How EssaySnark helps you write better essays

We’re just going to post some comments we received from a BSer last season:

Man EssaySnark, you are brutal. But I needed it and absolutely helpful. I actually thought I had OK drafts going into this process, but I get why the drafts are actually pretty weak:

  • The stories I chose don’t make me seem like an all-star; at best, they might show I’ve added value in my role. It doesn’t differentiate me from my peers.
  • I get too bogged down in the details
  • Don’t do a great job of answering the question
  • They’re boring — I don’t show much of a personality

Funny — this is stuff you mention in your strategy guides, but I guess I needed this feedback for it to really resonate with me.

We do our best in those essay guides to give detailed and actionable advice on how to approach your essays – however, reading about what makes for a good essay can be fairly abstract. Getting direct feedback on where you went wrong on YOUR essay can be invaluable. Not necessary, but invaluable.

And for those of you worried about us being “brutal” we offer this.

($) “Letters of support” Part 2

We recently started talking about this animal you may not have encountered called the “letter of support”. This discussion was prompted by a question that came in many months ago from a Brave Supplicant which went like this: Hello, My name is Brave Supplicant* and i a regular surfer on your website. Though, i am…


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($) Time off for GMAT and apps? Part 2

To finish up on our post from yesterday, about whether you should just take time off from your job and devote yourself non-stop to GMAT and essays. Boy, that sounds like fun! Your life will become the GMAT Channel: All GMAT, all the time. (Yeah. Like that’s gonna happen. Probably more likely is that Facebook…


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($) Taking extended time off of work for GMAT and essays is not advised.

Sometimes people come into this process a little later than perhaps they should have (let’s be honest, almost always that’s the case). At about this time of every year, we start getting people who are suddenly VERY motivated – and maybe a little bit desperate – who tell us with resolve that they are going…


While much of the blahg is available completely for free, the content here is reserved for members with full blahg access only ($5.95/month for 6 months, cancel anytime). Please login to view this content or purchase a membership – or return to the home page.

What it means to “research the schools”

We had a rather awkward (for us) exchange with someone who successfully got into a Very Good School last season.

This person had purchased some of our school strategy guides, and then a few months later they popped back in to announce that they’d been accepted. Yay!!

We wrote back to them with congratulations, because of course! And we asked if they’d want to share their story in a quick write-up for the blahg. We mentioned that it’s always inspiring when someone goes it alone – ‘cuz they hadn’t used any of our services, just the essay guides.

And they wrote back and kindly said yes, they’d be happy to share their story, but that they actually had used a different consultant.

And we were like, “Oh.” (It reminded us of this at first.)

Then we figured out what they meant: They’d already engaged that other consultant before they found us. (At least, that’s what we assume was the sequence.) Anyway, they still had a success story to share! Even if it wasn’t one that involved us as much. ;-)

But this post is actually to draw attention to something specific that they shared. Here’s what they said:

First, about me. I am a second generation business owner. I have been working in the family business for the past eight years. Before that, I worked at (firm name), a public accounting firm for a year and a half. My GMAT score is 720, and my undergraduate GPA is (quite good). I will be 31 when I start at (bschool). This is the best time for me to get my MBA since my sister is now experienced enough to run the business on her own.

(Bschool) is a natural fit for me. A very dear friend of mine graduated from Columbia this year. We talked about courses she took and how her experience at Columbia helped her shift gears from accounting to retail.

After the GMAT, I started working on my applications for (bschool) and Stanford (as mentioned in an earlier note, Stanford’s application was great practice. Even though I knew I had a snowball’s chance in hell at Stanford, I worked on the application diligently)

My consultant recommended that I research both schools, and that is where your guides helped.

Anyway, we kinda laughed when we got to that last sentence.

First off, a sign of a good consultant is how much they encourage you to do your own research.

But the funny part is that much as we’re flattered that this was the approach, reading our school guides just doesn’t count as “school research”.

Sorry, Charlie.

Our school guides surely do provide a great asset into your process. They contain all kinds of insights and information and practical tips and tricks for applying to your target schools.

But they are not “school research”.

School research is first-hand, on-the-ground, direct interactions with THE SCHOOL.

It’s not reading about the school from some third party.

We know that lots of the big consulting firms release school guides and they are to some degree or another useful in the process, certainly.

But those are not “school research”.

In order to have the BEST advantage in applying, you need to get outside your comfort zone and TALK TO PEOPLE.

You probably even need to leave your house for this! (gah!)

Sure, use the resources that are available to you. Study the websites, pick up these planners and whatnot.

But don’t believe that someone else’s advice and opinion is worth nearly half as much as your OWN findings and impressions and takeaways.

Clearly this worked out for this person and we do offer genuine Congratulations to them.

And at the same time, for those of you starting off on this adventure, please remember that it’s YOUR opinion that matters most – and you can only form a truly useful impression of a place by experiencing it for yourself (or at least, talking to people who are in the community – you don’t need to literally visit though that’s always super great if you can).

Our strategy guides are intended to cut through the angst of applying – they’re written to help you make the most of your limited time in front of the adcom (through the written app and to some extent the interview). Technically you should’ve already done a whole significant research project before it comes time to tackle the app.

Use everything! We’re not saying don’t get those guides. But we couldn’t let that go un-remarked-upon.

And oh yeah…. to the BSer who had help from another consultant… CONGRATS! :-D

We’re glad to have played the tiniest part in your success through those guides. You’re off to the races now!

($) essay critique: Why Duke?

We’re doing a rare Saturday post because, well, we’re working … and you should be too! If you are struggling with your MBA essays today, there’s help available. Feel free to hit us up on Twitter, or in the comments to this post if you’ve got questions – ideally if you post here, they would…


While much of the blahg is available completely for free, the content here is reserved for members with full blahg access only ($5.95/month for 6 months, cancel anytime). Please login to view this content or purchase a membership – or return to the home page.