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Writing Your MBA Application Essays: First or Last Step?

September 18 2018 By The MBA Exchange
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Essays continue to be the wild card of MBA applications. Yes, the other elements – resume, recommendations, and short-answer questions – are all very important. However, those components are more predictable, structured and finite. Essay questions are truly the “siren song” of the application process, beckoning eager applicants to open their hearts and minds and reveal their vision, values and motivation.

MBA candidates are often tempted to jump into the essays as soon as they first see an application. Whether intrigued or intimidated (or probably a combination of both emotions), many candidates take the leap and start writing their essays immediately. Such individuals feel it’s wise to get this major task done ASAP so they can feel a sense of accomplishment. Or they may want to use their essays to provide guidance for recommenders. Whatever the rationale may be, writing essays too soon is likely to reduce the chances for MBA admission.

Why do we say this? Well, the fact is that essays must be clear, cogent and compelling if they’re going to score big points when read by admissions officers. So, only after optimizing the underlying candidacy, drafting an air-tight resume, and deciding which topics and examples can be better addressed in short answers and recommendations should an applicant dive into the essays. The more non-essay “puzzle pieces” that are in place first, the more thorough and thoughtful the essays can be.

After the other application elements are completed, you can clear your head, analyze and understand the essay questions, and decide strategically which aspects of your candidacy should be featured in each essay. This approach can be even more productive and less stressful by working closely with a trusted, experienced admissions consultant. Together, you can consider and prioritize various approaches that will head you in the right direction. In addition, your best version of the essays can become even better by getting objective feedback and actionable suggestions from a professional editor who specializes in MBA essays. And it’s best if the consultant and editor work in tandem to maintain consistency.

Choose your resources wisely. Compare various firms based on their results and reputation. Over the past three decades, the admissions consultants and essay editors at The MBA Exchange have helped over 5,000 applicants create authentic, impactful essays that maximize chances for admission. Our comprehensive process helps clients take the right steps in the right order, resulting in powerful essays that encourage adcoms to sincerely smile, knowingly nod, and then confidently admit.