Important MBA Essay Writing Tips
This is the final chapter of this course and it addresses four small but important issues.
Understanding and addressing essay questions
"Discuss a personal failure that had an impact on your professional practices or management style." - Duke
This question requires you to answer these different parts:
a. Discuss a personal failure.
b. What did you learn out of it?
c. How did it change you?
d. What permanent impact has it had on the way you practice work?
This is normally a good way of approaching any essay question. Break it up into several questions that require to be addressed individually. Then combine them to form the essay you are writing.
Writing essays for more than one school.
You are likely to be applying to more schools than one. It's always recommended to finalize all essays of any one school before attempting to start writing another set for another school. This will help you keep your focus so that you are able to convey your complete personality through all essays of a school.
After you have completed writing for one school, it can be tempting to duplicate the essays for the next. Such an approach normally fails to answer some part of the essay questions as there normally are differences even between similar sounding questions of different schools.
So, it's best to understand each new essay question by breaking it into several questions, and then start answering the various questions that emerge. Only after you have understood the questions of the second school properly, you should refer to essays of the first school. This should be done to check if there are points that you would like to convey from them that you did not get a chance to write about in any of the essays for the second school.
Handling word limits
In your first attempt at answering an essay question you should not worry about word limits. You should only be concerned about what you want to write and be able to express what you want to.
Once you are satisfied with your answer, you need to prune it down to the required word limit. Plus or minus five to ten percent is normally acceptable.
Always save the first cut of your essay which was written without worrying about the word limit. Compare the first version with the edited version to ensure that you have not edited out important points while trying to meet the word limit.
Providing additional information
"Is there any additional information that you wish to provide that has not been addressed elsewhere in the application?"
If you carried out the exercise of dividing your achievements in the three categories described in the first chapter of this course, whether or not to answer this question becomes an easy decision to take.
If there are significant issues that you haven't been able to address else where in the application, go ahead and mention them here.
Essays of some schools make you focus too much on your work and professional experience, use this question to tell more about your personal interests.
There are many international applicants who apply for an MBA in the U.S. after once attending an MBA in their home country. It becomes important for them to use this question to clarify why they wish to take up an MBA once again.
This is also the place to address negatives in your application:
- Why is your GPA not the right indicator of your academic ability?
- Why should you be admitted despite only one year of full-time work experience?
- Why you could not manage a recommendation from your employer even though the school considers it necessary?
Chapter 1: Achievements
Chapter 2: Career goals and career progress
Chapter 3: Leadership and Teamwork
Chapter 4: Unique Applicant
Chapter 5: Weakness, Setback and Failure
Chapter 6: Why MBA? Why XYZ School?