MBA Essay Writing Tip #20: Use Foreshadowing

Here's how to use foreshadowing in your MBA application essay to captivate and hook the admissions committee.

Use Foreshadowing

Think of a good movie. Chances are, the screenwriter used “foreshadowing” to get you hooked.

By showing you stuff that happens later in the movie’s timeline early, they were able to pique your interest. As an essay writer, you can use this SAME technique in your introduction to hook your own audience, making your essay just as memorable as a blockbuster film.

The key to a good essay is telling a compelling story; you can’t change the content of your life, but you CAN change how it’s presented. Hinting at but not quite revealing your story’s conclusion early on means your audience will read with an ACTIVE mind – linking the details of your essay to your earlier content. This means your reader will pay more attention and REMEMBER your essay.

So, how do you foreshadow? Never fear, here’s a three-step guide to hooking your audience with a common essay topic (leadership) as the content:

1. Start near the end

If our writer wants to tell us the story of how he saved his company from a lawsuit, he might start the scene in court before the verdict is announced. By throwing us into the middle of the action and showing us how he felt in a dramatic moment, his essay kicks off from the get-go, instantly hooking the reader.

Something like this:

“The jury filled into the courtroom. My partner and I were nervous but confident – after all we’d worked for months to prove that the Mantena lawsuit was an unjustified attack on our reputations. Still, everything was on the line here…”

2.Fill in the blanks.

Use your essay’s body to “fill in the blanks” in regards to material you mentioned in your introduction. For our example, we need to know where the writer worked, why his company was being sued, what they did to prepare for the suit and how they got to the courtroom.

3. Come full circle.

End your story by revealing what happened AFTER your introduction. This revelation is the payoff to your foreshadowing and should answer any remaining questions your reader might have. For our example, we need to know who won the case, how the writer felt, what lessons he learned and how this affected the company’s future direction. Ideally, this conclusion should come with an unexpected “twist”, but even an expected outcome can be interesting with enough details – the trick is to set up the right questions early on and provide the right answers at the end.

So remember:

  • Start near the end.
  • Fill in the blanks.
  • Come full circle.

Like this post? Check out more of our MBA Essay Writing Guide Tips!

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