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Bringing Personal Rather Professional into an Essay

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Intern
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Joined: 03 Oct 2013
Posts: 38
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, Technology
GMAT 1: 680 Q V0
GMAT 2: 700 Q44 V41
GPA: 3.4
WE: General Management (Consumer Electronics)
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Kudos [?]: 5 [0], given: 3

Bringing Personal Rather Professional into an Essay [#permalink] New post 27 Jul 2014, 06:24
Hi Guys / Gals,

I wanted to know if anyone had a strong opinion about the dos and don'ts of bringing in personal experiences (non-work related) to answer an essay question versus a professional. experience. Specifically, when I read Kellogg's essay prompt I have a strong passion to answer the question by illustrating the best example I have. However, that experience was what happened in my personal life rather my professional. Here's their prompt:

Resilience. Perseverance. Grit. Call it what you will…. Challenges can build character. Describe a challenging experience you’ve had. How were you tested? What did you learn? (450 words)


My personal experience was being diagnosed with cancer. Further, there were two paths I had to choose with Pros / Cons of both. Ultimately, all the DRs told me I had to make the choice as it was not black or white answer. Needless to say, I spent the most 'brain power' of my life evaluating that decision. I had to persevere, grit it out and be resilient in my decision. Is that too much? Thankfully, i'm cancer free and per the DRs have a 99% chance that I will never have to deal with this again (I don't want AdComs to question my leadership and future ceiling given - would they think like that? ).

thoughts?

thanks
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Bringing Personal Rather Professional into an Essay [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2014, 00:49
Expert's post
Kathmandu2013 wrote:
Hi Guys / Gals,

I wanted to know if anyone had a strong opinion about the dos and don'ts of bringing in personal experiences (non-work related) to answer an essay question versus a professional. experience. Specifically, when I read Kellogg's essay prompt I have a strong passion to answer the question by illustrating the best example I have. However, that experience was what happened in my personal life rather my professional. Here's their prompt:

Resilience. Perseverance. Grit. Call it what you will…. Challenges can build character. Describe a challenging experience you’ve had. How were you tested? What did you learn? (450 words)


My personal experience was being diagnosed with cancer. Further, there were two paths I had to choose with Pros / Cons of both. Ultimately, all the DRs told me I had to make the choice as it was not black or white answer. Needless to say, I spent the most 'brain power' of my life evaluating that decision. I had to persevere, grit it out and be resilient in my decision. Is that too much? Thankfully, i'm cancer free and per the DRs have a 99% chance that I will never have to deal with this again (I don't want AdComs to question my leadership and future ceiling given - would they think like that? ).

thoughts?

thanks



A good application package should portray both your personal and professional profile. So it is perfectly fine (actually preferrable) to share your personal experiences in essays.
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Re: Bringing Personal Rather Professional into an Essay [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2014, 10:03
What I have heard over and over again from Admissions reps is that they want a complete picture of who you are. If you have a great personal story that tells a lot about you and highlights some things worth mentioning you should go for it. They can already see your resume and work experience so only reiterating work stories can make you appear unbalance when compared to other candidates who have passions and stories outside of the office. Admissions reps tend to lump applicants into categories based on a few categories including profession. Anything you can do to positively differentiate yourself from others in your professions would be preferable.
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Re: Bringing Personal Rather Professional into an Essay [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2014, 11:15
Expert's post
Kathmandu2013,

First off, congratulations on waging and winning your battle -- that's a truly wonderful.

Speaking more generally, I believe that the focus of these sorts of questions is on the last part of the prompt: What did you learn? As was mentioned above, the AdComs are trying to figure out who you are as a person, so they're really interested in what you put into/took out of your challenge. This speaks to your character and what sort of wherewithal you have, two very important data points for them.

To that end, personal or professional stories work equally for this type of piece. What I would encourage is that you (and all applicants) is to find a balance between using stories from all areas of your life. Applications that focus entirely on work tend to leave out very important parts of personalities -- and, obviously, applications that miss any sort of reference to work tend to fall flat.

Hope this is helpful. If you'd like to speak more, please feel free to utilize the link below to schedule a free consultation.

Best,
MBA Prep School
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Intern
Intern
avatar
Joined: 03 Oct 2013
Posts: 38
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, Technology
GMAT 1: 680 Q V0
GMAT 2: 700 Q44 V41
GPA: 3.4
WE: General Management (Consumer Electronics)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 5 [0], given: 3

Re: Bringing Personal Rather Professional into an Essay [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2014, 07:44
Thank you all for the feedback and kind words. I'm going to use the personal situation and speak deeply to what I learned and how I've changed so the AdComs can understand more of who I am.
Re: Bringing Personal Rather Professional into an Essay   [#permalink] 11 Aug 2014, 07:44
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