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MBA Essays - Importance of Strategically Strong Content

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MBA Admissions Consultant
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Joined: 21 Jun 2010
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Location: CA, USA
Schools: Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, Columbia, Chicago, MIT, NYU, Yale, +
MBA Essays - Importance of Strategically Strong Content [#permalink]

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New post 20 Aug 2010, 10:08
Dr. Shel Watts of

Here is a response I gave recently to this question a candidate asked of me.

Question: What specific examples do you recall from your work as an admissions consultant that illustrate the significant impact that MBA essays can have on MBA admissions?

There are many examples. Your essays, together with your recommendations, function as the key means through which you market yourself to business schools. Nearly every time I review the application of a candidate who failed to gain admission to their desired business school after applying on their own, I see a tremendous amount of room for improvement in their MBA essays. Poor-quality essays usually result in rejection from top business schools. This makes sense, given that the admissions rate for some of the top schools is only about 15% (only 15 of every 100 candidates gains admission).

In terms of what can go awry with the essays, the number one thing that I see is that candidates working on their own choose the wrong content. They don’t use the most strategically ideal responses—either in subject matter or in the precise words they employ to convey their experiences and ideas. That is why I started making a strategy session a part of my service years ago. Whenever candidates would send to me essays they had drafted without a strategy session, I would end up telling them nearly 90% of the time that they had chosen entirely the wrong content! After explaining why and explaining what topics and themes would serve them better, they could always see the difference and the wisdom of strategically ideal content.

With this approach, candidates applying for the first time have felt confident they were submitting outstanding essays. For reapplying candidates, once we re-crafted their essays, they fared much better in the admissions process. In many instances, candidates who were rejected from multiple top-5 business schools in one year when applying on their own, gained admission to all of the same top-5 business schools the next year with their newly crafted essays (including Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and Columbia). In one instance, a young lady who had been rejected from four top-10 business schools in Round 1 came to me for assistance and, with newly crafted essays, she gained admission to all top-10 schools she applied to in Round 2 of the same admissions season.

In one case, with his newly written essays, a young man who had been rejected from Columbia’s full-time (September-start) program gained admission just a few months later to Columbia’s January start program. In another instance, I guided a young man who had applied on his own but was placed on the waitlist at a top-10 business school to re-write his entire long-term goal essay. He submitted the re-crafted essay to the admissions committee while he was still on the waitlist. Immediately after this, that top-10 business school took the candidate off of the waitlist and granted him admission.

The take-away: your MBA essays are pivotal to your success in the admissions process. Make sure to give them great attention, and choose strategically strong content!

--Dr. Shel Watts [/b]

From MBA Proudly, one of the most affordable MBA admissions consulting companies. Comprehensive service for approx. $1695-$1995 for the first application and approximately $500-900 for work on the essays of a second application. Basic editing: $985 for 1 application. Restrictions apply.

Dr. Shel Watts, the Founder of MBA Admit,.com, is a Harvard and Oxford graduate with Harvard admissions experience and over 26 years of work with MBA applicants. Clients can opt to work directly with Dr. Shel in the admissions process.

Interested in learning if we think you can be successful as an applicant to a top MBA program? Sign up for a FREE Profile Evaluation directly from Dr. Shel. Fill out the form on our homepage at

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MBA Essays - Importance of Strategically Strong Content   [#permalink] 20 Aug 2010, 10:08
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