Mastering MBA Essays: 10 Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Earning an offer of admission to an MBA program, especially at the most prestigious business schools, is a major milestone in anyone’s professional career. However, the road to acceptance can be riddled with obstacles, and application essays are often considered the most important components of an application. At M7 Admissions, we have a proven track record of assisting ambitious applicants with the essay writing process. In this comprehensive guide, we unfold common MBA application essay mistakes and equip you with in-depth strategies to dodge them. With these tools, you can craft an essay that leaves an indelible mark on the admissions committee.

Earning an offer of admission to an MBA program, especially at the most prestigious business schools, is a major milestone in anyone’s professional career. However, the road to acceptance can be riddled with obstacles, and application essays are often considered the most important components of an application. At M7 Admissions, we have a proven track record of assisting ambitious applicants with the essay writing process. In this comprehensive guide, we unfold common MBA application essay mistakes and equip you with in-depth strategies to dodge them. With these tools, you can craft an essay that leaves an indelible mark on the admissions committee.


Mistake 1: Lack of Clarity and Focus – Embarking on your essay without a clear roadmap can lead to a disjointed narrative that loses the reader.

Solution:

  • Craft an outline: Begin with a detailed outline that clearly states your career goals, how an MBA will help you achieve them, and what makes you a unique candidate.
  • Concise Paragraphs: Each paragraph should center around a single idea, and collectively they should form a coherent narrative.
  • Thesis Statement: Write a strong thesis statement at the beginning to give your essay a clear sense of direction.


Mistake 2: Generic Statements – Using generic statements detracts from showing the admissions committee why you’re an exceptional match for their specific program.

Solution:

  • Research: Thoroughly research each school's culture, values, and offerings.
  • Tailor Content: Customize your essay to demonstrate how your goals and values align with those of the school.
  • Cite Specifics: Mention specific courses, professors, or clubs that particularly align with your aspirations.


Mistake 3: Neglecting the “Why” – Listing achievements without explaining their significance fails to showcase your depth as a candidate.

Solution:

  • Reflect: Discuss the challenges faced, the choices you made, and the rationale behind them.
  • Show Growth: Detail how these experiences contributed to your personal and professional development.
  • Relate: Explain how these experiences have shaped your decision to pursue an MBA.


Mistake 4: Overuse of Jargon – An over-reliance on industry-specific terms can make your essay less accessible.

Solution:

  • Simple Language: Use accessible language that can be understood by someone from a different field.
  • Explain Terms: If you must use technical terms, briefly explain them.
  • Focus on Transferable Skills: Discuss the broader skills and insights gained, rather than delving into technical details.


Mistake 5: Not Showcasing Leadership and Impact – Demonstrating your capacity for leadership and impact is essential.

Solution:

  • Use the STAR method: Describe the Situation, Task, Action, and Result for your leadership experiences.
  • Show Results: Use quantitative evidence to show the impact of your actions.
  • Reflect on Leadership Style: Discuss what these experiences taught you about leadership.


Mistake 6: Not Addressing Weaknesses – Glossing over weaknesses leaves them unexplained and unresolved.

Solution:

  • Be Honest: Acknowledge weaknesses without making excuses.
  • Highlight Improvement: Describe the steps taken to address these issues.
  • Positive Spin: Frame these experiences as opportunities for growth.


Mistake 7: Failing to Connect with the Reader – An essay that lacks a personal touch may not be memorable.

Solution:

  • Share Stories: Use personal anecdotes to illustrate points.
  • Show Passion: Let your excitement and commitment shine through.
  • Authenticity: Be genuine and avoid trying to fit a mold.


Mistake 8: Not Following Instructions – Ignoring essay prompts and guidelines can signal a lack of attention to detail.

Solution:

  • Re-read Instructions: Familiarize yourself with the guidelines and stick to them.
  • Address Prompts: Ensure each aspect of the essay prompt is addressed.
  • Word Count: Adhere to the word limit, and make every word count.


Mistake 9: Last-Minute Writing – Writing under pressure can lead to a lackluster essay.

Solution:

  • Timeline: Set up a writing schedule well in advance.
  • Drafts: Write multiple drafts and continuously refine your narrative.
  • Seek Feedback: Share your drafts with mentors or peers for constructive feedback.


Mistake 10: Forgoing Proofreading – Grammatical errors and typos can detract from your content.

Solution:

  • Breaks: Take breaks between writing and proofreading to get a fresh perspective.
  • Tools: Use grammar checking tools, but don’t rely solely on them.
  • Second Set of Eyes: Have someone else proofread your essay for a final check.


Conclusion

Crafting an MBA application essay that resonates with the admissions committee requires thought, effort, and strategy. By arming yourself with these in-depth solutions to common essay mistakes, you’re on the path to creating an essay that can elevate you to the pinnacle of business education. If you're seeking personalized guidance, the expert consultants at M7 Admissions are here to champion your cause. Your ascent begins here - partner with us to make it a soaring success.

June 16, 2023

The resources you need

August 28, 2023

Is Wall Street Being Replaced by Silicon Valley? A Hard Look at AI in Finance

The finance world took notice when Vinod Khosla, a luminary in venture capital, recently suggested that AI could eventually render a vast majority of "economically valuable jobs" obsolete. This assertion isn't just a speculative musing; it's a potential forecast of what the future holds for professions in investment banking and finance. In the rapidly evolving landscape where technology and finance intersect, the prudent step is to prepare rather than panic. At M7 Admissions, we specialize in equipping future leaders with the tools and strategies they need for long-term career success, including in fields impacted by automation and AI.

Read More
Read more
April 6, 2023

If You Get Into a Top MBA Program, You Probably Don’t Need To Go

When it comes to getting an MBA, there is often a lot of pressure to go to a top-ranked program. After all, these schools are known for producing successful graduates who go on to high-paying jobs at prestigious companies. But what if we told you that going to a top MBA program isn't actually necessary? What if we told you that if you're good enough to get into a top MBA program, you don't actually need to go?

Read More
Read more
January 30, 2023

GMAT or GRE: Which Exam to Choose?

Embarking on the path to earning an MBA from a top business school presents many decisions, with one of the earliest being the choice of entrance exam. Should it be the GMAT, with its business-focused approach, or the GRE, known for its broader applicability? At M7A, we recognize the significance of this decision. In this blog post, we discuss features of each exam to help you make an informed and strategic choice for your future.

Read More
Read more