Storytelling is not just a useful writing tool – it is the key to formulating a persuasive argument. Choosing the right stories will help you create stellar MBA admissions essays that land you a spot in elite MBA programs at institutions like Stanford’s Global School of Business, London Business School, or Harvard.

However, choosing the right stories is not an easy task. To get accepted, you must carefully select your best stories that show the admissions committee your alignment with the school’s values and requirements while staying true to yourself.

Watch this webinar to get great insights from Ellin Lolis – one of the world's leading MBA consultants, and the founder and president of Ellin Lolis Consulting. Ellin and her team have a 98.9% success rate of getting professionals like you placed in the world's most competitive MBA programs. As an award-winning writer and a certified career coach, Ellin has nearly a decade of experience helping clients get admitted to top universities around the world, such as Harvard, MIT Sloan, Stanford, Wharton, Kellog, etc., and ensuring their MBA fits into a successful career plan.

Ellin Lolis Consulting’s experienced team of MBA experts uses a personalized approach to help you decide on the right schools to apply to, create an outstanding application that highlights your strengths and is modeled on your specific objectives and situation, and receive an offer letter from your dream school.

Watch this webinar to learn how to identify your best stories and what mistakes you must avoid in order to WOW the adcom.

What makes a story good?

The first thing you want to do is think of the story as a single past experience, Ellin says. The best stories have an ending, a result you can talk about. Try to think of a past experience that had a lasting impact on you and the people around you.

She highlights three main keywords to follow while choosing the stories you want to tell.

Challenge – every good story starts with a challenge. Something you or your team or company had to overcome. Challenges are what builds character and makes better leaders.

Action – you then need to share what actions you took and how these actions helped you overcome the initial challenge. This can demonstrate strong leadership. Also, make it clear what role you played in the action.

Lesson – and thirdly, a great way to wrap up the example, is to show what results you got and what you learned. According to Ellin, you should try to give quantifiable outcomes. Results and what impact you made can really make your story stand out against the thousands of others the adcom receive. The lesson helps to summarize the example – how it changed you and made you a better leader, or person.

Last of all, you need to make it clear why you are sharing this story with them. So always keep the story on the same trajectory as your goals and show how this particular school can have a defining part in your journey.

How do I choose the right stories for my MBA essays?

It will depend on the essay, the subject, and on your entire application but according to Ellin, the best stories you can use in your MBA essays:

  • Feature a personal or professional challenge – she suggests having a good mix between the two throughout your application.
  • Reveal your motivations for your current professional trajectory – give a few examples of what led you to your short-term or long-term goals and how the school will help you get there.
  • Reveal your unique skills or knowledge or how you gained these – the best stories will show what makes you unique and a great candidate for the program.
  • Show how you made an impact on others or within your company/industry – as she mentions earlier in the video, good stories have an ending and some kind of positive impact that you’ve made.
  • Are consistent with your personal brand – find your personal brand, your focus, and stay true to that throughout your application.

Ultimately, you should think of the direction you want to take your career in and tell stories that show the real you, your personality, and your strongest traits while aligning your stories with the school’s values and requirements. Watch the full webinar for even more insights and some mistakes you should avoid while choosing a story for your MBA essays.

Personal Brand Exercise – here you can find free resources you can download. You can also take advantage of their comprehensive library of real-life essay examples, interview mock-ups, school guides and so much more. Visit their MBA Resource Center to find out more.