MBA Essay Tips for pitching your personal and professional achievements or accomplishments
Whether personal or professional, achievements bring a sense of pride and satisfaction. Achievements are always crucial to one`s growth and success as they assess one as a capable individual. Achievements provide opportunities to review past events and bring forward one`s strengths and abilities. This MBA admission essay provides a good theme for you to write about your achievements and strengths. This is the best opportunity for you to prove yourself worthy of an Ivy League MBA, if you have a list of honest achievements to state in your application essays and during the interview.
If you have a list of achievements ready, this boost up your confidence while working on your MBA essays. Make sure to start first by sequentially listing your achievements. Think of achievements where you created the most value or made a significant impact on your organization, team, or individual in a professional or personal setting. Initiate the process of stating your achievements with utmost care. Pay special attention while describing your personal and professional achievements. Therefore, the first and the most important step you need to take before beginning your MBA essays is to jot down your achievements.
It may take some time, but spare some to discover and classify your achievements. Write down about every life experience ranging from the big, substantial ones to those trivial ones that you may not consider worthy enough to merit consideration. Look back and recall the experiences that made you feel happy and proud. These could include something like the initiative you took to make your workplace/society better or some professional achievements, or the way you helped a colleague handle a difficult situation.
Sit back, think and jot down all your achievements. When you think, you are done, you need to organize your list. Divide the list into following categories:
Professional– state the skills related to your field of specialization: experiences that describe how good you are at work in a responsible position.
Personal - This includes extracurricular activities, self-development initiatives, community work and anything else you do that you consider as an achievement.
Academic - This could include achievements such as university rank, completion of extra-ordinary academic project or publishing article or paper in top academic journals
Now give a close look on where you created most value and identify your skills and strengths associated with the particular achievement. MBA adcom value achievements which involve leadershipskills such as decision making, team work, motivating team members, meeting deadlines, critical thinking and problem handling. If you are not able to identify your strengths and achievements by yourself, it will help immensely to consult friends/colleagues/family members/admission consultant. Sometimes others can see aspects of our life that we are blind to ourselves.
We suggest that, shortlist your achievements by talking to friend or a close peer and evaluate 2-3 experiences which you would consider good professional achievements, where you added the maximum value to the organization. Weigh the pros and cons for each one of them and then make a rough outline of each one of those then finally choose the best.
Once you zero down on your anecdote, follow the SAR (Situation, Action and Result) framework to delineate your anecdote. First explain what the situation was. There you should discuss the case, environment, scope and challenges. Example: declining sales, new-product launch, conflict in the team, demanding client or developing a new product or service.
Then discuss what action you took in that situation. Discuss and justify your action. Then conclude with results, like what was the outcome of your actions, such as an increase in revenue or decrease in loss. Discuss what are the skills/strengths you used in this case and how this incident has helped you augment your present skills and develop new skills and abilities. You can also discuss any specific knowledge developed during this project/incident such as market knowledge or domain experience.
Take care of the following dos and don`ts while writing this essay,
- It will be good if it follows an analytical and problem-solving framework.
- The write up preferably have the element of team working in it.
- The answer should manifest good decision making and leadership aspect of yours.
- Give it a personal touch by mentioning behavioral aspect of the team or your colleagues involved.
- You can discus you ethical values and integrity and how they helped in your success.
- Pay special attention while describing your professional achievements, as it is one of the key weapons in your MBA application quiver.
- Project your skills and potentials, taking care not to sound arrogant.
- Present anecdotes and share the whole story of your achievements. Do not be pretentious and do not make unproven claims about them. It may have an effect on your integrity.
- Substantiate your claims with figures. For example: You directed a new marketing campaign and the sales increased by 20% in two months.
- Do not provide your own conclusions for your success story, unless you are asked to do so. Let the admission officers scan through your essay and decide where you stand in the competition.
- Do not make unsupportable statements. Make a claim only if you have relevant experiences to state along with.
- Do not fuss over your capabilities and take care not to boast your words. Never demean anyone involved in your circle.
The Good: "I am proud of my work record with the ABC because I could make important additions and contributions to the work strategy and work culture over there. I believe I could manage to be a part in fostering the growth of ABC."
The Ugly: "I believe my work with the ABC demonstrates my efficient leadership skill and shows how I will add to the diversity of your school."
Tell your success story proudly. Pride and confidence are the qualities that all top b-schools admire, so do not indulge in false modesty. "If you don`t blow your own horn, someone else will use it as a spittoon. " — Kenneth H. Blanchard
What stops You?
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Any one essay, 500 words, single round reviewing with detailed feedback for improvement, no editing.
“No matter how hard I try, I completely freeze up.
After all, I’m getting my MBA so that I could have achieve great things in the FUTURE. I just feel that what I’ve got to say is boring… Any ideas?”
We received this question from a former client. Here’s what our CEO, Jon Frank, had to say back:
I find it hard to believe that you’ve had NO great life achievements to date. Yeah, an MBA is going to help you get ahead in your career, but I’m SURE you’ve done some great things so far. And even if they aren’t GREAT, you’ve done SOMETHING… and that something could make for a great essay. So relax. You got this.
The best way to approach this sort of question is to take the pressure off a bit. It doesn’t have to be the biggest, coolest thing on earth. Not even the biggest, coolest thing you’ve done. In fact, some of the BEST versions of this essay are very “simple,” or “not impressive accomplishments.” Crossing the street, for example. Man, that sounds so easy! How could it be your best accomplishment, the reader wonders? Well, in the second paragraph, we learn that “I was born with no feet.” You get the idea.
Also, the impressive-ness comes when we talk about the lessons. So let’s say it’s a deal you worked on. Any old deal. Blablabla, it only made the company $10,000. Not a ton of cash, no, but the LESSONS you drew from it were priceless. You learned to be CONFIDENT. You learned how to manage a team. You took SOMETHING from this experience. Sure, the accomplishment wasn’t amazing, but it led to some AMAZING learnings. Again, it’s almost BETTER if the lessons are simple or obvious – it makes you seem that much more confident when you get to the lessons.
Lastly, in choosing the one to go with…don’t forget what we ALWAYS say:
think of your app like your life’s Greatest Hits album. Which of your greatest hits haven’t you written about yet? What story do you want the admissions committee members (we call them adcoms) to know that you haven’t shared yet? Got one? Go with THAT one. Write about THAT one. It doesn’t have to be so amazing or something you’d include in your memoir 30 years down the road, but it’s good for now and for showing those adcoms who you are and what you can do. Gussy it up by focusing on the lessons and you’ve officially unfrozen yourself.
Now, get writing 🙂