May 27, 2022

MBA Admissions Essays: What Not to Do

As you gear up for fall applications and start thinking about how to frame your admissions essays, the Admitify team is highlighting tips on what to avoid doing in your MBA admissions essays.


The Basics


  • Failing to answer the essay prompt. Although it may seem like many schools all ask the same essay questions, in more recent years, many schools have been more creative in coming up with unique and sometimes abstract questions.  Even when schools ask the more generic goals or why MBA questions, they sometimes ask it in a nuanced way that is different from other schools.  So do not cut and paste responses, first read the prompt and make sure you address the question fully.  It is unlikely you will need to start from scratch for every essay but you may need to frame, introduce, or conclude the same essay story differently for each school.
  • Write essays that lack a point or thesis. To avoid this mistake, start with a data-mining or outline process before you begin writing your essays. Without a point or thesis the essay is typically hard to follow and lacks a deeper insight into your characteristics or values.
  • Fail to catch grammatical and spelling errors. Show your essays to other people or reviewers, especially those with an eye to the details and conventions of good writing and the English language.  Do not just rely on the computer’s spell checker.  A good guide to reference is Strunk and White’s, “The Elements of Style.”



Other Considerations


  • Leaving out the passion. Since your essays are all about you, make them an opportunity for the reader to get excited about you and your experiences.  Choosing boring material or failing to capture the excitement due to poor writing shows the reader that you lack passion in describing your own experiences.  Against a backdrop of other interesting and extraordinary applicants, make your essays stand out by exuding your passion for the experiences that have shaped you and now your decision to apply to an MBA.
  • Write what you think the admissions officers want to hear. Because so many people do this, your essays will sound repetitive and bland to the admissions committee. In reality, admissions officers live to be pleasantly surprised by authentic stories and profiles.  This is your opportunity to give the reader a lasting memory of your personality and experiences.
  • Omit the lessons learned or takeaways. Give the admissions committee a view into your reflectiveness, self-awareness, and thoughtfulness.  In business, results of decisions are measured, and outcomes are analyzed especially in this data age.  With so much data available, reflect on what you learned and why you might do something differently based on what you learned and show the evidence in the data or financial outcomes.


If you are looking for expert admissions guidance as you start your MBA applications, contact Admitify today!