Today MBA admissions tip comes from Manhattan Review, a well-known provider of test prep and MBA Admissions Consulting in Buenos Aires, Bogota, Caracas, Lima, Mexico City, and Sao Paulo for Top Business Schools.
Other than your face-to-face interview, your essay is the only other opportunity you will get to actually ‘speak’ to the admissions committee. They want to know who you are, what your dreams are, how you stand out from other applicants, what your career paths are, and what kind of contribution you can make to their MBA program.
Before you write your essays, take some time to reflect on your strengths, weaknesses, and try to view yourself as objectively as possible. Concentrate on why you want to earn an MBA and what positive elements you can bring to the specific school’s program as a student. Lastly, don’t forget to research the schools, their programs and courses, faculty, and the campus environment.
Most applicants do a poor job with their essays. One of the main reasons for rejection is actually due to failure to accurately explain their work history or to project a clear vision of their future. Few applicants contemplate the fact that the admissions committee is trying to assemble a future class so you have to write toward meeting that need.
To say that you’d like to be a consultant or entrepreneur is just not specific enough. You must explain how your past experience has brought you to that goal and combine it with what this particular MBA program can help you achieve, both in the short and long run. One of the ways you might do so is to go through the catalog and see which classes you could highlight in your essays.
Here are 5 helpful tips to writing a winning essay:
Content is key.
Your content needs to be interesting, compelling, and involving so that your application stands apart from other qualified applicants. Think of your essays as sales pieces. After all, you are ‘selling’ yourself to the MBA admissions committee. Make sure to enhance the essence of who you are as a person, as a professional, and as a future success via the particular school’s MBA program. At Manhattan Review, we hear the same complaints from members of admission committees, "…there is just not enough detail. It’s those details that tell us about an applicant’s character and help us to gain insight into his/her motivations." You’ve heard it first-hand. When writing about your career, direct the reader to a specific assignment you handled well; tell about any experience you gained oversees; were you ever associated with a high-profile assignment; do you speak another language -- you get the idea.
We’ve all heard this adage by now: it’s not what you say; it’s how you say it. Your tone should be positive but not arrogant, conversational but not slangy, and persuasive in a sincere way. It’s crucial that you not sound superior in any way. Be thoughtful. Talk about your uniqueness in a humble way and keep in mind that this is a professional piece of communication that can be a bit informal. Check for spelling and grammar errors and above all, be brief. When you have finished writing, read it over. It should sound focused and as if you’ve spent a good deal of time on it.
Make sure to answer the question.
After you’ve written your essays, have a friend or colleague read them. See if they can guess what the questions were. This happens so often. Applicants seem to write a great deal of long-winded diatribes that do not accurately answer the questions asked. Your credibility will quickly go down the tubes if you present a lengthy and even well written essay that’s not on point.
Flattery is unacceptable.
Every great school knows it’s great. Flattery tells the admissions committee that you have not completely investigated the school’s program enough to offer significant information. That said, the next thing is resorting to inappropriate drivel. And it can, without a doubt, hinder your chances of admission.
Learn to edit.
We can’t stress this enough. It may take a few hours to write the essay, but it will take a great deal of time to make it brilliant. Allow time for rewrites and focus on a clear, crisp style that tracks well from one thought to another and above all, ensure that it makes sense. You may want to use headings that can help you stay on track and can also assist in making the essay a "faster read". For sure, the admissions committee will love you for it as they have hundreds of essays to read in a day.
In conclusion, we want to say a word about the optional essay. These are generally frowned upon by the adcomm. However, they can be used to delve further into something important that may have been omitted in the application. With that in mind, if you feel it necessary to write an optional essay, please be brief.
The best advice we can give is to keep it real. Above all, be yourself. If you have a sense of humor, use it. Approach your essays with sincerity; never attempt to hide who you are; and try not to make excuses, take responsibility instead for low grades, insufficient work experience, etc.
We recommend that you attend our free interactive MBA Admissions Webinars where you gain lots of further useful insight into the MBA Admissions process from our consultants who have worked on the admission committees and evaluated candidates for top business schools in the US and in Europe. Alternatively, please call +1-800-246-4600 or +1-212-316-2000 to arrange a free MBA admissions consultation. Good luck with your conquest for an MBA!