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Columbia Essay #2: Advice before the April 2012 Deadline

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Columbia Essay #2: Advice before the April 2012 Deadline [#permalink]

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New post 08 Mar 2012, 15:32
From Dr. Shel Watts,

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Essay 2
"Describe a life experience that has shaped you. The goal of this essay is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have achieved professionally." (Maximum 500 words)

Since Columbia’s full-time August-start MBA program deadline is nearing, I thought I would post some advice about addressing one of Columbia’s essay questions this year. While Columbia’s essay question #1 is a typical LT goal essay, question #2 above asks for more personal information. What is a best practice for addressing this essay?

In this essay, you should focus on an experience that shaped the way you approach life and career, or that explains what motivates you. For some candidates, the life experience that has most shaped them will be very apparent. For example, if you suffered a sudden major illness during college and had to drop out of college for a year to try to overcome it, you may have developed important traits like perseverance, an ability to set and attain goals, and problem-solving abilities. That could be a good and very apparent topic to write about.

For an applicant who does not have such an obvious experience to write about, you should still focus on an experience that has shaped your philosophy of life or that has inspired your work. As you choose the ideal topic, remember that you want this essay to distinguish you. For an Indian applicant, for example, if you write an essay indicating that the experience that has shaped you greatly is your experience growing up with highly devoted parents who worked hard to provide you with a great education and who inspired you to excel in school, you may likely be providing an essay that will reflect the same themes as many other high-achieving MBA applicants from India. The essay will not distinguish you. You should dig deeper to find things to make the story distinct.

The range of good topic choices can be vast, and which choice is the best choice for you will be a product of the specifics of your candidacy and which characteristics you want (and need) the Admissions Committee to focus on as they read your essays. For example, an engineer from China who has a passion for helping to create cutting-edge medical devices may have developed that passion after he lost a favorite uncle to cardiac disease. That could be an experience to write about. A young German candidate may have developed a passion for work in developing countries after years of hearing his father recount stories about his time as a missionary in Africa. That could be something to write about.

Good luck as you put your Columbia application together!

Best wishes,
Dr. Shel (Shelly Watts)

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Kudos [?]: 52 [0], given: 1

Columbia Essay #2: Advice before the April 2012 Deadline   [#permalink] 08 Mar 2012, 15:32
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