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Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews

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Re: Free Professional Essay Evaluations by EssaySnark [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2013, 11:52
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EssaySnark Essay Review! Columbia Essay 1: Career Goals

Columbia’s essay 1 is a classic career goals question, which they’ve simply framed in a new way this year. We are going to look at a Columbia career goals essay today – one that's actually quite good.

In case you're not familiar with our policies on reviewing essay, we tend not to publish the good ones. If you submit yours and it's great, then we'll write a post about how it's great, so that you can feel good and pat yourself on the back, and others can benefit from the commentary. But we usually don't post it. We know that everyone at GMAT Club is ethical and wouldn't ever think of copying someone else's essay posted here but we wouldn't, ahem, want to tempt you. ;-)

Here's what we can share of this good Columbia essay:

My immediate goal after getting an MBA is to work in [very specific career goal/industry named]. Based on feedback from my professional network, I believe this is a strategic time to join the industry; [states reason why]. Also, the emergence of [industry-specific trend] has created new problems that must be solved. With an MBA, I can be part of the solution.
My field experience in [different industry] will be invaluable in my future career, as is the [specific type of] skills I honed as a [past role] with [past company]. However, [doing this prior work] will not expose me to [stuff I want to do in future]. An MBA from Columbia Business School ensures that I receive rigorous formal training in [specific things], fundamentals I must master to achieve my immediate goal. The [specific thing] at Columbia Business School will expose me to a wide range of leadership styles and approaches to problem-solving, relevant experience to my immediate career aspirations. I also plan to take directional roles at the [specific club] to better target engagement opportunities and to establish relationships with peers focused on the [industry]. [More great points deleted.]


There's still room for improvement in this draft and this is only half the essay, but as a start, it ain't bad.
Why so?
Let us count the ways:
    1. This essay opens with a DIRECT STATEMENT OF GOALS. This is not the only way to do it, but it sure can help in focusing your message and giving the reader a sense of where you’re going. This is recommended for all career essays. Sure, you told the Columbia adcom what your immediate post-MBA goal is in that short-answer question... but that's not here, in this essay. It doesn't hurt to say it again. Stylistically, you probably don't want to copy it verbatim – use some flair, restate it in another way – but include it somehow at the outset.
    2. This essay is LADEN WITH SPECIFICS. All over the place, this person is giving details – details of what they want to do in the future, and details of what they’ve done in the past. That's why we've had to genericize it with all those brackets, to hide those details from the public when posting it here – we are keeping the writer's identity secret by removing those. We did a little more of that than probably was necessary, however any good essay will have a lot of data in it – relevant data, integrated data, useful data (not random data data). This one is oozing specifics. That's good.
    3. This essay is SPECIFIC TO COLUMBIA. They’ve told us very early on that they don’t just want any MBA, they want a COLUMBIA MBA. They didn’t wait to essay 2 to start in on that part.
    What we get from this is a strong pitch that a) this person has relevant skills and experience that they will be able to apply to b) a very specific post-MBA career path that c) they will only be able to achieve with the advantage of the Columbia MBA.
This is so compelling that it made us want to jump for joy when we saw it.
VERY IMPORTANT REMINDER:
Brave Supplicant, before you get ahead of yourself with plans to COPY any part of this essay – remember that THE SCHOOLS RUN ESSAYS THROUGH PLAGIARISM DETECTION SOFTWARE.
Copying ANYTHING from this sample is a BIG MISTAKE. It’s hugely unethical, and you very well could get caught. We know for a fact that this BSer SUBMITTED this draft (or one very like it) to Columbia Business School. These schools have it on file, and it’s highly likely that they’ve already run it through that third-party firm’s plagiarism software, so it’s been logged. The text in the essay above is sitting in a database, waiting to be matched against. If your essay contains the same words, phrases, or sentences, it's gonna trigger a positive. If anything in yours is too similar to this one, you risk getting dinged just for that – it doesn’t matter how great your qualifications may be otherwise.
Instead of copying the text above, use the three points we mapped out of what the BSer did well, and leverage those in your writing.
Questions? Feel free to ask us. And good luck with it!


EssaySnark will be reviewing essays here on GMAT Club every week. If you want to see if yours is up to snuff, please read the instructions here to submit it. Personally identifiable information in your essay needs to be removed and won't be published – don't worry, you'll be able to stay anonymous if you prefer.
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Re: Free Professional Essay Evaluations by EssaySnark [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2013, 11:54

EssaySnark Essay Review! ISB Essay 2: Career Goals



We know a lot of you GMAT Club people are interested in the U.S. and European bschools, and many of you are also targeting the ISB. The Indian School of Business is the best of all worlds: A U.S.-modeled graduate business education, yet completed in just one year, and exceptionally affordable when compared to the nut you'd be facing if you went abroad. What's not to like?

And, because that first ISB deadline for Indian candidates is coming up fast – a day before Harvard Round 1, even!! - we figured we'd offer some ISB specific advice.

Make no mistake: Even though it's no Ivy League, admissions to the ISB is very competitive – nearly as much as as those top schools in America. You can get in with a sub-700 GMAT score but it's not so easy. Your essays matter a lot. The career goals are critical.

To help you make the most of the limited essay real estate that they offer you to communicate those goals, we're going to dissect an essay written for the ISB to see how one Brave Supplicant handled it.

Here's the question:
“How does the ISB PGP tie-in with your career goals?” (300 words max)
And here's what we got:


I aspire to make a career in the Indian Asset Management industry, a $400 billion opportunity, which is set on a high growth trajectory. Working as an Equity Analyst I have gained insights on security analysis, forecasting and valuation. Frequent interactions with fund-managers have led me to understand portfolio construction and management. Moving on to funds management from Equity Analysis will be a logical career progression.

In the long term, I see myself working as a fund-manager, actively managing funds that are invested in the Indian capital markets. In particular I am interested in working at a Portfolio Management Service, where my investment ideologies, asset allocation strategies and people skills will be put to use.
Immediately after ISB, I will strive to take up responsibilities in large AMCs and gain expertise in the 3P’s viz philosophies, people and processes that drive asset management.

Funds management in PMS not only requires frequent complex interactions while providing advisory services to customers, but also requires one to have holistic understanding of businesses and a deep financial acumen.

The PGP at ISB with its excellent faculty and strong emphasis on developing managers for the emerging markets will equip me with underlying theoretical concepts and an understanding of how businesses are run.

The elective courses, especially - Value Investing, Asset management, Security markets and Trading and Behavioral finance will help build requisite skill sets. My association with The Center for Analytical Finance and the Finance Club will help me garner face time with industry enthusiasts. PGP will help me to accelerate the pace to achieve my goals.


The good: Under 300 words! That's actually hard to do.
The even better: A clear career goal! Right upfront, in the first sentence! That's surprisingly unusual. It's a very smart way to open up the essay; it shows that you've got a plan for your future and the way this is written, it's obvious that it was developed specific to the ISB. Big brownie points to the Brave Supplicant for that.

The not-so-great:
    • Why are you citing the market opportunity in $$? Your entire goals are centered on India and you're writing for an Indian audience. That seems strange. It's not a major faux pas but it seems off. It's also not necessary to talk about the “high growth trajectory” for the industry. You want to keep the focus on you, and your ability to achieve this particular set of goals; you have some wasted words right there in the opening.
    • You don't give us huge details on what you've done before – maybe it's sufficient, given the other two essays that you have to work with which are specifically asking for stories about your professional achievements and how you're differentiated. However, we get only the lightest of answers in this essay as to where you're coming from. It's certainly appropriate to say you want to go into asset management when you're an equity analyst today; we can see the connection, you don't have to do that much more to make the case. But some additional details wouldn't hurt, particularly when you're talking about what you need to be successful. Just as an example: You could mention the name of your firm, and/or how long you've been working in your industry. These are just ideas, to make things more concrete for the reader and establishing the foundation from which you're operating, to prove that you have what it takes to go pursue these very ambitious goals from here.
    • Along the lines of that success you're going for – you have a lot more about what you'll need to move into the portfolio management services thing, than you do on what you need to become an asset manager. Remember, for all schools, you should be showing how the MBA is the mandatory next step in order to achieve the SHORT-TERM GOAL – not the long-term one. What you wrote about why you want to go to the ISB is relevant for both, but the way you positioned it actually makes it sound like you need that to achieve the long-term goal. And that's not optimal.
    • Based on how they've phrased this question, we would've liked to see more on the ISB resources you want to leverage, and why you need an MBA in the first place. You have some of this but the balance doesn't seem quite right. The other essays will allow you to show how you're ready for all of this; the purpose of this essay is to explain why the MBA is the mandatory next step. Again, you have a start of it, but we'd recommend going further. You're brushing past things quite quickly in that last paragraph with a laundry list of classes and a reference to the Finance Club – but all schools have a finance club. You could be doing more with a discussion of how you'd leverage the things that are unique to the ISB, like that Center of Excellence – they're big on those, you could do more with that.
    • Lastly: Be careful about abbreviations and acronyms – and anyone targeting an American school, you definitely don't want to be using that fancy Latin “viz” abbreviation. It's nonstandard in business writing, at least in the U.S., it is. We stumbled on that part of the essay quite a bit. You also should avoid the “PMS” reference and all other acronyms. Always spell out your terms, don't assume that your reader knows what you're talking about. Also be careful about capitalization and punctuation, there's one or two issue scattered about.
We're reading this as Americans and we don't pretend to know the full Indian mindset, so some of those comments may not be spot-on relevant to your adcom members in Hyderabad – but we bet that they are. This essay is not bad at all, based on offering a clear answer to the question. There's ways it could be further tightened and strengthened, but the core of the answer is sound, which is good to see.

Good luck with your ISB apps, all you ambitious candidates!!


EssaySnark will be reviewing essays here on GMAT Club every week. If you want to see if yours is up to snuff, please read the instructions here to submit it. Personally identifiable information in your essay needs to be removed and won't be published – don't worry, you'll be able to stay anonymous if you prefer.
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Re: Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews [#permalink] New post 20 Aug 2013, 06:04

EssaySnark Essay Review! Tuck Essay 1: Why is an MBA the critical next step?



Man these career goals essays are popular!! Hopefully we'll get some other types of essays submitted by you people soon. 

We can understand why so many of you are nervous about the goals – for schools that still have a career goals essay, it's one of the most important ones to get right, and it's not easy to do them well. There's lots of ways it can go sideways. So we can see why so many of you are submitting this type of essay.

But we're hoping that there will be some variety coming out of your keyboards soon!

Let's dig into this Tuck essay – we're going to go paragraph by paragraph today.

My experience in an [country] coffee business expanding its North American operations exposed me to business functions spanning accounting, sales, shipping, and inventory management. Within these roles, I found promoting European café culture in contrast to ubiquitous Starbucks challenging yet rewarding, especially when we acquired one of Chicago’s largest hotels as our corporate client. In my current position, I relish collaborating in teams to develop bilingual marketing materials to increase our Taiwanese financial holding company’s international recognition. Through both jobs I became passionate about communicating a company’s vision. Therefore, I aspire to a career in marketing strategy, the intersection of my interests in economics, psychology, branding, and cross-functional business practice.

What's done well:
    1. This person has given a summary of the background in a way that's (mostly) on target and (mostly) easy to understand (sort of; see below).
    2. There's a clear statement of career goals (sort of) towards the end: marketing strategy. OK good, got it.

What's not so great:
    1. What does this person DO? Nowhere do we get a direct statement of your current job. You've been “exposed” to all these functions and you've been “promoting European cafe culture” in some unstated roles... but what are they? Are you describing one job here, or two? You mention “both jobs” towards the end; waht's that refer to? Confusing. You need to be more explicit on literally what you do at this company. This is high level and vague, you're not helping the reader to be grounded in the reality of your current experience.
    2. Where on the planet are you based? You're working at a European company that's expanding to the U.S. and there's some Taiwanese holding company involved... sorry, but huh? Where are you located? What's your nationality? Are you an American? Or a Taiwanese? You risk confusing the reader in so many ways by not being precise. Sure, the adcom reader will have your resume, but why force them to pick that up? You don't want there to be any effort expended in trying to understand what you're saying in any essay. The international aspect to your experience can be very appealing to Tuck (or any top school) but you need to be leveraging that a lot more directly. Even if you're doing all this work remotely from Taiwan (not sure?) then that could still have some value, since you are working in a crosscultural environment and for an international launch, so there is good stuff here – but we're having to guess at the facts of it, which is not so good.
    3. What does this Chicago hotel thing have to do with anything? You haven't integrated that fact into the sentence in a way that makes sense. The Eurocafe thing compared to Starbucks, OK we can mostly follow that, but then you veer off with the Chicago hotel and... we get lost. You need to do a better job of articulating the points you're trying to make. (That second sentence is a tough read, we had to go back over it multiple times before we got it, and even then it seems off; could even be ungrammatical based on current structure, not sure.)
    4. On the goals – as we shall see in the next paragraph – you're sort of in line with where you want to be, but sort of not. We have to apologize upfront for being so nitpicky but we do take issue with how some of this stuff is characterized. Marketing is not about “communicating a company's vision” it's about getting people to buy what you're selling. Not the same. If you want a career about “communicating the vision” then that sounds like PR or corporate communications. Sure, both of those are loosely under the “marketing” umbrella – but we don't think those are actually what you mean. (And neither is a common post-MBA career path, anyway.)

Wow that's a lot of commentary! And that's just one paragraph! Let's move on.


My long term career goal is an impactful, leadership role in marketing at a corporation such as _____or _____looking to expand beyond Asia. I plan to achieve this position after acquiring the necessary tools and experience by completing my MBA, obtaining relevant internships, and learning best practices post-MBA as a business associate consultant at _____ or as an associate in _____Marketing and Sales practice focusing on the technology industry.

Uh-oh. We're running aground here.

You don't have any actual goals stated. We've never seen any company put out a req to hire an “Impactful, Leadership Person in Marketing.” That's not a career path, that's just an idea. You need to be WAY more specific.

The short-term goal is also way too complicated. You simply don't have space in an essay like this to give an appropriate level of detail around multiple career paths. Sure, you might end up doing any number of things once you get into bschool – but it's making the whole prospect of admissions way more difficult when you are tossing out these alternate ideas. “I might do this, or I might do this...” Those are both viable goals (potentially, depending on how they're positioned) but you will be doing yourself a major big favor if you pick one, and focus exclusively on that.

And you need a long-term goal. You don't have one yet.

Everybody wants to be “impactful.” And everyone wants a leadership role – 'cuz that sounds important, and fun (and it probably pays well). Using terms like this in a career goals essay won't impress the adcom. They will EXPECT all of their graduates to have an impact.

Your job is to communicate your plans for doing so, in more detail, with more conviction and credibility.

And that sentence in the middle? About how “I plan to achieve” it? That's fluff. Basically you're describing what an MBA is supposed to do for you – what it's supposed to do for anybody. Of course you will acquire tools and experience. Of course you will have a relevant internship – just one though. How do you intend to do multiples? And of course you will learn best practices... but WHAT DO YOU BRING TO THE TABLE NOW? What can you offer to the adcom as to why you're qualified? The way that's written, it almost sounds like you have nothing, that you expect bschool to provide everything that you need to achieve these goals. (We're exaggerating a bit to make a point – but only a bit.)

Your job with the essay is to show how you have the right foundation on which to build. Don't waste space in the essay talking about what anybody could say about any MBA program – and don't say stuff that the adcom already knows. They know that the MBA gives tools and an internship. What do YOU bring that will allow you to take advantage of all that to best ability? How are you different? WHY IS THE MBA THE CRITICAL NEXT STEP? None of that has really been established. At the halfway point of an essay like this, we'd expect there to be more.

So this essay is a good start, but there's more work to be done. This Brave Supplicant appears to have a background that will be a good fit to Tuck but it's not yet being presented in a way that shows us exactly how. Good luck with it Brave Supplicant! Tuck is one of our favoritist schools. You look like you might have an advantage there – but the essay needs to come up a notch or two if you want to have a chance of standing out from the crowd.

EssaySnark is reviewing essays here on GMAT Club every week. If you want to see if yours is up to snuff, please read the instructions here to submit it. Personally identifiable information in your essay needs to be removed and won't be published – don't worry, you'll be able to stay anonymous if you prefer.
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Re: Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews [#permalink] New post 20 Aug 2013, 07:35

EssaySnark Essay Review! Stanford Essay 2: What do you want to do – REALLY?



souvik101990 got a great (!!!) Stanford career goals essay submitted for this free EssaySnark review and as we explained in one of our recent posts in this thread, we don't like publishing good essays.

So what we're going to do is discuss why this particular Stanford career goals essay worked, and talk about the ways that the Brave Supplicant could possibly improve things further – but without actually including the essay itself.

First, to recap: This is the career goals question for Stanford, the one that asks what you “REALLY” want to do and why do you want to go to Stanford to do it.

The specific draft that we're talking about is from a Brave Supplicant talking about doing an education-focused social venture in Asia.

How did this Brave Supplicant approach it? Why is EssaySnark so fond of what we're seeing?

    1. This person NAILED IT based on very clear writing – it is a well-polished essay. We didn't stumble on any of the sentences. It was easy to read. Believe it or not, this counts for A LOT. How can you claim that you are going to change the world if you don't even know how to put a simple sentence together? If you're saying that you have this great idea, but you cannot communicate it to a constituent, then...
    2. More specifically: This person IDENTIFIED THE PROBLEM THAT THEY ARE INTERESTED IN SOLVING. This is effing awesome. They laid out exactly the situation that they are concerned about – this happens to be a cultural trend that they've observed. They identified a specific problem in the educational system in their country.
    3. Then, the rest of the essay is talking about why this person needs to go to Stanford in order to have the tools to build a social enterprise
We have to say, we're especially impressed with the quality of the writing, given that this person is coming from an Asian country – we assume that English is not the first language. Yet this essay was better-written than essays we see from many American BSers. Nicely done.

Quality writing counts for diddly squat if the content is sucky. This person is on target with both dimensions. Yeah, can you tell that we're impressed?

Now before this Brave Supplicant gets too excited... this is Stanford we're talking about, and we only saw one essay of three. We don't know what the GMAT and the transcripts and the recommendations and resume look like. Hopefully they reflect the same quality as we saw here – but one essay does not a successful application make.

And, we're EssaySnark. We don't want to risk doing damage to our hard-won reputation by being too nice. So let's talk about areas for improvement.

What this BSer could do better in Stanford essay 2:
    1. Identify more precisely how you're qualified to tackle this problem. This essay is not great as a standalone document. While the adcom will be reading the essays as one piece of the entire application, it's usually stronger to make them self-contained and complete unto themselves – each one. We don't have this BSers resume and we don't know the educational and professional background, and there's very little info in the essay itself that provides us with any foundational information. We can't evaluate if this person is the right one to go attack this problem, since we don't know enough about him/her from this essay itself. That might not be a fatal flaw, since the adcom does have the whole rest of the app to reference – but it's a smoother reading experience for your adcom person if you give her everything she needs to understand your argument, point by point, in the essay itself. This can be just a sentence or two, it doesn't need to summarize and restate everything you've got elsewhere, but it wouldn't hurt to encapsulate why you're the person who can make this happen, based on your existing experiences.
    2. This is especially true and maybe mandatory in one certain area: This Bser says that they want to start a social enterprise. This person mentioned something in the draft (vaguely) about industry/sector experience, which is good, but we'd also like to hear about you as an entrepreneur or having an initiative-taking mindset, based on some concrete example. What can you point to that shows that this is something you “REALLY” will do? Where is the evidence from your past that you've done something big before? A light touch on a key reference of one sort or another would help.
    3. Your lead-in information seems like a lot; there's two full paragraphs talking about stuff that is “not you” - setup info, description of the problem – and we get a little nervous when too much of any essay is devoted to things that aren't describing the candidate. We already gushed about how well you did this problem-setup piece so we don't want you to discard all that – but tightening it up might be possible. Or, potentially you could answer the essay question straightaway, in the very first sentence or two? It's actually OK in the order you have it – it flows pretty well, even though you don't literally name your career goals until about the halfway point in the draft. In most cases we advise against this, we like to see goals stated upfront since it makes the reader's job easier, she knows what the target is so she can better evaluate everything else you write against those goals, by getting them stated in the beginning. That structure is not mandatory and this essay (which we're sure, by now, that everyone else reading this is frustrated that we haven't actually shared it) is done well, despite not having that structure. Still, there's a lot of stuff that could be seen as not exactly answering the question, in the first 170 words. That's a lot when the whole essay is under 500 words.
    4. Similarly, towards the end of the essay, the BSer talks about why it's urgent to tackle this problem in general – but that discussion is made from a societal point of view. It doesn't really hold a lot of credence for us. (Before anyone writes in their essay that something “holds credence” for them – we just made that phrase up – it is probably nonsensical and grammatically incorrect – but it's a prerogative of the 'Snark to do that. This is why you should never copy anything from the Internet into your bschool essays.)
Anyway – hope that discussion of an essay you never even got to see is useful. There's a lot to like in this – and some room for improvement – but at first-blush review, we are liking it.

Good luck, Brave Supplicant!



EssaySnark is reviewing essays here on GMAT Club every week. If you want to see if yours is up to snuff, please read the instructions here to submit it. Personally identifiable information in your essay needs to be removed and won't be published – don't worry, you'll be able to stay anonymous if you prefer.
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Re: Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2013, 06:37
Expert's post
Hi EssaySnark,
How much time I'm supposed to allow you to get the review done after I sent the essay to you via Souvik?
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Re: Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2013, 06:44
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Hi bagdbmba - We're doing one a week and so it depends on who's in the queue ahead of you. We've got a Stanford essay 1 that's due to go up this week. We don't recall seeing an essay come through from you specifically, so you should check with Souvik on status.

EssaySnark

ETA: Souvik determines priority of reviews based on a proprietary formula of very sophisticated inputs and variables using a model he built specifically for this purpose. :wink:
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Last edited by essaysnark on 26 Aug 2013, 06:48, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2013, 06:46
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Thanks ES for clarifying
Would just like to iterate
Essay evaluations will be done based on Number of posts/Kudos/Contribution to the forum.
Threadmasters will be given first priority for essay evaluations.
Applicants must provide essay question intact, school name, round and deadline. The algorithm for choosing the applicant will take the school and deadline into account.


Also, I sent you a PM
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Re: Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2013, 07:03
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essaysnark wrote:
Hi bagdbmba - We're doing one a week and so it depends on who's in the queue ahead of you. We've got a Stanford essay 1 that's due to go up this week. We don't recall seeing an essay come through from you specifically, so you should check with Souvik on status.

EssaySnark

ETA: Souvik determines priority of reviews based on a proprietary formula of very sophisticated inputs and variables using a model he built specifically for this purpose. :wink:


Thanks essaysnark for your reply.

Let me just inform you that I'm yet to send my essay but just asking to know beforehand so that I can send that and get it reviewed within time.
BTW, I just sense it'd take time anyways as I'm not a Threadmaster :wink: However, I'd send out mine in few days!

P.S: Clarified it to Souvik also.
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Re: Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2013, 07:53
Thanks bagdbmba - hoping to see your essay soon!

And for everyone: You need not be a threadmaster to qualify, please don't let that stop you from submitting your essays!! These reviews are available to all active GMAT Club members.
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Re: Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2013, 06:10
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EssaySnark Essay Review! Stanford Essay 1: What matters most, and why?


Uh oh. The classic Stanford essay.

We're a little surprised it took this long for anyone to send this in! It's traditionally held the spot of “Most Difficult Essay” among all top business schools of the world – that is, until HBS mixed things up with the completely open-ended essay this year.

SIDE NOTE: DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO RE-USE YOUR STANFORD ESSAY 1 FOR HBS.

That's just a little word o' advice from the 'Snark. We're actually going to discuss Stanford today, not Harvard. But we know that many people will try to jigger other schools' essays into that Harvard prompt, and Stanford Essay 1 is a common candidate for this misguided effort. Please resist the urge. Not only are the questions the schools are asking totally unrelated, but the schools themselves are so different that the Stanford content just isn't appropriate for Harvard.

Not to mention the fact that it'll be completely obvious to Harvard if that's what you do.

But back to Stanford.

As you know, Stanford doesn't have actual word limits for each individual essay. They have guidelines for a suggested allocation, and you can't go over 1600 words total. They recommend a 750-word essay for the Matters Most question – which is downright liberal by bschool essay standards these days. Used to be, 750 words was a middle-length essay. Now, this is one of the longest essays around.

Still, 750 words isn't that long when you have a lot to say. After all, this essay is asking you to talk about the thing that's most precious to you – most important – most core-critical over all else in the world. Seems like that should take some space to do a good job, wouldn't it?

Yes and no.

Some people do in fact wander off into la-la-land with the extreme permissiveness that Stanford has allowed of 750 words for Essay 1. Your biggest challenge with this essay is that you must FOCUS. You have to directly answer the question – in fact, both elements of the question.

We're happy to report that the Brave Supplicant who sent in this draft did exactly that. At least, there's a clear and direct answer to the main element right upfront – in the first sentence, in fact. Here's what we got:

Keeping an open mind, from exploring other countries to shedding personal biases, matters most to me. As a first generation Chinese American, I not only grew up speaking two languages, but I also adopted two distinct cultures. My parents, who had lived in Germany before immigrating to the United States, further influenced me to broaden my horizon. Because of them, I have always gravitated towards new ideas and experiences.


So refreshing! So direct! You would not believe how many of these essays we see where there is no specific answer to the question to be found – not in the first sentence, not in the first paragraph, not nowhere.

So your next tip for today (besides the one about not trying to re-use Stanford 1 to HBS) is that you MUST ANSWER THE QUESTION.

This is true for every essay for every school – you're saying, “Like, duh, EssaySnark” right?

Yeah. Well. Not everyone seems to get this part. It's a very very common misstep among BSers' drafts everywhere. And it's super critical for Stanford.

The reason for that is, with 750 words, you can quickly hang yourself if you don't have a specific core around which to build your essay. You must know literally what you're talking about (“duh” again, right?) in order to say something useful and intelligent.

This BSer has done a fairly good job of that. We get a real answer in the first sentence. When we first read it, we had some misgivings that it sounded like an answer written to impress the adcom – that's probably the second most common mistake that people make on this one, behind the “not answer the question” part. The hardest part of Stanford essay 1 is to say something that's authentic, to share a real part of yourself. The answer given in the first sentence made us hesitate straightaway, since we were worried it was gonna be another one of those essays. We were also worried that it sounded like the BSer was answering the “matters most” question with multiple responses.

That's tip #3: Only write one single answer in this essay. This BSer has said that “keeping an open mind” is the most important thing, and that works, but it seems like they are also saying that “exploring other countries” and “shedding personal biases” are also what “matters most” - and obviously you can only have ONE thing that “matters most”. Singular. The way it's written, we can kinda excuse it, but you're heading into dangerous territory there.

EssaySnark has already managed to write 750 words ourselves in this discussion of just a single paragraph of Stanford Essay 1 – so we need to wrap things up here. Obviously there's a lot that can be said about any of these essays, and we're not trying to claim that we've covered all the ground in even this one paragraph. Here's a quick summary, to help this BSer understand what they've done and where they need to be careful:

    1. Besides the “multiple answers” thing you need to look at the focus of the essay. You start off with this decent opening and then you do an excellent job of talking about specific experiences in your life by which this answer is true – (tip #4 for BSers: that's the way to execute on this essay, is by DESCRIBING ACTUAL EVENTS that have shaped you and made the “matters most” thing what it is). **BUT!** This BSer has too much “not-me” content. You describe in great detail some experiences in Germany, which are well-written and generally interesting... but are they about YOU? You need to be careful with this. We're not saying that you should delete all of it, but you need to examine it closely and make sure that it's revealing something specific about you – and that it's truly supporting your answer to the “matters most” thing. Around paragraphs 6 and 7 we started wondering what the point was. And paragraph 8 is really off track. You're totally out in the wilderness there discussing your friends' grandparents... what does that have to do with YOU? This needs attention.

    2. You need to test the argument you're making. This is again true for everyone (tip #5: does the “why” answer fit logically with the “matters most” answer?) This BSer brings everything full circle at the very end but it's a little high-concept; we're not completely convinced that these threads tie up as neatly as you want them to. Maybe it's fine... the essay feels complete, which is definitely important and hard to do... but somehow the “why” statement seems like it could be more directly focused on YOU.


Hopefully these tips and the specific reactions we've offered to the brave BSer who submitted this will also be useful to all of you. This is still one of the hardest essays around. If you're just starting out on your essay-writing adventure, we do not recommend beginning with Stanford. Get your feet wet on essays to another school – Wharton or Kellogg have “easy” essays to learn the ropes with. Then come tackle your Stanford drafts a little later, after you have your chops down. The whole ordeal will be easier that way.

Or relatively so. It's still Stanford. And it's still a killer of a question.

Good luck with it!

EssaySnark is reviewing essays here on GMAT Club every week. If you want to see if yours is up to snuff, please read the instructions here to submit it. Personally identifiable information in your essay needs to be removed and won't be published – don't worry, you'll be able to stay anonymous if you prefer.
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Last edited by essaysnark on 31 Aug 2013, 08:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2013, 08:04
Well... more than 11 days in the making.. :D But always good to read those evaluations by you!
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Re: Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2013, 08:13
ankurq7 wrote:
Well... more than 11 days in the making.. :D But always good to read those evaluations by you!

11 days? We said on 8/26 that Stanford Essay 1 would be reviewed this week. We're doing at least one review a week (both EssaySnark and Souvik are a little busy at the moment so sometimes there's delays in posting - hope that we all get cut some slack given that these are, uh, FREE. 8-) ). There's also a couple essays in the queue so turnaround depends on who's been approved and when.

But where are you getting 11 days? You make it sound like we're late on a commitment or something.
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Re: Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2013, 08:20
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ankurq7 wrote:
Well... more than 11 days in the making.. :D But always good to read those evaluations by you!

You should read the first post.
You sent in your essay on 26th of August.
I selected your essay and sent in on 28th.
Today is 31st
It has been 3 days.

Best,
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Re: Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2013, 09:01
essaysnark wrote:
ankurq7 wrote:
Well... more than 11 days in the making.. :D But always good to read those evaluations by you!

11 days? We said on 8/26 that Stanford Essay 1 would be reviewed this week. We're doing at least one review a week (both EssaySnark and Souvik are a little busy at the moment so sometimes there's delays in posting - hope that we all get cut some slack given that these are, uh, FREE. 8-) ). There's also a couple essays in the queue so turnaround depends on who's been approved and when.

But where are you getting 11 days? You make it sound like we're late on a commitment or something.


Okay.. Uh looks like you took my post a bit too seriously. :|

I arrived at 11 days by the difference in your last posted essay eval (Stanford E2 on 20 Aug) to this one. I am not accusing you, i guess i am always excited and looking forward to reading your posts that i cant help but countdown to it. :) And I am sure you are busy this season with tons of Harvard essays coming to you from your clients :wink:

souvik101990 wrote:
ankurq7 wrote:
Well... more than 11 days in the making.. :D But always good to read those evaluations by you!

You should read the first post.
You sent in your essay on 26th of August.
I selected your essay and sent in on 28th.
Today is 31st
It has been 3 days.

Best,
Souvik

Sent from my GT-I9500 using Tapatalk 4


I was not tallking about my submission. Just in general.
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Re: Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2013, 09:26
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Re: Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2013, 09:34
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ankurq7 wrote:
Okay.. Uh looks like you took my post a bit too seriously. :|

I arrived at 11 days by the difference in your last posted essay eval (Stanford E2 on 20 Aug) to this one. I am not accusing you, i guess i am always excited and looking forward to reading your posts that i cant help but countdown to it. :) And I am sure you are busy this season with tons of Harvard essays coming to you from your clients :wink:

Aha - well OK, technically correct, 8/20 was the last review that went up, but sheesh, TWO REVIEWS went up that day... it was like a double header!! :P

Didn't mean to jump on you with it - the enthusiasm is definitely appreciated!! It's good to know that somebody out there is even reading these durn things.... :shock:

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Re: Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2013, 22:59
great idea souvik, thanks a lot.

and thanks to EssaySnark for the free review :) ,,, and I have a request:

from your experience on application essays & statements of purpose, can you point out the difference between MBA and PHD essays, what aspect should a PHD applicant focus on, and if you can post some examples.
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Re: Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews [#permalink] New post 01 Sep 2013, 07:41
Aldossari wrote:
from your experience on application essays & statements of purpose, can you point out the difference between MBA and PHD essays, what aspect should a PHD applicant focus on, and if you can post some examples.

Aldossari, we answered some of that just yesterday in this post.

We don't post sample essays but if you want yours reviewed you can follow the instructions here to submit it.

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Re: Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews [#permalink] New post 01 Sep 2013, 17:41
Thanks EssaySnark! I incorporated your feedback and made the thesis more tangible, as well as directed the focus back onto me. I appreciate your review!
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Re: Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2013, 10:42
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Thank you everyone who has participated. We are full in terms of essay requests for September.
Please do not send any more essays at this time. We will post an announcement when we start accepting the essays again.

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Re: Free Essay Evals by EssaySnark -Official GMAT Club Reviews   [#permalink] 02 Sep 2013, 10:42
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