Posted on September 17, 2015

Creating Compelling Essays: Day 3- Tip 3- Address Each Part of the Essay Question

So far, I have covered the following first three important steps in the process of developing engaging stories for MBA essays:

1. Comprehend the essay prompt,

2. Brainstorming/gathering ideas for the essay prompt, and

3. Putting down those ideas on paper

Now let’s discuss one of the key components during this ‘writing’ stage:’

Address Each Part of the Essay Question

Often the essay questions consist of 2 or 3 parts, but sometimes, the candidates tend to ignore the second or third part of the essay question and delve into depth addressing only the first part of the question. There is a reason why a particular school is asking 3 questions in one essay prompt – they are seeking to evaluate certain attributes in their prospective candidates through their response to that part of the essay prompt. Hence your goal should be to pay equal attention to all those aspects.

In order to address the essay question holistically, you may break it down into multiple sub-segments and then build a structure around each sub-segment.


Let us look at INSEAD’s motivation essay #1:

Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person), stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary. (600 words max).

This essay prompt requires you to discuss two things:

1. your strengths and weaknesses, and

2. the factors (events, people, and your background) that have contributed to your personal development

In order to make sure that you address both sections effectively, you may break it down into two parts, and then describe the first part (your strengths and weaknesses) in approximately 300 words and the second part (factors that have influenced your personality) in approximately 300 words. When discussing your strengths and weakness, do not forget to substantiate them by real-life examples. While it is important to address all parts of the prompt:  strengths, weaknesses, and main factors responsible for your personal development, it’s important to focus as much as possible on the positive. So you may want to begin with two or three positive qualities and then comment on one or two weaknesses, and then substantiate them with real-life examples. Also, explain what you have learned from your mistakes and how you have applied those lessons in your personal/ professional life.

This question gives applicants the freedom to select examples from their personal, professional, or extracurricular life, so try to select your examples with a view to presenting a balanced picture of personality.

Stay Tuned for Tip #4

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