MBA Essay Tips: Things to Avoid When Writing an MBA Essay


When you read sample MBA essays online, you are probably impressed with their content quality and stylistic approaches to essay writing. You can also write as beautifully as the writers of those essays. How? Well, we gathered some helpful pointers on writing MBA personal statements from SAS. Here’s the short list:

Excellent MBA essay samples don’t talk about the school extensively

According to SAS:

Admissions officers already know how great their institutions are (or aren’t). Customization is important, but two or three sentences about the school should suffice.

The whole purpose of your essay is to highlight your qualifications in such a way that the admissions officers will deem you fit for the MBA program and as part of the community. The common mistake among MBA essay writers is devoting a large part of the essay to patronizing the school, citing what makes it a good institution. While this is well and good, the discussion should focus more on your application and how the school makes a good choice for you.

Here’s another tip:

Good essay samples don’t talk about negative things

No need to mention that D+ in Italian History (was Michelangelo his first name or his last?). It’s okay that you couldn’t find a job for 4 months after graduating from college. Your GMAT score is what it is. The personal statement is like a first date; let her know about the credit card debt months later, after you move in.

If you are to mention some challenges in your life such as failures, make sure that you end it up with a positive conclusion. You can say that because of the untoward incidents that happened, you learned a lot from it. Discuss in your essay some lessons learned and how it shaped you into a better person. Don’t make excuses for your failures. Instead, try to dwell on your strengths to show readers your character and adaptability to certain situations.

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The Center for Writing Studies of University of Illinois include this as part of the don’ts when writing an MBA essay:

Allow any superficial errors in spelling, mechanics, grammar, punctuation, format, or printing to creep under your vigilant guard.

Even small mistakes will reflect on your character. Spelling errors may indicate your recklessness or lack of focus, same with ignoring the requirements for the format. Much can be said with these simple mistakes that you failed to clear out prior to submitting the essay for final evaluation.

Here’s another common mistake according to the CWS list:

Repeat information directly from the application form itself unless you use it to illustrate a point or want to develop it further.

Your admissions essay should not be a duplicate of your resume or application forms. The admissions panel has carefully evaluated these requirements, so why let them go over your list of accomplishments all over again? It will only be a waste of time. Basically, what you need to tell them is why you’ve decided to pursue an MBA degree, why you’ve chosen the program or school, and what you can offer to the community and the chosen field.

Your application essay can put you one step ahead of other applicants by giving your application the needed boost. Be aware of the common essay mistakes and focus on the more important points of writing an MBA admission essay.