Maximize Your MBA Application: Structuring A Focused Essay

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Maximize_Your_MBAThis is the third post our new series, Maximize Your MBA Application: 5 Tips for Succinct Essays. Follow the series on the blog or download our special report to learn the tips and tricks needed to focus on the critical and trim your essays down to the limits, without sacrificing valuable content

There is no specific recipe for creating the perfect essay structure (because then that would probably be a really boring essay), but there are a number of techniques you can follow to make sure your essay is complete and organized. Consider these three options:

1. Chronological structure: Start your essay by introducing a momentous event or experience in your life and then chronologically tell the story of how you reached that point in time. Alternatively, you can use the chronological structure in a goals essay: Introduce your goal and then walk your reader through the development of your goal and then how you intend to achieve it.

2. Key achievements structure: For this structure you’ll introduce an experience (at work or otherwise) and then in each subsequent section of the essay you’ll discuss either accomplishments you attained during that experience, character traits or skills that you developed along the way, or lessons learned. To conclude your essay, you may want to write about how this experience and these outcomes have influenced your decision to pursue an MBA and your goal of XYZ.

3. Role structure: If you have an impressive job, then this may be a good route for you to take to talk about your current position. For this structure, you’ll open your essay with a particular anecdote, incident, or experience that exemplifies your role or reveals a significant achievement. Then in subsequent paragraphs you’ll go into more detail about what you’re accomplished, challenges you’ve met, likes and dislikes, etc. To wrap up your essay, you can discuss how this position has led you to where you are (pursuing an MBA) and to your goal to become XYZ.

Which approach is best? That depends on the question you are responding to and the story you are trying to convey. You don’t need to use the same structure in each essay for a given school. You can definitely mix and match. And as we said in the last tip, you want to make sure you answer the question.

To summarize: Your goal is to be as clear, concise, and organized as possible. Introduce your theme, support your theme either chronologically or with supporting details/ examples of your accomplishments, roles, or responsibilities, and then wrap it all up with a conclusion.

This post is excerpted from the special report, Maximize Your MBA Application: 5 Tips for Succinct Essays. To download the entire free special report, click here.'s experienced admissions consultants can help you create the most impressive application possible with comprehensive packages, or provide targeted assistance from picking perfect programs to designing a dazzling resume, constructing engaging essays, or preparing for intense interviews…and more! has guided thousands of applicants to acceptances at top MBA programs since 1994 – we know what works and what doesn't, so contact us to get started now!

This article originally appeared on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog, the official blog of

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