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How your Business School essay can help you gain admission to an MBA

Posted by Chioma Isiadinso

A recent conversation with one of my colleagues about how the right essay topic can be a make or break in getting applicants into their target business school reminded me that this is such an important message for applicants to keep in mind when writing their essays.

I am sharing the key points we discussed here because I realize that this simple step can give MBA applicants a significant boost in their application.

So here are the key things to keep in mind:

– You can be the best writer in the world and your essay can be well-written. However, if you choose the wrong story(ies), your application won’t communicate the right message and you risk being rejected! It’s that simple.

Before diving in to start writing your essay, make sure you have taken stock of all the potential topics you can write about and then consider the school you are applying to. Think about what the school values and its brand and then make sure that the topic you have chosen fits in with that. If you are applying to a school that focuses on collaboration and team engagement, then make sure you choose a topic that will touch on those elements.

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– So how do you know what the right topic is? You must do enough brainstorming to make sure you don’t ignore the interesting stories in your life. You also want to steer clear of stories that are cliched and common. While it can be tempting to choose the popular topics that many applicants write about, it is to your advantage to go with off the beaten topics that are strategic in selling your story.

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– How much information to cover in your essay is another issue that MBA applicants must consider when tackling their B-School essays. It can be tempting to want to cram everything you have done into your essay. This approach always fails! You want to consider the application as a whole. You have some information that will feature prominently in your resume. You want your recommenders to highlight some key points or stories about you.

So, when writing your essay, you then have to ask yourself what has already been covered thoroughly in other parts of your application and then figure out the important and new information about you that you haven’t covered that would be of real interest to the adcom.

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– I can’t stress enough the importance of strategy to your B-School essay. Say you are a consultant and you have a variety of projects that you’ve been on. You want to choose the example that reinforces the overall message you wish to highlight your story, even if that project was pro-bono or for a short period. Focusing on how it reinforced your career plans or stretched you/leadership is what matters not whether it was for a few months. How you share your story can be memorable or blah. It comes down to whether you are genuinely passionate about it and how it fits into the bigger message of what you are trying to accomplish.

Contact us if you need help with your B-School essay.

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