Best MBA Essay Writing Strategies

by Stacy Blackman Consulting, Apr 2, 2019

Have you heard of the STAR interview technique? Its when an interviewer asks you a behavioral question (which usually begins, Tell me about a time when you) and you respond by laying out the Situation, the Task you were given, the Action you took, and then the Result you achieved. Its an excellent method for MBA hopefuls to leverage in adcom or alumni interviews.

But the STAR technique shouldnt be thought of asonlyan interview-response strategy. Weve found that its also a helpful way to organize business school essays, short-answer responses and even resume bullet points.

Situation-Task-Action-Result

For example, lets take an essay that asks you to describe your greatest professional achievement in only 300 words. The STAR method helps you pare down all of the information you could possibly include. Youll want to set up the Situation for your reader as succinctly and clearly as possible. Leave out industry jargon, acronyms, and inside baseball details that the adcom is unlikely to care about. Remember, they want to learn about what YOU did not the intricate complexities of your company or clients issue.

Next, pinpoint exactly what Task you were responsible for. Sure, business schools are looking for team players, but if theyve asked you to describe your most impressive accomplishment, they want to understand precisely whatyourmarching orders were.

The Action section is where you should expand a bit more. This is your chance to shine by explaining exactly what you did, and ideally showing how you went above and beyond in your role. Then you can wrap up by revealing what Results you achieved. Keep in mind that both qualitative and quantitative outcomes are important to include if possible.

After youve got your S, T, A and R information covered in your essay, take a read through it again to ensure the emphasis is on the Actions you took and the the Results you achieved. We know its hard to condense what may sometimes be a years-long project into only a few sentences at the beginning, but its better to keep the focus on why YOU will be a welcome addition to any MBA program.

Your final task is to ensure that youre within the word count limit and that youve told the story of your achievement in a compelling, memorable way.

 

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