence required to complete the MBA program is an important criterion. That does not mean that scarcity does not move them. There are scarcities of essays where an applicant takes full responsibility of their actions, and write their essays taking the reviewers through the actual journey. We have written a hands-on practical essay-writing guide that will teach you how to write a compelling essay; the one that the reviewer will select. After all, she needs the credit for selecting a Winning 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 (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 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
7 Professional Gains
Sample Wharton MBA Essay 1: Gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (473 words)
Sample Wharton MBA Essay #2: Math Tutoring and Experimental music’s value (388 Words)
+ 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