A successful MBA personal statement shows the applicant’s potential to be a great leader. Writing such an essay may seem like a daunting task, but if you abide by the following guidelines, your essay will stand a much better chance of impressing the admissions officers.
MBA Essay Tip #1: Focus on Relevant Experience
You may have demonstrated incredible leadership skills when you were the star catcher on your high school’s baseball team, but an MBA program is an entirely different playing field. Admissions officers want to see more recent accomplishments. Spotlight the professional achievements you’ve had since high school: internships, fellowships, and even entry-level jobs can show off your capabilities without wading into the warm fuzzies of nostalgia.
The summer you spent mucking stalls at a horse farm might have given you a great opportunity to test your resilience and bravery. However, admissions officers might not be interested in reading about how you held onto a rearing horse unless you plan to launch an equine-related venture. Choose your anecdotes carefully and be sure they tell a story about who you are and where you want to go in life.
Because many internships are unpaid, they often go to people of higher socioeconomic status who can afford to work without pay. If you haven’t had a prestigious internship or post-college work that ties directly to your future goals, don’t be discouraged. Ask yourself what you learned from these experiences. Admissions officers will want to know how these experiences led you to this point.
MBA Essay Tip #3: Absolutely No Cutting and Pasting
You might think you’re saving time by cutting and pasting information from your résumé into your MBA personal statement, but doing so will cost you in the long run. Admissions already has your résumé—they wouldn’t ask for a personal statement if they wanted a rehash of of it. The essay is your chance to dive into the specifics of those experiences and show how they made you who you are today.
Repurposing material from old essays is never a good idea. Admissions officers can tell when something isn’t fresh, and it just makes you look lazy. Lastly, cutting and pasting increases the odds that you’ll forget to make an important change. If you paste an essay you wrote for another school and forget to change the school’s name, it’s extremely off-putting to the admissions committee. Imagine if the person you are dating sends you a message, only in place of your name they’ve carelessly used someone else’s. Avoid committing this same faux pas in your MBA personal statement essay.
MBA Essay Tip #4: State Your Goals
MBA programs want students who are driven. Tell the committee what you hope to accomplish after you graduate with your MBA. Explain which concentration you’ll be pursuing—finance, leadership, entrepreneurship, or business analytics—and why. For example, if your long-term career goal is to start a small business, you should let the committee know that you plan on making entrepreneurship your concentration. To really make a splash with your personal statement, explain how this particular school or program is a good fit for you.
MBA Essay Tip #5: Do You
As the actor Will Rogers is supposed to have said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
In this case, your personal statement is the first impression you will make on the admissions committee. Don’t fill it with buzzwords and cliches. The committee does not want to read about how you “efficiently sourced materials that contributed to the overall synergy of the team.” They’ll know you really mean you were fast at getting coffee and they won’t be impressed.
Your essay needs to be a reflection of who you are and what you’ll contribute to the program. Don’t read someone else’s essay and then twist yourself in knots to make yours the same. It will come off as inauthentic. Remember, MBA programs are all about leadership. The strongest leaders are honest and unapologetically themselves. Be who you are, not who you think the admissions committee wants you to be.
MBA Essay Tip #6: No Excuses
There is a difference between excuses and facts. “I couldn’t do my coursework because my grandmother got sick and I had to take care of her” is an excuse. That your grandmother got sick is fact. That you didn’t do your coursework is another. But is it really a fact that you couldn’t do your coursework because she got sick? It may very well be. But the committee will look far more favorably upon it if you take responsibility and write, “I devoted less time to my coursework so that I could care for my ailing grandmother.” This way, the committee won’t have to wonder whether you are stretching the truth or whether you will find other reasons not to do coursework in the future.
It may seem unfair to have to take ownership of something that isn’t entirely in your control. You may feel like you are admitting wrongdoing. However, in most cases the opposite is true. By taking responsibility, you are showing the committee that you have integrity. You will show the committee that you’ll reflect well on the university and they’ll be excited to have you as a student.
If you need to supply a GPA explanation with your MBA application, keep these things in mind. If your GPA fell below 3.0, you do not need to make apologies for that. Simply make the committee aware of what was going on at the time, sticking as closely to the facts as possible.
MBA Essay Tip #7: Edit, Edit, Edit
The internet loves to poke fun at brands when they misspell words or leave grammatical errors in their copy. However, it’s not so funny when you’re the person who made the mistake and has to answer for it. Forgetting to edit makes companies look careless and lazy—this is not the impression you want to make in your MBA personal essay. Make sure there are no typos, missing words, run-on sentences, or misplaced apostrophes. An ideal candidate for an MBA program knows that professionalism is in the details.
Are you ready to write your personal essay and advance your career with an MBA? Explore Augsburg University’s MBA program or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to talk with MBA professionals today.