How to Write an MBA Application Essay

Mike Russel

Why MBA Admission Essays?

Perhaps you are wondering why it is necessary to write an application essay for your MBA degree. The necessity of the MBA application essay stems from the need by institutions offering the program to ascertain your suitability for the degree. The million-dollar questions the admission officers in the admission committee ask are:

  1. Why you want to pursue an MBA degree,
  2. Why you chose to get the business degree at the specific point in your career, and
  3. Why do you choose this particular business school?

As such, the MBA essay serves to give you an opportunity through which you elaborate on reasons why you deserve enrolment in the institution.

The MBA essay performs a foundational role in your business school request for admission. The contents of your business school application essay will be used by the admission officers to sieve your candidacy. Therefore, you need to answer not only authentically but also convincingly lest you jeopardize your application.

Competition for the coveted MBA admission spots is colossal. Consequently, business schools will, more likely than not, award you a place if you demonstrate that you are a committed individual in your application essay. The need for dedicated MBA students is a result of the rigorous nature of the MBA coursework in addition to the direct relevance of an MBA degree in the real world business space. As such, MBA essays mean to differentiate high-risk admits from low-risk admits.

How to Answer MBA Application Essays

To excellently answer MBA application essays, you need to know how business school programs differ from technical schools and art schools. Research shows that business school programs uniquely vary from other graduate degrees concerning their focus on relationship development, teamwork, and networking. Admittedly, a business primarily thrives on two things – relationships and competition. Therefore, business school admission officers use MBA admission essays to see whether you can demonstrate the ability to survive through competitive relationships.

Interestingly, it is common to find MBA essay topics revolving around relationships. For instance, some common MBA essay questions or prompts are:

  1. Describe the most meaningful team experience.
  2. Write about a moment you convinced a customer, colleague, or competitor of your ideologies.
  3. Write about a time you went beyond what was popular, established, defined, or expected.

In essence, these MBA essay prompts require you to provide answers that demonstrate how you handle competition and relationships in the business environment.

How to write the MBA Application Essay

Before you begin learning how to write great MBA essays, you need to realize that the essential aspect of the MBA admission essay is you. You must know yourself the same way you know your favorite person. As a result, you need to ask yourself:

  1. What are your career aspirations?
  2. What are your presentable strengths and explainable weaknesses?
  3. How does business school fit in the mix of your prior experience, passions, and goals?

The top schools want to know who you are, and statistics and resume don’t tell them that

Since top business schools want to know who you are, the only way to create a winning MBA essay is by telling a story about a moment in your business life when you were the primary focus. Tell a story that portrays you in the best possible picture. All in all, you need to create a paper that demonstrates your goals, strengths, weaknesses, and why you are fit for a spot in the MBA class.

Here are three simple MBA essay guides to help you create outstanding business school application essays based on your story, strengths, or weaknesses approaches.

  1. Personalize your weaknesses

    We all have weaknesses. While many shun away from sharing their shortcomings, especially in a do-or-die context like an MBA application, you would be surprised that demonstrating how you tackled your fault may be the reason your MBA essay wins. For example, you can write about a moment in your career when you felt timid taking leadership positions or speaking up when uncomfortable with something.

    While describing your ordeal, show the admission committee what you learned from your weakness. Mainly, what was the impact of your vulnerability on yourself and those around you? Accurately describe the solutions you took to improve your self-esteem and confidence and how that, in turn, improved your relationships and productivity. Finally, conclude by showing how the self-improvement motivated you to pursue an MBA at the particular business school and how you feel the MBA will further benefit you in your business career.

  2. Positively illustrate your strengths

    Using the strength-approach to write a top MBA essay looks easy even though it isn’t. If you are not careful in your selection of essay words and tone, your demonstration may look a lot more like bragging than positive illustration. To avoid such a counter-productive turn, think of moments in your career that spurred you to learn a valuable aspect about yourself concerning leadership, relationships, teamwork, innovation, or intellectual curiosity.

    Using a specific situation will help you turn your would-be essay into the best MBA admission essay. Describing a moment allows you to show the admissions committee the prevailing challenges or circumstances that became the best opportunity for you to apply your strengths. Just to be sure not to sound like you are bragging in your essay. I would recommend that you have a trusted friend read the business school essay and, in all honesty, inform you if you are projecting yourself in any negative way.

  3. Tell your personal story

    You are the only one that knows your goals, aspirations, and motivations towards being the best possible version of yourself. Even though you may be required to write a separate MBA personal statement along with your essay, you may opt to tell your personal story in your business school application essay.

    Through a personal story, you give yourself the liberty to detail your ability to apply knowledge in real-world situations. Your test scores and grades are sufficient lenses through which your prospective business school can know what you have accumulated through education. However, the MBA admissions committee does not know if you have adequate capability to apply what you learn in school in solving business challenges. As a result, why not share details of a moment you used your knowledge in solving real-world solutions? While at it, it would be best to tie your application of knowledge in the particular situation to your career aspirations and why further education through an MBA would catapult your expertise in your area of specialization.

MBA Essay Format

The MBA admission essay format is pretty much straight-forward. Due to the limited word count, it would be best if you write your business school application essay in the five-paragraph format. In the five-paragraph format, the best MBA essays use:

  • One introductory paragraph. In the introduction, you may state your goals and aspirations in a bid to tell the admissions committee what drives you.
  • Three body paragraphs. In this section, the MBA applicant supports and develops the personal story. As such, you identify and elaborate on at most three critical experiences that have helped you shape and achieve your goals.
  • One conclusion paragraph. Finally, use your concluding section to show the AdCom why pursuing an MBA degree in the specific business school is inexorable.

MBA Essay Tips

You will never go wrong in your MBA essay if you adhere to the following expert MBA application essay tips:

  1. Check your ego. Only describe the attributes that make you unique, not those that make you think you are number one.
  2. While concluding your essay, give specific and adequate reasons why you deserve a spot in the business school’s MBA program.
  3. Use numerous real-life moments with anecdotes in your write up as they outweigh broad summaries or general claims.
  4. Show the AdCom that you are passionate about pursuing an MBA degree. Demonstrating what excites you in your experiences is an excellent way to show you can bring the much-needed enthusiasm in the MBA class.
  5. Always check for spelling mistakes. You do not want to ruin an otherwise top MBA application essay by not proofreading your work. Apart from spelling mistakes, also confirm that your sentence structure, clarity, and correctness are on point.
  6. Don’t be afraid of writing about any unorthodox methods you applied to solve solutions as long as they were ethical. Such actions portray potential MBA students as creative risk-takers, and that is an attribute most business schools desire.
  7. Demonstrate vulnerability because you are real, and it is normal. Just make sure that you show how you flipped your weaknesses into opportunities for growth.

To sum up, an MBA application essay is a crucial element in securing admission to your dream program. A well-written essay can demonstrate your unique strengths and experiences, but it can be challenging to create. A business essay writing service can provide expert assistance, ensuring that your essay reflects your best qualities and maximizes your chances of being accepted. Trusting professionals can be the key to crafting an outstanding MBA application essay.

Mike Russel

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