Helpful Tips for Creating Compelling Essays – a Summary

For the last couple of days, we have been discussing one essay tip every day. I have illustrated each of these super useful essay tips with examples from  students’ essays. I hope you have enjoyed them. For those of you who missed some of them, here is a compilation of the links of all of the blog posts at one place. Tip # 1 Comprehend the Essay Prompt Tip # 2 Brainstorm Ideas/begin Writing Tip # 3 Address Each Part of the Essay Question Tip # 4 Make your Introduction Engaging Tip # 5  Organize Your Story Well Tip # … Continue reading

Creating Compelling Essays Day 13 Tip 13 Proofread, Proofread, Proofread

So you have written, rewritten, and revised your essay multiple times and have made sure that you have adequately addressed all parts of the essay question within the prescribed word limit effectively and persuasively. Now the last step is to get your essays edited for sentence structure, punctuation, grammar, and spelling errors. If neglected, these errors are a poor refection on your candidacy and can jeopardize your chances of admission despite your great GMAT score, good GPA, and impressive work experience. In order to bring variety to your writing, try to compose a mix of simple, compound and complex sentences. … Continue reading

Creating Compelling Essays Day 12-Tip 12 Conclude your Story Well

Sometimes I read essays with compelling stories, impressive accomplishments, and flawless writing, but when I am done reading them, I feel something is lacking. What is that? — An effective conclusion. When you forget to wrap up his/her story, it leaves the reader wondering if the writer is really done. The key to a good story is an engaging beginning, a well-developed middle and a compelling conclusion. Therefore, it is important to sum up all the key components of your story and tie them to your thesis, that is, your main point. You need to bring it full circle to … Continue reading

Creating Compelling Essays – Day 11-Tip 11 Choose Your Words Wisely

Every year, B schools are cutting down on the number of essays and the word limits of essays they require their prospective students to write. What is the reason behind this changing trend? We all know that Admission officers have thousands of applications to review, so they  don’t want to be frustrated  with essays filled with overly lengthy paragraphs or sentences which they need to read 2-3 times to make sense of. Clearly, reducing number of essays and their word limits will ease the burden of the admission committee.  Soojin Kwon, the admissions director of Michigan Ross School of Business, … Continue reading

Creating Compelling Essays- Avoid Using Quotations Day 10-Tip 10

 When writing admission essays, most applicants tend to use quotes of famous and distinguished people ( leaders, philosophers, and scientists etc.) who have made a positive impact in the lives of future generations. It is a general perception that using quotations of eminent personalities is a powerful way to impress the readers. I, however, do not recommend using precious words to quote someone else. These essay questions about your goals, accomplishments, leadership experiences, cultural experience, background, setback, and life experiences are designed to evaluate YOU to determine  your ‘fit’ with the school, so using someone else’s  words, no matter how … Continue reading

Creating Compelling Essays Use Transitional Expressions – Day 9 Tip 9

Specific details and examples are essential in making your  stories engaging and persuasive. The use of transitional expressions make these specific anecdotes/ details coherent and help the reader  to transition smoothly from one bit of information to the other. The use of transition words and phrases not only helps us write clearly and coherently, but also helps our readers (in this case the AD Com) follow our story and stay focused. These transitional expressions act like road signs that help the reader follow the direction of our thought. True, we all are familiar with these most commonplace words and phrases, … Continue reading

Creating Compelling Essays – Day 8 Tip 8 Do Not Use Jargon

  It has been a common experience for me to review essays filled with technical terms of the applicant’s industry. Whether it is ‘leadership’ essay, ‘setback’ essay, ‘goals’ essay, ‘ethical dilemma’ or even ‘background’ essay, some applicants inadvertently provide lengthy technical details which are comprehensible only to their industry people. In their enthusiasm to showcase their technical expertise, they often omit relevant information (e.g.  ‘What were the main challenges?’ “How did they deal with the situation?’ or ‘How was the experience meaningful?’ etc.).  The use of excessive jargon  makes it challenging for the readers to comprehend your story and  distracts … Continue reading

Creating Compelling Essays – Day 7-Tip 7 Do Not Use Passive Voice

When narrating your personal and professional stories, make sure to be personal. Your experiences and  accomplishments, irrespective of how impressive they are, will fail to make an impression on the reader if they are written in passive voice. I often come across essays composed in flawless English, but they still don’t succeed in making the desired impact on the reader.  The lack of personal touch in those stories give an impression as if these stories are referring to someone else and not to the candidates themselves. Please remember that your personal stories of goals, accomplishments, challenge, cultural experience, background, setback, … Continue reading

Creating Compelling Essays Day 6 Tip 6 Provide Specific Details

One of the most common pitfalls of Admission essays is the writers’ inability to use specific examples or details and share stories that are  filled with vague generalities. To be able to make sense of your story and appreciate it as well, the reader needs to know the specifics of your story. Please note that the members of the Admission committee  have to read hundreds of essays for evaluating candidacy of their prospective students, so if you want your stories to ‘stick’ in their minds, your writing needs to be succinct, articulate, and specific. By providing specific examples/details about ‘what’ … Continue reading

Creating Compelling Essays – Day 2 Tip 2 Brainstorm Ideas/Stories

Yesterday , we  discussed the first step in the process of crafting compelling stories for MBA essays i.e. Comprehend the Essay Prompt. Once you get an understanding of what the question expects you to discuss, begin brainstorming ideas / stories to be able to address that prompt appropriately. You will have to do a lot of soul searching to identify the right stories/experiences  . There are many pre-writing techniques that you may use to generate ideas: Free writing (writing non–stop for 10-15 minutes without thinking), Questioning (ask as many questions as you can about the subject), Making a list (collecting … Continue reading