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Application Issues

The essays that you write as a part of your application build an image about your personality in the minds of the admission committee members. The admission committee is not looking for students with a certain fixed profiles that you need to fit into, but they are looking for those with different personalities and diverse backgrounds. You ought to be able to project yourself as a unique candidate who will bring value to the class. You wouldn't like to be rejected because they couldn't get to know about you even though you were the person they were looking for.

So, before you even look at the topics of your essays, do the following exercise.

  1. Write down all your past accomplishments - academic, extra curricular, social contributions, sports - whatever you've done well in life. Also write down all the things that you feel or care for strongly.

  2. Write down all your failures - at work, at things you wanted to do but could not for whatever reasons, at home, with your friends and family.

  3. Write down what you want to do in the future. The immediate concern could be to go to the US for an MBA - but go beyond that. What after the MBA? What type of a job would you like, what would you want to do in your life. What would you like to be doing 5 years from now, 10 years from now, how would you like to retire?

  4. Now, write down why should you have the life that you want? Why should you get all the things you listed in point 3 above? What qualifies you to have all the success you desire?

After you've done the above, you have your life in perspective, and are now ready to write your essays. Your personality would come across in your essays.

Think about how your experience can add value to the class.  Remember that you are going to be a part of a very diverse team of people from all over the world.  Highlight what you think might be a unique and valuable input to your class.  And, your experiences do not have to be work-related.  A personal experience, which may seem insignificant and mundane to you, could be awe-inspiring to others.  So, don�t discount your experiences and talents.  As a way to prove this point, we are enclosing a sample essay of a student who graduated from the Harvard Business School.
(Sample essay on Personal Failure).

See, what we mean by personal.  A failure in a business venture is the most common answer to this question.  We do realize that these kinds of personal failures are uncommon in Indian context (Thank God!).  The idea is to write your essays such that they reflect your personality and don�t just answer the questions in a matter-of-fact fashion.  This is particularly important in case of international students, as the admissions committee does not always get an opportunity to interview them. 

After you know what and how to write, you have to make sure the essays are gramatically correct, are written in a good flow and do not exceed the prescribed word limit. The essays should be enthusiastic, friendly and confident in tone. If writing is not your strength, don't hesitate to take the help of a friend or colleague who can write well.

An Important Issue

Even though you might have projected yourself just right, you may be rejected just because another student with a similar profile has already been admitted.

How can you avoid this - Apply Early.

There are normally three different application deadlines. The admission office decides certain number of admissions after each deadline. So, if a person with a similar profile as yours applied for the first round and was admitted, you would most likely not make it if you are applying for the second or the third rounds. But of course, you had a chance if you had applied before the first deadline.

Last but not the least; do not underplay your abilities.  A lot of us find it difficult to say, "I am the best" (although we know it in our hearts, don�t we!).  But trust us, you have to be aggressive in your essays.  For your benefit, we have enclosed some sample essays of students who have been accepted in the top MBA programs. (Sample essays)


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