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Developing Engaging Stories for MBA Essays- Week # 4 – Tip # 4

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Make your Introduction Compelling

The beginning of your essay must attract the reader’s attention and make them want to keep reading your essay. The Ad Com have to review thousands of essays, and they don't have more than a couple of minutes for each essay, so you want to make the first few sentences interesting to engage them into your story. First impressions are always said to be the lasting ones. Right ?

You may make your beginning compelling in a variety of ways: a thought, a question, a dialogue or a brief anecdote.

Let's take a look at the following two examples:


Not so good Example:

A primary consideration that urged me to explore the horizons beyond a promising position as a consultant was my yearning to design, develop and market a new product.

In the above example, the author begins with his passion to design, develop and market a new product. However, he is able to hook the reader into his story when he retells his story by providing an example of his entrepreneurial passion dating back his teenage years. 

Good Example:

I could fix a motorbike before I could ride one. By the age of 15, I had  built myself a small garage, fixing, painting and washing bikes for anyone that would pay anything. Twelve years later, despite the hefty schedule that accompanies a financial consultant, I was not willing to bury my entrepreneurial enthusiasm.

   Take a look at some more examples of effective introductions from    essays that have worked for the top B-schools.

Example # 2 (Goals Essay)

 Mathematics problems and Sherlock Holmes mysteries have interested me since childhood. Managing my college’s tech-fest familiarized me with my ability to collaborate well with people, leading me to a career in consulting.

Example # 3 (Background Essay)

 Raised in a middle class family, I, along with my sister, grew up on the principle-“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high” – a popular poem of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. My parents worked hard to make us confident, empathetic, hard-working individuals who not only stand at their own feet but also stand for others.

Example # 4 (Challenge Essay)

 "Don't try to re-invent the wheel." said my colleague, Deepak after I showed our team of 6 IT professionals my solution for a framework for XXX (name of the company) enterprise applications. The solution was a re-engineered process to build a framework for the foundation services for the XXX enterprise applications that is the heart of our client’s $30 Billion multi-industry business.

Example # 5 (Leadership Essay) 

Growing up, I have lived in three different continents: Asia, Europe, and America. My unique circumstances have shaped me into the person I am today. The qualities I have gained thus far will allow me to contribute and make a lasting impact on the Goizueta community.

 Example # 6 (Culture Essay)

Despite working with US clients for 3 years from offshore location, I was not familiar with the cultural aspect of the US until I moved to the US in 2010. My new colleagues, most of them Americans, befriended me and helped me adjust to the work environment. Nevertheless, many facets of American culture took me by surprise in the initial few months.

The above introductions provide background information, set a tone for the rest of the essay, and draw the reader into further details of the applicants’ story.


Stay Tuned for Tip # 5 of the story development process next week J

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