A request - Dont ask for other's MBA essays

One of the nicest takeaways of starting this blog is an opportunity for me to interact with several new people who visit my blog. Everyday I get emails from my blog readers. Most write to ask info about MBA admissions process and some write just to connect with me. I am really glad to connect with my readers and also help them in their MBA application process within my time limits.

But off-late am noticing a disturbing trend. Few of the readers are asking me to share my MBA essays with them and I am not at all happy with this. It has 2 very practical reasons
  1. MBA application process is all about being yourself. Everyone has a unique profile and a unique story. And a MBA essay is mostly about YOUR story. So that directly implies that one has to come up with his/her OWN story to make it successful in MBA admissions.

    Though its not wrong to refer to sample essays to get an idea of format & language used, referring too much to others essays is sure shot formula to doom in the MBA application process. Why ? Simple - Once we have a ready-made essay with us, it will definitely impact one's willingness to dig into his own life to come up with his personal story.

    So for your own good, never ever have others' essays as your starting point if you want to succeed. Instead spend a lot of time in introspection and come with your OWN story. Remember there is no right or wrong answer to an MBA essay. Its all about BEING YOURSELF. And remember it pays !!
  2. Secondly, if anyone is planning to take a short cut route to MBA admissions, remember we have some super experienced guys as adcoms. They usually read some tens of thousands of essays every year and with that magnitude of experience they can readily say how much of your story is truly yours. Read this interesting article on Business week - http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/blogs/mba_admissions/archives/2010/01/turnitin_begins_crackdown_on_plagiarism_in_admissions_essays.html

This is my sincere effort to make (few) my readers understand the importance of coming up with own essays. Being said that, you should definitely involve others for essay reviews. I hope they take it on a positive note and rock in the admission process. I only want my blog friends to succeed.

All the best !


DreamChaser said...

very well said!

Madhurya Prakash said...

Thanks DC.

H A R I said...

Wow i would like to participate in your request too. I can't agree more with you!

Madhurya Prakash said...

Thanks Hari ! Just hope all fellow applicants understand the importance of coming up with personal stories

H A R I said...

Absolutely. One thing that aspirants fail to realize is that the folks who read these essays have been doing the same for 10 or 12 years and this means over 100,000 essays. This gives them enough skillset to spot the personal ones from the fake ones. Throw in an interview with this and the applicant is dreadlocked!

Luke said...

Not a regular reader... saw this link on clearadmit... but I have to say there isa a legitimate (even good!) reason that I think a candidate can have for reading others' essays:

There is a lot of stress and fear going in to writing b-school essays. So much you want to convey about yourself and so little space. And you want to dare to be you, but recognize that there are bounds on what is appropriate.

The best way to learn what those bounds are, or how people tell stories within the rigid word limits, is to review essays from those who got in.

It isn't about copying or plagarizing, it is about looking for examples of what worked that can relax some of the anxieties you have.

I know that reading the essay book from Harbus, with HBS students' essays was INCREDIBLY helpful as I wrote my essays (for that school and others).

Of course, your essays are yours, you have no obligation to share them. But I think you might give more merit to readers' requests...

Madhurya Prakash said...

@Luke, thanks for the constructive remarks. I have definitely acknowledged the fact that "its not wrong to refer to sample essays to get an idea of format & language used". I agree with you on that. But the role of sample essays should stop at that point is my sincere request. Of course not all will try to copy the essays but from my experiences, I felt the need to stress on the importance of coming up with the personal stories.

babsonmba2012.com said...

A bit late in the day, but I wanted to contribute a few thoughts to balance this debate.

I'm pretty much with Luke on this one. While sharing essays or not is the prerogative of the writer, I think sharing essays after carefully screening the requester's motives is a better way to go.

I will give the benefit of doubt to applicants and think they know the importance of a personal story which stands out in respect to their peers. If they don't, then the process of experienced adcoms sifting them out of the cycle should adequately address that anomaly as has been expressly stated by you, DC and Hari.

As an applicant, I have asked for essays from people to read. I received help from some and others rejected my request. I wanted to know what was the projected culture at the places I read about. I even read essays of schools I didn't apply to in order to filter them out based on the type of possible applicant they were looking for. Also, not all the essays I read were from successful applicants.

In return, I have shared my essays, resume and writing tips with people who have asked for help. Plenty of my readers (including Hari) will testify to this.

I wrote all my essays myself and had a strong team of reviewers who helped me fine-tune them. There was no question of copying essays or ideas expressed by the writers. I'm sure many applicants follow the same MO and have a reasonable benchmark for their ethics.

The key theme here is that as an applicant, being well informed is often a more powerful position than having something to copy from. And I believe most applicants are at a level of maturity to appreciate this point.

While giving help isn't mandatory, I think it is a decent thing to do, especially if one takes help from the online community.

Good luck at CMU! Wish you all the best.

babsonmba2012.com said...

Correction: DC has not expressly commented on applicant filtering by adcoms.

mew said...

Thank you for allowing me to post a comment in your site.

Making your own essays is hard when you don't know what topic you must choose. Yet letting your imagination to pick a topic for your dessertation would be a better choice.


gujjar g said...

Thank you for share this informative post.

Abner Carl said...

There are so many online companies which are providing essay writing for MBA students.I think students definitely get help through these companies.
mba statement of purpose

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