Business School Admission Essay Writing Tutorial

There are two critically important elements to consider when putting together your MBA application: your GMAT score and your entrance essay. While many students are well aware of their particular school’s requirements in terms of GMAT school, fewer understand just how vitally important their admissions essays are. Furthermore, many make very common mistakes with their admissions essays, mistakes which are unfortunately very capable of leading to their being rejected by their dream schools.

Understand What’s Being Asked of You

The first and most important thing is to simply follow the directions provided to you. Surprisingly, many applicants don’t. This is especially true of students applying to a large number of different programs. While most schools have similar requirements and questions, they’re not typically identical. It’s fine to start with one “master” essay and then tailor it to each school you’re applying to, but you absolutely must be sure it correctly addresses the questions asked and meets the formatting requirements.

Use Headings to Organize Your Answers

Admissions counselors read dozens, or even hundreds, of essays a day during peak application periods. They will be looking at your essay to determine, first, whether you did in fact answer each question asked in the application. Using headings accomplishes two things: First, if you tailor each essay by creating specific headings to address the questions asked, you’re less likely to miss answering an important question. Second, it gives the counselor a convenient way to initially skim the essay and see if it’s even worth their time—and yes, after skimming a poorly written essay, plenty of counselors will reject the application.

Be Thorough and Direct

In contrast to some admissions essays, MBA essays generally are not intended to be longwinded self-expressive ramblings. If one of the questions relates to your career goals, you need to outline your career goals in a concrete, clear, straightforward manner. If there’s a question about your previous business related work experience, skip the touching anecdote about the first lemonade stand you had.

Take Formatting and Word Limits Seriously

If there’s a 500 word limit, aim for a 450 word essay; if there’s a 1000 word limit, aim for 900. These limits aren’t arbitrarily imposed, and they also serve as way for admissions counselors to determine whether or not you read the instructions and take your application seriously. It’s better to have a very short essay than one that goes on to long.

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