I am by no means an expert here and of course... not paid to do essay "consulting". However, I have proofed and helped a few people on this site with their essays (members to remain anonymous) and some colleagues in their preparation. While I'm still waiting on my results I thought I would share with you the tactical approach I share with my colleagues and use when I review peoples essay here.
Think of each essay as a parcel of land. You have very defined parameters to develop and you need to stick within those boundaries when developing your story. So with that being said, the adcom is in the market for some good investment property... how are you going to sell them on YOUR land? Would you put a mobile home on it? Develop a modest 2br 1ba 1500 sq. foot ranch with a picket fence? Perhaps a 4K sq. foot english tudor? Or something streamline and ultra modern?
They may be in the market for a 3BR and 2BA on 5 acres... but will they settle for less if you can actually show them what you have?
Think of your GMAT / GPA / WE as the number of bedrooms, bath, and acres... while they may be relevant for the admission committee to convince them to actually come take a tour of your home... after that it's all about your ability to sell them on it... so lets think about how to do that!
Think about what your profile looks like on paper. Where are you from? What have you been doing? What do you WANT to do? If you're apping to Tuck for example (very community based - for the record my second choice after CBS), think of what the committee is looking to buy. If you've visited the campus (strongly urge this) then you would realize that while they may be impressed with your high rise ultra-modern "Trump" condos... they're not really in the market for that unless the price is right. So what's my point? Don't confuse who YOU are and who THEY are. Understand what you want and if the place you're applying really is the right customer for your product. If you think that they may be interested, well make sure you spruce up the property and give them why your offering what they should be buying. This means you've not only shown them what it looks like from the curb, but also the inside and the backyard. Ok, so cut out the real estate sales pitch already right.. what does this mean to me? Well, the house is why do you need an mba. This is the single most important element of the essay. The walkway is where you come from and shaping your direction. The inside... well... that's why do you want to attend my school... what is so unique about the interior that makes it special versus any other layout? Finally the backyard is where you want to be. Not just when you graduate but when your kids grow up. You don't want to be a consultant forever... be serious. You have no aspirations?! NONE?! How about a partner? Start your own NGO firm after you've developed industry expertise? Ibanking? You aren't wanting to work 80 hours as an associate while others make MP or leave for PE firms do you? If you haven't done your landscaping... your backyard will kill the sale even if everything else looked great.
Point of the story, be yourself, know yourself and have defined goals. The color of the exterior may just be the differentiator between you making the sale or your neighbor if you have the same home... make sure you consider that.