Application essays for B-schools touch upon various facets of your personality as an applicant. B-schools use these as substitute for short-listing interviews to choose good candidates for the final telephonic interview. We can divide application essays into three categories:
1. Essays on Your Professional Career and Aspirations
Such essays usually cover the following points:
a. Your short-term (immediate post-MBA) and long-term career goals
b. The career path that has brought you to the present position
c. Why the present stage of your career is the most suitable time to undertake MBA studies
d. Why you have chosen to apply to that particular Business School.
2. Biographical and Speculative Essays
Biographical essays ask you to describe
a. moral dilemmas you have faced
b. your experiences of success and failure
c. successful and/or unsuccessful team efforts that you have participated in as a member or a leader
d. what you are like as a person outside of your work place
e. events and persons that have influenced you
Speculative essays can be about:
a. what you would have done if you had stepped into the shoes of a celebrity (of your choice)
b. who you would choose as a traveling companion or dinner guest
c. what you would write in a biographical editorial on the eve of your retirement
d. what you would like to change about your past
From these essays, the selection committees want to know your values, intelligence, foresight, initiative, sociability, sensibility, originality, self-perception, ambition, etc. Be truthful, be candid and be positive. State how you handled the experiences and what lessons you learnt. Give a realistic evaluation of your own contribution to your successes. This approach to essay-writing will set you apart from the rest of the applicants more surely than imitating well-written essays of others available on the Internet.
3. Essays on Your Reasons for Applying to that Particular B-School
You will be applying to several B-schools. To support your choice of B-school, discover the details of their offerings and their vision and the mission statements. Think and state how these would help you achieve your career goals. Investigate the links to professors’ websites, where you might find their informed opinion about what the admission committee wishes to know from the essays.
In conclusion, be honest and introspective. Explore your motives; draw on your experience and be precise. Do not to veer from the essay topics and do not to exceed the given word-limit; use the right words to convey the intended meaning, and above all, write in Standard English.
Besides gaining you admission to the B-school you desire, you will find writing of these essays an enlightening experience that will help you think clearly about your career and other important goals.
Here’s a useful link with more useful information: making compelling MBA applications
For help in preparing application essays click here.