I completed 50% of an MBA in Management at Colorado State University in the early 1990's. I wrote many project papers and did fairly well since I was in my late 40's and early 50's at the time.
The MBA essay is what distinguishes you from thousands upon thousands of other applicants. A well-crafted MBA essay will represent who you are, allowing the admissions board to see you as a person, rather than just another number. After all, a GPA is just a number, a GMAT score is just a number, and every recommendation letter paints every applicant in the same glowing light. A good MBA essay will tell your story, and allow the admissions board to see why they should pick you from the crowd.
Business school students face a uniquely difficult challenge, because most programs require a series of essays rather than a single business paper with comprehensive personal statement. This fact alone should indicate the importance that business schools place on your written responses in your business papers. Part of the reason for this extra required writing is that business schools also place a stronger emphasis on practical experience.
Thus your admission will depend largely on your ability to convey your experiences and goals in business papers. Self-assessment is a significant part of this process, as is a careful review of both your life and what you have done professionally. Many successful professionals have simply never had to articulate their accomplishments before in business papers. Now for the first time, the applicants must communicate this information in a very clear, concise, powerful manner of business papers that is accessible to anyone, even without knowledge of their field. Being able to convey both the substance and significance of one's work life in the business papers is crucial for all applicants.
You have two objectives when you are preparing your business papers as part of the admission process. Firstly, you need to persuade the admissions officer that you are worthy of admission. Secondly, you need to bring your application to life to make the admissions officer or committee aware that you are not just another "standard" applicant. Whilst this can be easier said than done, every prospective business student should be able to write an business paper that catches an admissions officer's attention.
Nearly all applications will feature a question that asks about your reasons for wanting to obtain an MBA at this stage of your career. Some will explicitly ask you to tie these reasons into your background and your goals in your business papers. Even for schools that don't offer this specific direction, you should plan on such a discussion of past and future, as it provides essential context for your application in your business paper.
"Why MBA?" is often the first question asked and without a doubt the most important essay you will write. The MBA essay includes essential information about whether you're qualified, whether you're prepared, and where you're headed. The other essays fill in details about these fundamental points, but a strong answer about, for example, how you overcame a failure will not revive a candidacy that failed based on a lack of career focus.
There are no groundbreaking reasons for pursuing an MBA. This is not a place to aim for bold originality. Rather, you should focus on articulating detailed reasons that are specific to your situation.
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