MBA Essay Writing Tip #8: Simplify Your Writing, Avoid Buzzwords

Direct language is key in an application essay. Here's how to ensure an MBA admissions committee actually understands what you're trying to tell them.

simplify, avoid buzzwords

This utilitarian manuscript will optimize your data-processing ability via enhanced legibility and optimal noise reduction.

If you didn’t quite understand that last sentence, you’re not alone. It sounded fancy, sure, but it made no sense. And this is a problem we see faaaaaar too often. There are so many applicants out there who will litter their essays with similarly useless buzzwords and needlessly complex language to sound smart, impressive, and appealing for the adcom.

We’re here to put a stop to that.

The key to successful application essays is simple, direct language. Why?

  1. It improves your storytelling by improving your flow of words.
  2. It ensures that the reader INSTANTLY “gets” what you’re saying.
  3. It makes you stand out from the hordes of misguided buzzword users.

With that in mind, here are a few examples of what to avoid and how to state the same information so that your reader won’t have to reach for a thesaurus.

From:
“I have to restructure my practical working experience through systematic academic education that will renovate my business perception.”

To:
“I need to complement my work experience with an academic foundation in business.”

This is a relatively simple idea made needlessly complex. The only thing that needs “restructuring” here is the flowery vocabulary. “Renovate my business perception” is a particularly meaningless phrase (that the admissions committee, or adcom, will see RIGHT though) that could safely be removed entirely.

From:
“This inspired me, one of the four software R&D specialists managing these ‘Construct and Render’ (C+R) projects, to create a culture and system that enabled my greater Gaming applications Global Business Unit to become Nexsoft’s open innovation leader.”

To:
“This pushed me to improve my division’s corporate culture at Nexsoft, encouraging feedback and new ideas for the “Construct and Render” projects I was then managing.”

This one’s so full of buzzwords, acronyms and unproductive bragging that it’s initially hard to make heads or tails of it. By simplifying the vocabulary and sentence structure, the writer expresses the same idea in a way that a reader unfamiliar with Nexsoft can understand.

From: “To initiate and propagate a cultural change, I knew I needed to take a systematic approach—starting with understanding the key barriers to open innovation’s wide acceptance and adaption, then engaging the decision makers and influencers of the process, finally proposing a win-win solution that required minimum resources to yield maximize impact.”

To: “To shift company policy, I needed to convince management my solution was best.”
Short, sweet, simple and direct: we’ve lost practically no information but the result is infinitely more legible (and friendly to those tight word limits!)

So remember:

Simple direct language trumps corporate buzzwords any day of the week. And twice on Sundays.

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