The Real Role of the MBA Essay

Besides test scores and GPA, the success of your application hinges on your ability to show passion, heart and soul in your essays.

Hot air balloon over the ocean

If everything on your business school application is perfect, that is to say, your off the chart GMAT/GRE scores, untouchable work experience, out of this world grades, exotic extracurriculars, etc., then it’s important that you realize one thing.


All of the competitive MBA applicants that you’re up against have top-tier scores, experiences, and so on and so forth, too. And quite honestly, if that’s not the kind of stuff your B-school application showcases, in many cases you probably wont even be considered by schools like HBS, Stanford, etc.

Thousands of highly qualified folks apply to these MBA programs, and most are superstars in their own right. At the top levels, it’s no longer all about what you can say about yourself in your essays, because everyone has great stories to tell. The thing that really separates one applicant from another in the eyes of admissions committees at this point in the game is not what you say, but HOW you say it.

Tell Us What Really Matters Most To You… Why?

So when it comes to your essays, you’ve got to make yourself stand out (duh). Inspire your readers. Heck, inspire yourself! Your school may not have asked you “What matters most to you and why,” but you want to use your essays to answer that question anyway. People who know how to insert their character and passion into their essays, those are the applicants that stand out.

Despite all the people applying to the exact same business school programs that you are, all the MBA consultants helping out along the way, all the noise, chaos, etc., it all actually comes down to a simple element that most people don’t realize.

Your MBA Application Needs A Soul

It must inspire. You simply must stand out. And too many applicants submit the same application, over and over again.

“Consultant wants to branch out…”

“Consultant wants to move into real estate…”

“Banker wants to do private equity….”

Don’t say the same thing everyone else is saying. Especially not because you THINK that’s what the adcoms want to hear.

These stories do not inspire people. The stories that inspire people are less generic, more impactful, more provocative. They come from a deeper place and they’re fueled by different things.

“I want to build things that affect people.” Interesting… tell us more.

“I want to build the next Apple.” Hmm… how will you do it?

“Banker wants to do private equity.” …Um, next.

So, what’s next for you? We’d suggest getting started on those essays. Take look at a few of these blog posts for inspiration:

How To Beat Writer’s Block