Saturday, November 27, 2010

MBA Application Essays

I hope that everyone is having an enjoyable weekend, especially those celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States. It’s been a great couple of days for me at home visiting family and eating a lot of great food. As the hustle and bustle of the holiday season has arrived, I know that many are also preparing their applications for our January 5 deadline. In the coming weeks I will be sharing a number of tips for each aspect of the application and today I’m going to start with essays.

The essay portion of the MBA application is probably the area that you have the most control over. It is also the aspect of the application where you can let your personality show. Remember, there is no right or wrong answer for any of the essay questions that you might encounter. Each is simply an opportunity to get to know you. What are schools and admissions committees looking for in MBA application essays? It is simple: to get to know you. Be yourself. Be genuine. Don’t try to make the essay say something you think the reader wants to hear. Simply answer the question as if a friend, family member, or coworker was asking the same thing.

In fact, one of the best suggestions I could share is to have a couple of people read your essays without telling them what the topic. Afterwards, ask them to tell you what they think the topic or question was and if the essay sounded genuinely like you. (Ask someone that knows you well and someone that may not know you as well to get varied perspectives.) Hopefully they will be close to the original topic or question and agree that it fits you; then you will know you have written a good essay. Here are a few other quick tips for your application essays:

* DO proofread your essay; DO NOT simply rely on spell check and grammar check. (This will not catch everything, especially the school name.)
* DO tailor your essay to each specific school; DO NOT try to make an essay for one school/topic try to fit another school/topic.
* DO follow the format guidelines; DO NOT use abnormal font, margins, or go well beyond the space allotted. (The default used by your word processing software is likely the most acceptable.)
* DO spend time to think about and even outline your essays; DO NOT try to write your essays in one sitting. (This will insure that you have thought about the topic and are able to address the question/topic best.)
* DO be yourself; DO NOT try to guess what the reader or admissions committee wants to hear.

Remember, this process should be introspective and allow the reader (admissions committee) to get to know you. Spend the time necessary to think about each topic and yourself, both personally and professionally. Hopefully you find these tips helpful as you work to complete this step of the application process! If you have additional questions, feel free to comment and I will provide additional insight. You may also want to review our list of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). Enjoy!

Reminder from the Admissions Committee: Be sure to attend one of our upcoming receptions in various locations around the US. If you are not able to attend, join us for an online chat with our admissions team on December 9!

5 comments:

  1. Nice blog! I like your writing way. I'm doing practice GMAT here: gmatonlinetest.com . I hope it's useful for GMAT test takers.

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  2. Hi Brad , I unfortunately missed the Kelly chat scheduled today . Is it possible to somehow get the chat transcript ? That would surely be of great help.

    Thanks
    Saurabh

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  3. Hello Saurabh,

    Our chat transcripts are available on the chat page shortly after each event. Our most recent transcript has been posted and registration is now open for our next chat in February. Again, visit www.kelley.iu.edu/mba/chat to find the transcripts and register!

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