Jul 19, 2016

5 Steps to Essays AdCom will Appreciate

Tuck’s 2016-2017 essay questions are now live on Tuck 360. While essays can be one of the most challenging aspects of any MBA application, they can also be one of the most illuminating, for both the applicant and the admissions committee.

The MBA application process is an opportunity to reflect on your experiences, your plans for the future and what motivates you. You may find yourself with little time to spend on introspection, but don’t let it fall by the wayside! Not only will it lead to a stronger, more compelling application, but it also helps us understand how compatible you are with our program. Also, by getting to know yourself and understanding your motivations, the entire application process will seem easier—spend a little more time now, save a little more time (and anxiety) later.

As you begin to write your MBA essays, keep the following tips in mind:

1) Be authentic. Don’t write your essay based on what you think the admissions committee wants to hear. In fact, there is never one response (or even a handful of responses) that we’re looking for. Instead, approach your essays with your individual accomplishments, experiences and goals in mind. Here’s where that introspection will pay dividends!

2) Answer the question being asked. This may seem obvious, but applicants sometimes get so caught up in the story they want to tell that they lose sight of question being presented. Also keep this in mind when you’re tempted to stretch one response to fit four different essay questions, at four different schools.

3) Staying as close to the recommended word limit as possible will help you be concise and articulate. In our experience, applicants who adhere to the suggested limit stay on topic. While we don’t count the words in every essay, we will notice when you meander and ramble. 

4) Proofread, review, repeat. Again, this may seem obvious, but it’s easy to overlook some pretty big mistakes (referring to another school for example). Have someone you trust read your essays—does it sound like you? Have someone you don’t know as well read your essays—does it make sense? Finally, reading your essays out loud can bring grammatical errors and unclear sentences to light, even after you’ve read them silently 782 times.

5) Don’t forget to include the “why” and the “how.” For example: It’s wonderful that you want to pursue a career in healthcare post-MBA, but nothing in your background is healthcare related—why is it important to you to make this transition? How will you take advantage of Tuck’s MBA program to help you achieve this? Show us that you’ve put serious thought and effort into this next step. Simply stating a goal and listing a bunch of courses isn’t going to help you stand out.   

If you're considering writing your essays as a haiku, or just want some more essay insight, check out this post from Senior Associate Director of Admissions Amy Mitson: Creating Memorable Essays...and Memorable in a Good Way.

Good luck! We look forward to learning about you all!