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saurya- regarding the essays, i think the keys to success are the following:
1. be concise and specific as possible with respect to why mba, why now and why this particular school questions. this is the bread and butter essay that all schools require, so make sure you slam dunk it. and were talking about a story here, so dont hold back at all and however you can make it more interesting then go for it...
2. regarding why mba, i think its key to tie in your previous experience, inside or outside of work, to your future goals. how has your past influenced what youre going to do in the future?
3. regarding why now, its key to talk about your maturity and what you can contribute to an MBA program now as opposed to one or two years ago. you need to convince the adcomms that youve been planning this move for a long time now.
4. regarding why this school, try and make a link specific to the school.. i shyed away from curriculum based stuff b/c most top schools are the same, even though they might not want to admit to it... its better to make a unique connection, like a special club on campus, opportunity to study abroad, location (very important for ny schools), class size and culture, etc etc... if youve attended class, spoke to a professor, mention it here... show interest and how you fit!
5. personally i prefer to write in a structured manner... ive read some essays that read more coversational, but i wrote mine in a serious academic tone... with a nice intro, body+supporting evidence and conclusion, like we learned in the 5th grade. not flashy but effective.
6. choose 3-4 traits that you want the adcomms to understand about you... in mine, i wanted to emphasize, initiative, creativity, teamwork and integrity.. so i used each essay as an opportunity to describe how i conveyed those characteristics... these traits are the substance of your application so you have to stick to them and hammer the examples home.
7. go through at least 3-4 rewrites.. have (brutally honest and competent) friends read the essays and proof read and re-write them... so you need to start early. i spent as much time on essays as studying for the gmat.. if not more...
8. dont be repeat yourself.. if something is mentioned in one essay, theres no need to mention it again in another... likewise if its mentioned on the app, it might not be necessary in the essay.. also use the optional essay to explain important things, not to complain about insignificant things....
9. dont be a rogue, so stick to the required font sizes and word limits... double space and all that good stuff... i know this is hard but short and effective is better than eloquent and long...
10. once youre finished with the essays, memorize them inside and out in preparation for interviews. you will need to regurgitate most of your essays so learn them again... its your story, stick to it...
britto... im glad you were able to take something away from the post... really believe in yourself and great things will happen. i didnt always trust in this concept but i have more in the last couple years and have seen it materialize.
as for my decision im torn between staying in LA at anderson and braving the cold in chicago... but most likely i think it will be chicago as i want to get into investment banking... plus i visited recently and the people were great and the town, at least in spring was superb... best of luck to you!
tvconefive, thank God for your post! It is very inspiring.
Please share how long you studied for your first GMAT test and the total length of time that you spent studying for both. Also, how long did you spend studying daily including weekends? THANKS.
Your story was really inspirational to me... I took my GMAT yesterday and only scored 590 but after hearing your story, I'm going to committ myself to give it a 2nd try... and like you say, it's not the end of the world, if I don't get 700+ I like your perspective of life...
Also, congrads on all your acceptances thus far. I'd love to hear your background and what your thoughts on what you made you such a stellar candidate?