Essays are your best opportunity to be personal in your MBA or Master’s application. Personality is what differentiates you from your competitors and admissions officers are very much focused on the essays in the process of reviewing your application.
MBA programmes might require from two to ten essays as part of your application package. Topics vary from strictly motivational, e.g. “How will our MBA help you to meet your goals?”, to specific ones like “What is your immediate post-MBA goal?”, to broad ones like “Tell us 25 things about yourself”.
Most MBA essays will be limited to 500 to 700 words.
Master’s programmes will also require an essay or a Statement of Purpose. It may be longer than the MBA essays which are limited to one or two pages. Topics will also vary, but most commonly they are related to the chosen field of study.
Both types of essays take a lot of time to think about, write and edit. The essential part of your work on them is to identify and select the best ideas, experiences and stories to focus on. The challenge is that the essays have to be at the same time personal and relevant to the application, and differentiate you from your competitors whom you do not actually know. The most common traps in preparing essays are to just use samples or to write general ideas and standard MBA or Master’s jargon. When you read your draft essay think about whether what you have written can be true for many other applicants as well. If so, then focus solely on your own individual features.
Very often, what your essays will finally say will be very different from your initial ideas. The MBA essays will also aim to reveal your soft skills and personality, which are important for your development as a business leader. Evidence for this may often be in experiences outside your professional life.
Many applicants for the competitive business schools get professional help when creating outstanding essays. The coaches/admissions consultants uncover your uniqueness; they advise you what stories and experience will be both essential for the business school and differentiate you from the rest of the applicants. Finally, they make sure you have presented all of it in a clear and concise way.
Even if you do not work with a coach, essays need an objective review to check their clarity and whether they convey the message you intended.