Today is Christmas.
Well it’s not literally Christmas – Christmas was yesterday – but yesterday was Sunday – which means we get today off as the “official” Christmas. Even though everyone did their eggnogging and gift-unwrapping yesterday. Today they’re all at the mall returning those presents and getting what they REALLY want.
And rest assured, EssaySnark did not write this blog post on Christmas.
We wrote in back in September or something, and kept bumping it forward in our little blogger calendar until we found a day that we didn’t have anything else to say.
So guess what? Christmas it is. Or the day after. Or whatever. ‘Cuz you can bet we’re not reading essays and writing blog posts today.
Here’s your stale advice to carry you through the post-holiday hangover. (You are writing essays today, aren’t you?)
When telling a school how fabulous you think it is, it’s tempting to do the old standby, compare and contrast. What we mean here is, don’t say “Columbia is the only program that…” or “Wharton has the best blah blah blah…”
Why should you NOT do this? Three main reasons:
- Chances are, you’re gonna be wrong about whatever it is you’re citing. We see it all the time: A BSer claims in an essay that the school they’re trying to woo is the only one that has XYZ program or initiative or option — but actually, that’s a feature that’s common to many schools. This comes up with the cluster system, for example; many bschools divide students into clusters or cohorts that they spend the whole first year with. Some schools are moving away from this, but it’s still very common. Or action-based learning; this is practically a Ross trademark, but other schools have co-opted it and are now using the same-exact phrase.
- The other problem with this compare/contrast? Things change. If you say “NYU has more female students than any other top program” then you might be correct one year, but the next year, someone else will beat their numbers.
- The most important reason not to do this? It is an empty compliment to the school – it’s telling them something they already know. If you really care about Feature X of the school, then instead of fawning over them about how they’re the only one that has it, you should talk about it in a personal way. What does it mean TO YOU that they offer XYZ thingamabob in an MBA education? How will you use it, why is it relevant to you? To just cite the thingamabob is not helping you; it’s parroting their website. Figure out how to integrate a statement about the importance of said thingamabob into your pitch, and then you’ll have something worth crowing about.*
The schools are pretty darn familiar about what they have — and what their peers have. (Well, sometimes they are… EssaySnark has heard adcom peeps say completely inaccurate things about their peers in info sessions — we won’t say who!). You risk tripping yourself up unnecessarily if you do this compare/contrast thing. It doesn’t help you. Don’t do it.
* *chortle* parrots? crowing? hahaha EssaySnark cracks ourself up
Here's what others have said about this:
While I haven't researched every school around, I am pretty sure that Ross is the only school that provides the MAP experience. While other schools have experiential learning classes, the duration of MAP puts it in a league entirely by itself. Even schools with "labs" and "immersion" programs don't seem to offer the level of practical experience that MAP does. From my understanding MAP is pretty much a classwide internship before your internship. So maybe that's the only case where a student can say that Ross is the only school that can meet a particular need through that program. I would think this is especially appealing to career changers.
Merry Christmas Essay Snark. Hope you got some awesome presents cause you've played a big part in making sure that Christmas came early for many BSers.
@Essaysnark: A question about Cornell's second essay-
You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. Please write the table of contents for the book. Note: Approach this essay with your unique style. We value creativity and authenticity.
What's the expectation here? A list of bullet points coz that's what tables of contents are usually like.
I feel more like writing an essay covering the major inflection points in my life. What's the time span one is supposed to cover?
@Cheetarah1980 – sorry but disagree. Columbia Master Classes are very similar to MAP: semester-wide, small-group, real-world consulting projects. The main diff is that CBS MCs are in Y2, vs Ross MAP is Y1. HBS FIELD seems to have a similar goal for Y1, though they're still molding what FIELD will be. Stanford does partnerships with the d.school tackling real problems. Wharton is moving in this direction, too. Ross was def one of the first (in fact, we were irritated to see that HBS Dean Nohria is trying to claim HBS as the innovator in this area!!). But MAP is not the only beast of its kind in the wilderness.
Thx for the kind Xmas wishes – as nerdy as it sounds, the best gift that we can get is for awesome candidates like you to get in!! So please, everyone, do your job and give EssaySnark more gifts!!! 🙂
@ccatcher: Expectations are very literal: create a TOC. Make it a TOC, make it your Life Story. An essay is NOT what they want. The best TOCs start at the beginning and cover the whole story. 🙂
Sorry to be so snide, but it's literally what they're asking for. Cover the highlights of your past and project forward your plans for the future. Use concise titles – avoid writing out huge sentences as the chapter headings, since that's not what you'd get in a book. Beyond that, the arrangement and execution of the TOC is up to you!
So funny that when we wrote the above post, we thought we would not be reading essays today… *sigh*