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No, your MBA essay doesn’t need a hook

MyMBAPath 0

There’s a myth floating around the MBA admissions space. Your MBA essay needs a hook, some tell you. If you don’t “hook” the reader right from the first paragraph, you won’t get admitted.

Every time I see this, I chuckle. I have worked in MBA admissions for nearly 15 years. As Dean of MBA Admissions at Babson and later as Managing Director of The MBA Tour, I have worked with every top MBA program.

And here’s a scene that never happens: An MBA admissions reader starts reading your application and they stop because you failed to provide them with a hook in the essay’s first paragraph.

That’s not how MBA admission works. It never has been and it never will be. Your essay will be read and evaluated on the merit of its substance, not some silly little gimmick.

So no, your MBA essay does not need a hook.

What it does need is substance and clear takeaways. It’s that simple. Tell me your story and show me why it’s relevant to why I should select you for admission.

If there is one thing you need to know about the MBA essays and your MBA story, it’s that it’s an exercise in strategic communications. You have to make choices about which stories to tell and how to distill their essence to the few hundred words the MBA essay provides.

One of my very favorite things to do in life is to lead an MBA candidate through transforming a draft into a crisp, compelling story. Providing MBA AdCom viewpoint and asking the right, often tough questions, has the power to direct your efforts with an amazing impact.

This is the reason one of my candidates who recently got admitted to Kellogg, Yale, Tuck, Darden, and Duke and got a full scholarship to her top choice, wrote in her testimonial that “Writing my essays with Petia’s help was a joy.”

My MBA Path exists because every candidate deserves to work with a top MBA admissions expert. If you want me to be in your corner this year, start with a free consultation.

Onwards and upwards,