The title says it all.
No, you should not include links to websites in your MBA application essays.
An exception might be your LinkedIn page which, sure, you can keep at the top of your resume. If you want. If you already have one, and if it’s well populated with meaningful content. If you don’t have one or if it’s not built out that much, then skip it.
Because believe it or not, many admissions people review applications from paper.
Yes, that’s right. They print out your application when it comes in.
Don’t believe us?
This peek-behind-the-curtain post from Dartmouth Tuck last Fall explains their process . Printing out the app is the first step. They pass file folders around the office.
Not every school does it that way – many years ago, when iPads were new, MIT made a big deal over the fact that all their apps are reviewed on their hip new Apple devices.
But even if you know that the school reviews apps electronically, in most cases it’s still not advisable to litter your resume with links. One reason? It’s darned easy to inadvertently click on a link when you’re really trying to scroll down on a page. You know. You’ve done it. And it’s frustrating, right?
URLs really don’t belong in essays. They just don’t. A key reason for this is, an essay is an essay. It’s not a report, or an article, or a wikipedia page. It’s your personal statement in answer to a specific question; it contains your argument. It needs to be self-contained. Complete.
Besides the fact that adcom reviewers don’t have time. They’re not going to follow out on the links that you include to wander around on the web to learn more about your oh-so-fascinating project.
If you simply MUST include a link to something in your application because it’s REALLY that important and relevant – as in, you built an iPhone app and that accomplishment is part of your pitch – then put it on the resume. Don’t clutter up the essay with it. The essay should INCLUDE it – as in, describe it and explain its importance in the context of whatever-it-is that you’re writing about in answer to the prompt. But it should not also have extraneous stuff like hyperlinks.
It’s kinda like footnotes. When you’re reading along and engrossed in the page, and then BLAM! there comes a footnote… It’s disruptive. You’re pulled out of the idea that you’ve been digesting. You have to interrupt yourself and reorient down to the bottom of the page (or even worse, flip to the back of the book – ugh!). We’ve only very rarely ever seen a BSer attempt to put a footnote in an essay (and we squashed that idea too) so we’re only using this example to illustrate the point. Footnotes are disruptive to the reading experience. They are jarring. Yes, they’re necessary, and expected, in certain types of writing, but the MBA admissions essay is not one of them.
Same deal with URLs. Skip them, please.