Developing Engaging Stories for MBA Essays- Week # 11-Tip # 11

By - Aug 2, 16:53 PM Comments [0]

Conclude your Story Well

Sometimes I read essays with compelling stories, impressive accomplishments, and flawless writing, but when I am done reading them, I feel something is lacking. What is that? -- An effective conclusion. When you forget to wrap up his/her story, it leaves the reader wondering if the writer is really done.

The key to a good story is an engaging beginning, a well-developed middle and a compelling conclusion. Therefore, it is important to sum up all the key components of your story and tie them to your thesis, that is, your main point. You need to bring it full circle to give your essay a sense of completion.

Let’s look at the following example from the last paragraph of a ‘leadership’ essay written for Booth.

Not so Good Example:

I now keenly notice the contributions of every specific team member and make sure everyone gets their due recognition. If I had taken the credit for the success of the project, the word would have gotten out that might have affected my chances of expecting the same level of cooperation for the next project.

The above example doesn’t effectively conclude the essay even though the writer summarizes his take aways from the leadership experience he has just narrated.

Now compare it with the following revised version:

Good Example:

I keenly notice the contributions of every specific team member and make sure everyone gets their due recognition. If I had taken the credit for the success of the project, the word would have gotten out that might have affected my chances of expecting the same level of cooperation for the next project. I strongly believe that small personal gestures enhance the perception of a true leader who can motivate others to work towards the ultimate goal. I am excited to further enhance my leadership qualities through the courses and workshops offered through the Lead Exploration and Development program offered by Booth.

In the above version, the writer shares his perception of leadership based on his experience and then aligns it to the offerings offered by Booth which provides his essay a graceful closure.

Now let’s look at this ‘conclusion’ from a’ background’ essay written for Haas.

Not so Good Example:

Because of my work assignment, we have lived in three different countries and moved six times since we were married eleven years ago. During these years, we have been through lots of things together and supported each other. My family gives me strength and meaning to aim higher and go beyond myself. It has enriched my life and has provided me opportunities to see the world I wouldn’t have otherwise. Also, this constant moving has further enriched my understanding of different cultures and nationalities.

In the above example, the writer abruptly ends his essay after giving an account of the influential role his family has played in his life.

Now compare this with the following revised version:

Good Example:

Because of my work assignment, we have lived in three different countries and moved six times since we were married eleven years ago. During these years, we have been through lots of things together and supported each other.  My family gives me strength and meaning to aim higher and go beyond myself. It has enriched my life and has provided me opportunities to see the world I wouldn’t have otherwise. Also, this constant moving has further enriched my understanding of different cultures and nationalities.

 I am very excited about being part of Haas community to further broaden my perspective in life. I am also looking forward to contribute in enriching the Haas culture and bringing my unique and international perspective to the Haas community.

In the above version, the writer brings the essay to a graceful conclusion by adding two sentences about his potential association with Haas.

 Avoid Surprises:

When writing your conclusion, please make sure not to include any new information that you have not already shared in your essay. You are writing an admission essay, not a short story where surprise endings might thrill the reader. It is not uncommon for me to review essays that surprise me with an absolutely new detail in the conclusion which has not been indicated anywhere throughout the essay.

Let me share an example from an SOP I reviewed:

Bad Example:

My long term goal is to be an angel investor because my entrepreneur family background has induced my interest in business venture. My work experience at an investment bank will nurture me on how to raise venture capital and to utilize exit strategies such as initial public offering (IPO) and acquisition

This information about the writer’s strong entrepreneur back ground took me by surprise because he had not even mentioned it in the body paragraphs of his essay. Later, in his revised version, he included this relevant information about his entrepreneur family background and then reinforced it in his conclusion.

Oftentimes, when I emphasize the significance of conclusion, I hear the argument The word limit is prohibitive, so I had no room to write a conclusion.’ I do agree that shrinking word limits are extremely restrictive; however, the truth is we can always accommodate ourselves as per the word limit specifications. It is always possible to eliminate details that don’t add much value and narrate your story briefly and concisely.

To sum up, a ‘conclusion’ brings your essay to a natural and graceful end, sometimes leaving the reader with a final thought on the subject. Therefore, you need to make sure to wrap up your story effectively. You may either write a concluding sentence or a concluding  paragraph, depending on the word limit specifications of your essay.

Next week, I will discuss this extremely challenging part of the story development process of MBA essays - ‘adherence to word limits’.

Stay Tuned for Tip # 12  next week J

For more MBA articles, visit myEssayReview blog.

For questions, email me at poonam@myessayreview.com

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