Well that took awhile!!
Back in June, we posted the Part One of a career goals essay for London Business School, saying we’d come back and finish the discussion. This happened, and then that happened, and then soon enough we were knee-deep in essays, and, well…. here we are. At least we didn’t forget completely or just blow it off! That would be way worse.
Whenever you make a commitment, even if it ends up being the case that you won’t be able to follow through with it, make it FINAL. Tell the person you committed to that you won’t be following through. Don’t just blow them off or pretend like it’s no big deal. If you do that often enough, your soul will rot.
In order that our soul will not rot, we’re gonna talk about this here essay now. It was submitted through our lil ask for a freebie review! feature and you too can send in your essays that way!
The LBS essay question asked:
What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School programme contribute towards these?
The BSer started off with this:
My post MBA goal is to become a global leader driving geospatial products that combine high end technology and affordability. Right after my graduation, I want to work for a Geotech major to create and explore new ways of combining sustainability, technology and profitability. Through my goal, I aspire to touch the lives of common people living in the far-flung areas of developing countries like India, China, Thailand and Ethiopia where rural poor are deprived of basic facilities that the urban citizens get to enjoy. I want to create a paradigm where simple geospatial applications like navigation, disease mapping and water flow mapping for flood relief are all available in the hands of the under privileged.
(In case you’re curious, we included their whole essay in that prior post.)
What works well with this paragraph?
- It starts with a career goal (errr, sorta)
- It sounds like this person has some type of background that’s relevant (we think)
What’s not working so great?
- It does not actually state a goal.
- There’s unnecessary jargon (“geospatial”) and way too many buzzwords which BSer arkanian86 also pointed out in that previous post.
- It’s much too long given that it’s not actually saying anything.
We can distill this down further to a problem that we’ll call being over ambitious just for the sake of ambition.
Many times, applicants fall into the trap of thinking that they need to write about really important or impressive post-MBA career paths, where they’re going to tackle important and pressing problems in the world, because they think that that’s what’s expected. They think that the adcoms want to only accept the applicants who will go on to do the grandest things after graduating.
While there’s a smidgen of truth to that — the adcoms do want their grads to be successful and thus to make the school also be more successful by association — it’s not what drives the decision to admit.
The only way you’re going to convince an adcom reader that you’ll be a leader with impact in areas like disease or flood relief is if you:
a) SHOW where you’ve been impactful as a leader in the recent past of your career
b) DEMONSTRATE your commitment to solving big societal or environmental problems through the work you have done in your career or through the community
This essay goes on to sort of touch on #a in the paragraph that follows, but nowhere did we get anything on this person’s commitment to a cause or efforts made to help out in some type of social-good capacity.
In addition, the cumbersome writing detracts from the flow and easy communication. Instead of using a phrase like “a Geotech major” — which we’re like, “Huh?” — this person should say “I want to work at Garmin or Nokia” or whatever they have in mind (Garmin being a GPS company, and Nokia in cell phones, which we assume are both in the target market that this person was trying to identify, but we’re not fully certain since we’re just filling in the gaps and coming up with ideas of our own, when they haven’t been specified clearly by the applicant).
In their second paragraph, this person had this, in part:
In my role as an Account Service Manager, I devised an unprecedented customer engagement strategy that has directly resulted in increase in customer delight points by 30%, decreased complications in processes and streamlined project management workflow.
Well, OK, this has some value, in the context of highlighting where this person was a leader in their current role. But the problems are:
- What was this “customer engagement strategy”? What type of “engagement” are we even talking about? Is this some form of new account on-boarding thing? Is it a sales role, where you’re out there getting people to sign up?
- Is this a one-to-one relationship thing? Is it a B2B (business-to-business) or a consumer model? Who are your customers?
- What did you do that was so unprecedented? Do you mean ‘unprecedented’ at your own firm? Or across the industry? If at your firm, how big is the firm? What is the baseline for it being ‘unprecedented’? What literally did you come up with as this big idea, and how?
- We don’t even know the name of the company
That single sentence does have potential, and we can see that this person did SOMETHING in their career to date. But what exactly they did, and how their actions led to this 30% increase in delight, well, all of that has been omitted from the story.
As you can see, we had a lot of questions, just on one sentence in the draft. We had nearly as many questions on every single line of that essay.
This is where there is real value in the Essay Decimator. What we do when we read your essay is WE TELL YOU HOW A COMPLETE STRANGER WILL REACT TO YOUR DRAFT. We point out all the gaps and holes, so you can see where the problems lie. With an essay like this, had we gotten it well before deadline, we would’ve been able to give the BSer a heads-up that they were totally on the wrong track, and a blank-page rewrite would be necessary. Sure, quite possibly that core story about improving the customer engagement thing could still be used as the foundation for the essay, but the way it was presented needed to be done over from scratch, and definitely too the career goals needed to be recast using specifics and more clarity.
Oh and by the way since we’re on this topic:
In the Essay Decimator process, will we tell you how to fix these things? Well no. That’s your job. We do offer literally thousands of posts here on the site for you to study, and essay guides that we’ve published for most of the top schools that walk you through things, and a dedicated school questions page for many of them too. We have that whole ‘teach you to fish’ model where instead of spoonfeeding you the answers and telling you what to write in your essays — which we would never do because it’s, um, unethical — we lay out the best practices and tools and techniques for how to write them yourself. And then, wow, look at that, you end up building these newfangled skills called critical thinking that let you be so much more productive in everything you try to tackle in life.
We’re not quite sure what happened to the BSer whose long-ago LBS essay we’re only now managing to talk about today. Did this person get in? We don’t know. We would love to find out! If you happen to still be lurking somewhere in Snarkville, please pop up out of the woodwork and let us know how things went. You can either post a note here in the comments, or do so in My SnarkCenter with an update on how things went for you last year. If you didn’t make it in yet then we’d like to offer you a deal on a future service with us for this season, if you’re interested in enlisting some more specific help on these essays (though hopefully you don’t need it, it would be so awesome to hear that you already made it in somewhere great!!!!).
Goals are super important in your MBA apps! This week in The Round 2 Countdown everyone is starting to get some real work done, by focusing on CAREER GOALS! It’s a good time to sign up if you want to come along for the ride.