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R2 Essay Writing Do's and Don't(s)!

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R2 Essay Writing Do's and Don't(s)! [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2008, 09:41
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It’s that time of the year again - dreaded R2 application process. It was bad enough when many of us wasted countless hours on R1 packages, but now we have to go through this process again.

Here’s some common mistakes we all make (or I made) in our application process:


1. Be honest. Adcoms aren’t dumb. They’ve done this year after year. Let’s be accountable and give explanation – rather than excuses for our mistakes. Honesty does work! (common areas effected: low GPA, low GMAT, few extra curricular activities etc)

2. Avoid buzz words. Don’t lose your voice in your essays because it’s what you think adcoms want to see in the essay. (i.e. – don’t copy phrases or mission statement from school website) Be yourself. Don’t try to sound “idealistic” or someone else.

(i.e. – I want to come to Kellogg for its diversity; Money isn’t important. I hope to donate my future wealth to charities…)

3. Don’t tell adcom everything about your life. Avoid being “too personal”. If the topic isn’t relevant to your candidacy for the school’s MBA program, why bring it up? They can question your judgment.

(i.e. – I suffered through depression all my life. After few stints at a mental institution, I recovered…)

4. Don’t over-inflate the contents of your resume. (They have lots of student profiles to match against yours. If your resume “stands out” too much, they will definitely take time to investigate)

(i.e – As an investment banker, I frequently worked 80 to 100 hours per week. On top of this, I dedicated extra 15 to 20 hrs a week at charities and non-profit organizations)

5. Make sure your rec-letters are from people who can assess your professional abilities. Think of them as “scouts” in professional sports. Would you believe a NFL pre-game analysis from a IT technician or a professional NFL game analyst with inside knowledge?

Also don’t get rec-letters from famous people just for their title. If you haven’t had any day-to-day work relationship with Howard Stringer (SONY), his rec-letter will not have much impact and adcom can put this fact against you as “title-shopping”.

(George W Bush for HBS appears to be an anomaly….if you can get his rec-letter for HBS, go get it)

6. Maintain balance between promoting yourself and being arrogant/conceited.

You need to sell yourself to the adcom. (Pick me! Pick me!) However, bschools also value teamwork and they can not tolerate one-man show approach. If you include enough examples to sell yourself, make sure you include enough examples that gives credit to others as well.

7. Answer the question being asked in the essay. Don’t stray off from the topic.

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Re: R2 Essay Writing Do's and Don't(s)! [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2008, 15:03
Excellent post. One thing I'd add for R2 essays is to really stress your desire to attend that particular school. Adcoms know that quite a few applicants likely applied to their true top choices in R1, and may have been dinged or are seeking a backup plan. If it sounds like you're really waiting on something else and are only applying as a second choice option, it's likely the Adcoms will read this in your essay.
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Re: R2 Essay Writing Do's and Don't(s)!   [#permalink] 22 Dec 2008, 15:03
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