MBA Essay Reviews by EssaySnark
BSer Success Story, Rd 1 2015
Your essays are the most important part of your MBA application.
Your MBA essays are the crux of your pitch. Getting the essays right is critical. A great set of essays can easily tip the scales when your profile is borderline, and they can smooth the way in a hypercompetitive admissions process when your profile is already strong.
After you’ve drafted up your darlings, how do you know if they’re doing the job that they need to? How can you tell you’re on target? EssaySnark can
mercilessly rip apart your essays help you see how the adcom will perceive your message.
We also have the Harvard Essay Decimator, or if you’re in a hurry, check out the Single Shot Express. MBA is the specialty here but we can help you with any graduate school you’re applying to – just ask!
The Essay Decimator is our most popular service — at least, it’s the one most people find the most valuable after they’ve gone through it. You may not be so fond of it when you’re in the middle of it. You need to be prepared for some real effort and even difficulties along the way. It’s just like in The Matrix: Everyone falls the first time. It’s highly unlikely that you are currently a skilled MBA essay-writer. We very rarely see a set of first drafts that don’t need significant rework. As in, rip ’em up and start over level of rework. Consider yourself warned. 🙂
The Essay Decimator: How does it work?
- Make your essays as strong as you possibly can on your own (highly recommended: leveraging the SnarkStrategies Guide for your school!), and make sure each one is no more than 10% over what the school allows. If it’s essays for Booth with no set maximum, then your combined wordcount across all the essays you’re submitting must be less than 1,500 words.
- Submit all of them together as a set, one essay or answer per file, through My SnarkCenter. A handful of schools with very short short-answer responses are supported as explained in our FAQ here. Your school has more than four essays? You can purchase an add-on. Any essay more than 10% overlimit? You can purchase an add-on.
- Within three business days1, receive a full critique back from EssaySnark consisting of marked-up and fully-commented drafts, plus a separate report that explains the issues and identifies the opportunities for improvement. Want Super Speedy turnaround? You can purchase an add-on.
- Revise those babies, then resubmit.
- Within three business days1, you’ll get the marked-up and commented drafts returned again, hopefully with many positives and smileys now!
- Get through the whole shebang within 60 days of purchase when your subscription expires. Most people finish in under two weeks.
Need another round of review on your third drafts? No problem, you can purchase rechecks separately at any time.
BONUS! Clean First Drafts Rebate Opportunity! ! Your first Essay Decimator includes a chance to earn a $25 cash-back rebate or a $50 discount off a subsequent Essay Decimator purchase! All you need to do is submit high-quality first drafts that meet the Best Practices laid out for you in My SnarkCenter after you sign up.
Essay Decimator pricing tops out around $900 in the month before deadlines. Get your essays reviewed early for best rates.
Purchase the Essay Decimator Essay Reviews: $ 799.00
Pro Tip: You are likely to have a significantly less painful writing cycle if you start out with the App Accelerators before writing your drafts – and we also suggest reading the MBA application guide available for your school, too. As in, please read it before you write the essays. Those resources will help you understand what the schools want and how to present yourself more effectively.
Please read through all these terms carefully before purchasing. Thanks!
This Standard Essay Decimator gives you two rounds of review on one full set of up to four essays for one graduate application (except HBS). This means you get to Draft 3, which is often "done" for many people. This Essay Decimator incorporates your entire profile in the review. Standard turnaround of maximum 3 business days applies, though of course we always try to return feedback to you faster than that; Speedy Review can be added on (see Subscriber FAQ in My SnarkCenter after you purchase). Your first Essay Decimator is eligible to earn the Clean First Drafts Rebate if your submitted first drafts qualify!
The Essay Decimator provides two rounds of review:
- First draft reviews: Marked-up drafts in Word, pointing out spelling/punctuation-type errors, plus extensive in-line comments on the content, along with a separate report covering each essay, detailing strengths and weaknesses against what this school is looking for.
- Then, rechecks: After you update your drafts to incorporate the feedback, you get a second higher-level recheck with marked-up/commented Word docs (no separate report on rechecks).
TERMS: Essay DecimatorsThis service covers essays for one graduate program. Essays must be submitted within the subscription term which for different purchases is: The Standard Essay Decimator (standalone), the Harvard Essay Decimator, and the Essay Decimator included in the Complete Essay Package are a 60-day subscription. All Essay Decimators in the 4-School Set are 120 days from initial purchase; for upgrades, this is calculated from the date of original qualifying purchase. The Essay Decimator included in the Reapplicant Success Pack is 30 days. Single Shot Express term is 3 days.
Feedback will be provided within 3 business days. If this Essay Decimator is part of the Complete Essay Package or 4-School Set, you will enjoy preferential turnaround. Speedy Review expedited turnaround may be available for an additional fee (typically $100).
Harvard Essay Decimator: Two rounds of review on one essay up to 1,000 words. If either submission exceeds 1,000 words, you must either cut it down before submitting, or you may purchase an extended review for $100 per every extra 250 words.
Standard Essay Decimator: Two rounds of review on up to four essays or short-answer responses for a single graduate program, within the length limits set by the school. Certain very limited exceptions where more than 4 answers will be reviewed are provided here. Extra essays for your program can be added on if needed. If a joint-degree application has one essay for both degrees, it is covered under one Essay Decimator; if a joint-degree application has different essays for each degree, then multiple Essay Deccimators must be purchased. All essays must be submitted at once, one essay per file. We will not review multiple versions or different possible answers for the same question. Your application strategy must be your own. If the school has a "choose one of these questions" option, then that is one essay; we will not review alternate drafts for each topic, though you can switch to a different topic when you submit your revised drafts in the second round of review. Extra essays or answers submitted will not be reviewed. Each essay must be within 10% of the school's stated wordcount or for unlimited-length essay questions, up to 1,500 words combined across all files submitted. Any overlimit essay will not be reviewed without payment additional fee; those fees will be doubled if the length is misrepresented upon submission.
This purchase is non-transferable and an expired subscription cannot be reinstated without payment of an additional fee.
RefundsFor Essay Decimators purchased standalone, refunds are available provided no drafts have been submitted for review and the subscription is still active.
- If requested within 24 hours of purchase, a full refund of the purchase price is available.
- If requested after 24 hours of purchase but before the subscription expires, a refund less $100 processing fee is available.
FeedbackAll essay reviews are delivered in writing within three business days of submission; no telephone or email support is available. First-draft feedback consists of marked-up drafts in Microsoft Word plus a separate non-printable PDF report covering each essay reviewed. Rechecks, for products that include them, are marked-up drafts only.
We are providing content review services. We do not promise to correct every spelling error or grammar problem, though we will point out at least the first occurrence of such errors. It's up to you to make your essays perfect.
Reasonable follow-up or clarification questions will be entertained. Please use the Comments section on the essay feedback page in My SnarkCenter to submit your questions.
EthicsEssaySnark takes ethics seriously. Your work must be your own. This includes how you handle suggestions you may receive as part of the review process. If we discover that you have inserted our commentary directly into your drafts, we reserve the right to cancel the engagement immediately with no possibility of refund, as that would be plagiarism. When we make suggestions and give advice, it is meant to spur your own thought processes. Don't steal our words, or anyone else's, for that matter.
To protect our intellectual property, the written report you receive will be a locked PDF; no copying or printing permitted. Duplication or redistribution of any EssaySnark content is strictly prohibited. We don't blab your personal information all over the place, and we hope you'll please respect our IP in a similar fashion.
Rebate Opportunity: The Fine PrintThis opportunity is offered on your FIRST Essay Decimator service only; one opportunity to earn the reward per Brave Supplicant. If EssaySnark's first-draft critique that is returned to you indicates you qualify, you must choose between the two reward options while your original Essay Decimator subscription is active. Subscription expiration is displayed in the right column of My SnarkCenter. If you choose Cash Back you will receive the funds to your original form of payment within 14 days. If you choose Discount Coupon you will receive the coupon by email from Team EssaySnark issued during standard business hours. The coupon is non-transferable and has no cash value. It can be used only for the stated future purchase and only during the subscription term for your original qualifying purchase; sorry, the discount cannot be applied retroactively to past purchases. More information can be found on the Best Practices for MBA Essays page in My SnarkCenter, which you’ll gain access to upon purchasing.
Phew! You made it through all the technicalities!
What goodies does it come with?
- A 60-day membership to the EssaySnark blahg – access all the protected posts for free!
- Best Practices for MBA Essays – study our cheatsheet of common mistakes to avoid!
- Opportunity to earn the Clean First Drafts Rebate – submit good drafts and get money back or a discount on your next purchase!
- Direct access to EssaySnark – ask questions about your approach on these essays privately in My SnarkCenter!
1 OK, ‘Snark, I’m interested, but…
Three Business Days?!?
Why does it take so long to get feedback on my essays!?? It didn’t even take me that long to write them!
(yeah, we know 😉 )
We understand that you’re itching to hear back from us when you send your stuff in. Our 3-business-days turnaround is to set expectations for how long you might have to wait when we’re the busiest. If you enlist our help early in the season, it shouldn’t take that long. While we cannot guarantee an exact turnaround time in advance, we will offer some historical stats here so you can see what BSers who’ve gone before experienced.
Turnaround Times – Essay Decimator Submissions
|2016 Round 2||Oct-Jan||1.11 business days|
|2016 Round 1||Jul-Sep||0.96 business days|
|2015 Round 2||Oct-Jan||1.27 business days|
|2015 Round 1||Jul-Sep||1.43 business days|
|2014 Round 2||Oct-Jan||0.75 business days|
In the interest of full disclosure, these data include a very small number of submissions where we returned feedback late – on the 4th business day. For example, in one case in Round 1 2016, a BSer was working many apps simultaneously and we returned one submission on time and he agreed that his second one could wait. In another case, we simply screwed it up and didn’t get it done in time. Along with those screw-ups, there were also many submissions we returned within 24 hours and some same day. As you can see above, we’ve been working to improve turnarounds each season and we know it’s important to you.
To further illustrate, here’s the distribution of turnaround times for Essay Decimators in Round 2 2016.
We hope this additional detail is helpful as you evaluate whether to move forward with EssaySnark. We’re working on automating the reporting of these stats so that BSers can get a near real-time view as we move into the next season.
Speedy Review is available as an add-on to all purchases.
Please see details in the Subscriber’s FAQ in My SnarkCenter after you sign up.
Why is the Essay Decimator valuable?
Most people don’t write essays for a living. You probably shouldn’t expect that your first drafts will be awesome. All experienced writers know that quality comes out through revision. If your essays need work (and undoubtedly, there will be room for improvement — it’s just how this stuff goes) then we will explain where the problems lie, so that you can fix them!
Your essays are a pitch. They need to convince the adcom to let you in. The most common issue we see when qualified applicants get rejected is poor essays. Make the most of your opportunity in front of the adcom with essays that shine. Make it happen with expert input from EssaySnark.
View the FAQs on the EssaySnark Essay Decimator and other help topics.
Client Reviews on the Essay Decimator
If you’ve gotten your essays decimated and you’ve lived to tell about it — please do! We’d love for you to share your experience with others who are working up the courage to go through this process.
Broaden your perspective
I had found EssaySnark's posts to be entertaining, but was never completely comfortable working with a consultant, especially one that only worked through an anonymous website. I can, however, say that trusting EssaySnark with my MBA essays was one of the best moves I've made throughout the application process. Because their consulting services are exclusively through a website (no calls or skype), it was imperative that I used clear and concise communication with EssaySnark, and in turn, doing so helped my final drafts show the same degree of brevity.
Using the Stanford Essay Decimator was like getting punched in the face, picking yourself up, and then coming back to ask for more. It was easy for me to feel that my essays were ready for submission because of our natural, inherent bias, but after receiving the feedback from Snark, I saw flaws all over my entire story. In fact, I ended up rewriting the entire draft. It was painful, but necessary.
ES will NOT do your homework for you, but they did provide me the confidence in showing my most authentic self. Their feedback will sting, but it motivates you to come back as a more improved and stronger writer for the second draft. I was VERY pleased with the final product.
Unlike the plethora of other MBA consulting companies out there, ES will not hawk you a bunch of services and products just to make money. Their prices are more than fair, and throughout the entire application, I felt that they had genuinely wanted to help me. Having said that, I also feel that they find great pleasure in ripping our first drafts to shreds: it was engaging, fun, and entertaining, BUT definitely not for the faint of heart!
Don't Buy The Single-Shot
I think that the reviewer raised a lot of good points, but a) three pages of feedback on a 250 word essay confuses efforts more than it helps b) they tore my essay to shreds without offering a way to put it back together. So now I'm a week out and I don't have any idea how to start writing this essay even though I need to redo it from scratch. They also linked to a ton of articles that I would need to pay for after I already spent $300 on this service. This was a complete rip off. I don't really know how they could fix it though because they have no idea what examples I could use from my background to put together a better essay. So I guess my conclusion is that they shouldn't offer this service at all? I don't know. I just feel like I got swindled out of $300 to be told that my essay sucked, which is all good and well, but not really constructive to putting together a better one.
As a re-applicant, I knew I needed considerable improvement to my pitch in order to maximize my chances at the top schools. EssaySnark was the perfect person to reach out to based on the great job they did with my Comprehensive Profile Review during the 2016-17 application season, in which they provided 18 pages of detailed feedback on my candidacy.
I started with the App Accelerators included in the Foundations package, which helped me define my accomplishments and refine my career goals pitch, both of which provided a base from which I could tackle the essays.
From there I went through the Essay Decimator. EssaySnark provided two rounds of in-depth, honest feedback on all my essay drafts, including a 6-page analysis on my first drafts which analyzed where I stood and what I needed to do to take my essays to the next level. Thanks to EssaySnark my pitch is a lot tighter, my essays are a lot better, and I've learned how to "translate" my accomplishments as a non-traditional applicant into business school speak. Highly recommend their services.
I worked with Essaysnark on my Business School Application and was very satisfied with the service. It is very clear and direct but incredibly helpful to get to the point. Afterwards my application was directly related to the essay questions and good to read. The experience of essaysnark was very helpful to get information about the structure of your answers.
Prepare to be humbled
I will keep this tight with minimal fluff (thanks Essaysnark). Essaysnark provided brutal feedback on all my essay drafts but the feedback made sense and helped me develop a stronger pitch. They made me think about how to bring out the best examples as a way of 'showing' what I accomplished. The initial feedback was not so great for my ego, but I got over it. I only wish that I had done this MUCH sooner in the season but I am confident that my essay is much stronger now. Highly recommend the essay decimator service.
Want to know the simplest way to differentiate your application? Don’t write crappy essays!
Essays are the only component of your application where you can address the admissions committee with flexibility, and there are dozens of ways to blow this critical opportunity: rambling, not answering the question, inconsistencies, jargon, excessive detail, confusing writing, unwanted messages…the list goes on. You might think you can avoid these issues if you’re aware of them – I thought so. During school, all of my English teachers loved me, I got a perfect 800 verbal score on the SAT, and a 49 (99%) on the GMAT Verbal section.
The Snark humbled me. It was much more difficult than I could have imagined to write a good set of bschool essays – to craft a tight, concise pitch to the admissions committee that highlighted new strengths with specific, detailed stories; addressed my weaknesses; reinforced my application theme; and let me stand out as a unique individual. When you layer on the stress and deadlines that typically accompany essay writing, this difficulty turns into a recipe for heavy drinking. It takes time, reflection, and a good dose of honest feedback to produce good essays. EssaySnark’s App Accelerators or Complete Essay Package (which I also recommend) help with the reflection part; the Essay Decimator delivers the feedback.
What I got was a granular line-by-line analysis of my essays within the submitted Word document, and a separate PDF discussing overall issues, specific issues, advice for improvement, and an analysis of the overall message. It’s not just “hey, the outcome of this story doesn’t quite line up with what you said in the middle.” In the review of one of my drafts, theSnark indicated that while my writing was technically great, it was a bit one-dimensional and didn’t make me stand out as a person at all – and then recommended that I consider incorporating some elements from a prior submission for another school that might help. It did.
Bottom line: After going through the Essay Decimator, I won’t second-guess my execution on essays. If I don’t get into a school, it won’t be because I fumbled the essays. At the risk/certainty of sounding cheesy…EssaySnark helped me find my voice. I still had to put in a ton of work on my essays, but they were genuine and written by me – theSnark just made sure they didn’t suck.
This is by far the best application advice/service available. Before coming to ES, I had worked with some other consultant and had been quite disappointed with the suggestions that I was getting. However, I knew that I had a 'vanilla' profile and I would have to write strong essays if I was to get admitted to a good program. That is when I stumbled upon ES's blog and started working with them. Over the last three months, I have worked extensively with ES and have ended up using almost all their products. "Essay Decimator" is perfect for anyone who has some idea of what they wish to write but are either not sure of the content or wish to improve the presentation. The advice is direct and clear. And the suggestions are mostly implementable.
ES will not tell you what to write (I don't think anyone can) but they will tell you if what you have written is good enough or not. If they say it is not, they will explain exactly why they feel so.
These guys know what they are doing. You cannot go wrong if you choose to work with them.
Decimation = Painfully Awesome
I'm an editor by trade/get paid to write for a living. And I know this is going to sound like a not-so-humblebrag, but I knew I had the writing thing in the bag. I just had no idea if the strategy behind my words was going to be on target. EssaySnark's feedback was essential for me--I cringe thinking about some of the wrong turns I would've made otherwise. (And maybe, just maybe, they made me a better writer too, which is hard for me to admit). Plus, you can't beat the value. I did this for 3 out of the 5 schools I applied to, because I was able to apply the lessons I learned from those essays to the other two (and you can probably get away with doing it for just one or two schools, depending on your targets and overall confidence level). Another bonus: All of the pushback you'll receive will help you formulate a pitch that will help you in interviews too. For the one open interview school I applied to, I actually read over their feedback/questions to help me prep for the interviews, which helped me ID things I should and should not prepare to talk about.
(And yes, it can be brutal. But that's what you're looking for, right?)
Get Ready... Appocalypse Now
I thought that my essays are in pretty good shape because I am a good writer and my essays had gone through extensive reviews of my friends. I could not have been more wrong. EssaySnark caused havoc on the essays, so much havoc, to be honest, that I thought I am totally off on my pitch. After extensive edits now they are in much better shape and I hope to be accepted 🙂
Best Value By Far!
I was shocked by how much feedback I received. And it wasn't just snarkiness; the feedback was extremely valuable in helping me revise my drafts. EssaySnark also made suggestions for juggling some of my stories. My second set of essays was so different and (hopefully) so much better than my first, and I think my third set, after the second round of review, was even stronger. I never would have been as satisfied as I am with my finished drafts without EssaySnark.