The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #3: Quantifying Success

by on August 25th, 2012

You KNOW that you’re a smart, hard working person who’ll do your future school proud, but how do you showcase that in your application? Anyone can SAY that they’re a hot prospect (and everyone will) but to make your application stand out, you’ll have to PROVE it.

The first thing you’ll need to do is line up some achievements: anyone can say that they’re smart, hard working or a demigod on paper but that doesn’t mean a thing. You need QUANTIFIABLE achievements  – i.e. stuff you can prove.  That alone won’t be enough, though. Say you were “employee of the month” at your previous job; that’s a quantifiable achievement but there’s still a lot you can do to make it shine.

Take a look at these three tips and soon you’ll be knocking them dead with your outstanding accomplishments.

  1. Mention your achievements as often as possible! Now is not the time for false-modesty – if you can insert an impressive accomplishment in your essay, do so! That way, “I worked at a bank” becomes “I was the fastest rising junior employee at Bank of X” and “I was sales manager” becomes “As manager, I tripled our sales for the year leading to record company profits.”
  2. Numbers are your FRIEND! Whatever your achievement, make sure to use numbers and statistics to back it up. “I got a bonus” says very little, “I earned three consecutive bonuses worth over $50K for increasing company earnings 15.5% over the past five years, ultimately saving our parent company $1.3M” says TONS.
  3. Use the RIGHT numbers! Which of these sentences sounds more impressive? A) I finished 38th in my class. B) I finished in the top 5% of my undergrad program. Both of those sentences mean the EXACT SAME THING but the second one is MUCH more impressive! You should NEVER lie or fudge the truth, but there’s no reason not to present the facts in the best light possible.

Let’s put this all together. From “I was employee of the month, earning a promotion” to…

“As employee of the month, I increased sales 300% leading to the best quarterly earnings in five years, earning a promotion and becoming the youngest sales manager  in company history.”

Now THAT’s a quantifiable achievement!

So remember:

  • Mention your achievements as much as possible.
  • Use numbers to make your achievements look impressive.
  • Make sure you use the BEST numbers and statistics possible – the most impressive looking ones.

Come back next week to check out how to write about race, gender, and sexual orientation for Western readers! Get more of the MBA Essay Writing Guide here.

Check out the other articles in this series:

The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #2: Making Your Personal Qualities POP!
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #1: Building a Catchy Intro

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