McCombs School of Business | Mr. Marine Executive Officer
GRE 322, GPA 3.28
Tuck | Mr. Liberal Arts Military
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Harvard | Ms. Developing Markets
GMAT 780, GPA 3.63
Harvard | Mr. Policy Player
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Tough Guy
GMAT 680, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. CPPIB Strategy
GRE 329 (Q169 V160), GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Chicago Booth | Mr. Bank AVP
GRE 322, GPA 3.22
Kellogg | Mr. Double Whammy
GMAT 730, GPA 7.1/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Infantry Officer
GRE 320, GPA 3.7
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Ernst & Young
GMAT 600 (hopeful estimate), GPA 3.86
Kellogg | Mr. Engineer Volunteer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Mr. Operations Analyst
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.15
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Indian Dreamer
GRE 331, GPA 8.5/10
Kellogg | Mr. Innovator
GRE 300, GPA 3.75
London Business School | Ms. Private Equity Angel
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
Yale | Ms. Biotech
GMAT 740, GPA 3.29
Stanford GSB | Ms. Global Empowerment
GMAT 740, GPA 3.66
Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Apparel Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. Armenian Geneticist
GRE 331, GPA 3.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 1st Gen Grad
GMAT 740, GPA 3.1
Ross | Mr. Travelpreneur
GMAT 730, GPA 2.68

Every MBA Essay Needs a Point

studyingThe 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 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.