Certain words or phrases appear in almost every MBA application essay. I’ve explained below why you don’t want to use 4 of these too-common words/phrases and what some alternatives might be.
If you want to make your application stand out, do some editing and make sure to avoid these words completely. You might be surprised at the result.
e.g. I hope that you will accept me to your program.
e.g. I hope to be able to obtain a management position with the help of your education.
MBA schools are seeking confident applicants who know where they’re going, and believe in themselves. Your competitors know that they’ll reach their goals; they see themselves as naturals for the school.
My short-term goal is to become manager of financial analysis at a leading investment bank.
My ability to take clear, decisive action, combined with MBA courses in strategic planning, will allow me to make an impact at ABC company from day one.
OK, now we’re talking!
2. HIGH SCHOOL
e.g. My most substantial accomplishment was leading the school drama club in high school.
MBA applicants are expected to be professionals and current leaders. Writing about high school indicates that your leadership has been on a downward path, with less impressive things done in college and/or since graduation. Imagine a leading CEO you admire, and imagine him or her answering this question by talking about high school. (On a related note, remove any high school or earlier items from your resume.)
My leadership of a production quality team at my employer led to improvements that doubled gross margins.
It’s obvious this person is someone impressive who should be seriously considered for admission.
e.g. I am applying to your business school because of its outstanding reputation and world renowned faculty.
Business schools with outstanding reputations don’t need to be told that you want to go there because of their outstanding reputations. Your goal is to differentiate yourself from the competition — so why join every other applicants in describing the place or faculty as world-renowned? HBS applicants needn’t talk about the school’s world-renowned case study method, unless they want to be the same as every other applicant.
The school’s unique marketing to China specialization matches perfectly with my short-term career goal, which is to start and lead a business unit at my family’s firm focused solely on marketing to China.
That’s so much better, isn’t it?
e.g. I feel that I’ll be happy in the financial services business.
Tell a school what you know is true, confidently; and do it as an adult, giving reasons, often based on research. Just as with the first word I discussed, “hope,” “feel” is a sign of lack of confidence. Say I intend, I know, etc. and explain why that’s true. Start to project the aura of a leader. Would any CEOs that you know, let’s say Donald Trump or Larry Ellison, ever speak that way while trying to sell themselves? They’d do their homework, just as you’ll have to do during your MBA studies, and confidently state the results of their careful research.
The combination of my work experience as a financial analyst, my strong interest in investing, and conversations I’ve had with management at XYZ financial services firm have led me to set a short-term career goal to move from the buy side to the sell side by joining a financial services firm as research associate.
Delete these four words from your MBA application essays and I promise you more effective and powerful language will show up.
Can you think of some other words to delete from your essays? Please share them in the comments.
Need guidance in your MBA/EMBA Application process? Maximize your applications with help from The Essay Expert’s MBA Admissions Consulting Services. Or feel free to email me directly at email@example.com.