MBA Life

Avoid these 5 Common MBA Essay Writing Mistakes

Your CV and application form provides basic information about your profile. But it is your essays that give a clear picture of your personality. Business schools aim to groom future leaders, and elite business schools receive more applications from high caliber outstanding candidates than they can admit. So they will read each application essay carefully.

Writing MBA essays is a hugely daunting task. It is not easy to write about yourself, especially for those applicants for whom English is not a native language. But when the field is full of exceptional candidates, business schools can afford to be choosy. As an applicant, you don’t want to give them any opportunities to reject your application simply because of some basic and easily avoidable writing errors.

In our experience working with business school applicants, we have identified these five common mistakes you need to eliminate.

1. Not answering the actual question or sub-questions

For example, HEC Paris asks applicants to describe their current job. Applicants are requested to provide details about their job that they couldn’t put on their CV. Applicants should use this space to give a clear description of their company, job title, day-to-day responsibilities, KPI, team management, etc. Providing more context on their motivations, successes, or lessons learnt on the job allows candidates to complement the information already present on the CV.

However, many candidates make the mistake of using this space instead to talk about their career goals is not the best use of this space. There will be opportunities to address the career goals separately.

2. Exceeding the word count

Word counts are difficult, but they exist for a reason. Admissions committees want to know your story, but it is unreasonable to expect them to read epic tales of your glorious achievements. They want you to get to the point, explain the context, and move on. Often, the admission committee will know from a cursory glance if you are within the limit without needing to run a word count. As such, it is sometimes acceptable to be slightly above the word count. But flagrantly disregarding the limit is a big mistake and gives the school a reason to overlook your application.

3. Grammatical errors

International candidates who aren’t native English speakers do get allowances from the admission committee. They will not be held to the highest standard of writing since English is not their primary language. However, it does not excuse candidates from making basic spelling mistakes, capitalization mistakes, and obvious grammatical errors. Not taking the time to run a basic spell check or getting essays proof-read reflects poorly on your candidacy and gives the admissions committee a reason to reject your application.

4. Wasting valuable space telling the school what they already know

repeating information found on the school’s website or marketing materials is a common mistake. This error is frequently observed in the essays where the school wants to know why you applied at their school. Stating facts about the school without explaining why they mean anything to you has no impact. Instead, elaborating why you value the work of a particular professor, or how the school’s curriculum or course duration helps you to to reach your career goals, is a better option.

5. Using Jargon

The admissions committee reads through a variety of profiles and diverse backgrounds. While most will be comfortable with profiles of applications coming from traditional backgrounds such as banking or consulting, it is unreasonable to expect them to know every detail about your industry. As such, try to avoid using industry-specific terminology or getting too specific about industry jargon. It is also not very interesting from a story-telling perspective since you could use that space more productively to provide insight into your thoughts and motivations.

An MBA from a top business school is a life-changing experience. So make sure to get your essays proof-read to eliminate these basic errors. Our experienced consultants at MBA-Goals are at your service to make sure you don’t make these errors before submitting your application. Reach out to us to benefit from our essay editing services today.

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