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Essays are the key

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Current Student
Joined: 10 Apr 2014
Posts: 39
Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, International Business
GMAT 1: 670 Q42 V36
WE: Information Technology (Computer Software)
GMAT ToolKit User
Essays are the key [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jun 2016, 13:00
Hello everyone,

I am writing this post here in the EMBA forum because that is the format I chose for my MBA. But I believe the message am trying to convey can benefit Full Time MBA candidates as well. Without further ado, here goes.

An essay, I was told in my childhood, holds the key to obtaining good marks and establishing a rapport with my language teachers. I have used many a styles all my life to write impressive (IMO) essays, be it on trivial subjects or events that really matter, such as the MBA application. But one style or approach is by far hands down the best: a sequential structure top to bottom with correct usage of English grammar. In addition, stay focused on the theme (you should have one before you start) and be honest to the best of your knowledge. A very important lesson I learnt from my first couple of applications was to think hard of all accomplishments - big and small - in my life. Remember, a trivial help you extended to a colleague can be just that - trivial - in your opinion. But if you know how that help allowed that colleague or more so, the senior management in achieving business goals, it can be a valuable piece of content. Believe me, that mere realization will make your day (an experience in itself).

When I started out writing essays for MBA applications, it did not make sense that I lay them out as I used to in High school. But it made a lot of sense to apply what I had learnt in school - start abstract, end concrete. An abstract start will attract immediate attention from your reader. Once you have that attention, gradually transform that abstract material into your introduction to the answer you are trying to give. Take this opportunity to also spread out how the rest of the essay may look like - mentioning the sequence you would follow going forward.

Carry on taking your items one by one, in decreasing order of interest (to the reader). I know we are not psychics to know what the reader will be interested in but there's a common theme: The subject matter. When reading a 250 - 400 words essay, it is very easy for the reader to lose interest. And if you stray from the subject matter early on, the rest of it may not intrigue the reader however wonderful it is. So, start with the content you think matters most.

For EMBA at least, it is essential to portray progression; in anything you are trying to answer. And am not talking about career progression. That is just one part of your progression in life. The important part is to remember what you learnt from life in general and how you applied it later. That is the progression am talking about. EMBA programs, good ones at least, want to know what you need from an MBA program at this juncture in life. And it will be difficult for them to admit you if they do not see your past matching up with your goals.

If you have managed the reader to stay with you up until the conclusion, great job! But all is well that ends well, no? At least here, it is - all is well that ends well too. You have spent time and resources (brain cells) to write 300 words of solid content so stay calm and poised, just a few more robust sentences and you are done. The last paragraph is the final punch. So sum it all up in a sentence or two and deliver.

You must be wondering how to write up such a content rich essay within the word limit. Do not set your goal depending on that number in the first cut. When you make edits and refinements, usually at least one of these happen:
1. Content gets trimmed when long phrases are replaced with a word or two.
2. Redundant messages are removed.
3. Content that strays away from the topic is found and deleted.
If you are over limit even after the cuts, continue if your gut feels like cutting it further. If you believe a 450 words story is the least you need to convey your thoughts on a 400 word limited essay, and the online tool allows you to submit an essay that is more than the limit, go for it. I will say this if it makes you more comfortable - in at least two of my applications I went overboard (not much) and went on to receive offers from all.

All the best!
Essays are the key   [#permalink] 29 Jun 2016, 13:00
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