Advanced MBA Essay TipsThe Twelve Advanced MBA Essay Tips, By the Aringo Admission Consulting research team.
1. Promote the Admission Drivers
• Admission Drivers are the traits that admission committees look for in a candidate. For Example:
- Leader/Manager - Led/managed/recruited people.
- Team Player/Relationship Builder - Worked well with others, built relationships
under difficult circumstances.
- Smart - GPA/academic distinctions, GMAT, recommender reviews.
- Initiates - Initiated successful projects / changes.
- International/Cultural - International orientation/experience, cultural sensitivity.
- Presentation Skills - Public speaking (large audience is strongest - state the
number of people), presenting to senior people, presenting to team.
- Persuasion Skills - Persuaded people (senior people in particular).
• If a sentence doesn’t promote an Admission Driver:
- Is it required in order to answer the question?
- If not, remove or replace it!
• The king of Admission Drivers:
• Where is our best chance to promote leadership?
2. Focus on the Question
• Answer all segments of the question.
– Describe one of your greatest achievements and why you view it as such
• Remove sentences that go beyond the scope of the question.
3. Focus on Facts
• Avoid subjective terms
- Objective = it's either right or not.
- Subjective = it's a matter of opinion.
- “We completed the project 6 days ahead of schedule“ - objective
- “We completed the project quickly" - subjective
- “Singcom is a large company" - subjective
- “Singcom is Singapore's second largest company“ - objective
- “The project succeeded“ - subjective
- "I felt that the project succeeded" – objective (this is what I felt) but not "hard
- “In the company’s 2002 annual conference, the CEO cited the project as one of
the company’s 5 main successes of the year” - objective, hard facts – this is the
most effective of the above three.
… and Let the Reader Conclude
• Avoid "spoon-feeding" the reader with conclusions.
• Let the reader reach the conclusions.
• For example:
- “Following my success in the project, I was promoted to Vice President” – This is
- “Four weeks after the project ended, the CEO announced my promotion to Vice
President” - This is good! Let the reader conclude the project was successful.
4. Go Deep
• Go deep into the details
• Be as specific as possible
- “I have learned how to delegate responsibilities” - shallow
- “I have learned that effective delegation of responsibilities requires clear definition
of sub-goals” - deep
- “Singcom is one of Singapore’s largest companies” - shallow
- “Singcom is Singapore’s third-largest company” – deep
5. Make it interesting to read
• Make the essay unique / bold / funny / suspenseful.
Some ways to achieve this:
– Suspense, dramaEssay Question: "What would you do if you had 1 hour with our dean"? Answer: "I would lock the room from the inside. Until the security people break in, I will have at least two hours to convince him why Kellogg is my #1 choice"
– Short paragraphs, short sentences, section titles
– By writing it as a script for a great movie
– By writing it as a chapter in a book
– By using unique, bold and funny ideas, stuff they never saw before. For example:
6. Avoid Introductions and Summaries
• What do we mean by “introduction”?
– “here’s what I will tell you about”
• What do we mean by “summary”?
– “here’s what I told you about”
– Space is limited
– Patience is limited
7. Less is More
• Keep the paragraphs at 3-5 lines.
• Keep the sentences “real short”.
• Avoid "AND".
– What two things can you do to avoid “and”?
– “I presented the background and my analysis”
* Break sentences into two: "I presented my background. I explained my analysis."
* Cut one "wing": "I presented my analysis" – this is best!
8. Use Orphan Sentences for the Key Points
On April 3 I was appointed Vice Commander of the Submarine.
9. Keep it Authentic
• Why? How do we keep the essay authentic?
• The essays shouldn't present the candidate as a perfect person.
• If possible, some of the essays should be moving, sincere, introspective, emotional. Less so for Harvard.
10. Modesty WinsHow to be modest?
• Admit mistakes
• Criticize yourself
• Be sincere
• Focus on the facts
11. Episode essays: tell it as a chapter in a book.
• Episode essays are stories (like: "My greatest achievement").
• Episode essay questions often begin with: "tell us about a time when…".
• Effective episode essays are told like chapters in a book. They often use quotes.
12. Use Optional Space!Why?
• Chance to promote candidacy further
• Shows commitment to the school
For additional MBA Essay Tips: http://www.aringo.com/MBA_Essay_Tips.htm