The Story Of The First Black Woman To Earn A Harvard MBA

Struggling to Write Your Essays? Use the STAR Method

Business school applications are typically assessed holistically. But there’s one component that can truly give admissions officers a peak into who you are and why they should offer you an acceptance letter—the essay.

“Your MBA essays are the only component within the MBA application that allow the adcoms to gain a more intimate understanding of who you are, before they invite you for a 1-on-1 interview,” according to Swati, of MBA Crystal Ball. “The MBA essays form the crux of your application, offering you a canvas to paint your story in vivid colors. A good storyline is the essence of your essays. With the right content and packaging you can use your essays to bring your story to life.”

If you’re intent on writing an effective essay, you’ll want to consider using the STAR method. Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently explained what the STAR method is and how it can help applicants tell their story in the most effective way possible.


The first step of the STAR method is “situation,” or setting the scene for what you want to talk about.

“You’ll want to set up the Situation for your reader as succinctly and clearly as possible,” Blackman says. “Leave out industry jargon, acronyms, and ‘inside baseball’ details that will bore the adcom. Remember, they want to learn about what YOU did — not the intricate complexities of your company or client’s issue.”


The second step is highlighting the “task” that you were responsible for.

“Sure, business schools are looking for team players,” Blackman says. “But if they’ve asked you to describe your most impressive accomplishment, they want to understand what your marching orders were.”

Experts say the “task” should allow the reader to clearly understand where you fit in terms of your involvement.

“This can easily get confused with the ‘action’ portion of the response,” according to The Muse.
“However, this piece is dedicated to giving the specifics of what your responsibilities were in that particular scenario, as well as any objective that was set for you, before you dive into what you actually did.”


“Action” is all about explaining what steps you took in order to achieve a goal or task.

“Explain what you did specifically, and ideally, show how you went above and beyond in your role,” Blackman says. “Then, you can wrap up by revealing what Results you achieved. Keep in mind that both qualitative and quantitative outcomes are important to include, if possible.”


The last step of the STAR method is results, where you’ll explain why results you achieved based on the actions you took.

“We know it’s hard to condense what may sometimes be a years-long project into only a few sentences at the beginning,” Blackman says. “But it’s better to keep the focus on why YOU will be a welcome addition to any MBA program.”

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, MBA Crystal Ball, The Muse

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