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MBA essays: how’s your way with words?

August 4 2022 By The MBA Exchange
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Quants strengths definitely make a difference when it comes to getting into a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. But don’t just think you can complete applications to top-tier MBA programs “by the numbers”! MBA applications also typically include essay questions that challenge your verbal skills.

Whether you look forward to writing or dread expressing yourself in words, your MBA admissions essays are going to be significant documents to draft. Whether you’re working on personal statements, “short answers” or other types of responses, your essays need to express your motivation, purpose and goals, presenting a perfectly balanced view of you – personally and professionally.

That’s a tall order for what’s often got to be a pretty short piece of writing. Do you know how to write an MBA essay that will wow admissions officers?

How to write a great MBA essay

These MBA essay tips from the admissions experts at The MBA Exchange set you up for compelling essays that won’t exceed word limits.

Pick your targets

You often get a couple of places to express yourself in writing over the course of the MBA application process. You might need to craft a response to a specific question, including “short answer” sections, or include a personal statement with your application materials.

Even if you’re not given a specific essay prompt, make each of your written responses count as part of your overall strategy.

  • Complement but don’t repeat your resume
  • Coordinate with essays and recommendations
  • Use verb-centered language to keep it current and emphasize action

The name of the game is thinking tactically and avoiding repetition across the body of your MBA application.

Keep it personal

Let your words convey your authentic, unique personal voice. That’s not to say you need to include a lot of slang, and rambling on aimlessly in your text submissions is never a good idea. A simple style may be best to convey the immediacy and impact of your story. 

Admissions committee members look at your essay responses to get an idea of who you are, and you want to give them plenty to go on. If you find yourself with a choice between a more middle-of-the-road course and an opportunity for real personal expression when writing your MBA essays, maybe take the risk on the latter. It just might pay off big. That’s also why you should also never buy someone else’s MBA essay. You need your story to be your own.

Edit like your life depends on it

All your eloquence is no good if your spelling and grammar aren’t on point. Watch out for grammatical errors! Length requirements, desired format and writing prompts vary significantly from program to program, so stay on your toes when it comes to double-checking directions, as well.

Your editing process should also check for internal consistency, including across multiple written responses for the same application package. Don’t let little discrepancies or unnoticed typos risk your candidacy. Include only what you could document if asked. Even after acceptance, you’ve still got to get through background verification.

School-specific essays

Essay response processes differ among top-tier business schools. Your application for Harvard asks for 500 words about your career aspirations, while Stanford GSB wants 1500 characters on times you’ve created a positive impact. And then there’s Duke Fuqua, with three required 500-character answers on essay questions related to career goals and goal alternatives. It gets to be a lot to juggle!

For support with following through on these MBA essay tips, all while navigating the business school application process and avoiding risks of plagiarism, contact The MBA Exchange and find out how our admissions services can help you write an MBA admissions essay that opens doors for you.