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Your Essays, Your Voice

November 20 2013 By The MBA Exchange
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The following post was prepared by Rebecca Maescher, a senior admissions consultant with The MBA Exchange. Rebecca earned her MBA degree at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. An accomplished business writer, she has advised many candidates on their successful applications to top business schools.

It is a scenario we hear often: You sit down to write your business school application essays and stare at the blank screen in frustration. What should you write about? You have so many experiences, from your career and extracurricular activities to your undergraduate studies and personal life, and it feels overwhelming deciding what to highlight.

You are not alone; writing about yourself is one of the most difficult things to do. I will never forget the advice I received from a beloved high school teacher who helped me overcome writer’s block. He urged, “Write the essay that only you can write.” This does not refer to telling an earth-shattering story (Climbing Mount Everest blindfolded! Founding the next Google! Rescuing your boss from a burning building!), but rather to helping the Admissions Committee understand your personal perspective about the topic you choose—what you did, how you felt, what you learned. Upon reading your essays, the adcom should feel that they know who you are and what you care about. Asking yourself, “Could anyone who shared this experience have written the same essay?” is a helpful way to assess whether your narrative reveals enough about you.

Business school applications can be dry and mechanical by nature, with endless resume bullets and laundry lists of activities and accomplishments. The purpose of essays is to humanize the application, so bringing your voice to the story is more important than the story itself—even the most seemingly ordinary topics come to life when told with conviction and personality.

A professional admissions consultant can be a terrific resource as you begin to think about your essays. He or she can help you inventory and prioritize your experiences to evaluate which will make the most relevant and compelling topics. Striking the right tone of authenticity, confidence, and humility can be a challenge, but The MBA Exchange is here to help you find this balance and convey your voice through your essays. Start with a free, expert evaluation of your candidacy.