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Five Tips for Writing a Great MBA Essay

Business school essays play a key role in getting you noticed by MBA admissions committees. Some programs, including the Professional’s MBA at Loyola University Maryland, only require one essay, so it needs to make an impact. As The Princeton Review explains, your essay should “create a comprehensive picture of who you are, what you've done, and what you bring to the table.” Accomplishing this in just a few paragraphs can be a daunting task. Here are five MBA essay tips to help you get started:

  1. Develop a list of qualities you would like to convey in your essays. Focus on things that set you apart from other applicants. It is acceptable to mention your gender, minority status, extra-curricular activities, or unorthodox path to business school – as long as you can explain how these qualities have influenced your experiences and outlook. Schools look for candidates with strong leadership, ethics, communication and team skills, says the Economist, so be sure these traits are on your list too.


  2. Write as much as you can and then edit. It is significantly easier to remove extra content from your MBA essay than it is to try and fill blank space. Start your MBA essay by writing everything that comes to mind. US News recommends working with five or six real-life examples with the goal of paring them down to two or three per essay. This allows you to discover which examples excite you and inspire the most passion. Ask people you trust which examples they find most interesting. This feedback will help you decide what to keep. 


  3. Be clear and concise. After you’ve exhausted your ideas, it’s time to edit. While it may be tempting to lead with a dramatic introduction and go into great detail, it’s best to keep your essays simple and to the point. According to US News, demonstrating the ability to get your point across in a clear and concise manner is an important skillset for potential business school students, and will serve you well in your future business career.


  4. Personalize your business school essays. One size does not fit all. Do not submit the same essay to every school. Research each program and customize your essays to match. Your essays should demonstrate an understanding of a school’s personality and how you see yourself fitting into their program.


  5. Allow plenty of time. Give yourself time to thoroughly explore each of these MBA essay tips. Per the Economist, it’s not unreasonable to allow six weeks or longer to write an MBA essay. Everyone has different writing styles, so develop a plan that works for you. Be prepared to write multiple drafts, and then ask people you trust to help you review, edit and check for mistakes.

Are you in the process of applying to business school? The Sellinger School of Business at Loyola University Maryland offers comprehensive graduate programs with full-time MBA and part-time MBA options to help you develop the expertise you need to get to the next level of your career. Learn more about the MBA admissions process, explore the MBA curriculum, or contact an admissions advisor