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How To Discuss Failure In Your MBA Application Essays

MBA application failure essay

As an applicant to an MBA program, it may seem like all of your competitors are perfect – perfect scores, perfect employment history, perfect community involvement. In order to compete, you want to point out all of the ways that you, too, are perfect. Everything is going along beautifully until you see that you have to write about a failure for one of the essay questions. What do you do now???

First of all, don’t panic. There are MBA admissions consultants out there to help you find a way to turn an essay about a failure into your greatest triumph. It is never easy acknowledging personal weakness or disappointment. However, admitting to failure with honesty and humility can point to your self-awareness and ability to change.

3 Ways to Write a Great Failure Essay

Here are some tips to help you write a compelling, straightforward, and honest essay:

  1. Realize that no one is perfect.

We are all human, and therefore all prone to make mistakes. Yes, even the admissions officers make mistakes and have weaknesses. A failure essay question does not exist to make you doubt your abilities. It is meant to show which applicants are able to look at themselves, acknowledge weaknesses or failures, and change.

  1. Think honestly about things in your past.

Make a list of failures or weaknesses, depending on the essay question. Chances are that you have overcome more than one of them.

  1. Look at your list and decide which ones helped your growth the most.

Which ones led to your greatest improvement and made you stronger and better able to face difficulties? How have you changed from facing these hard times? Think of concrete instances that demonstrate how you changed and were able to succeed after a particular failure.

Admitting Failure is a Sign of Success

Think long and hard before writing your essay about weakness or failure. Strive to answer the question in a way that shows a connection between your failure and honesty and integrity. The willingness to admit failure and weakness is a sign of an effective leader. None of us are perfect, but discovering the perfect way to write this essay could be the key to being admitted to the MBA program of your choice.


Accepted Admissions Consulting

Are you having difficulty writing your failure essay, or any other essay in your MBA application? Accepted’s MBA admissions experts are ready to help you create an essay that will boost your chances of acceptance.

Jen Weld, MBA admissions expert at Accepted, is the former Assistant Director of Admissions at Cornell’s EMBA program. She enjoys guiding MBA applicants to acceptance at top MBA and EMBA programs around the world.