Photo: Flickr / -mrsraggle-
Getting into your top MBA program is a dream come true, but first you have to pass the first vigorous barrier: the application.
A good or bad essay can easily make or break you.You’ll want to stand out, and the personal statement portion on the application gives you the chance to do it.
Jeremy Shinewald, former admissions interviewer and author of “The Complete Start-to-Finish MBA Admissions Guide
,” devoted a chapter of his book to crafting the perfect personal statement.
Here are 5 tips for getting it done the right way:
1. Show Your Personal Fit: “While you may not always be able to pinpoint aspects of a program that are entirely unique to that school, the key is to show a connection between the school’s resources and offerings and your individual interests and requirements―to make the association very clear and personal. If you have visited the school or spoken with some of the alumni, students, professors or admissions staff, mentioning these personal connections can be helpful.”
2. Keep Long & Short-term Goals Connected: “You must be sure to demonstrate a cause and effect relationship between your short and long-term goals. After all, your long-term goals are based on the assumption that your stated short-term goals will be reached; the position you will hold later in your career will be facilitated by those you hold earlier.”
3. Don’t Spell Out Your Resume: “Some candidates make the mistake of writing about their work experience for 75 per cent of their personal statements, even though they are also submitting a resume with their application. This wastes precious essay space by repeating facts the admission committee already has elsewhere. When prompted to discuss career progress, limit your to approximately 40 per cent of the essay length. If not, keep it at 10-15 per cent.”
4. Avoid Generic Statements: “Remember that admissions readers see thousands of essays every year—they are extremely experienced and can therefore tell what candidate is being sincere and when he/she is just trying to say the ‘right’ thing.”
5. Tell Them Why You’ve Chosen Them: “A common mistake among applicants when responding to the question, “Why our MBA?,” is to simply flatter the school. Explain how the school’s unique characteristics and offerings meet your needs—by inference, no other school can meet these needs, because no other school offers the map.”
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