Isn’t this supposed to be about MBA admissions? Shouldn’t discussions of getting into bschool be more about strategy?
Why does EssaySnark focus so much on the mechanics of grammar and English?
Why would we bother with a post like yesterday’s where asking you to critique a sentence — a sentence that has nothing to do with career goals or profile or background info, that’s never going to appear on an MBA essay?
The reason is that LANGUAGE MATTERS.
Here’s what Confucius said:
If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.
(If you’re curious where we came up with that, it’s fromon this geeky-writery post from The New York Review of Books .)
We care about writing so much that we were going to make a weekly feature called Writing Wednesday but we didn’t want to make Snarkville into a ghost town in the middle of every week. 😉
But this isn’t just about writing essays for admission to bschool. Language is the only means we have to truly connect with other people. Lookee here, EssaySnark is connecting with you and we’re not even in the same room! Words are magic. Language is also the only way we can approximate reality. There is no such thing as reality “out there”, you know; all we have is what we experience, and if there’s going to be any chance that that experience can be validated, confirmed, or very important, improved upon then it’s going to come through language as an initial tool for analysis and discovery.
Language matters, in essays, and in life. If you’re not able to use language effectively, you’re cheating yourself, and everyone around you, of your brightest potential. The light coming from within you is tarnished, and may go overlooked when it’s most needed.
From a purely practical standpoint, clarity of language reflects clarity of thought.
This is why structuring your essays logically, with a proper flow and order, is so important. It’s doing a service to your reader, by making it easier to follow along with where you’re taking them. A logical argument is convincing. A muddled one will cause your audience to turn away.
In addition, putting ideas into words clarifies them FOR YOU. The act of writing the essay helps you to know what you’re saying.
If you’re writing an essay about what you want to do with your life or what’s meaningful for you, like in the Big Important Life-Changing sense of future career goals, or what matters most, then the act of writing, when you’re fully engaged in it and paying close attention to the way you’re constructing your thoughts, and validating that the concepts you capture on the page are actually what you MEAN, will reveal new truths to YOURSELF.
Writing is a way of communicating to the one who matters most: That being who lives inside you.
The one who’s asleep at the wheel, more often than not.
Clear writing is a voice from your soul.
(OK, OK, OK, EssaySnark is not being paid to be PhilosophySnark, we’ll quit while we’re ahead.)
Bringing it back around, in case we still have any readers left after all of that:
Writing clearly is an act of kindness to your readers.
Clear writing is critical if you want to make a positive impression on a stranger. As in, like, someone reading an MBA admissions essay.
Those in power who intentionally obfuscate speech and subvert words to the opposite of their meaning are dangerous, and they threaten our ability to evolve. (Read that NY Books piece if you don’t know what we’re talking about.)
The ability to communicate your thoughts, ideas, recommendations, strategies, and plans is perhaps the most important skill you’ll need as a leader.
No, it’s not easy.
Yes, this stuff matters.
Now, who wants to vote on the submissions we got from yesterday’s post about the sentence?
It is the failing of liberal technocrats to think reason governs how people act.