Figuring out what to include in your MBA personal statement can be tough. But you can write an impressive MBA essay if you read successful goal statements that have followed the correct format.
In this article, Dorian Martins guides business school applicants on:
- how to write an MBA application essay,
- what to include in an MBA Personal Statement
- and what essay format to follow.
Each point features MBA essay examples that impressed the admissions committees of various business schools.
Ready to learn how to write an MBA personal statement?
This resource starts with a definition of an MBA personal statement.
An MBA personal statement is the gateway to your goal. In some schools, it is referred to as a goal statement or a statement of purpose. It is a document that convinces members of an admission committee of your suitability as a candidate in a department of Business Administration
A poorly written MBA essay will only make the ad coms reject you. The first step in writing the personal statement for business school, would be discovering what to include in the personal statement and what the professors expect your MBA essay to say.
Here’s a tip from an expert:
Without further ado, let’s dive into the nitty gritty of writing a kickass personal statement for your MBA application.
Conduct A Research On the Business School and the MBA Program
Why this program? What motivated you to apply to this business school?
To explain why you are a good fit, you need to do a great deal of research.
Every Business School is different in one way or another. They have unique missions, values, and goals. Understanding that will help you hit the sweet spot.
You need to reason the motivation behind your application. Self-reflection is one part of it. The other one is research.
Doing research is the foundation for good writing. It is the first step to take in learning how to write an MBA personal statement.
You need to find out what these schools seek in candidates. Also, get acquainted with the goals of their programs.
Typically, students apply to 2-3 schools the least. Cover every school and program you will apply for.
When you know their goals, you can detail how you can contribute. That’s what schools want. They want to see how you fit in the picture.
Get to know more about the school culture. It would help in your MBA personal statement. Use that information to show that you belong there.
Here’s an example of what good research can do. This essay is packed with Harvard-specific information.
But how do you approach the research? You’re probably wondering. Listed below are some research suggestions that will help you use the right MBA essay format:
- Reach out to department heads for insights
- Check out the school’s website
- Find about events conducted by Business Schools
- Look into previous or current students’ profiles
- Get in touch with current or previous MBA students
- Learn about special opportunities that a school offers (entrepreneurship training, startup funding, great summer job options, etc.)
- Head to the school’s online communities such as forums and social media groups
It can help if you outline specifics for each program. Create bullet points that you find useful. This can be your preparation for writing.
Look at the bigger picture rather than the numbers. Remember that you don’t need to reflect every virtue they want. This is just for inspiration.
The research can help you see yourself as an asset. It can bring you closer to the school you desire. Thus, you’ll feel more confident when you start writing.
Focus on Specific Question when writing your MBA Personal Statement.
The most beautiful MBA personal statement can be worthless if it’s not specific. The admission committee needs an answer, not an autobiography.
Make sure that you address the question at hand in your MBA application essay. Don’t waste space and time on non-related information.
The need to present yourself in the best light can do damage. It can get you to take the wrong path.
This Sample MBA Personal Statement by written Sandra Onah does a good job of this.
The information on in your statement of purpose must focus on the specific question you intend to answer.Yes, it ‘s important to write about your strengths and positive experiences. But even then, your essay must be focused on the theme and question you intend to explore. If an information isn’t related to the lead question you intend to answer, skip it.
Resist the urge to ramble. You have a limited word count. Use it wisely.
Take a look at another MBA Essay example. The student jumps straight to the point. That’s how it should be done.
Writing an MBA personal statement can seem easy at the start, but the truth is, the introduction is where you hook the readers. The point where students tend to break away is the introduction. They have the need to set the tone. However, it’s better to start strong with a suitable topic.
You don’t need an elaborate introduction. Begin with specifics right away. The less irrelevant information you include, there’ll be more room for examples.
To ensure that you aren’t beating around the bush, ask yourself this:
Is this sentence relevant?
Repeat this question for every sentence you write. If the answer is no, delete it.
Pay attention to lengthy sentences. They often consist of excess words or information. You can use a proofreading and editing toolthat will point them out.
Be Yourself in your MBA Personal Statement.
Show what makes you unique. Don’t just aim to tick all the boxes.
There will be hundreds of others who will try to fit in. They’ll list everything that the school wants.
But there’s nothing special there. Nothing that will make them stand out.
Don’t write what the committee wants to hear. That is a mistake. There’s no original value in trying to mimic them.
Schools want character. They want unique personalities that can add to the diversity.
Innovators and entrepreneurs are always considered to be different. People that can be noticed in the crowd are the leaders.
Give your MBA personal statement something special by showing who you are. Don’t be scared to open up and break the mold.
Your experiences and life path can ensure originality. Put the focus on that.
No one else has had the same life as you. There lies your advantage. Think about what makes you non-traditional.
Do you want an example? This is an sample MBA personal statement from a student applying to Stanford. The story he shared is memorable and different.
You can also show your vulnerabilities or express your humor. Don’t hide your humanity.
Think about how your experience ties to the MBA program. What made you go in this direction?
Show who you are and you won’t risk blending in. You don’t need to be driven by world peace. The only thing you need is to be yourself.
Write about Your Passions in your MBA Statement of Purpose.
“You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.”
― Steve Jobs.
Show the business school admissions committee that you can stick it out. Tell them how passionate you are.
Passion tends to ignite us. It can light that fire within you and fill you with inspiration. Use your passion to create a compelling MBA personal statement.
People without passions are usually people without enthusiasm. No Business School wants that. They aim to shape future leaders – and future leaders need to be driven.
If you opted for an MBA program, you probably have a business goal. What do you want to accomplish?
Do you see yourself as a startup owner? Do you want to run a sustainable business? Tell the admission committee where your interests lie.
Mrs. Amaka F. Onyeabor does this very well, Not only does she show that she’s a good business leader, she uses storytelling to demonstrate her passion for her field of study. Here’s how she made the most of this MFA Essay format:
By applying to a business school, you are pursuing your dream. Which only shows that you are a person of action. You dare to take charge of your circumstances.
Writing about what excites you will make the essay more impressionable. Passion can give your MBA essay some power.
However, you need to find the right question that can handle this topic. For example, “Introduce yourself.”
Here’s a sample MBA personal statement and how you can introduce yourself through your passion:
Learn from this example how to approach the topic. You want to go back to the roots. Explain what planted the seed that grew into this devotion.
The origin of passion is always thrilling to read about. It helps the readers understand your aspirations better. What’s more, it helps them see potential in you to write just the perfect MBA essay.
Tell Your Story, Not Your Resume.
Every piece of the admission puzzle has its role. What you wrote in the resume and cover letteris behind you. You can’t retell the same information over and over again.
Now, it is time to focus on your story.
Forget about methodology and chronology. It’s time to get personal.
The purpose of the essay is to get to know the candidates. Praising your GPA and listing your work experience won’t help. You need to make the essay captivating.
Take on the role of a storyteller and draw the readers in. This is your chance to let your personality shine through.
Use vivid language and descriptions. Illustrate situations and emotions that were present at the time. Bring your story to life.
Here’s another sample MBA personal statement that shows the impact of storytelling. This MBA letter of intent or application essay captures your attention with the very first sentence. It takes you on a journey.
To prepare yourself, read some books for inspiration. Observe how good storytellers do it. Read articles on how to write an MBA essay. You could even read previous samples of MBA personal statement to draw inspiration on how to write yours.
The success stories of entrepreneurscan stimulate your ideas. You can learn from their story and their writing style.
Here are a few more methods for telling a story effectively:
- Choose a central message or the moral of the story.
- Progress the story towards central moral.
- Build compelling plots on obstacles and conflict.
- Stick to the clear structure: introduction, action, climax, and resolution.
- Don’t’ complicate it. Eliminate unnecessary backstory.
- Use your own voice and writing style.
Your MBA Statement Of Purpose Must Reflect Your Leadership Qualities
Leaders build companies from the ground up. Leaders inspire people. They take proper actions in the present for a better future.
Business schools want leaders. Show them that you are one.
But stating “I am a leader” won’t do. Nor will the statement “I want to be a successful leader” help. Your MBA statement of purpose needs to show that you have what it takes.
Give insight into your motivations, capabilities, and strengths. Emphasize experiences that present you as a proactive person. When was the time when you took charge?
Don’t stress if you can’t spot such an experience right away. Think harder.
You don’t need to be the team captain to prove your leadership skills. They can be seen in many ordinary situations.
Let’s say that you organized painting the benches in your neighborhood.
You gathered people together and led them to a set goal. You made a change in your community. This portrays you as a leader.
Leadership can be found everywhere. Just closely look at what you’ve done. Where can your progressiveness be noticed?
Observe the following sample MBA personal statement. It’s a story of a boy, a dream, and an action. A simple story that demonstrates leadership.
The whole essay doesn’t need to revolve around leadership. Slip in an example that hints at your proactive capabilities. You can do this in any type of essay question.
Your MBA Personal Statement Should Back Up Claims with Examples.
Are you ready to rock that university term? Prove it. Better yet, show that you are ready through examples.
There’s nothing like examples to illustrate the point. The claims can seem empty if you can’t prove them.
Back up your statements with real-life examples. Use plenty of them.
If you want a winning essay, you can’t go around specific anecdotes. Broad summaries can never make an impact like details do.
Your character, the best traits, and work ethic are best seen in different situations.
Do you know what’s best about examples? You can lift yourself up without bragging.
Don’t say that you are resourceful. Tell a story that proves it. Share how you started Business A or freelancing or volunteering. How did your experience sharpen yor business acumen?
Don’t list your best traits. Share stories that put them in focus.
Real-life examples are interesting and edifying. They won’t be interpreted as personal praise.
Pay attention to the sample MBA personal statement you are about to see. It shows how examples make the essay more vivid.
Instead of listing what he/she learned, the student told a story. This made the essay more fun to read. Moreover, it still answered the question perfectly.
Stories and examples are more memorable. They stick into the readers’ minds. General statements don’t have that effect.
Whatever question you have, supply the answer with examples. There is always something in your life that you can use.
What’s more, examples show that you memorize your lessons. You take notice of what happens to you. Present yourself as the person who values what life teaches you.
Wrap Up On MBA Personal Statement Examples
You Got This!
Turn the MBA application essay into your golden ticket for the interview. This piece of writing will help the committee understand who you are. Therefore, approach it with care.
Take your time. Do your research. Reflect on your uniqueness.
Resist the temptation to be under a lot of pressure. Especially if you don’t know how or where to start.
The question that puzzles many is: How do you write an MBA personal statement that stands outs?
Now you have your answer.
“Let’s get it over it” attitude won’t get you far. You need patience. You need to take a deep look inside yourself.
For starters, let go of the pressure. Simply focus on the question. That’s the only thing you should think about right now.
Now, sit at your desk, turn on the computer, and get to work. Embrace your authenticity and remember: you are worthy.
I hope this article guide on how to write an MBA application essay was helpful. You might want to learn how to write an MFA Personal Statement too.
Dorian Martin is a writer, editor, and proofreader. He studied computer science and continued to develop his knowledge in the fields of academic writing and content writing. Currently, Dorian works as a senior writer at a thesis writing service GetGoodGrade and educational expert at digital marketing conferences. Along with all of that, Dorian runs his personal blog.
- Use essay format. ...
- Be concise. ...
- Have a compelling story. ...
- Use your natural voice. ...
- Prove your leadership qualities, be introspective and honest. ...
- Share how you will contribute, and how the program will help you achieve your career goals.
- Carefully read the essay prompt.
- Be authentic. Be yourself.
- Be clear on your goals.
- Be succinct. Less is more.
- Showcase how you can add value.
- Avoid jargon and use simple, approachable language.
How long should MBA essays be? While the length of your MBA admission essay depends on the program, most are 750-1,200 words. While it may seem counterintuitive at first, falling short of the word limit is better than going over.What is the most important factor in MBA application? ›
We know from the business schools that submit their admissions data to us each year that the most important factors to MBA admission are: GMAT or GRE scores, undergraduate GPA, professional experience, and the essays .What is the most important thing in MBA application? ›
Reiterating the MOST IMPORTANT TAKE-AWAY:
The combined qualitative pieces of the application (essays, interview, resume, recommendations) are THREE TIMES MORE IMPORTANT than the GMAT / GRE score alone*.
- Whining. Don't whine in your essay! ...
- Someone else is the hero. ...
- Reads like a resume. ...
- Lack of focus. ...
- Leaves out personal growth. ...
- Overcomplicated language. ...
- Incorrect grammar or spelling.
- Quotes. We want to hear about you and your interests in your words. ...
- Clichés. ...
- Don't write too much. ...
- Don't write too little. ...
- (Irrelevant) Hobbies. ...
- Don't tell us that you're “passionate” – show us. ...
- Don't use the same personal statement for different programmes. ...
- 1) Research class profile at target schools. ...
- 2) Improve your public speaking skills. ...
- 3) Ace GMAT Verbal. ...
- 4) Improve your command over the English language. ...
- 5) Improve writing skills. ...
- 6) Connect with alumni. ...
- 7) Become the leader of a BIG project. ...
- 8) Travel to foreign countries.
Why MBA essays carry so much weight. The essays allow the admissions committee to discover the real you. It's where you write why an MBA makes sense as the next step of your career path. Also, it's how you differentiate yourself from everyone else who scored in the 700s on their GMAT.What qualities make a good MBA candidate? ›
- Time Management. ...
- Being An Effective Team Member. ...
- Ability To Apply Independent Thought (Critical Thinking) ...
- Willingness To Learn – Building Your Toolbox. ...
- Knowing When To Ask For Help.
In their essays, originality and authenticity are two critical themes that business schools look for because your life is unique. Remember, MBA essay writing is all about getting to know you, and your essays should truly reflect who you are as a person.Is 1 month enough for MBA application? ›
Although some MBA applicants can prepare good applications within a couple of months, others will need to spend a large amount of time researching their post-MBA career path, target schools and potential campus contributions before they can write a great application.What format should an MBA essay be in? ›
Short essays are typically better than a long essay. Aim for a short, five-paragraph essay. If you can't say everything you want to say in a short essay, you should at least stay below three pages. Remember, admissions committees read thousands of essays - they don't have time to read memoirs.What makes an MBA application stand out? ›
Make alumni connections
Ask yourself why you want to study there, what the school offers you that others don't, and what you yourself can bring to the student body. A good way to show you've considered these things is to connect with the school's alumni.
GPA/ percentage: Your grades are perhaps the singular most useful data point on your application. Programs will use it to weed out candidates who simply aren't academically strong enough to enter the program, while candidates use it to determine their eligibility for each school.What will be your biggest challenge in MBA? ›
Schedule - The MBA journey can be difficult and the workload can sometimes be heavy. Your class schedule will be so busy that there will hardly be enough time for everything you want to do. In the midst of all this, you will also have to participate in campus activities, complete assignments and prepare presentations.What round is best to apply for MBA? ›
If you are satisfied with your GMAT score, have a polished resume, and, have really good letters of recommendation, then Round 1 is your best shot. In case you feel you need additional 2-3 months to improve your application, then submit your application by Round 2.
According to GMAC, the results of your GMAT exams are more accurate in predicting your success in an MBA program than GPA. So, if you have a slightly low GPA, you can compensate it by doing better on the GMAT test. But, having a low GMAT score will raise a few questions, as GMAT scores have more weightage than GPAs.What are three words that you should ban from your personal statement? ›
- 1) Contractions. ...
- 2) Idioms. ...
- 3-5) “So on,” “etc,” “and so forth“ ...
- 6) Clichés. ...
- 7-11) “Thing,” “stuff,” “good,” “bad,” “big“ ...
- 12) Slang, jargon, teen speak. ...
- 13) Rhetorical questions.
They're full of clichés
Not only is it clichéd, it's also pretty boring. Think of your personal statement as your 'first impression' - don't encourage the admission tutor to make false assumptions without even meeting you. Avoid using any phrases that you've spotted online, or sentences that don't really mean anything.
You must demonstrate a range of well-developed soft skills – teamwork, problem-solving, time-management, detail-orientated, creative, good communicator, networker – whatever is relevant and useful to your studies and future career. And you need to evidence these in your studies, work experience and achievements.What is the most important part of a personal statement? ›
The lead or opening paragraph is generally the most important. It is here that you grab the reader's attention or lose it. This paragraph becomes the framework for the rest of the statement.Is MBA very tough? ›
In short, an MBA is as difficult as you make it, and is as rewarding as you invest in it. In the business world, there is rarely any hand-holding. You either develop into a competent business expert or are surpassed by the competition.How do I beef up my MBA application? ›
- Know your career goals. ...
- Identify business schools best suited for your career goals. ...
- Talk to alumni or current students of your target business schools. ...
- Based on your research, pinpoint aspects you can improve in your profile. ...
- Learn a few skills to fill in those gaps.
General and Short – within a two minute self-introduction speech, you need not tell them your whole life story. Keep it general and short. State your name, your age if you are comfortable, and your course if you are a student and your future goals. The same goes for professionals at work.How do you introduce yourself professionally in 2 minutes? ›
- 1) Prepare. ...
- 2) Give a Few Details. ...
- 3) Don't Be Cookie Cutter. ...
- 4) Convey Passion. ...
- 5) People Help People.
There is no one particular answer for it but generally, a score lower than 3.0 GPA may be considered “low GPA”, at least, for the Tier 1 MBA schools. If you wish to target the top MBA programs (M7) or T10, you may want to have a safe ground at 3.2+.Is a MBA worth it or no? ›
The financial return on investment offered by a typical MBA degree is equally strong, particularly at the world's best business schools. Business school graduates from the Financial Times' top 10 ranked MBAs see an average salary bump of 119% three years after graduation.Does GPA matter for MBA alot? ›
Getting into a top-ranked MBA program is highly competitive, but the results can be very rewarding in terms of financial success and career mobility. Having a good undergraduate grade point average is certainly an important factor that admissions committees consider; however, GPA isn't the whole story.Why are you a strong candidate for MBA? ›
A good MBA student demonstrates evidence of leadership potential and consistent academic achievement. Other abilities include creativity, dedication, commitment and professionalism. Ask yourself the following questions: Do you possess entrepreneurship and leadership capabilities?
The recommended word limit for essay A is 650 words, and essay B is 400 words. Format of the essays: Stanford has strict guidelines for the format of the essays. Your essays must be double-spaced, and all the pages of the document must be numbered.What skills a MBA student should have? ›
Skills Required from MBA Marketing graduates
Communication skills, strategic thinking, strong interpersonal and people skills, attention to detail, teamwork, entrepreneurial skills, etc.
Based on these two components, Adcoms can indicate how well you will do when it comes to academic readiness. According to GMAC, the results of your GMAT exams are more accurate in predicting your success in an MBA program than GPA.What is the best MBA essay writing service? ›
- GradeMiners. These are a team of professionals that is more than 3,500 and help learners from all around the world. ...
- Essay Box. ...
- PaperHelp. ...
- MyAdmissionEssay. ...
However, there's a noteworthy change: The Harvard MBA essay now has a word limit of 900 words. This is good news for candidates, as previously the lack of word count – combined with the breadth of the prompt – felt maddeningly open-ended for so many applicants.How do you write an essay Harvard style? ›
- 2.5 cm OR 1-inch margins on all sides.
- Recommended fonts: Arial 12 pt or Times New Roman, with double-spacing.
- Title is in the center of the page just above the text.
- Left-aligned text, with the first sentence of every paragraph indented by 0.5 inch.
Perhaps the most famous MBA admissions essay, the first of just two essay prompts from the Stanford Graduate School of Business asks MBA applicants to dig deep into their personal motivations to answer the question. A great “What Matters Most” essay will involve personal topics and strong emotions.What is the average salary of Stanford MBA? ›
Stanford MBA class profile.
|International Students %||43|
|Female Students %||47|
|Average Work Exp. (years)||4.6|
So while single-spacing is fine and will be the default for a lot of essays submitted electronically, the recommendation is to double-space when you have a clear option. The admissions folks read hundreds or thousands of essays, and you'll be doing their eyes a favor by double-spacing.