How often do you check yours? Here’s what happens. You’re driving, you grab a peek, coast is clear, you return your attention back to the road ahead. If you’re a good driver, you’ll sneak a quick peek at that mirror in a few moments even if you’re not changing lanes. Why? It helps to know your environment. Checking back at your “context” keeps you in line.
When you’re writing your MBA application essays, it is IMPERATIVE to keep the questions somewhere handy. And to give them a cursory glance every now and again. Even AS YOU ARE WRITING. (especially as you’re writing.) Just to check in. Same as you would with a rearview mirror. The phrasing of the question is usually very carefully considered. These schools are going after a very specific thing. By not answering these questions directly, it’s almost an insult to the school and an indication that this application is cut-and-paste job. In Microsoft Word (for example) you can split your screen. It may be a good idea to keep that question bolted to the top of your screen and make sure you’re answering THEIR question.
This will help on so many levels. Keeping your essays focused, keeping that word count nice and tame, and ultimately doing the thing you’re hoping to do: impressing the reader with a nice, clear, compelling answer. Now, on your first pass, it’s generally good to write FAST.
So I’d recommend this only AFTER you’ve gotten some words spilled onto the page after a fit of inspiration. But as you start to self-edit, make sure you have that question stapled to your forehead. By the way, if this post helps you to be a better driver, and you live in Los Angeles, I will consider this and even bigger victory. For myself. And the rest of humanity.