MBA Essay Writing Blog

How to Choose the Best Anecdotes for Your MBA Essay Package

In fields like law, medicine, or the humanities, it is not uncommon for a person to enroll in an advanced degree program directly after completing their undergraduate education. Not so for MBAs. The vast majority of MBA programs require a minimum of three to five years of professional experience to qualify for admission to their program. For this reason, MBA programs want to know about the unique experiences, skills, and perspective that you have gained through real-world work. The anecdotes that you chose for your MBA essay package are your opportunity to demonstrate professionalism and individuality in the MBA application process.

Your anecdotes are what make you unique

Business school essays stand apart among admissions essays, usually asking more specific questions and requiring more essays for the admissions application. MBA programs typically inquire about specific aspects of your experience, providing the opportunity to fully explain a particular experience that would be too lengthy for a general statement of purpose. By giving you the opportunity to highlight what has been most important to you as you have navigated your way through the real business world, the Admissions Committee can begin to see you as a unique individual who has the skill set needed to both learn from their program while also making a contribution to the student body as a whole.

Choose anecdotes that demonstrate your goals

Many MBA programs specifically request that you outline your short and long term goals. Which stories you choose for your MBA admissions essays will help the Admissions Committee understand the experiences and situations that you view as critical turning points in your progress toward realizing your career vision. Because of this, choosing anecdotes that exemplify where you wish to go and building the skills you need to get there can be highly effective choices.

Anecdotes that are directly aligned with your short or long term goals demonstrate that you can manage such situations in the future. In your MBA essays, these can also paint a stronger picture in the reader’s mind of exactly what those aspirations are. Particularly if your goals are entrepreneurial or innovative, showing that you have the components for success, such as leadership and team working skills, will help you show that you are not just a dreamer but someone with a workable game plan for success.  

Don’t overlook growth areas

Applying to an MBA program is a positive, proactive announcement that there are gaps in your knowledge, skills, and experience. You are applying to an MBA program to bridge those gaps. While most MBA applicants are hesitant to discuss these issues, having a solid understanding of your strengths and growth areas demonstrates professionalism, and using anecdotes that show gaps allows the admissions officers understand why you need their program. When you use this strategy, be sure to directly connect your growth area to a strength of the program. Let the Admissions Committee know that their MBA program is uniquely suited to help you lay the theoretical foundation you need for success in the business world.   

In your MBA essays, your anecdotes are your ambassadors, showing the Admissions Committee that you are ready to excel in a challenging MBA program. As you approach your business school essays, take the time to think of the most unique, even unusual events that have unfolded in your career thus far. Also, don’t shy away from situations where you struggled or even failed. Strong analytical skills and ability to learn from mistakes are assets. An MBA is part of your growth and progress in your career, so let your anecdotes speak of where you have been, where you assess yourself to be now, and where you wish to go with your talents and ambitions.   

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