Essay writing

Stay Motivated

Stay Motivated

As the end of round two approaches, are you feeling like you’re running out of gas?  Here’s a few things you do to stay motivated and finish well.

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day

Well, it's February, which means it's time to take a break from writing round three essays to re-watch Groundhog Day.  The 1993 classic Bill Murray comedy chronicles a day in the life of Phil, a weatherman who is cursed to re-live the same day over and over again.  As an MBA applicant, you can sometimes feel like this is also the curse of the application process.  Here are some tips to avoid the long and arduous grind...

MBA Candidates: Knives Down!

MBA Candidates: Knives Down!

PSA time. 

To all MBA Candidates out there, especially those of you racing to hit the HBS deadline on September 9th ... please, for the love, know when to set your essay down, put your hands in the air, and say "time."  I borrow from Top Chef and call it "put your knives down!"  It's that moment in the show when the buzzer has sounded and they have no choice but to put the chef's knife down, put their hands in the air, and accept that their dish is finished.  In our situation, there isn't a buzzer (yet), but we can still use the principle.  In fact, one of the great ironies of the Top Chef "quick fire" challenge that gave me this expression is that some of the best dishes on that show come because there IS a buzzer - it keeps the contestants from noodling and tweaking and, basically, ruining a great plate of food.  So ... how can we use this for our MBA apps? 

Fuel for the Wharton 2014-15 Essays

Fuel for the Wharton 2014-15 Essays

It's time to cover Wharton, as it looks like I've locked myself into a pattern of covering every school's set of essays. The common response to Wharton's new essay set (one of which is required, one is optional) is "another case of schools shrinking this essays!" This is technically true, as the total words went from either 1,000 to 900 (if you use the Optional) or from 1,000 to 500 (if you don't). However, the next leap is almost always "as schools continue to try to make things easier for applicants." I'm sorry, I simply don't buy that line of reasoning. Almost everyone who truly knows admissions knows that fewer words makes things harder, not easier. This is because it requires confidence and clarity to approach such a task, it requires concise and structured writing to execute it, and it makes it far less likely that you will "accidentally" come up with something great, just by virtue of spewing out words. Now, it might be a byproduct of the essay shrinking that it's easier on the readers or that a few people might (mistakenly) think it's easier to apply, but I highly doubt that is the intent.