MBA Admissions Essay Tip

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MBA Admissions Essay Tip

Post by IvyEyesEditing » Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:25 am

Hello everyone,

Finding ‘balance’ in your MBA admissions essay can be a challenging task. Your goal is to really target the prompt and integrate qualities and experience that strengthen and add color to your candidacy. You want to address each facet of the prompt, without sounding too mechanical or perfunctory; you want to convey a sense of humanity and personality, without sounding unprofessional or informal.

Consider the following prompt from Wharton:

“As a leader in global business, Wharton is committed to sustaining “a truly global presence through its engagement in the world.” What goals are you committed to and why? How do you envision the Wharton MBA contributing to the attainment of those goals?”

The first sentence and the ‘why’ dimension of the prompt present a huge opportunity for candidates that are able to seize it. While most candidates will use this prompt as a basic long-term goals and ‘fit’ essay, we encourage you to do more.
This “global presence” component does not suggest you need to have international or multi-cultural experience in order to be compatible with Wharton (though global experience is definitely an exploitable strength). Wharton is looking for applicants that are able to think with a high-level perspective, and evaluate their experiences in a global context. Furthermore, Wharton is looking for immediately transferable skills: how will you engage with the community around you? How will you build connections and think beyond your own experience to learn and contibute?

Always remember to actively consider the ‘why’ dimension of every prompt. Use this is an opportunity to share more detail about you and the forces that drive you. Demonstrate the perspective that will aid you at Wharton, and also in your long-term career. Globalization is a reality that will impact all future business leaders, and many of the resultant challenges and dynamics also manifest in the MBA program at Wharton and elsewhere.

As always, email us with questions that arise, and if you are interested in a free assessment of your material!

All the best,
Ivy Eyes Editing
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Re: MBA Admissions Essay Tip

Post by jamesmartyn » Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:27 am

1. Answer the question that was asked. Many candidates try to dodge tough questions, particularly those about ethical issues, personal weaknesses and failure. Yet the committee asks these questions for a reason. We want to understand how you respond to adversity and the specific insights you developed from those experiences. Answer the tough questions honestly and directly. Don't try to sell us the artificial "canned" response you think we want to hear.

2. Write naturally, but concisely. Use simple sentence structure and your normal everyday vocabulary. Don't waste time on fancy introductions; get to the point quickly and reinforce it with specific examples.

3. Use excellent grammar and punctuation. Use logical paragraph breaks to separate your thoughts and to make the essay easier to read. Proofread your work carefully before sending it in. Don't let simple carelessness ruin your chances.

4. Show your real personality (let us get to know you). Too many essays are long, boring theoretical pieces about politics, the economy or complex business issues. No matter how well-written or researched, they don't tell us a darn thing about the candidate. Anyone can write a rational, detached paper, but that's not what we are looking for. We want to get to know you and the unique contribution you will make to our school.

5. Personalize your essay as much as possible. Write about your own unique, funny, interesting experiences. Provide details to add color. Adopt a relaxed, conversational style.

6. Use humor only if it works. Few people can write humorous prose or recount funny experiences effectively. If you have this gift, by all means use it. Before sending us a "funny" essay, have several different people read your material to make sure it comes across well on paper. Avoid anything off-color or mean-spirited.

7. Convey a positive message (avoid cynicism). Many applicants choose to discuss a misfortune they have experienced and how it shaped their personality. Be very careful of your tone if you decide to write about a hard-luck story. Avoid the "victimization" perspective and focus on how you overcame the situation. Show us how the experience helped you to demonstrate your stamina, perseverance and intelligence. If written well, these essays show us that you can succeed in the face of terrible obstacles. If written badly, you may sound plaintive, self-righteous and bitter.

8. Write about topics you are passionate about. Nothing lifts an essay off the page more than genuine enthusiasm! Yet few candidates have the confidence to write about a passion if they feel it is silly or frivolous. Questions about your favorite hobby or childhood memory are designed to flesh out your non-academic side. Yes, we really want to know! Nothing is more precious than your unique memories about key people and experiences in your life. We've read magical essays about eating ice cream and singing in the shower and absolutely dreadul ones about triglyceride synthesis. When choosing your topics, pick what genuinely excites you. Your enthusiasm will show in the final product.

9. Use the active voice. Nothing is more tedious than trying to read an essay written in the cold, detached passive voice. While popular with scientists who publish in technical journals, it is pretentious and verbose in everyday writing. Keep your verbs simple and active. What's the difference?

Active Voice: The cow jumped over the moon.
Passive Voice: The moon was jumped over by the cow.

Yes, it sounds that silly when you use it, too!

10. Explain events whenever appropriate. Many of your accomplishments are of interest to the committee because of why you tackled them, what you thought about them and what you learned. Tell us the reasoning behind your decision and how your life changed as a result of the experience.

11. Be specific and focused. Rather than listing several items or events, give a full description of just one. The more details you include, the more personal your essay will be.

12. Proofread several times and get feedback from valued sources. Explain to them what you hope to convey in your writing and ask whether you met your objectives. The true test of your writing isn't what you intended to say, but what the reader actually understands.

13. Revise and polish until it is perfect. Give yourself enough time to do the essays well. Successful applicants usually invest several hours considering each question, deciding the correct approach, constructing an outline and writing a first draft. You may have to write and revise multiple drafts before you are satisfied with your essay.

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