MBA Application Essay Tip: Take Notes Now!

by , Jul 14, 2011

Many top MBA programs have already released their application essay questions, and since we firmly believe that the early bird gets the worm, we highly recommend that you get started on your application essays ASAP.

So, what's the best way to get started on your essays?

Even before you take a look at the essay questions, it's a good idea to take a step back and reflect on experiences you've had, your interests, and your passions, and come up with a list of topics that you think could be made into compelling essay material.

During this note-taking phase you should jot down anything that comes to mind. For example, have you held any positions that have been particularly influential or during which you made a significant impact? Have you had experiences that demonstrate your leadership, communication skills, and strength of character? Have you had any life-changing experiences? Have there been hurdles or challenges in your life that you've overcome? Are there people in your life that have inspired you? What are some of your goals both b-school-related and otherwise? Do you have passions? Hobbies? Unique interests or skills? Impressive achievements?

For each item that you write down, you should include next to it any lessons you learned or traits you revealed through the experience/passion/interest. Don't worry about editing your notes or making them look pretty. These notes are just for your own reference.

I've created a spreadsheet to help you organize your thoughts and trigger the introspection/note-taking process. Check it out here.

Once you've done your introspection, you should have quite an inventory of thoughts and ideas that could become the meat of a good essay. You won't use all of your material, but you will have a list that serves as a good jumping off point for serious writing.

Download Accepted's new special report, MBA Action Plan, for more practical tips on what you can do now to increase your chances of getting in to a top business school next year. (P.S. It's free!)