When you’re applying to business school, every component of your application – be it your resume, transcript, personal essay, or interview – is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your potential as a future leader and manager. But what may seem like a simple assignment can be one of the trickiest parts of the application process. Writing an essay that’s memorable, insightful, and impactful is challenging, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Preparing well in advance of the application deadline and keeping the audience in mind can go a long way toward creating an effective MBA Application essay.
With these five tips, you can ensure that your unique voice comes through clearly while also demonstrating your analytical abilities and problem-solving skills.
Know the Audience and Purpose
The first step in writing an essay for your MBA application is to know your audience and purpose. Your essay will be evaluated based on its ability to demonstrate your potential as a future business leader, and that means you need to think carefully about your chosen topic and how your writing demonstrates those qualities.
You may have a personal or professional experience that is relevant to your chosen topic, but it’s important to think about how it will be evaluated by the admissions committee. How will they know what you’re trying to say if you don’t give them some context? You can start by looking at the application instructions for each school you’re applying to. They will usually list the general topics that applicants are expected to discuss in their essays.
These topics are broad enough that they accommodate a variety of different experiences but specific enough that they can be evaluated based on a few key criteria. When you have a general topic in mind, you can do a little research to understand the different ways it can be interpreted. That will help you determine the best way to approach the topic while still demonstrating those qualities the committee is looking for.
Research and Outline
Whatever your chosen essay topic is, you should do some research on it before you even sit down to write. Find a few books or articles that discuss the topic, and read them. If there’s a book that you think is particularly helpful, make sure to highlight or take notes on it. Doing research will help you to come up with a better topic, a more detailed outline, and a more thorough outline of the main points. It will also give you a better understanding of the topic.
Even if your professor doesn’t require you to have outside sources, you should still do research. It will improve your essay and make your knowledge of the topic deeper and richer. This will help you find the common themes and expectations for essays on this topic so you can make sure your essay meets them. It will also help you find examples of essays that have been successful in the past so you get a better idea of what your essay should look like.
Once you’ve done some research, you should also outline your essay. This will help you figure out what the main points of your essay are going to be, as well as the order in which you need to make them. An outline is useful for any type of essay, but it’s especially helpful for an MBA essay because it can help you decide what to include and what to leave out.
Write with a “Voice”
One of the biggest challenges with writing an essay is finding your voice. You have to convey your ideas in a way that’s both personal and professional while also demonstrating your analytical abilities and problem-solving skills. The best way to do this is to write as if you’re talking to one person – yourself.
Writing as if you’re having a conversation or journaling can help you get your thoughts out on the page while still maintaining the focus on your intended message. It’s also important to make sure your essay has a consistent voice. This can be challenging, especially if your topic is a bit abstract, but it’s also what makes your essay memorable.
Your essay needs to sound like you – but not like you are every day – because you want the admissions committee to know what your best self looks like. Your essay needs to be a window into your thought processes, experiences, and unique perspective. It needs to be impossible to replicate by anyone else.
One of the best ways to make your essay stand out is to be transparent. This means that you’re upfront about any challenges or setbacks you’ve encountered in your life, as well as your motivations and goals. It also means being authentic in your introspection, which can be challenging but is essential to prove your potential as a future manager.
Your essay is your chance to show the admissions committee who you are and what you’ve done with your life thus far. It’s a chance to showcase your unique perspective and how you’ve grown and developed as a person. It’s also a chance to show them how you think and how you approach analytical problems. This means that you can’t just copy and paste your resume into your essay. You have to use your essay as an opportunity to reflect on your past experiences and what they’ve taught you.
You have to show the admissions committee that you’ve grown and changed as a person and that you have a plan for continuing to develop as a leader. This can be challenging, especially if you’re feeling nervous or anxious about the application process, but being transparent and upfront about your experiences and motivations can help you feel more confident in your application.
Don’t Forget the Basics
There are a few basic rules of essay writing that are helpful to keep in mind even though you’re writing about a topic that is slightly off the beaten path. When it comes to essay length, for example, the general rule of thumb is to write about one page for every year of your life.
So, if you’re applying to business school at age 29, your essay should be about five pages long. Make sure your essay is single-spaced, has plenty of white space, and uses a 12-point font. Your essay should also be written in the third person, past tense. There are also a few grammatical rules that are helpful to keep in mind.
You should use a comma after introductory phrases and don’t use periods after introductory phrases. Your essay should also be written in Standard English and free of spelling and grammatical errors. Even if your essay is well-written, it won’t be memorable if it’s full of errors.
Don’t Get Stuck
As you’re writing your essay, it can be easy to get stuck on a particular topic or sentence. When you feel like the essay isn’t coming together or that something doesn’t make sense, take a break from writing. Go for a walk or do something that takes your mind off of the essay. Once you’ve relaxed for a few minutes, go back to your essay and start fresh.
You may find that the problem with your essay was something simple. If you’re still having trouble, consider talking with your teacher or another trusted adult about the issue. If you feel this happening, it is often helpful to take a break and come back to the essay later with fresh eyes. This can often help you see the problem with your essay more clearly.
Don’t Give Up!
It can be tempting to put off writing your essays until the last minute, but this is never a good idea. Research shows that you are most creative when you first wake up, so you might want to consider scheduling your hardest essay for first thing in the morning. If you do decide to go with an evening writing session, make sure to leave enough time (at least a few hours) for editing.
Even if you write the perfect first draft, it won’t be worth much if you don’t take the time to revise it. You need enough time to write several drafts of your essay and get feedback from people who have read it. It is also important that you have some time between when you finish your essays and when they are due so that you can look at them with new eyes before submitting them.
Your essay is your chance to introduce yourself to the admissions committee, engage them in your story and demonstrate your potential as a future business leader. It is such an important part of your application that it’s often used to evaluate your fit with the particular MBA program, school culture, and expectations for students.
With that in mind, it’s important to know the audience and purpose of your essay, research and outlines your topic, write with a “voice” be transparent, and not forget the basics. By following these tips, you can ensure that your essay is memorable, impactful, and effective.