Jargon is insidious. Even when we issue warnings to BSers that they cannot have jargon in their apps, we still see it crop up everywhere. Finance candidates can be particularly guilty of this, but it’s a risk in literally every resume.
When you’re living and breathing the sector you work in, doing it every day for months and years on end, you start to forget what’s normal language, and what’s specific to your world.
Even the lingo of certain corporate cultures can get in the way. If your organization speaks in KPIs and workstreams and synergy, then ugh. You may be kinda screwed.
It’s so important to remember your audience as you are writing your essays — and yes, this can be a difficult thing to do. When you’ve been immersed in your world, then it no longer is seen as different.
But remember the first day at your company, or that first week in your first summer internship? When you thought that everyone was from a different planet, the bizarre language they spoke?
Remember that sense of confusion and overwhelm and even panic you experienced? Like, “I’ve made a mistake, I’m in the wrong place, abort mission, abort!”
Many of us have had that experience, sitting in our first client meeting, or hearing our new colleagues discuss some customer problem.
We’re not even talking about tech-talk where a team of developers gets together and flings alphabet soup on the walls. We’re talking what was supposed to be a business meeting, or a sales call.
You’re in healthcare and there’s these things called “providers” and “HIPAA” and you have no clue what else.
Or you’re in finance and everybody is talking about “DCF” and “IRR” and “leverage.”
Now those terms are second-nature to you.
But guess what? None of them belong in your essays.
Not in the resume either.
Sometimes you can incorporate enough context that you can get away with it. (But this is rare.) Sometimes a bit of business jargon becomes mainstream enough that you can use it. “KPI” is one of those few. Most readers of MBA admissions essays these days will know what a KPI is. They probably have KPIs set for themselves.
If it’s a universal term that has expanded across the entirety of corporate America, then it’s safe.
But something like Islamic finance?
Yes, that speaks to EssaySnark’s own lack of cultural awareness as much as anything — but your MBA adcom reviewer is also likely to be coming from a limited American perspective. Despite their training and attempts at removing bias from their processes, and interest in being open-minded, and all those good things that they earnestly try to bring to their process.
If the reader can’t figure out a simple sentence because there’s a yawning chasm of unknowableness in the middle of it, then it stops them in their tracks when they’re reading.
Your primary objective for your adcom reader’s experience is that it will f-l-o-w — uninterrupted, smoothly. Like a sun-dappled river on a warm summer’s day, carrying them in a raft lazily downstream.
Not a whitewater current of crazy.
If the reader has to work too hard to figure out what you’re saying…. well, many of them won’t. There’s plenty more essays in the stack to be read. Why not just put this inscrutible mess aside and go on to the next one.
Every word counts, dear writer!
This is how you make your reader’s experience of you pleasant.