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# Failure essay anecdote timeframe?

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13 Aug 2009, 14:19
All,

I seek your opinion. For the failure essay (HBS and Wharton) I plan on writing about a personal failure I experienced a while back (ie 14 years ago). Since this failure helped shape my perspective relatively early on - i think I have a valid point to talk about.

What do you think?

T.
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Re: Failure essay anecdote timeframe? [#permalink]

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13 Aug 2009, 14:34
Avoid using an example that would affect your candidacy (negatively) for admissions even if it was an experience that allowed you to learn a lesson and etc. (i.e. - When I was in college, we got so drunk one night, we ended up burning down a school building. However, as a result my rich uncle donated huge sum of money to rebuild the building and now students enjoy a brand new high tech student center as a result....) This is like "What is your weakness" interview question where you describe a weakness that is really a strength. Same strategy or similar one should be applied here.

Also, when discussing your failure (regardless of what it is), don't make any excuses. Be accountable for your actions and etc.
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Re: Failure essay anecdote timeframe? [#permalink]

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13 Aug 2009, 15:10
Using something from early on in life is fine so long as its not something stupid/illegal/too personal or of a romantic nature. It could even be an advantage since you can possibly talk about subsequent similar circumstances which you handled better. An old failure gives you a larger window to work with.
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Re: Failure essay anecdote timeframe? [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2009, 08:53
Thanks for the responses. Yep, this failure is quite relevant to my everyday life and isn't on the lines of romantic, unruly teenage behavior etc.

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Re: Failure essay anecdote timeframe? [#permalink]

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30 Oct 2010, 19:24
Working on a "failure essay" and I'm planning to reach back to senior year of high school circa 2002. My story is basically just about how the process of filling out college apps proved that I hadn't really done anything of substance and motivated me to be involved in college. I think this will be better than talking about something from my professional experience but I was curious if it was reaching too far back (ie: 8 years).
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Re: Failure essay anecdote timeframe? [#permalink]

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30 Oct 2010, 23:57
Gr8Veto wrote:
Working on a "failure essay" and I'm planning to reach back to senior year of high school circa 2002. My story is basically just about how the process of filling out college apps proved that I hadn't really done anything of substance and motivated me to be involved in college. I think this will be better than talking about something from my professional experience but I was curious if it was reaching too far back (ie: 8 years).

My opinion doesn't really count for much and I know its all perception, but personally I wouldn't call this a "failure" unless your lack of doing anything of substance prevented you from achieving something.
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Re: Failure essay anecdote timeframe? [#permalink]

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31 Oct 2010, 07:30
On the timing question, reaching back to high school generally is going too far back. You should stick to a professional example, preferably in the past few years.

Also, on the specific content point I agree with staind. In failure essays, the adcom is looking to see whether you're someone who takes calculated risks, and learns from the experience when things don't go as planned. Your example doesn't really fit the bill.
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Re: Failure essay anecdote timeframe?   [#permalink] 31 Oct 2010, 07:30
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