Writing Business School Essays: Grabbing the Reader’s Attention

One of my admissions consulting clients wrote me about his essays.  He wanted to know what was the right way to “Grab the reader’s attention in the first few sentences with engaging content.”

My high-level advice:

Whatever you write has to “grab” the reader but we may not agree on how best that’s done. I can tell you right now that grabbing and keeping the reader’s attention means being absolutely clear in what it is you want them to know. “A dark and stormy night” opener is not the way to go if it’s not clear as to what on earth you are talking about (from the reader’s perspective).

I always remind everyone to look at things through the eyes of the admissions committee.  They see so much cheesy bullshit that what most applicants think is a good intro is ... really, really cliché.

Here are a number of simple examples that could start off a very clear (and on-point) leadership essay:

  • In the Fall of 2005 I was tasked with leading a project team that was attempting to solve an issue that had never been addressed before……..
  • As the youngest engineer leading a team of 55 employees within an industrial plant I was used to coming up the curve quickly, however in the Summer of 2006, I found my organization confronted with an engineering obstacle we had never faced before…….
  • In the traditional industry of management consulting there are often not many examples to deviate from established procedures and project plans.  However in the Winter of 2003, my IT management firm was contacted by a large institutional bank under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission…..

You see how it grabs the attention of the reader by creating a sense of urgency by establishing what the “situation” is?  Some writers go overboard and resort to cliché.

  • Avoid sports references like “My coach always told me that a man’s innate worth is how……..”
  • Avoid references to other tired family references “My daddy used to tell my mom that….”
  • Don’t try to be funny like “Four score and 17 minutes ago……”
  • Don’t be weird like “As I looked into my bosses eyes and watched the veins pop out of his forehead I could tell that it was time to turn up the heat and roll up the sleeves………”

If you are looking help with your applications, please contact us via mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or at www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact. We have seen what the competition is doing and we can say without a doubt that we go deeper, more strategic, and generate better results with our methods.  Line up a call and find out for yourself.

Whatever you write has to “grab” the reader but we may not agree on how best that’s done. I can tell you right now that grabbing and keeping the reader’s attention means being absolutely clear in what it is you want them to know. “A dark and stormy night” opener is not the way to go if it’s not clear as to what on earth you are talking about (from the reader’s perspective).  I always remind everyone to look at things through the eyes of the admissions committee.  They see so much cheesy bullshit that what most applicants think is a good intro is ... really, really cliché. Source: Writing Business School Essays: Grabbing the Reader’s Attention — Amerasia Consulting Group - <http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/blog/2008/03/23/hooking-the-readers-attention-when-writing-essay-introductions>

Whatever you write has to “grab” the reader but we may not agree on how best that’s done. I can tell you right now that grabbing and keeping the reader’s attention means being absolutely clear in what it is you want them to know. “A dark and stormy night” opener is not the way to go if it’s not clear as to what on earth you are talking about (from the reader’s perspective). 

I always remind everyone to look at things through the eyes of the admissions committee.  They see so much cheesy bullshit that what most applicants think is a good intro is ... really, really cliché.

Source: Writing Business School Essays: Grabbing the Reader’s Attention — Amerasia Consulting Group - <http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/blog/2008/03/23/hooking-the-readers-attention-when-writing-essay-introductions>