Think you know what needs to go into a good MBA admissions essay?
Great – here’s your chance to show off.
We’re posting the first few paragraphs of the main Duke essay today. Anyone who’s interested in offering some feedback to this BSer is invited to do so in the comments. You can post anonymously, and you don’t even have to be a paying member of this here blahg. All (polite) comments are welcome.
As a reminder, here’s Fuqua’s essay question:
When asked by your family, friends, and colleagues why you want to go to Duke, what do you tell them? Share the reasons that are most meaningful to you.
And here’s what we got:
What if we don’t have to use cash or credit card to pay our bills, but can use our smartphones instead? What if when we try on a shirt at the shopping mall, we don’t hurry to purchase it but scan the barcode and instantly order it online at the lowest price. What if we could regulate the air-conditioner in the house, while we are driving home. This is the era of ”Mobile Internet”. Internet is changing everyone’s daily life. A historical opportunity is approaching towards us. We shall seize it.
What on earth is the true driver of this industry? As the youngest regional manager in this leading internet company, I thought marketing is the most efficient way to help the company move forward. However, a product totally changed my mind. The rapid growth of League of Legends (LOL-hottest PC game worldwide with over 6 million users online simultaneously) has exceeded everyone’s expectation and brought unprecedented benefits for Tencent. This kind of radical development and popularity for a product in such a limited time is indeed rare. In the process of regional management, I have witnessed this “miracle”: Less than2 years ago, our cooperators have to introduce this unknown new product to the internet café users and provide some extra rewards to attract users to experience the game. But now, LOL has been more than a game. It’s a part of culture and life. We can find it at subway advertisement, radio broadcasting, TV, and shopping malls. Why does this specific product score such a phenomenon performance, since we marketed every singular product with almost equal share of devote.
That’s just the first part. We don’t want to overwhelm all of you novice Essay Commentator Extraordinaires with too much to ingest in one go.
And, so? What do you think? We have plenty we could say about this but it would be awesome to hear some of your comments first, BSers. Remember, be polite and productive in your feedback; all snarking privileges are already taken by Yours Truly. We won’t hesitate to delete anything that’s out of line. You can be critical if you see fit but do so in a constructive fashion, please.
And we have another motivation in posting this too too: We’ve got an official new offering of Crowd-Sourced Essay Reviews – where these peer-review things’re done privately, in a closed forum here on the site – but many BSers are being shy in those forums and not diving in with their own stuff. So today’s post is an effort to a) show you how easy this is – make some comments, say what you think! and b) hopefully get the pipes flowing over in the private forums too… After all, those Round 2 deadlines are going to be here before ya know it! If you’ve got an essay written, then submit it for comments from others. If you have not, then reviewing what others have written can be a great way to get your feet wet. Exercise those critical thinking skills, Brave Supplicant! Dust off the essay writing tools and see if you can contribute a bit to someone’s process!
Here's what others have said about this:
I think the BSer has misread the question. Nearly a page in writing, but no mention of the school whatsoever. Not even a single word about the school. Narcissistic? Tsk tsk
Completely agree, I had to go back to the question to make sure that I hadn’t misread it. I would much rather see an answer to the question within the first few sentences – then a more detailed response further on.
This looks like an answer to another question for another school. Stanford essay 1 perhaps?
Would have been helpful to have some idea of the word limit for this essay. If you remove away the frills, the question is, Why Duke? The writer is trying to use these 2 paras to eventually (I hope) connect to some big idea and Fuqua. There are a couple of “pearls” in there which could be used to set up the essay in about 50-70 words (not 270). Also, there a few grammatical mistakes in para 2 but not sure if para 2 needs to be there.
It is still early days and such missteps are typical of early drafts. However, I cringe when an essay is used to sell some professional “achievement” – like in this case, “as the youngest regional manager….” leave that to your sweet recommenders or if you do say it, do so in a humble(r) way.
Broad-strokes – Use this essay to share meaningful interactions with alums/current students that really showed to you this is the place you want to spend 2 years, professors/courses, experiences etc. Maybe he/she does it in para 3 and beyond.
@cheekyone, length limit for this one is two pages, double spaced. This BSer submitted 865 words total and what we posted today took up about 2/3 of the first page.
I have to agree with vishwa_hedge – this is a Why Duke? question combine with a values/family question. Yet this essay answers neither so far. Grammar is iffy and syntax is worse. The biggest issue, though, is that this just screams “copy and paste,” which is DEFINITELY not going to get you into Duke. I’d probably scrap the whole thing and start with anew with a different approach.
The question asks for reasons. The answers are written as a puzzle to the reader. It is testing the reader whether he or she can deduce the reasons from those paragraphs or not.
One MAY deduce from the first para that BSer wants to go to Duke as he or she wants to seize an opportunity. And second para MAY indicate that BSer wants to attend Duke to understand a miracle.
My suggestion would be to list out the real reasons why the BSer wants to go to Duke and then build a theme around it. Bser is building a theme, but the reasons are not coming out clearly.
Just my two cents.
EssaySnark agrees with many of the comments left here (although really, “narcissistic”? was that necessary, vishwa_hegde?). We’re also pleased to see at least one new essay was posted on the Crowd-Sourced forum since this went up (a “significant accomplishment” essay for ISB).
@prodizy, your feedback is spot-on, and we need to emphasize the reality that the reader of a bschool application essay (also known as the “adcom”) will NOT make any deductions or dot-connections or other erstwhile interpretations of what you’re trying to say.
To all BSers everywhere: You must say what you are trying to say. Directly and concisely.
As DJOnion said: Please answer the question – ideally in the first sentence or so!!
To the BSer whose essay we posted: Once you rewrite this baby, if you want to post your first two paragraphs here in the comments, we’d be interested to see where you take things.
Thanks everyone for commenting thus far!
To the BSer who wrote this essay, would you comfortably read the first two paragraphs out aloud to your:
That’s an excellent test for many essays – this one especially.
If you sound stiff or stilted when reading the essay aloud, then you know it’s not in your authentic voice.
This essay question in particular MUST be authentic.
Great advice, @slessor.