Nailing Your Application Essay
Once you learn what you will be evaluated on, make a list of the ways you meet each criterion. Be prepared to use personal stories and examples to add substance to your essays by including at least one story in each essay.
I can guarantee that there will be at least one essay topic that asks you about your past personal experiences. Your past may be messy and complicated, but your essay should not be. This does not mean that you have to gloss over the details, or paint a picture of the perfect life. Rather, your writing needs to have a clear direction and every sentence should address the topic at hand. It is critical that your message be focused and clear. Also keep in mind that the person reading your essay may not be familiar with your industry and will not know you personally. Do not assume that references to people and events will be understood without first giving context.
I agree that content is king, but remember that style is queen. You need to take some time to consider how your essay is structured. Your writing should flow effortlessly from one topic to the next. To do this, you will need to use conjunctions to tie your thoughts together. Use words like “therefore”, “thus”, and “however” to show the reader when you are going to clarify points or transition between ideas. It may sound trivial, but conjunctions improve the readability and flow of your essay. An essay which jumps haphazardly from one sentence to the next makes the writer seem disorganized. Clearly, you want to avoid giving this impression and you should check to see how your writing flows by both reading your essay mentally and out loud.
It is okay to show your personality through your writing. Admissions boards want to know more than just your accomplishments and qualifications. Do not be afraid to show your true colors. Doing so will give your essay character and will allow it to stand apart from the hundreds of other essays on their desk.
While on the topic of making your writing sound unique, do not rely heavily on crutch phrases. This means avoiding cliché phrases and bland word choices. It is time to dust off that thesaurus your grandma bought you and get creative. You are not hard-working, you are industrious. You are not talented, you are adept. You would be surprised how quickly a few clever sentences can transform your essay.
There is absolutely no reason to be afraid of the essay portion of your application. For years you have proved the quality of your professional work and kept your grades high. The hard work is done, now you simply have to tell the admissions board about it. Make a plan, do some research, and be unique. Have you already finished your essays? If you would like to share a few words of encouragement to your fellow MBA hopefuls, sound off in the comments section.