MBA Application

The MBA Audience – 2 Principles to Capture Interest

Most applications will be read by at least two people, and then will be seen by two to three more readers depending on whether the case is borderline or clear-cut. The committee can consist of admissions staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, and students. Business school admissions committees have arguably the highest expectations for their applicants’ essays because they place so much value on them.

“The essays require serious reflection. They play a critical role in placing other parts of the application into context. Among qualified applicants the essays serve the purpose of revealing who is most deserving, most appealing, and the best match for us.” — UCLA Graduate School of Management

“Frankly, 80 percent of the people who apply to very competitive, top-tier MBA programs can handle the workload. So the question often becomes not “Can the student make it here?” but [rather] “how is the student going to contribute here, how is he going to make us stronger or make an imprint on the classroom and the out-of-classroom experiences?” – and that’s what students have to think about a little more when going through this process [of writing their essays].” — The Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania)

Take this advice to the next level: what you have to contribute should be something only you can contribute. Therefore the most important question to ask yourself as you begin the process is this: how can I make myself stand out? The bad news is that you may be dealing with short attention spans and a cursory read. The good news is that many of your competitors will make the mistakes that you will have learned to avoid by reading this guide and using our editing services.

This course will cover many tips and guidelines for themes and ideas for you to explore, but this section will mainly outline two principles of the utmost importance that have to do with writing audience-friendly essays.

First, be concise. Nearly all the admissions officers we interviewed stressed this point, and the reason is obvious. They have too much work on their hands to be spending extra time on your application. Moreover, long-winded writing will not sustain their interest and can potentially hurt your chances. A good essay will make its point within the required space, or stay close to the suggested length.

“Some students fail to communicate their message succinctly. This is important because they’re trying to communicate a message and extraneous information can dilute or diminish that message.” — The Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania)

Second, be interesting. Now there are many factors that will go into making an essay interesting, but at the same time, everyone has a basic idea of what that entails. If you didn’t already know about the exciting particulars of your life, would you find the essay, on its own terms, enjoyable to read? Keep in mind that no matter how strong or fascinating your content is, the reader cannot appreciate this if he or she has stopped reading or paying attention.

“Tell us your story using interesting and lively essays. Please understand that people, not machines, read the essays. If you had to sift through 15-20 sets of essays every day for six months, what would you want to read? Interesting, lively, occasionally witty stories, right? Us too.” — Stanford University, Graduate School of Business

So these are the two principles you must keep in mind when evaluating your results and trying to determine how the audience will respond. If you can be concise and interesting, you will have gone a long way toward winning the reader’s sympathy and standing out from your competitors.

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