How to crack a B-school essay

An essay is your chance to showcase the traits admission team is looking for. However, the word limit on essay makes it necessary to showcase these traits in the most concise manner. So I’ll break the essay writing tips in two parts – content and presentation.

Content

B-school essay is not a job application. The admission team is not looking for a rocket scientist. Instead, it is looking for

  1. Certain personality traits you have displayed in the past which will ensure that you are a good fit for their MBA program and that you’ll leverage the skills acquired during the MBA to be a future leader
  2. Answers to certain questions like
    1. Why do you want to an MBA?
    2. Why is this the best time for you to do an MBA?
    3. Why do you want to do an MBA from their particular B-school?
    4. What value do you bring to the table.
    5. How are you unique/better than others in the application pool
  3. Clarity of thought and alignment of your experience with your career goals and skill set

Our consultants have been part of actual MBA admission team and interviews at top global B-schools. Therefore, we know what the admission team of a B-school actually looks for in a candidate, and can guide the candidate accordingly.

These questions can be asked either in separate essays specifically or in a generic SOP. However, if an essay asks a specific question, please focus on that question only in that essay. While answering the above questions, you have to showcase certain traits which the admission team is looking for using incidents from your work and life. For this, you need to know the following-

What are these traits? – These are mostly common across all B-schools. Some of them are listed below

  • Academic excellence – so that you can cope up with the rigorous workload during your MBA. If this is already evident through your GMAT score and your undergrad college, you can avoid spending too many words on this. However, if not, then you might want to showcase that you have the IQ and can work hard enough to garner the maximum out of your MBA course
  • Achievement orientation – You need to mention incidents where you have made significant impact, which could either be at work (preferably) or any other avenue in your life
  • Leadership – Leadership refers to an ability to lead a group of people towards a vision/goal which you can foresee before others. Although leadership trait is very important, you might not have got the chance to display it at your work yet. In that case, you can think of incidents from other avenues of your life where you have displayed this trait
  • Team management – A leader cannot do everything himself/herself, and need to rely on their team to get things done.
  • Learning – This is perhaps the most important trait as nobody is perfect, but if someone is willing to learn and adapt from mistakes, one can scale any heights
  • Incidents from your career and life where you have demonstrated these traits – Crackgmat will help you identify the most relevant incidents from your life and career, where you would have created maximum immpact.

Once you have identified the incidents that demonstrate these skills, see which incidents can fit in for answering which questions. For example, in “Why MBA” essay, you can say that while you have xyz skills, you still need to acquire abc skills which you can only acquire in a short span of time in an MBA. Or in “Why you” essay, you can chose to write about the traits/interests/ which set you apart from rest of the application pool in terms of diversity/uniqueness/ability

Presentation

Words in a B-school essay are like real estate – very expensive and limited. Hence, you have to make best use of the words you get to display the maximum relevant traits you can while answering the questions admission team is looking to get answered.

  • Always write the incidents in form of stories in STAR format – Situation, Task, Action, Result. Start the story of your incident with the situation or context, mention the task/target you had, write what you did in that situation to solve the problem at hand, and conclude with the result or impact you created to solve that problem
  • Never be verbose – Always be as concise and to the point as possible. The admission team is intelligent enough to understand what you want to convey in one instance
  • Don’t be repetitive – If you have written an incident/story once, you don’t need to repeat it in another essay or in the same essay
  • Weave the stories in your essay in such a manner that it conveys the overall message you want to convey in that essay

Lastly, structure the essay by breaking it into small paragraphs. Start with an introduction, then list few examples (in STAR format) from your personal/professional life elucidating the point you are making in the essay (keeping every example in a seperate paragraph), and finally conclude in a seperate paragraph.

If the above points are taken care of, you can crack any B-school essay.

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