How to Write an Exceptional MBA Admissions Essay - A Step-by-Step Guide
With so much competition and a limited number of places, getting into an MBA program is tricky. Standout applicants with excellent academic records, professional experience, and personal profiles may find the admissions process somewhat challenging. The standout applicant who wants to get into a top 10 business school must use their analytical thinking skills and think strategically about what will give them the best chance of success. The most effective strategy for getting noticed in an over-subscribed field is to stand out from the crowd by creating an exceptional application. An exceptional application usually has something that differentiates you from other candidates and allows admissions officers to see why you should be accepted. Creating such a standout application may take time, energy, and commitment, but it’s worth it!
What makes a successful MBA application?
Whether applying to one program or several, you want to create an application that stands out. A successful application will be distinctive in at least one of the following ways: – It will show an applicant’s interest in the program and/or industry, demonstrating a genuine commitment to their future. – It will reflect an applicant’s academic, professional, and/or personal strengths and/or accomplishments. – It will demonstrate a personalized approach or an “added value” that sets the applicant apart from other candidates. – It will be written in an engaging, creative, and professional way.
What does a strong MBA application look like?
A strong application will be carefully crafted and well thought out, demonstrating exceptional qualities and/or experiences. – A strong application is well organized, grammatically correct, and has no major errors. – A strong application is present tense and has a clear storyline arc that explores your experiences, interests, and/or motivations. – A strong application is consistent: it reflects the same image and brand across the application. – A strong application is personal: it reflects the unique qualities, characteristics, experiences, and motivations of the applicant.
Create a powerful brand for yourself before you apply
Successful business people know that managing their brands is key to their effectiveness, which is also true for MBA applicants who want to stand out from the crowd. The first step in creating a standout application is to create a powerful brand for yourself. What are your key strengths and qualities? What are your career strengths? What are your academic strengths? Take a look at your CV and select the experiences and strengths that are the most relevant and strongest for you. What makes you stand out from the crowd? What makes you different from your peers? What do you want the admissions officers to see and remember about you?
Before You Write: Know Your Goals and Audience
Before you begin, you must know your goals in applying to business school and your intended audience. A critical part of the admissions process is knowing which schools to apply to. How many schools should you apply to? That depends on several factors, including your GPA, GMAT score, work experience, financial situation, and goals and aspirations. It is good to apply to many schools because you don’t know which ones will accept you.
Knowing your intended audience will help you determine what to write about, what style to write in, and how to present yourself. For example, if you want to go to a top program in the US, you will compete with many other applicants worldwide. A common way to stand out from the crowd is to highlight an uncommon experience or characteristic. For example, suppose you are applying to a top US program. In that case, you might want to write about an experience or characteristic common in your country but rare in the US, for example, an experience living in poverty or being the child of immigrants.
Select your most exceptional moment(s)
What is the most exceptional thing about you? You can use your most exceptional moment to create a powerful application that stands out from the crowd. What defining moment in your life do you want to elaborate upon and use as your “hook”? What is the story behind it? Remember that the essay is your chance to “sell” yourself as a candidate. The essay is your chance to show the admissions committee that you are an exceptional person and that they should accept you into their program. So, when writing your essay, you want to find a way to show admissions how you are exceptional. The most common way to do this is to tell a story about a significant experience in your life.
Write your essay
Once you have selected your most exceptional moment(s), you need to craft a story around it. A story has a beginning, middle, and end. Start with an attention-grabbing opening that catches the reader’s attention and makes them want to read to the end.
You can start with a question, an anecdote, a quote, or a startling statement. Then, proceed to tell a compelling story about your most exceptional moment. End with a strong statement that shows your commitment to the MBA program and the admissions committee.
The admissions process is extremely competitive and even more so for MBA candidates. You need to create an exceptional application to stand out from the crowd. An exceptional application is well-written and eloquently paints a picture of who you are.