Tips for writing compelling essays

As you are preparing your essay responses for your application, keep these tips in mind:

  • Provide rationale for pursuing the MBA degree at this stage of your personal/professional development
    • include an explanation of your career path to date and how your past experiences have informed your decision
    • include a discussion of your goals – both personal and professional – and how the MBA program will help you achieve them
    • be honest with yourself and with us - if you don’t know exactly what job or what industry you are targeting after graduation, that is okay – after all, you are pursuing a MBA to help you figure this out! Don’t write what you think we want to hear.  It is okay to reveal some shortcomings – we all have them!
  • Provide rationale for pursuing the Fisher MBA degree specifically (there are numerous MBA program out there offering a variety of delivery formats – why ours?) in a way that makes sense for you personally.  We don’t want to read our website regurgitated in your essay responses.  We don’t need you to list all of the programs and resources we offer.  Be thoughtful about these programs and resources and how you intend to leverage them to accomplish your individual goals.  What is it about the Fisher MBA program that really resonates with you?
  • Explain any red flags or issues that the application may reveal (e.g. sub-par undergraduate grades, big employment gaps, etc.)
  • Be mindful of the length – we set requirements for a reason.  We read hundreds of essays and we don’t have time to read novels.  If you are a few words over the limit, no big deal – a few pages  over?  We will begin to question your ability to follow directions and your attention to detail.
  • Don’t stress out about essay #2 – if you really aren’t all that creative and don’t have a physical object to send in, don’t worry about it.  Some people are thrilled with the opportunity to do this and some people are not.  For those of you that have fun with this sort of thing, go for it!  If not, feel free to provide more traditional responses.  We will not judge you differently either way.
  • Use essay #3 as an opportunity to give us a peek into your personal life.  We are not asking you to discuss your professional experience in this essay for a reason.  We want to learn about other facets of your life.  This essay should enable your personality to shine through the paper.  View it as your personal elevator pitch.  Or, to look at it another way, think of how you would introduce yourself if you were doing “speed dating” — Share your hobbies, your interests, your quirks and maybe even those minor things you hope to improve about yourself. :) (Ok, maybe you wouldn’t share your faults so readily if you were speed dating, but you get the point!)


2 Responses to “Tips for writing compelling essays”


  1. 1 Simon December 13, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I have a query regarding Essay 2: Focusing On Leadership. It says in the description of the essays that we may submit physical objects, images etc. or choose to write an essay for each of the characteristics we select. My question is can I can have a combination of the two, that is, write about one quality for 500 words and for the second one, upload a couple of digital pictures plus a description. Also, what then would be the limit for this description with the pic? Thanks in advance!

  2. 2 Alison December 14, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Simon,
    Thanks for the question. Sure, you can choose to use pictures for one of your leadership characteristics and just write an essay for the other. This is not a problem. The word limit for the description with the pic is the same as it is for the traditional essay response for that question – 500 words. You can have 500 words per characteristic, if you wish. I hope this helps! Good luck!

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