A 2012-2013 Application Strategy

I crashed and burned on my first 4-5 attempts at that essay. I temporarily abandoned it somewhere between my friend and Stanford GSB alum screaming “you’re not digging DEEP enough!” via text and Cheeterah1980 [basically] telling me “If you write another essay like that don’t ever speak to me again. Stop confusing good writing with good business school essays; they are not one in the same.

I switched gears and decided to kick things off with my goals essays, since the material is the most straightforward and the content will be the most repetitive between schools since attending a different program does not change your goals. After some strain, strife and painful revision I can say that I’m moderately proud of the current versions of my Wharton and Stanford goals essays.

I plan to finish Wharton’s essays first since their questions are the most standard and straightforward overall ; that’s good practice for getting the basic formulas and rhythms down before having to veer off the beaten path with less traditional essay questions. Kellogg is also good for this if you are applying during the first round. MIT’s essays are the next most straightforward, so I’ll tackle those after Wharton.

By then, my Stanford essay wounds should be healed enough to take another swing at their main question. I also read some advice that doing other essays before that one could help one gain additional insights and ideas (so it’s the opposite of what I originally thought).  However, if any essay puts a match and gasoline to my August goal date of 4 sets of working drafts, I imagine that will be the one.

I’ll wrap up this first group with Harvard Essays for one reason and one reason only–word count. To ask a writer to convey all that he needs to convey within two 400 word essays is like forcing the comedian Katt Willliams to “keep it clean”; its a painful stretch that just won’t work under normal circumstances. By saving the HBS essays for 4th, I hope that all of the previous writing that I will have completed will have sharpened my ability to spit out concise, compelling essays without a word to spare.

MBAOver30 offers the perspective of a 30-something, California-based entrepreneur who is applying to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, MIT, Northwestern, Berkeley, UCLA and the University of Southern California. He hopes to gain acceptance to the Class of 2015 and blogs at MBAOver30.

Previous posts on Poets&Quants:

How I Totally Overestimated The MBA Admissions Process

Musings on MBA Failophobia

Letting Go Of An MBA Safety School

When A Campus Visit Turns Off An MBA Applicant

Yale, Tuck and Booth: The Next Leg of My Pre- MBA Research

 My Countdown: Less Than 30 Days To The GMAT

From Suits To Startups: Why MBA Programs Are Changing

Why I’m Not Getting Either A Part-Time MBA or An Executive MBA

Preparing To Sit For The GMAT Exam

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