The current trend towards fewer and shorter essays means that applicants have less space to relate their thoughts to the admissions committee. To make the most of your space, you’ll need to write tight, concise essays with a strong, unifying theme. Without your central theme, your essay will meander all over the place, and with a short essay, you will not have the time or space to wrap up your loose ends.
Here are a few tips you can use to develop a strong theme for each MBA essay:
- Answer the question. You may go into the essay writing process with a clear idea of what you want to write about. That’s great – but if you don’t answer the given question, the adcom won’t be impressed. When choosing a theme or main idea to write about, be sure that the one you choose answers the essay question.
- Stay focused. A good essay is a focused essay in which each paragraph directly relates to or supports the theme. If your subsequent paragraphs don’t relate to or support your theme, then either your theme isn’t strong enough or your paragraphs aren’t persuasive enough and need to be rewritten. Cut anything that isn’t directly relevant to your core idea.
- Provide examples. Convince the reader of your main point by using concrete examples that prove that your theme is logical and credible. For instance, if you are writing about the importance of careful listening to leadership, you should give examples from your experience that show why listening is important or the benefits of listening to a leader. Weave your personal story of listening and leadership into your discussion of benefits. Or better yet, make it the focus that exemplifies the lessons and benefits of this particular leadership attribute.
- Don’t forget your conclusion. Wrap up your ideas and tie them with a big bow in the last paragraph or sentence of your essay. This will reinforce your theme and bring your essay full-circle.
Remember, with a shorter essay, you’ll have less space to complete these objectives. Paragraphs do not need to be long and you do not need to make a million points. You just need to be sure that your theme is clear and that you provide an example or two to support it. Stay focused and write concisely to nail those essays!
By Linda Abraham, CEO and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new book, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools. Linda has been helping MBA applicants gain acceptance to top MBA programs since 1994.