3 Proven Steps to Write an Excellent MBA Essay?

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An MBA essay is one of the documents international students who want to apply to a business school will need to provide. Firstly, aspiring students need to familiarize themselves with the necessary documents before they begin the application process so as not to make mistakes. Writing an excellent MBA essay might seem like a herculean task if you don’t how to go about it. However, this article examines three steps you have to follow to write a winning MBA essay.

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What is an MBA essay?

In the simplest form, an MBA essay tells your story; covering aspects like who you are, your self-assessment, and your aspirations.  It enables you to showcase the qualities you have that could not be included in your resume. According to Lisa Koengeter, an MBA essay provides “a better understanding of you, your self-assessment, and your aspirations.”  It is equally a powerful write-up as it holds as much as 15% weightage in your MBA application. It helps you showcase your capabilities to your proposed business school. 

Importance of an MBA essay

You’re probably wondering why an MBA essay is necessary. An MBA essay encapsulates the essential information about the applicant’s life. They are mostly written to portray a better version of oneself to the admission board. It can go on as long as convincing the admission committee the reason why they should choose you as the best candidate for the position. Additionally, an excellent MBA essay reflects how the applicant can express his/her thoughts using his/her writing skills. 

Length of an MBA essay

There is no exact length for an MBA essay, however, it should be short and straight to the point. The required length is dependent on the school’s requirements. Some accept between 150 to 500 words or even more. It is important to know the required length from your desired school before writing and submitting your MBA essay. When it comes to editing, your MBA essay should be legible, readable, and easy to understand.  

Different types of MBA essays

There are different types of MBA essays asked in business school applications. Below is a list of possible different types of MBA essays: 

  1. MBA Essay 1 – Goals
  2. MBA essay 2 – Self-reflection
  3. MBA essay 3 – Contribution
  4. MBA essay 4 – Leadership
  5. MBA essay 5 – Video

1. Goals

This essay focuses on the details of the applicant’s personal and professional goals. It also seeks to find out how attending a business school will help you achieve those goals. Any essay that asks questions targeted at knowing your goals and aspirations is classified as a goal essay.  Columbia University, NYU Stern, Darden, Dartmouth Tuck, and McCombs are some of the many other schools that ask about your goals.

2. Self-Reflection

A self-reflection MBA provides the applicant with the opportunity to showcase the values and characteristics that make up their identity. Students also have the opportunity to write about how they have handled failure in the past and how they would handle ethical difficulties. The Yale University of Management is one school that embraces self-reflective questions. Students will have to be introspective and answer carefully.

3. Contribution

The goal of this type of essay is to tell the admissions committee how you will positively contribute and add value to their MBA program. It’s more about what you are willing to offer if you are granted admission. Booth School of Business is a university that asks this type of question. They want applicants to give details of who they are, their value system and principles, and how they incorporate them into their everyday lives. 

4. Leadership

Some business schools want to know about your leadership experience. They expect applicants to discuss the leadership roles they have taken before, their experience, and their impact. Darden School of Business constructs its essay question to enable applicants to share their leadership experiences. 

5. Video

Rather than go the traditional route of writing essays, some schools will ask intending students to submit a video essay. The questions asked can require students to submit a video that includes an introduction and answers to the other questions asked. Kellogg School of Management is one of the schools that require a video essay. 

How to write an MBA essay in 3 proven steps

The steps to writing an excellent MBA essay are explained below:

1. Plan properly 

Before you start writing the content of your MBA essay, it is important to start by planning properly. It makes the compilation and the writing phases easier. Think about the things you want to include, your unique qualities, your achievements, your goals, and so on. Ask yourself some important questions like:

  • Why do I want to study this course?
  • What do I love about studying this course?
  • How will studying this course be beneficial to me and my career?
  • What are my expectations?
  • How will my unique experiences, both professional and personal be valuable to the program?

Being introspective makes your MBA essay sound genuine and original. It is important to note down these points as they will be beneficial when you start writing out your MBA essay. Also, note down other important information that will be included when you start writing your MBA essay. It is important to research the school and the course outline as this will help in answering some of the questions.

2. Create an outline and write the draft.

Once you are done with the planning phase and you have the raw jottings of the points you need, the next thing is to create an outline that will form a framework in which you are going to work. An efficacious outline should include these: 

  • An Introduction
  • Your introduction should be remarkable
  • It should give a brief introduction about yourself too.
  • Body 
  • The body should contain your experiences and your accomplishments that are relevant to the course you are applying for. 
  • Include your goals professional goals that relate to your course of study
  • Additionally, explain why you picked that particular school and the value you can offer. 
  • Conclusion
  • The conclusion contains the summary of information in the body. Do not state new points here, just tie up everything you have written together. 

Creating an outline is like drawing a road map it gives direction to your writing. After you have drafted your outline, you can proceed to write out the first draft. Your draft is a more detailed explanation of your outline. Typically, your draft should: 

  • Include insight on your motivation. It could be in the aspect of professional growth, personal growth, or both. 
  • It should communicate the interest you have in the school, it could be the unique features, facilities, or the program you are applying for. 
  • Also, be yourself and sound confident.

It is also important to note that the direction of your essay will be dependent on the question your university asks. 

3. Edit and review your work

Once you are done with the draft, it is important to edit and review your work before you send it out. This helps you to spot grammatical errors that need to be corrected, and sometimes you might need to restructure some sentences too. Some important tips to note in this aspect include: 

  • Ensure you follow all the editing requirements like the margins, spacing, font type, font size, and others. 
  • Proofread and correct all grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors.
  • Ensure that the length is within the acceptable range as stated by the university. 
  • Restructure your sentences where necessary.

Also, it is beneficial to seek a second opinion before you submit. It might be a professor, an experienced writer, a trusted friend, etc. They can help point out unseen errors or suggest corrections where necessary. 

Mistakes to avoid while writing an excellent MBA essay

Having understood the step-by-step process involved in writing an excellent MBA essay, it is important to note the mistakes you need to avoid. Some of these mistakes include: 

  1. Avoid rushing your writing. You need enough time to write an excellent MBA essay. If you rush it, there is a tendency that you will make lots of mistakes that need to be corrected. Pace yourself properly, don’t put your mind under pressure, and write in a calm environment. 
  2. Starting with a dull introduction is another mistake you need to avoid. Your introduction should be eye-catching and interesting and not otherwise. Think outside the box and write with confidence. 
  3. Also, your MBA essay should be as original as possible. It should contain your unique experiences. Do not plagiarize or provide incorrect information as it will have a negative impression. 
  4. It is important you also use a formal tone while you write your MBA essay. Avoid using slang and short forms. 
  5. Finally, do not forget to proofread and correct any form of error. Read and re-read to ensure that your essay is error-free.  

Important tips to note before writing your MBA essay

  • It should be clear and concise. Avoid including unnecessary information.
  • Make your MBA essay engaging and precise.
  • Do not exceed the limited number of words
  • Avoid too many technical terms, slang, and informal terms.
  • Avoid including sensitive financial details. 
  • Articulate your thoughts very well.
  • Do not forget to proofread.
  • Do not plagiarize
  • Avoid making grammatical errors. 
  • Make your introduction remarkable.

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  • Mercy Awofiranye is a creative writer with over five years of experience. Currently, she specializes in creating helpful content for students in the education space. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, and learning new things.