Tuesday, March 8th, 2011How to write different types of MBA application essays GMAT essays
The Graduate Management Admission Council, a not for profit body, conducts online Graduate Management Admissions tests (GMAT) world over through its authorized affiliates. GMAT has become a standardized yardstick for assessing eligibility to MBA courses in many institutes world wide. GMAT contains the first category of MBA application essays. “Mba.com” (mba.com), is the official website for GMAT. It provides a list of GMAT essay prompts every year. These prompts are just indicative and do not reveal the actual test prompts. One may use them for purposes of practice.
GMAT has an “Analytical writing assignment” section, which carries approximately 11.35% of the total GMAT score. One has to write these essays online within a time frame of one hour. Hence limit these essays to what you can write within this allotted time.
These MBA application essays are by far the most important. You need to write two essays, which I will describe in the next two paragraphs. These are almost similar in format to SAT and LSAT essays. You can buy essay s on some of the sample essay prompts as per mba.com and use them in your preparations and for guidance.
The first essay prompt is usually the “issue question”. It consists of a “topic” and a “directive”. The topic usually a couple of sentences at the maximum and may be a famous quotation relating to a current issue. The directive comprises of one or two questions with reference to the topic. Your essay should discuss the topic in the light of the directives. This is almost similar to a SAT essay prompt. This blog explains SAT essay question s in detail in another post.
The second essay prompt is the “argument question”. It consists of an “argument” and a “directive”. These are case study or scenario type prompts. The argument is generally a business scenario described in about a paragraph of ten to fifteen lines. The directive contains specific instructions regarding the expected analysis of the argument.
No need to say that the institutes expect some creativity in these essays. Again creativity does not mean speculative wool gathering. You should analyze the argument assuming that you are facing a like situation in an actual business. Creativity should be within the accepted bounds of business prudence. Many a time the argument may relate to a real business scenario which some organization has encountered and solved. Wide reading of business and management journals may help you tackle such questions successfully.Institute specific essays
Another type of MBA application essay is a normal application or admission essays some reputed institutes demand. In these days of microscopic progression of GMAT scores your success may hinge on such essays. Mostly you can expect a personal statement. Many successful essays of this sort graphically portray the student’s attributes vis-à-vis the qualities expected of a successful business magnate. This is where customized essays can help a lot. Remember that this is the resource for even custom research paper s and reflective essay s.
MBA applicants will impress the admissions committee right out of the gate by showing strong communication skills. (westend61/Getty)
Every MBA candidate brings something unique to the table, but business schools are always on the lookout for specific qualities as they review the thousands of applications that cross their desks each season. If you can convince the admissions committee that you possess the following five qualities, you'll put yourself leagues ahead of everyone else within your applicant pool.
1. A leadership track record: Business schools want to develop leaders who will contribute positively to society, and applicants should show how they have begun to lead others even before setting foot on campus. But this does not have to mean coming up with grand and sweeping examples that forever changed the course of history at your company.
Think about a time when you motivated others to do something, when you marshaled resources to solve a problem, when you brought a fresh idea or new way of thinking to your organization and most importantly, how you worked to inspire others and bring out the best in them. The aim is to show where you made an impact, no matter the size.
One former client, George, had participated in an annual charity bike ride for the past five years. He felt his application lacked compelling examples of leadership, so we suggested that he volunteer to lead the coordination of the next ride. His responsibilities included recruiting volunteers, coordinating vendors and collecting funds.
George's leadership of the team ultimately helped to increase the amount raised in the ride by 14 percent. George used this experience to write a strong leadership essay for each of his target schools, and it ultimately helped him gain admission to MIT Sloan School of Management .
2. Display quantitative competency: While you don't need an undergraduate degree in economics to go to business school – MBA programs warmly welcome diversity in the form of applicants from the humanities, arts and social sciences – you do need to show that you won't be in over your head with the information business school is designed to teach.
To get your foot in the door, strive for a GMAT or GRE score that aligns with the average at your target schools. It will set the admissions committee's minds at ease knowing that, assuming you have relatively minimal academic experience in quantitative subjects. it won't be a hindrance once you hit those core courses.
If this is a problem area for you, tackle it head-on. Allow ample time for test prep. retake the test a few times, complement your score by acing a college-level quantitative course or point out any quantitative skills used on the job to support your ability to handle the material of the program.
3. Exhibit excellent communication skills: The general principles of finance and accounting are easily learned at business school, but recruiters frequently gripe that even MBA graduates from the most elite institutions need to work harder at cultivating soft skills.
You'll impress the admissions committee right out of the gate if you can demonstrate that you already possess strong communication skills. Highlight experiences that show you work well with others and that prove you can make a presentation in a persuasive, professional manner. Or, show how your effective communication skills have helped you land a client or seal a deal.
If this is an area you need to work on, reach out to mentors or supervisors whose communication skills you admire and ask for advice on how they read their audience, navigate meetings, and how they have cultivated their own interpersonal abilities for business success.
4. Set realistic post-MBA career plans: It's not uncommon for MBA applicants to be uncertain about their career goals. Nevertheless, you need to be very concrete about short and long term goals in your application. Explaining why you chose your career path is crucial.
As you describe your career trajectory, make sure you explain what has led you to pursue it and why it resonates with you. The answer doesn't need to be elaborate or dramatic, but it should be convincing and real.
Whether they discuss it openly, business schools are very concerned with job placement statistics. If they can't help their MBA graduates find jobs, the ripple effect leads to fewer applicants in the future and lower yield.
Are you sure that the industry you want to work in is one that typically hires MBAs? The admissions committee needs to know your career plans are achievable with an MBA degree.
5. Get enthusiastic recommenders: Letters of recommendation are one of the most compelling components of the application, and also the most unsettling for applicants since it's the one aspect you cannot entirely control. Make sure your recommenders are close enough to provide specific and relevant examples of your work and, above all, make sure they share in your excitement about going to business school.
Whether the mistake is choosing someone who doesn't know you well enough to provide a convincing recommendation, not adequately preparing your recommender. or unwittingly selecting a supervisor who is not 100 percent supportive of your MBA plans, there's nothing worse than discovering your chances at admission were torpedoed by a lukewarm endorsement.
So there you have it – five essential details that can make or break your MBA application. Study them well and with any luck, you'll sail through the admissions process and sidestep many of the common red flags plaguing lesser-prepared applicants.
Stacy Blackman launched her MBA admissions consulting company in 2001 and has since helped thousands of clients gain admission to the most selective business schools in the world, many with merit scholarships. Blackman is the author of The MBA Application Roadmap: The Essential Guide to Getting Into a Top Business School . and has published a series of online guides which contain in depth guidance on the admissions process at top schools. Blackman has degrees from both The Wharton School and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Got a question? E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The GRE ® Tests: Get the Facts
The GRE ® General Test is accepted at thousands of graduate and business school programs all over the world. Find out more at takethegre.com .
The GRE ® General Test is the most widely accepted graduate admissions test.
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Written by Kelly Granson. Posted in MBA Admission
Getting into an MBA program at a renowned business school has become increasingly competitive. Every year, thousands of eligible candidates submit applications to MBA programs all over the world, but not all of them are admitted. Applicants are evaluated carefully, and only those found to meet an institution's standards are admitted to its graduate programs. It often happens that some not-so-good students use their applications effectively to market themselves as well suited for the program, and hence, they are admitted. On the other hand, many deserving students are deprived of admission because their applications do not meet the program's standards. The crucial question, then, is this: "What are the elements of a successful MBA application?" According to experts, you should pay special attention to six components of your application to make it stand out from the rest.
1. Undergraduate GPA
Business schools are interested in knowing whether you have the required survival abilities and intellectual strengths to handle the workload of an MBA program. Your undergraduate GPA is the best way they can judge this. Therefore, a good undergraduate GPA can greatly assist you in demonstrating your capacity for MBA success. An excellent GPA, therefore, is highly likely to affect the decision of the admission committee in your favor.
(Your educational background in a related field can also favorably influence the decision. Most business schools do not require a business-related undergraduate major, but if you do have a related background, be sure you bring it to the attention of the committee.)
The GMAT is another factor to which most business schools pay close attention. Although the threshold GMAT score varies from school to school, it still constitutes the core of the evaluation process for almost every program. Admission committees consider it a vital aspect of your application and weigh it heavily in their decision. It is worth mentioning that a high GMAT score can improve your admission chances considerably and even help disguise deficiencies in other parts of the application.
3. Personal statements and essays
Since MBA programs are intended to prepare students to perform management operations effectively in professional life, admission committees evaluate managerial qualities such as leadership, organizational ability, communication skills, motivation, and task orientation. Your application should present you in a manner uniquely distinguishable from others. This is where essays and personal statements play their part. Essays are your best opportunity to reveal your character and present yourself as highly suitable for the program. Tell how your life experiences have shaped your personality and ideas. Use the personal statement to demonstrate and highlight your strengths. Describe your goals and plans for the future. Explain what you have learned from life's trials and triumphs. This kind of information creates a distinct image of your personality and offers insight into the kind of MBA student and alumnus you will be.
4. Interview opportunity
Another way to exhibit leadership qualities, including communication skill, is to perform well in the interview. Not every school requires an interview, but if you are presented with such an opportunity, take advantage of it to display your strengths. Be prepared to answer every question effectively. Be clear about your long-term career goals and plans; the success of your application may depend upon convincing the interviewer that the MBA program is ideal preparation for your future and that you will reflect credit on the program.
5. Letters of recommendation
The role of recommendation letters is to confirm what you have said about yourself. An appropriate letter adds another perspective on your character, talents, accomplishments, and potential for success, and a good one can bring you points in the evaluation process.
6. Professional experience
Although not every school requires work experience as a condition of eligibility for its MBA program, the quality and extent of relevant employment can play a decisive role when the competition is close. If you have worked in business administration in a professional environment, be sure to include it in your application to show your field expertise and fitness for the program.
Every business school has specific requirements and an individual evaluation process. Some may consider one factor more important while others rank it lower in importance, but all of them are interested in your character and competence. With a well-balanced application that incorporates these six elements, you can look forward to entering a good MBA program.Your friends will also love this article. Share!
When Steve Hind and Alula Eshete were putting together the annual admission and essay guides to Harvard Business School, what struck them most about the essays that helped to get current and future classmates admitted was how different they were from each other. No cookie-cutter formula was evident. There was no paint-by-the-numbers approach. If a pattern of any kind could be discerned, it was how genuine the essays read.
“There is no right way, but there are so many different paths into Harvard Business Schools ,” says Eshete, 27, who will show up for MBA orientation at Harvard on Aug. 24. “The essays prove that going the authentic route is the way to go. Reading about the doors people are opening in their lives was very moving. It made me feel like mine was a bit drier than it could have been. It was a thrill to read all of them and see the diversity of people coming into the classroom.”
In retrospect, Hind, who will enter his second year at HBS in a couple of weeks, thinks his essay was too boastful. “As an Australian, we are told that you really have to talk yourself up because the natural Australian inclination is not to talk about one’s achievements. But after reading these other essays, I think my main reaction was that I talked myself up too much. And if you tried to draw a list of five things all essays have in common you would really struggle because there is enormous diversity.”‘We’re democratizing access to Harvard and other top business schools’
Hind, editor-in-chief of the MBA student newspaper The Harbus. and Eshete, products manager for the Harbus. have just come out with the latest updated The Harbus Essay Guide as well as The Harbus MBA Admissions & Interview Guide . The 51-page essay guide costs $49.99, while the 76-page admissions guide is priced at $65. All proceeds go to support the non-profit Harbus Foundation. Along with other staffers, Hind and Ashete carefully read 16 new essays turned over to the newspaper by successful applicants to the school. All of them are included in the new Essay Guide. along with a fat paragraph of analysis on each essay.
Hind, a former consultant with BCG, and Eshete, who has worked across five different divisions of a major health care company, Abbott Labs, used the products when they applied to HBS. And they make no apologies for “spilling the beans” on how to get into the school. “We’re democratizing access to Harvard and other top business schools,” insists Hind, 27, who is doing his summer internship at BuzzFeed. “If you went to Harvard College and work at McKinsey, it’s really easy to talk to people about the process of applying to HBS. And it’s really easy if you can afford the help of an admissions consultant. But if you are not a Harvard alum and at Goldman and McKinsey, all of the informal networks that can help you don’t exist. As much as you might try to scrape together the money for a consultant to help you, it’s not quite the same.”
That’s where they believe the guides come in. Unlike much of the drivel produced by MBA admission consultants who largely crib from the school’s websites, the advice and the essays come from incoming HBS students who are willing to share the questions they were asked and the essays they wrote. “We are trying to give people a roadmap for what it takes to get into HBS as well as a better understanding of the process going into it,” says Eshete. “It’s not a blueprint but examples from other successful MBA candidates.”‘The big difference between the previous question and this one is the audience’
Of course, one big issue with the latest essays is that they address a different question. Dee Leopold, managing director of admissions and financial aid, recently changed this year’s application question, simply asking candidates to introduce themselves to their classmates in an essay. Eshete maintains that last year’s essays are just as relevant to the new question. “The big difference between the previous question and this one is the audience,” he says. “Instead of telling the admissions board some interesting facts about yourself outside of your application materials, you are directing it to the students.”
The 16 essays, altered only to protect the confidentiality of the students who wrote them, offer a glimpse into the different ways successful applicants have surmounted the hurdle of differentiating themselves to an admissions team that in any given year reads nearly 10,000 essays. Each essay is simply identified with a title, ranging from “The Inquisitive Mentor” and “The Techy” to “The Vegetarian” and “The Trailblazer.”
No less intriguing, however, is that each essay includes a short statement from its author who explains what it took to get the essay done. A 1,003-word treatise from a U.S. military commander took 20 hours of work and 12 drafts. An architect confesses that her 816-word essay consumed at least 45 hours, four story lines, and 24 drafts to get it right. A footballing engineer says his 1,075-word statement went through 12 to 13 iterations in total over a period of two months of on-and-off work.
Hind and Eshete have favorites. Hind was so struck by one essay written by an investment banker and self-published fiction author that he has invited her on The Harbus staff. The essay that most stood out to Eshete was one penned by a military recruit who did two different tours of duty. “He wrote in detail about the missions he was on, the successes and the failures,” says Eshete. “There was leadership written all over it and life lessons he gained throughout the entire experience. It read like a novel more than an application essay.”>>Click here to continue reading the full article on Poets&Quants . If you liked this article, let John Byrne know by clicking Like .