With the 2021-2022 MBA application deadlines coming up this fall, it is time to kick your MBA application efforts into top gear. Get an industry expert’s guiding principles for writing winning MBA application essays so you can begin to devote significant attention to essay development this summer.

From common errors to school-specific case studies, this webinar will guide you through the process of writing strong standout essays. You will come away with distinct advice for writing both personal story and MBA goals essays. You will also learn about the step-by-step process of essay writing and key guiding principles to keep in mind throughout.

Don’t miss the Q&A at the end of the webinar when Scott Edinburgh, Founder of Personal MBA Coach, answers questions from the audience about the MBA essay writing process.

General guidelines for application essays

Scott’s first big piece of advice when it comes to essay writing is this: always answer the question asked. Applicants sometimes veer off into a general description of their skills and experience instead of staying on topic.

Next to paying attention to the essay question, it is also important to write authentically and follow the framework of your personal story.

Be succinct, use short sentences, and make your language approachable. You don’t have to write long, complicated structures to make a good impression. Admissions committees will remember strong, thought-provoking statements that don’t go too far in terms of creative writing.

Mistakes to avoid in your application

Another useful way to prepare your MBA essays and application is to bear in mind some common mistakes that candidates make. Here are Scott’s recommendations on what mistakes to avoid.

Having illogical career goals

According to Scott, there are four different ways you can pivot in your career – by industry, function, geographic region, or language. Usually, professionals seeking an MBA are thinking of switching at least one of these directions. If you want to pivot in all four, you need to be able to explain why in a way that makes sense.

In general, be decisive and be specific. This is not the time to be vague in your goals.

Asking your company’s CEO for a letter of recommendation

Unless you work closely with the CEO, they are not a good choice for writing your letter of recommendation. The prestige of your recommender’s position is not important to the admissions committee.

Instead, choose someone who knows your work well and can write an amazing, yet relevant recommendation.

Not including school specifics

In your application essays, you want to avoid writing vague statements that could easily fit any other school, Scott explains. Admissions committees want to read very specific arguments as to why you chose their school. Even if what you point out is not the school’s biggest strength, it could still be a differentiator for you.

By doing good research and showing your authentic interest in the school, you will also make a more convincing point that you will end up picking that MBA. Even if you are a well-qualified candidate, the admissions committee might be less likely to choose you if they think you have no interest in their school.

Mentioning a vague reason for wanting an MBA

Establish what you want to gain specifically from the MBA,” Scott highlights. Using terms that are too broad, such as “management consulting” to explain your reasoning is not enough. Think of the skill gaps you need to fill and how a particular school will help you close them.

Another practical tip: avoid the terms “business knowledge” and “strong fundamentals”. They are too broad and will not impress anyone.

Lacking consistency across your application

Your application is like a puzzle. All its parts – essays, letter of recommendation, CV/resume, etc. – should fit neatly together. If they are not consistent with each other, the admissions committee will have a hard time putting the puzzle together.

As long as you are genuine in your writing and follow a consistent line of argumentation, your final application should work in your favor.

About the webinar speaker

Founded by a Wharton MBA and MIT Sloan graduate who sits on the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants Board of Directors, Personal MBA Coach has been guiding clients for 14 years and is consistently ranked #1 or #2, currently holding the #1 ranking in the US on Poets&Quants.

Personal MBA Coach helps clients with all aspects of the MBA application process including early planning, GMAT/GRE/EA tutoring, application strategy, school selection, essay editing and mock interviews. Their team includes a former M7 admissions director and former M7 admissions interviewers. Last year, their clients earned more than USD 6M in scholarships!