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MBA Essays: Two critical questions 0

Kudo's to Mako at Random Wok for having the guts to show his already submitted Haas essays to a former admissions committee member. He received feedback that he didn't want to hear, but any future MBA essays he writes will be better for having received the feedback.

Mako's post, "My Adcom Essay Review: A Punch to the Gut," raises two important questions:

  1. Do schools value a more authentic, complete story over tighter essays that precisely answer their questions?
  2. How can you be sure you are actually answering the questions posed, since we all tend to suffer from that very human tendency to fall in love with our own words?

My answers:

  1. Don't make them choose. This isn't an either-or situation. One of the questions I most frequently hear is "What do the schools really want?" They really want the answers to their questions! And they want those answers told with authenticity, integrity, and individuality. Write tight essays that answer their questions and tell your story. No inherent conflict here.
  2. Here is a test I use when checking client work, and I recommend it for you too. When working on the MBA essays, keep the essay question at the top of the page, front and center. After I read an essay, especially one I may have read many times, I go back to the question and ask myself, "Could I answer all parts of the question based solely on the essay?" If the answer is "no," we have more work to do. If it's yes, then the applicant is in good shape. You can and should perform this test on your essays too.

Finally, it is more beneficial to send your essays to a knowledgeable, experienced critic before submitting them.  We at Accepted are here to critique and edit your MBA essays when you can use the feedback to improve the essays -- before submitting them.

By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of

MBA essay course