For most individuals, writing business school essays will be the last time in our lives when someone lets us brag about our accomplishments and will actually read what we write.
As entertaining as this writing process can be, we need to make sure to focus our essays on the right attributes. Some candidates don’t focus their business school essays properly when it comes to their accomplishment and leadership essays. Many individuals view these essays as practically interchangeable. They are not, however.
One of the central parts of leadership essays is showing that you can enable the actions of other people. As a leader, you can bring out the passions of others. You can teach them; you help them see the world in a different way. As a team, everyone shares in the achievement.
Business school accomplishment essays may include leadership experiences, but there are many situations that applicants use in the “leadership” essays that should not be used for these essays. Just because you accomplished something excellent does not mean that leadership was necessarily involved. Some individuals will try to avoid this by stating that they led by example. They explain how they accomplished something and say that they were able to inspire others who had watched. If one of your MBA essays shows you as a sole champion taking on a grand quest, then you have not understood the purpose of this question.
The best leadership essays will have heroes other than you. If you helped a person in sales realize their full potential on a company, display the individual as a hero in your essay.
In the best case scenario, individuals create a balance between these types of stories at the beginning of their MBA application process. The good news is that, in most situations, you can change your application fairly late in the process to maintain the appropriate balance between individual achievement and leadership. Include a few sentences throughout your essays about leading others, or educating the group. Many achievement essays can be evolved to show great examples of leadership when you discuss others who were a part of the group accomplishment.
For more robust guidance on your MBA application essays, check out the Stacy Blackman Consulting Essay Guide Series – school specific guides with essay tips, sample essays, information on what your target schools value and more.
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