Last-Minute MBA Essay Tips

By Ryan Hickey + updated on January 6th, 2011

With late-round MBA essay deadlines still to come, I’d like to run through a few tips that will help MBA applicants ensure their essays are as strong as they can be, even if they’re working under tight time constraints. Reviewing these points and applying them to your own work won’t take a ton of time, but they can help you make a substantial positive difference in your writing.

1. Make sure you’ve addressed the entire prompt. Many MBA essay prompts have multiple parts – they’ll ask you to talk about an experience and then ask you to draw meaning from that experience, for example – and it’s important that you write essays that address the entire prompt. Go back over your prompts and essays to ensure that you’ve answered all questions and provided all requested information.

2. Watch out for buzzwords. Today’s professional landscape is littered with overused buzzwords: synergy, facilitating communication, analytics, core competency, benchmarking, proactive, smart-sizing…. I could go on forever. While you might think that these words perfectly capture an intended meaning or make your essay sound professional, in reality, they will make your essay unoriginal and in many cases, clichéd. Avoid buzzwords in favor of using simple, descriptive, and original language.

3. Check your length. Each of your MBA essays will have a length limit of some kind. Make sure that you haven’t forgotten about those. Even though you’re sharing detailed stories, you still need to do so within the set length limit. Submitting a batch of essays that are all too long will reflect poorly on you.

4. Proofread, proofread, proofread. There’s nothing more important than proofreading your essays multiple times. That’s because an otherwise outstanding essay can be severely compromised by even a single missed grammatical error.

Applying those four tips to your MBA essays won’t take much time, but can make a big difference in how effective your finished essays will be.

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Ryan Hickey

Ryan Hickey is Managing Editor of Peterson's & EssayEdge and an expert in many aspects of college, graduate, and professional admissions. A graduate of Yale University, Ryan has worked in various admissions capacities for nearly a decade, including writing test-prep material for the SAT, AP exams, and TOEFL, editing essays and personal statements, and consulting directly with applicants. He enjoys sharing his knowledge to aid others in achieving their educational goals and, when he gets a break, loves hiking and fly fishing with his wife and two border-collie mixes.

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