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Writing good MBA essays

MBA Essays are all about you and they should remain that way. There is no quick-fix to this process and it requires considerable thought and time. You could write a good story if and only if you are passionate about them. If you can't convince yourself, you simply can't convince the admission committee. There are few salient points which you should keep in mind when drafting your application package:

  • Don't try to speculate what admission committee wants to hear. MBA essays are a window into your life and capabilities. The admission committee is trying to gauze into your candidacy by looking at your past experiences, aspirations, drive and career goals to paint. Be honest, thoughtful and clear. If you have failed in the past, accept them!
  • The big picture: What is your USP? How do you differentiate yourself from the other applicants? Are you effectively communicating this message? One of the mistakes which candidates commit is to focus on just one aspect of their candidacy such as analytical skills losing focus of the big picture.
  • Answer the question. Don't get side tracked but focus on answering the question at hand. Failing to answer the question is the end to your candidacy.
  • Be Logical and consistent: This might be the most important advice we can give. Your past experiences, your present, MBA, short term career goal and finally the long term career goal need to be interconnected. If it's not logical, you have lost your seat. It will be difficult to convince someone that you have short term career goal of working in finance industry when your long term career goal is to start an NGO.
  • It's not about the end result but the process. Essays are not a rendition of your resume. It's all about the underlying process and the journey which matters most. In real life, the challenges which you will face will change but the underlying approach might have a lot in common irrespective of the challenge at hand. For example, focus on:
    • Decision making process
    • Time management
    • Taking initiatives and leadership
    • Team handling
  • Don't make up stories or inflate your achievements. The admission committee has read scores of essays and they can easily figure out what's far away from reality. Do you find it hard to believe that a software engineer helped earn his company a business of $5M? By making such tall claims you are committing hara-kiri.
  • Style and language. The essays should be lively and interesting. Are you able to retain the interest of the reader when he/she has read several essays from prospective students having similar profile? And yes, don't throw in jargons and you are better off making generic statements using buzzwords. These might work as Vision/Mission statements for a corporation but it's only going to harm your prospects.
  • Grammar: Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes are strict NO. Pursuing an MBA is probably the most important decision of your life. Can you afford to be careless? Kick-starting the process well in advance helps alleviate this problem. But again, keep in mind that the application process is not about grammar but about the content. Grammar should be kept in the laundry list of things to be taken care of.

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