Your statistics will get business schools to read your application more seriously, but it’s your ability to tell inspiring stories that will get you admitted to an MBA. This is true in all parts of the MBA application process, from your MBA essays to the MBA interview: you need to convey your thoughts, goals and experiences in a story that’s inspiring enough to make the adcom choose you over all the other amazing applicants.
How do you do that? It’s a lot of work but the process itself is easy to understand! Today, Angela Guido is joined by Louise Loeb, Career Protocol’s storytelling expert, to walk you through 5 simple steps to create awesome stories for your MBA applications.
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Table of Contents
Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:
Don't judge your ideas at the very beginning. In the brainstorming and writing phase, do not judge them. They're all really great when you get to the editing and rewriting phase, that's when you can take your left brain and analyze what you've written.
Do you know what the most important skill is for writing your MBA essays? Today you're going to find out. We have our special guest Louise Loeb today, who's going to share with you the 5 steps that she takes her students through to construct brilliant MBA essays that fully reveal their character. And we're talking today about the story essays. Questions like “What matters most to you and why?”, or “Tell us about a leadership experience.”. Personal statements, as you well know, are an entirely different category of essay. But today, Louise is going to walk us through the five steps to getting amazing story essays for your MBA applications.
The 5-Step Process To Excellent MBA Essays
Hi, I'm Louise Loeb. I am a Writer, Comedian, and Senior Instructor at Career Protocol. There are five steps to your essay writing process.
- The first stage is the brainstorming phase. This is the most fun stage where you get all your ideas out on paper. Choose some really exciting events from your life – things that highlight who you are, what your values are, and that you're really excited to showcase. Get it all out on the paper and don't throw any idea away. And then once you find something that really excites you, try to think of a theme from that and write an outline.
- The second stage is the writing stage, and this is really the most daunting phase for most people. Basically, just take one of the themes from your brainstorming sheet and just freewrite. Write whatever comes to your mind or stream of consciousness. Don't worry too much about structure. Just get your ideas on paper and see what they look like. Once you get what you want to say on paper, walk away. Do not edit it the first time around. Do not think about it. Just get everything out there in one shot. Walk away. Come back to it a few hours later, maybe a couple of days later, even a week later, however much time you think you need for those ideas to breathe because when you are not thinking about it, sometimes in the back of your head things percolate and you might be able to use them later when you get to the second draft.
- The third stage is the rewriting stage. So visit what you have on the paper and really ask yourself a few questions: Does the story makes sense and am I excited to read it? However much time later. Days later, a week later. Does it still feel good to you? If so, keep a lot of what you have, but go through the structure and see if you can shape your story in a way that's a little bit more structured.
- The fourth stage is the editing. Go through each sentence. Once you feel like you have a strong enough draft that’s structurally organized and flows really well, go through each sentence and kind of convey the same idea in fewer words. Does the sentence need to be rewritten for emphasis so that it flows to the next sentence? Do my paragraphs need a transition sentence to make the flow a little bit smoother?
- Five is the final polish. So, congratulations! You have a fantastic draft. You're feeling great about it. You really feel like it highlights who you are and you really, really can't wait to share it with the adcom and you're very excited to hit submit. But first, just go through it a couple of times. Make sure all the spelling and grammar is correct. Make sure your contractions have an apostrophe, if you use contractions. Punctuation. Spacing. Sometimes when you edit, you accidentally change the font, so make sure all the font is uniform and the sizing is uniform as well. Perhaps give it to a trusted friend or family member to just also read it – just surface level – for any errors. Then you're done. Congratulations. You have a final draft.
That was awesome, Louise. I think everybody's going to be very excited to apply that 5-step process to their essays. I have one question for you. Which steps do you think people struggle with the most or short-change the most in their essay writing process?
Yes, I think the second step, the writing step, is where candidates really short-change that process because when they're writing, they're thinking too much and editing while writing, which you don't want to do. Editing is a separate step in the process. So, when you write get everything out on paper, stream of consciousness. Don't worry about structure. Don't worry about grammar or spelling. Just get the ideas on the page and do it in one shot. And once you have something down and you're exhausted and you don't think you can write anymore, walk away. Walk away for a couple of days, a couple of hours, a week. However much time you feel that you need space and distance from what you've written to come back to that draft with fresh eyes.
I really like having guests on the show. It's so much less work for me. Thank you so much Louise, those were amazing tips. I know that the viewers of MBA Monday are going to love them. Everybody, please leave a comment for the wise and tell her how useful that advice was.
Bye, everyone, thank you!
And come back next week. We've got lots more MBA Monday coming your way. See you soon.