Top Tips for an MBA Application EssayWhen you apply to business school you’ll need to impress the admissions officers with more than just your excellent academic scores. You’ll need to show them why you’re a great fit with their MBA program.
Think of your MBA admission essay as a sales tool which will demonstrate the type of person you are to the admissions officer and help them gain a greater insight into your personal qualities and strengths, complementing the information already included in your resume.
When it comes to writing your MBA admission essay, keep these important points in mind:
- Demonstrate that you are a proactive individual. Somebody who can get things done and lead others. Often business schools are on the lookout for future leaders and not candidates who are just happy to go along with what others say or do.
- Don’t get too big-headed. Check you ego and emphasize your uniqueness rather than trying to convince them you are the best.
- Be specific about why you are an ideal candidate for their particular MBA program. Do your research, find out about the professors in the program and identify specific features of the school which fit with your own professional goals.
- Be passionate. Explain what you’re passionate about and what interests you and motivates you and make sure they understand that you’ll be just as enthusiastic in the classroom.
- Be bold. Are you prepared to deliver something out of the ordinary? Let your essay demonstrate your underlying potential.
- Use your uniqueness. Refer to your ethnicity, gender or non-native status as long as it is directly relevant, in that it has helped shape your outlook on important and relevant issues.
- Get personal. Use personal anecdotal evidence with plenty of detail in your essay. It’s far more convincing than simply making generic claims and speaking in broad terms. Be specific and keep it relevant.
- Be humorous. Humor is a part of life. Just don’t overdo it in your essay, but if it's appropriate don’t be afraid to show you have a sense of humor.
Things to avoid
- Don’t be tempted to draw on your high school experiences. Graduate school admissions officers expect you to have other more recent professional experiences to talk about. Focus on more recent achievements and key events in your life.
- Off-topic essays. Stay on point and make sure you respond to the prompts given. Wandering off-topic and becoming irrelevant or simply restating facts contained in your resume is a surefire way to turn off the admissions officer reading your essay.
- Vagueness for doing an MBA. Schools prefer candidates who have a strong sense of why they want to do an MBA, and why they want to choose a particular MBA program. Avoid generic or badly defined reasons for wanting to do a particular MBA. Be specific and make sure your reasons are well defined and show how the program fits into your long term professional plan.
- Exceeding the given word limit. It comes down to following instructions and basic planning. Going over the limit simply shows you lack ability to plan and organize your thoughts in a clear manner. Not a desirable trait in a candidate.
- Sloppiness. Don’t overlook the importance of spelling and correct grammar. If necessary get your essay professionally proofread and edited to ensure its presentation is beyond reproach.
- Generic essays. Sure, you’ll likely submit applications to more than one MBA program, but don’t think that you can simply send the same generic essays to all the schools on your list. Each application should receive its own well researched and unique essay, specifically tailored to their particular program, faculty and offering.
- Being too impersonal. Graduate school admissions officers want to get an insight into who you are, so if your GPA was never stellar because you had to put yourself through school, tell it like it is – and avoid using impersonal statements regarding the rising cost of tuition fees, etc. Let them know who you really are.
- Being too general. Clearly state your opinion, your reasons and your outlook. Avoid simply deferring to generally held views or making general claims about issues. You have a mind; show you know how to use it to form your own opinion on key issues.
- Disconnect. One of the primary purposes of your essay is to help tie together all the information about you in your application and to present an enticing insight into your personality and character. So avoid simply writing your essay in a way that it feels disconnected from the rest of the information in your application.