Writing an MBA personal statement

Strategy for a Successful MBA Personal Statement

A successful MBA personal statement is both engaging and persuasive. The essay carries the reader along effortlessly while convincing them that you are qualified and worthy.

Armed with a great personal statement, you have an improved chance of entering the MBA school of your choice. But what does it take to write a personal statement that could give you better prospects in the application process?

Here has some ideas and a strategy for writing an excellent admissions essay.

Build Your Personal Statement Around a Core Idea

The core idea — the essence, theme or central point — becomes the driver of content for your essay. Everything else in the document should support that concept.

  • When responding to a specific question, your core idea should directly and elegantly answer the question.
  • When writing a less-directed essay, you still need a driving concept; you just have more choice as to what the concept can be.

This core idea is your thesis. The thesis statement gives your admissions essay a clear direction.

The central theme is also what weaves your essay to make it a unified whole. It is the driving force that makes your essay strong and engaging. Here is a good example of thematic writing, with the topic in this case being how MBA studies help cultivate leadership qualities.

Without a core idea, readers may become lost as to what you’re meaning to say. There will be no binding theme and various details may seem irrelevant or out of place. The admissions panel should be able to quickly grasp what you’re attempting to convey.

Include Only Relevant Details in Your MBA Essay

Essays that are essentially resumes in prose — or which attempt to tell your entire life story — descend into the unwanted mishmash category. MBA essays that are replete with irrelevant details have strayed from their central mission. They are neither engaging nor persuasive and, indeed, bore readers.

Your MBA personal statement is a means to reveal who you are and what contributed to your character formation. But you want to avoid writing details about yourself that are not especially relevant to the application. These details can be tedious to read.

Remember that an essay has limits, including in terms of word count. Telling a story using key facts is better than making a bunch of loosely connected points that are full of details. Choose what you really want to write about. Here are some ideas you might find useful.

Common Writing Mistakes to Avoid

As a quality control device, you may want to be mindful about what to avoid in your essay. Here are some ideas on the common mistakes applicants make when writing an MBA personal statement.

1. Repeating or expanding on your resume

Perhaps the most common personal statement writing blunder is including an expository resume of your background and experience. This is not to say that business schools are not interested in your accomplishments.

However, other portions of your application will provide this information. Strive for depth, not breadth.

Aside from telling irrelevant details, listing down your accomplishments like you do in a resume is a no-no in writing your admission essay. You should not waste limited space by stating what can be easily found on your resume. You have to strive more for self-reflection because that is what the admissions panel wants to hear from you.

Focus on your purpose for writing the essay. This will help you put together ideas that can help back up your application and support your claim for a coveted spot.

2. Choosing a topic that could provoke negative reactions

Succeeding with your personal statement is not limited to the specifics of writing, such as grammar, style and details. Choosing a topic that won’t offend readers is equally as important.

Be sensitive to your readers and their potentially different and varying perspectives. The topic may have serious repercussions on how they perceive you as an individual or candidate for admission. Mistakes include looking unprofessional, revealing too much personal information or identifying yourself in terms of political or cultural leanings.

3. Including content that doesn’t help tell the story

An unfocused writer can rely too heavily on generalizations while also providing too many irrelevant details. The problem is that writers often don’t consider what is genuinely necessary to include or they repeat points.

Your MBA personal statement should be almost flawless. It should have a central idea to make it a unified whole. And the essay should only contain details that are important and relevant. After each draft is done, check that these goals are being achieved.