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GUIDE TO MBA APPLICATION ESSAYS
This blog is a follow up to our previous article on TIPS TO COMPILE YOUR MBA APPLICATION.
For most applicants, the MBA application essays are the most challenging part of a B-School application. Do not underestimate the essays or leave them for the last moment as it requires much thought and hard work to write a successful essay. With the deadlines fast approaching, it is time to put on your thinking cap, dwell deep inside your thoughts and pen down sincere and compelling essays.
The first thing to consider is – why do Business Schools ask applicant to write essays? Well, most of these essays evaluate a candidate’s ability to introspect and communicate their point of view efficiently. It helps the admissions team to judge how the candidate views himself, his personal values and competencies. You should identify what characteristics each school seeks in its candidates and work on reflecting those qualities in your essays.
Self-awareness is an important trait which will help you frame your answers. Think about your hobbies, past jobs, rationale for taking up the job or particular educational stream, reasons which compel you to undertake an MBA and you goals for the future. Speaking to family and friends might also help you identify some qualities that you might have overlooked but are attractive to others. Through these essays, you should be interpreted as a dedicated, well rounded person with a good team spirit, and a vision. Supplement your explanation with examples of your past experience, both professional and personal. Identify situations in which you have displayed exemplary courage, leadership and personal initiative. Also make a list of your talents and recent achievement and remember to mention those in your answers.
Even though at a glance, most questions seem similar, you should attempt to understand the depth of each question and answer it accordingly. Structure your answers and stick to the question which is asked. The biggest mistake that candidates make is to digress from the question at hand and ramble on unnecessarily. Most importantly, personalize your essay for each school and do not replicate your answers.
Most candidates feel compelled to put in an extra word through the optional essays. Experts suggest that you should use this essay, only if you really have to. It should be used to explain vital information that you could not state earlier or need to clarify to the admissions team.
A few things to keep in mind while writing the essays are:
1. Stick to the word limit mentioned. Any extra words are not given bonus points and are simply disregarded
2. Refer to the formatting requirements of each school. These are mentioned on their website
3. Each school mentions specific instructions on how to answer the essay question. Be sure to read those thoroughly and adhere to them.
4. Do not write your essays based on samples available on the internet.
After you have compiled your first draft, sleep on it! Read it after a few days and you will surely identify some missing links or irrelevant details. You can also get your essay reviewed by professionals for grammar, punctuations and to get a third party perspective.
Here is a snapshot of some Business School essay questions for this season.
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