About a month ago, this essay was submitted for consideration for a freebie blahg review by an Indian BSer who’s applying to Tuck (or possibly he already submitted in their November round? Not sure; if so, we got it much too late to turn it around that quickly 🙁 ). This BSer is in investment banking, which is obviously not that unusual among all MBA applicants, though it IS more unusual among Indians — not entirely unique but also not the typical profile for many Indian nationals who are trying for the American bschools. So, depending on how this BSer is pitching himself, there could be a shot, based on a career path that’s outside of the norm, since the adcoms all want candidates who are unlike the other students they’ve accepted, to the degree it’s possible.
Here’s the prompt for Tuck essay 1:
What are your short and long-term goals? Why is an MBA a critical next step toward achieving those goals? Why are you interested in Tuck specifically?
And here’s how this one opens from this IB BSer:
Upon concluding an engaging finance course from [redacted] Business School, [two cities], I got numerous opportunities to practice my inherent love for numbers, and specifically, Investment Banking back home. [employer] provided one such ideal platform, providing me an opportunity to contribute to complex transactions across debt, equity, private equity, and mergers & acquisitions, an aberration for an analyst in his first two years of experience.
Well hm. There’s nothing in this opening paragraph that goes beyond what we’d expect to see from a glance at the resume. That is your first sign that you’re not using your limited space as effectively as you could be. There is nothing in this essay question that asks for you to give a recap of your career to date. Plus, there’s all sorts of tiny issues which may seem insignificant, but which can contribute to the reader’s reading experience in a negative way, specifically:
1. The verb “got” in the first sentence – is that grammatical? Seems not to be. If nothing else, it’s overly casual, which is not the right tone for an MBA essay.
2. What does “Investing Banking back home” mean?
a) Why is investment banking capitalized? It’s not a proper noun.
b) What does “back home” mean? You’ve not established where “home” is, except that it’s not in one of the two cities named
c) The cities that we have redacted looked like this: “City/City” Using a slash in an essay is also making it too casual. Later on there’s an ampersand. These make the essay feel like it is an email not a formal piece of writing.
3. Talking about yourself in the third person is awkward, and anyway, you don’t need to inform the adcom what’s an ‘aberration’ — they will know what a typical progression is or what type of experience is common for an analyst. Instead of wasting space saying things that the reader already knows, use your limited opportunity with them to share how you have had an impact in the past. This is the fundamental point to “showing” the reader stuff, instead of “telling” them.
Let’s keep going.
In these projects, while imbibing an all-encompassing notion of the large-scale transactions, I proved my mettle as a research-oriented analyst having strong interpersonal skills. Currently, working for [employer]’s equity capital markets team, I have gained nuances of raising capital by networking with the top-notch Indian investors. Moreover, my noteworthy contribution in the [employer] IPO, slated to become the second largest Indian IPO ever, was rewarded with a front-page recognition in company’s [proprietary something-or-other meaningless name of something we have no clue about but we’re redacting it to preserve anonymity].
At this point we’re scratching our heads.
Where is the answer to the question?
The Tuck goals question is super direct and unambiguous.
1. What is your short-term goal?
2. What is your long-term goal?
3. Why do you need an MBA?
4. Why do you want to go to Tuck?
We have now gotten two full paragraphs — 140 words — and not even a whiff of an answer to any of those. As your reader, we’re starting to get antsy.
This lack-of-an-answer is coupled with a GMAT score for this BSer that’s lower than we would expect, given the IB background, and especially with the “inherent love for numbers” that’s being claimed. That’s an unforced error if we ever saw one.
PLUS, there are full sentences riddled with fancy words and hifalutin language about stuff. What on Earth does it mean to “imbibe an all-encompassing notion”?
What is this person SAYING?
Gosh. We wish we knew. 🙁
Based on these first two paragraphs alone, we’re concerned.
But oh, it gets worse.
Here’s the next sentence:
Introspecting about my journey in a backdrop of the evolution of today’s influential leaders, I have realized that a natural convergence of my acquired functional skills, industry knowhow, and interpersonal attributes is a holistic general management role, where I can aptly lead global cross-functional teams.
Unfortunately the wheels are coming off pretty quickly. Writing like that makes the snarkiest snark start to surface. All we’re left with is a huge ‘WTF??”
But that’s not useful feedback.
OK, so how about this:
Despite the fact that Tuck markets itself as a general management MBA program, “general management” is not a career goal.
And we have no clue what a “holistic” general management goal might be.
This essay is chockful o’ fancy and it’s missing any meat.
We can’t help be reminded:
This really needs a clean slate rewrite.
Hopefully we got to this in time, BSer.
We didn’t see the full profile and so it’s impossible to say that this would be a total non-starter at Tuck when we don’t know how everything else (especially the resume, and also essay 2) was presented, but we have very strong doubts. Hate to be such a downer today, but this one is making us nervous. The first rule of essay writing is answer the question (not doing so is the most common mistake that applicants make) — that answer needs to come in somewhere in paragraph 1. Yes you need to provide some foundation for the goals that you state, but that needs to be in the form of showing how you’re qualified, through exact examples and concrete meaningful content. A list of your chronological sequence of education and then jobs is not helping you. And, the cause->effect needs to be established. We have no clue what your whazziwhozooit award was about and the fact that you were published on the front page of it does not show us WHAT YOU DID. There have been many posts on the blahg about “show, don’t tell” and we encourage you to read up further to understand what’s required.
If you did not submit in the prior round at Tuck, then you totally have time to redo this (if you haven’t already) in advance of their January deadline. And, even if you did submit at Tuck already, you can hopefully use this input to decide what to do on any subsequent apps you may have planned.
To all the rest of you BSers out there, if you’ve been thinking about asking for our take on your Round 2 MBA essay for free as published here on the blahg, you can read up on the instructions for submitting and get it over to us ASAP! We can probably accommodate one more of these in the coming weeks but pretty soon it’ll be too late for us to do these in advance of Round 2 (though there’s always the Single Shot Express and our standard Essay Decimator reviews!!!).