Over the summer we did a two-part series about “compare and contrast” in your MBA essays and it’s worth revisiting, since this comes up a lot in what BSers submit in their apps. This is another component that seems innocent enough (and it is) but it’s a style of communicating that doesn’t actually help you…
Writing essays. There are more than a few out there who absolutely dread this process. Either you’ve tried to do it before, such as last year or in Round 1 with a prior set of apps, and you failed, and you cannot stomach the fact of going through all of that again. Or you just…
We’re reblahgging this from 2013 because this is a cause of failure for so many BSers — and this technique works!
Now that we’ve planted the seed, many of you are beginning to actually think about Round 2. And some of you will actually do more than think about it. Some of you have even gotten started (kinda sorta a little).
Most people haven’t, though.
What prevents many people from ever getting into bschool is that they don’t even manage to submit a single application.
Procrastination can ruin a life.
Or at least, it can prevent you from progressing as quickly as you otherwise could.
Today’s post isn’t about how to write a specific type of MBA essay. We’re not going to talk about career goals essays vs. leadership essays, or mistake essays vs. failure essays. We’re not going to dissect grammar or structure or rules of the road for crafting your message.
Instead, we’re going to talk about how to literally get the essay written.
As in, open up Microsoft Word and start typing.
As in, keep typing. Without flipping over to Facebook to check your feed.
As in, still typing. Without pulling your phone out of your pocket in response to a phantom text.
As in, still typing, all the way through the 500 words or however many the school has allotted you for whichever essay you’re actually attempting to write.
This isn’t rocket science. Perhaps you’ve heard of the technique before. It’s a fabulous method to use whenever you are faced with something you know you should do, but you really don’t wanna. The type of task where you don’t know where to start and so you dilly dally around and convince yourself that you’re working because you’re sitting at your computer but really you’re reading the MBA blogs and then finally you look up and you realize that it’s dark outside and the day is over and you’ve spent the last two hours looking at cat videos (this one is a current fave).
Instead of that, try this:
It’s called the Pomodoro Technique, named after a tomato, as in a timer in the shape of.
The essence of it is, you’ll use a kitchen timer – or the clock on your iPhone, or a app that you can download, or whatever – and set it for 25 minutes, at the start of which you will actually begin working. Like, launching Microsoft Word, copying in the essay question you are responding to, and then beginning to write the essay*. When the timer goes off, you stop. Take a break. 5 minutes. Then you do it again. 25 minutes work, 5 minutes break.
There’s a whole system behind it which, in our opinion, makes it a little more complicated than necessary. You can
procrastinate the next 20 minutes go to this website to check it out.
Lots of people are thinking about writing essays. Make sure you’re one who actually writes them. Get started now.
* EssaySnark actually does not recommend that you write essays from scratch like this. The best way is to start with outlines. So you can use the Pomodoro Technique to begin outlining. Or you can sign up for our Essay Ideas & Outlines App Accelerator and
pretend you’re being productive ACTUALLY START BEING PRODUCTIVE on developing content for your applications.
Annnnnnnndddddd….. It’s November! And as you’ve gathered from our posts this week, it’s ramp-up time for Round 2!! We’re not doing a Round 2 MBA Countdown this year but instead we’ll be offering concentrated and practical advice as progress through these coming two months for writing those essays and getting everything done. Consider this your…
https://twitter.com/adweak/status/1039759735879290885 Sometimes people tell us that their long-term post-MBA career goal is to be a “thought leader.” (Apparently in Washington, DC, people say this on first dates , too.) This is not a career goal for so many reasons – and even worse, it just sounds, ohidunno, maybe the word is cocky?? We…
We frequently see this in essays and it can certainly be a way to show something significant about your background and qualifications. But only if you use it to show something significant. What we mean by that is, the simple fact that you took over when a manager vacated is only a small fraction of…
Authenticity is just a concept. You can’t see it. You can’t touch it. It’s not like a question on the GMAT, where there’s only one correct answer and you can find out if you did it right (or at least, on a practice exam you will find out). Because it’s a concept, authenticity is not…
We should trademark this phrase! It’s so useful in capturing a key objective in how you present yourself in your MBA essays — the resume too, for that matter. So what in heck do we mean by this? Obviously what you want to be presenting in your essays especially is evidence of impact. “Impact” and…
Recently we laid out two techniques that applicants often use in essays: 1) Talks about how the school they’re applying to is “the best at blah blah” or is “world renowned” or something about how it’s so set apart from its peers 2) Talks about THEMSELVES in similar language, saying that they were the only…
OK that title is misleading – there’s not one “best way” to convey readiness. Readiness needs to come through in many facets of your application – definitely through the stories you present in your essays, but also in the progression of your career as reflected on the resume, and the individual bullets on the resume itself, and also of course through what your recommenders say…
BUT there’s one important technique that you should be leveraging in how you tell your stories and present your goals in the essays. This is true for any essay, any school.
Since many of you are (better be!) writing essays today, we thought we’d toss out this little nugget of advice to help you along. You maybe have heard it before. We cover this type of thing in the App Accelerators. It’s hugely useful and very important.
This particular advice is actually lifted straight from the creative writing class. If you’ve ever written a short story or tried to put your memoirs down on the page, you’re likely familiar with it. It’s called “show, don’t tell.”
We find this is a very difficult concept to relate to for most people — that little “show, don’t tell” phrase is incredibly mysterious for some reason, it’s a hard puzzle for the brain to crack.
What “show, don’t tell” means is that you want to demonstrate (“show”) that something is true – not just claim that it is. You want to paint a little picture for your reader through something tangible, instead of lobbing out empty words.
The “show, don’t tell” advice applies to all your essays. Whenever you’re writing about who you are and how you got to be that way, whether it’s a personal “who” or a professional “who”, you want to be giving concrete EVIDENCE that that’s how things are for you. It’s way more impactful to use a hardcore example to illustrate a point.
So, instead of tossing out the claim that you have the “ability to find new opportunities, manage projects, yada yada yada” you would use an example:
“When I pursued the opportunity of X and managed projects by doing ABC, it prepared me for the next challenge of blah blah blah”.
When you just say stuff, it’s not helpful. When you SHOW STUFF, it’s awesome.
You can’t use this technique everywhere or your essays would bloat to monster size. But you want to scatter these around – they’re the most impactful way to communicate your actual skills and accomplishments.
OK, enough procrastinating. You should not be hanging out at the EssaySnark blahg today. You should be WRITING! Go to it, Brave Supplicant! Get it done!
And if you want to get your stuff reviewed, make it snappy – prices will go up very soon and our review queue is getting full.