When you sit down to write your MBA essay, there are certain things you should aim for: a clear, realistic goal; examples from your experience to show your skills and personal qualities in action; a personable tone that makes the adcom want to get to know you better.
But I really want to discuss common essay writing mistakes that you should stay away from! Here they are:
DON’T use jargon and buzzwords
Loading your sentences with buzzwords is a surefire way to make the adcom’s eyes glaze over. Some applicants use jargon because they think it makes them sound like experts; some resort to it because they just aren’t used to explaining their ideas in plain language. Sometimes you’ll need to use technical language in your essay, but if you read your draft and find that it’s packed with industry jargon, it’s time to do some rewriting. It’ll make your essay more original and unique – and sound more like you.
DON’T make grand, unsupported claims
Don’t just make grandiose statements about your values or personal qualities; illustrate them. “I’m passionate about helping people” doesn’t mean much without supporting details. It’s better to tell a story about the public service project you created in your community and illustrate how it impacted you.
Complaining about your application blemishes only draws attention to them. If you aren’t happy with your GPA, then take responsibility for your grades, and if relevant, provide context that explains why you did poorly…and then move on. If possible, portray your liabilities as assets by discussing the ways in which you’ve grown from your experiences, or point to times when you excelled in similar circumstances. But please, keep the tone mature. Nobody likes a crybaby.
DON’T be sloppy
This is one of the most common essay writing errors – but also one of the easiest to fix! Don’t submit without carefully proofreading your essays and checking for typos, spelling mistakes, and errors in grammar and usage. And don’t just use your computer’s spellcheck. It’s helpful to have someone else proofread your essay, too. A sloppy, error-filled essay sends a message to your readers that you are sloppy, lazy, rushed, or apathetic (or all of the above!), so make sure your essay is polished and represents you well.
Your MBA essay provides you with an opportunity to show off your best qualifications, ideas, and goals to the admissions committee. DON’T blow this chance by making one of these avoidable mistakes! DO be careful to write an essay that truly portrays your best self.
Want to learn more about common application mistakes and how to guard against them? Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your MBA Application Essays – free, today.
Linda Abraham is the founder of Accepted, the premier admissions consultancy. She has coached MBA applicants to acceptance for over 20 years. The Wall Street Journal, US News, and Poets & Quants are among the media outlets that seek her admissions expertise