Developing Engaging Stories for MBA Essays Week #9- Tip #9 : The B-School Application
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# Developing Engaging Stories for MBA Essays Week #9- Tip #9

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Developing Engaging Stories for MBA Essays Week #9- Tip #9 [#permalink]

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18 Jul 2014, 08:17

Use Transitional Expressions

Last week, we had discussed the use of specific details and examples for making our stories in application essays engaging and persuasive. This week, we will discuss how we can use transitional expressions to make these specific anecdotes/ details cohere and stick together so the reader is able to move smoothly from one bit of information to the other. The use of transition words and phrases not only helps us write clearly and coherently, but also helps our readers (in this case the AD Com) follow our story and stay focused. These transitional expressions act like road signs that help the reader follow the direction of our thought.

True, we all are familiar with these most commonplace words and phrases, but we sometimes forget to use them, thereby making our ideas appear disconnected and choppy.

Here are some common ones, listed in categories according to their meaning:

Addition: also, in addition, too, and, besides, furthermore, next, then, finally
Contrast: on the other hand, but, yet, however, nevertheless, in contrast, on the contrary, in contrast, still, at the same time
Comparison: in comparison, similarly, likewise, in the same way, in the same manner
Result: consequently, so, therefore, thus, due to this, as a result, hence, in conclusion, on the whole, finally
Example: for example, for instance, namely, specifically
Time: first, second, third, next, then, finally, soon, later, afterwards, during, before, meanwhile, eventually, currently, immediately, in the past, in the future, originally

To understand the significance of these simple transitional devices that act like glue to hold the sentences together and lead the reader from one paragraph to another in making our stories coherent, let’s look at the following examples:

Bad Example :

My job was at stake. I resolved to remain calm, accept the challenge and started pounding my way through in a planned manner.

Good Example:

My job was at stake. Nevertheless, I resolved to remain calm, accept the challenge and started pounding my way through in a planned manner.

Bad Example :

I was sent to a regular elementary school in our neighborhood. Regular study was given the utmost importance; my father inculcated in me an interest to love numbers and play around with them.

Good Example :

I was sent to a regular elementary school in our neighborhood. Apart from giving importance to regular studies at school, my father also inculcated in me an interest to love numbers and play around with them.

Bad Example :

I consider this my best mistake because this experience taught me valuable lessons early in my career. I learned that it is important to take necessary action to resolve or mitigate the effects of the issue than worrying about the consequences. I learned that mistakes can be turned into opportunities through which something good can be done.

Good Example :

I consider this my best mistake because this experience taught me valuable lessons early in my career. First, I learned that it is important to take necessary action to resolve or mitigate the effects of the issue than worrying about the consequences. I also learned that those mistakes can be turned into opportunities through which something good can be achieved.

As you can see, the addition of just one word in the above examples has articulated the ideas.

Transitional expressions not only help in connecting ideas between sentences but also help smooth transitions between paragraphs. Let’s look at the following example from INSEAD’s essay on ‘extra -professional activities’, where the writer’s description of his third extra- curricular interest is completely disconnected from his previous activity.

Bad Example :

[i]In 2012, my father who works at Ashalata – an NGO dedicated to assist children with special needs to learn, to grow, to get jobs, to get married, and lead a normal life – reached out to me to help procure some specialized hardware to create books in Braille. I am heavily involved with Ashalata, an NGO dedicated to assist the children with special needs, and I have been working to organize seminars and cultural events to promote the work done by the organization.

Now take a look at the following revised version where the addition of a ‘transition sentence’ and summarizing of some details have resulted in smooth transition of ideas from the previous paragraph, so the two activities that the writer is discussing no longer read like isolated pieces.

Good Example :

Another extra- professional activity that I am passionate about is helping children with special needs. Since 2012, I am heavily involved with Ashalata, an NGO dedicated to assist the children with special needs, and I have been working to organize seminars and cultural events to promote the work done by the organization.

Note: Even though transition words and phrases are useful in bridging the gaps between your ideas, please don’t overuse them. Not every sentence needs a transitional phrase so use one only when the relationship between your thoughts needs clarification.

Stay Tuned for Tip# 10 of the story development process next week J

For more MBA articles, visit myEssayReview blog.

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Developing Engaging Stories for MBA Essays Week #9- Tip #9   [#permalink] 18 Jul 2014, 08:17
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# Developing Engaging Stories for MBA Essays Week #9- Tip #9

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