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Do Not Ignore Short Answers

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mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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Do Not Ignore Short Answers [#permalink] New post 09 Oct 2013, 03:54
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Do Not Ignore Short Answers!



Many business school applicants work painstakingly on their essays, prepare rigorously for their interviews and endlessly contemplate their choice of recommenders. However, they tend to leave the short answer section of the application to the last minute, at which point some will simply paste in information from their resumes or from their applications to other schools.

However, the short answer sections—meaning the basic questions within the application about your work, community experiences, hobbies, etc.—should definitely not be treated as an afterthought and should be completed with the same spirit of diligence you would bring to all the other portions of your application(s). Take the time to truly contemplate each question in this section and write out your answers fully, in sentence form, making sure to directly address the issue involved. Do not just paste bullet points from your resume as responses to these queries.

Bullets from a resume often lack the necessary context, so they rarely make effective answers for this part of the application, and they may not fully address everything the questions demand. The schools request this fundamental information for a reason, so providing what is asked—clearly and fully—is in your best interest.

We suggest completing the short answer section of your application(s) early on in the season (i.e., in September or October) or at the beginning the process, if you are more of a last-minute candidate. Doing so allows you to focus completely on the other, more intensive portions of your application from that point forward and to avoid the stress of rushing to complete them in the final moments before the deadline. It also gives you the opportunity to review your responses with fresh eyes before submitting to ensure that they are complete and clearly stated.

Every aspect of your MBA application is important, so be sure to give appropriate care and thought to all of them equally. The short answer section is no exception!
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Re: Do Not Ignore Short Answers [#permalink] New post 18 Oct 2013, 07:36
Hi BrianE,

Thanks for the tip.

When filling out the career section of the online apps (ie "describe primary responsibilities of job X"), should this be written in prose? Or can it be bullet points?
Can the content overlap with my resume?

So far I've been trying to avoid too much overlap but rather provide more context and detail, but still in bullet form.

Thanks
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Re: Do Not Ignore Short Answers [#permalink] New post 18 Oct 2013, 14:21
I don't entirely agree with this post. If you start writing your short answers early on in the application process, that could be months before you actually submit the application, and most likely some of your job duties have changed. For me at least I found I had to revise my short answers just a few weeks after writing them. And what's the basis for this advice anyways? Have you heard directly from an adcom member that they don't like copy-and-paste short answers?

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Re: Do Not Ignore Short Answers [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2014, 05:08
Copying stuff from one app to the next is inevitable. Almost every application asks you the same questions and if you have done it right once, I think you can use the same material for all applications.

Of course you'll need to make small changes based on the schools, the word limits and how the questions are worded.
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Re: Do Not Ignore Short Answers [#permalink] New post 16 Jan 2014, 02:29
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krr15h wrote:
Copying stuff from one app to the next is inevitable. Almost every application asks you the same questions and if you have done it right once, I think you can use the same material for all applications.

Of course you'll need to make small changes based on the schools, the word limits and how the questions are worded.


This is true, but Brian's advice is quite sound. The big difference is that the short questions are only a PART of your application and can change fundamentally based upon what you do or do not write in your application. Secondly, the word limit differences can be MASSIVE (from infinite to 100 characters) so you might need eventually to come up with various versions. In practice krr, you are right that often enough there is room for copy/paste, but I think one of the most important principle is that EVERY single line EVERY single word in your application leaves you place for thought, strategy and improvement, which is great, cause it helps you get in. :)
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Re: Do Not Ignore Short Answers [#permalink] New post 21 Jan 2014, 22:02
JonAdmissionado wrote:
This is true, but Brian's advice is quite sound. The big difference is that the short questions are only a PART of your application and can change fundamentally based upon what you do or do not write in your application. Secondly, the word limit differences can be MASSIVE (from infinite to 100 characters) so you might need eventually to come up with various versions. In practice krr, you are right that often enough there is room for copy/paste, but I think one of the most important principle is that EVERY single line EVERY single word in your application leaves you place for thought, strategy and improvement, which is great, cause it helps you get in. :)


You are right. I guess what I wanted to say was that if a candidate has his/her story decided and goals clear, then using those same ideas (and some of the essay text) for each application is inevitable, unless they turn into an entirely new person between applications. There will definitely be a lot of changes in the essays from application to application.

On my part, I copy-pasted my essays from one app to the next and then ended up modifying the text so much that the new essays were worded completely differently from their precursors.
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Content and presentation matter more than pleasantness in an interview.

"Iradein hain fauladi - Himmat e har kadam" - With an iron resolve, take each step with courage.

Re: Do Not Ignore Short Answers   [#permalink] 21 Jan 2014, 22:02
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