Articles published in Essay Analysis

Ross School of Business Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Ross School of Business Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


Last year, one of our observations about the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan’s main essay question was that the 400-word limit did not offer a lot of room to expound on the topic. Thankfully, applicants also had a second essay (albeit also quite short, at just 250 words) in which to address their professional aspirations. This season, Michigan Ross has tightened the reins even more, asking applicants to provide 100-word responses (or shorter) to three “complete the sentence” prompts and to write a 300-word-maximum essay answering three career-related questions that actually encompass four topics. The scope of the main essay prompt has also been drastically narrowed, from a discussion of a personal event or attribute of which the applicant was proud to a rather prescribed rundown of the candidate’s career goals and plans to attain them. Read more

Avoiding MBA Essay Pitfalls

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Avoiding MBA Essay Pitfalls by mbaMission

Each week, we are featuring a series of MBA admission tips from our exclusive admissions consulting partner, mbaMission.


Understandably, b-school candidates have an almost endless number of questions about how to master their MBA essay. Here, we present our advice on several facets of this challenging portion of the MBA application, in hopes of helping you craft compelling submissions that will stand out to the admissions readers. Read more

Yale School of Management Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Yale School of Management Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


The Yale School of Management (SOM) is staying the course this year with its single application essay, joining both Harvard Business School and Columbia Business School in using the same essay queries as last season. The school has made no modifications to its one prompt, whose 500-word limit does not offer a lot of room to make an impression on the admissions committee. Having commented last year in a Yale SOM blog post that the “seemingly simple and straightforward question” was composed with assistance from one of the school’s organizational behavior professors, Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions Bruce DelMonico added in a more recent post that the admissions committee “is interested not just in the commitment itself but also in how you [applicants] approach the commitment and the behaviors that support it.” Clearly, the Yale SOM has invested some truly purposeful effort into constructing a query that will reveal something specific from and about the individuals targeting its MBA program. In our Yale School of Management essay analysis, we explore how you can maximize your opportunity to shine with this forthright prompt… Read more

Harvard Business School Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Harvard Business School Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


Last year (after just one season), Harvard Business School (HBS) did away with its incredibly broad “introduce yourself” essay prompt in favor of one that at first glance seemed to have almost no parameters at all—and, interestingly, was more or less the same as the one from 2013–2014, when Dee Leopold was running the show. Now with a full year under his belt as HBS’s director of admissions, Chad Losee must feel that the essay question was effective in eliciting the kind of information the admissions committee finds valuable in evaluating the program’s potential students, because it remains exactly the same this year. Read on for our Harvard Business School essay analysis for the program’s 2017-2018 prompt and advice on the best way to approach it… Read more

Columbia Business School Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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columbia-business-school-essay-analysis-2017-2018-mbamissionHow can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


For years, Columbia Business School (CBS) has been at the front of the pack of MBA programs that have been gradually shortening their application essays and requiring candidates to be direct and concise in their submissions. It was even the first school to incorporate a micro essay into its application. Last season, CBS gave applicants a bit more wiggle room with the essays, increasing the word count for each by a pretty significant margin (up to 100% in one case), but it has tightened the reins back down for this year’s applicants. Still, with a goal statement, three required essays, and an optional essay, you should have plenty of opportunities to convey a well-rounded impression of yourself for the admissions committee. Read on for our Columbia Business School essay analysis for the program’s 2017–2018 prompts… Read more

MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Yikes, a Typo – I Am Done!

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Yikes, a Typo—I Am Done! by mbaMission

What have you been told about applying to business school? With the advent of chat rooms, blogs and forums, armchair “experts” often unintentionally propagate MBA admissions myths, which can linger and undermine an applicant’s confidence. Some applicants are led to believe that schools want a specific “type” of candidate and expect certain GMAT scores and GPAs, for example. Others are led to believe that they need to know alumni from their target schools and/or get a letter of reference from the CEO of their firm in order to get in. In this series, mbaMission debunks these and other myths and strives to take the anxiety out of the admissions process.


You have worked painstakingly on your application. You have checked and rechecked your work. You finally press the Submit button only to discover—to your horror—that you are missing a comma and you inadvertently used “too” instead of “to.” The admissions committee is just going to throw your application out, right? Wrong. Read more

University of Pennsylvania Wharton School Essay Analysis, 2016–2017

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - University of Pennsylvania Wharton School Essay Analysis, 2016-2017How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out. You do not need to be actively working on a $5 billion deal or have won an Olympic gold medal to go to HBS. You just need to have done the everyday things remarkably well, and you must make sure that your essays reflect your actions.


By today’s standards, the essay questions for the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania are remarkably vast. The school presents candidates with two mandatory essays and, if needed, an optional essay that applicants can use to address any extenuating circumstances. Wharton provides applicants with a fairly extensive opportunity to tell their whole story, which is quite rare these days. So take advantage of it! Brainstorm thoroughly before you start writing, and carefully consider how to optimize your best anecdotes to showcase yourself in full. Read more

Stanford Graduate School of Business Essay Analysis, 2016–2017

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Stanford Graduate School of Business Essay Analysis, 2016–2017 by mbaMissionHow can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out. You do not need to be actively working on a $5 billion deal or have won an Olympic gold medal to go to HBS. You just need to have done the everyday things remarkably well, and you must make sure that your essays reflect your actions.


The Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) may be known for educating great innovators—think Phil Knight and Jacqueline Novogratz, just for starters—but this year, the school’s admissions office is leaving the innovating to others and keeping its essay questions the same as last year’s. In fairness, maybe we should assume that the admissions office finished its innovation phase years ago and has iterated and tweaked its essay prompts enough to have arrived at its version of perfection. Who knows? And more importantly, does it even matter? The Stanford GSB’s task is to craft the questions, but your task is to answer them. With this essay analysis, we have done our best to help you do so successfully… Read more

Columbia Business School Essay Analysis: 2016–2017

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Columbia Business School Essay Analysis - 2016-2017 by mbaMissionHow can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out. You do not need to be actively working on a $5 billion deal or have won an Olympic gold medal to go to HBS. You just need to have done the everyday things remarkably well, and you must make sure that your essays reflect your actions.


A famous quotation, though one of murky attribution, states, “If I had had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” Read more

Harvard Business School Essay Analysis: 2016–2017

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Harvard Business School Essay Analyses 2016-2017 by mbaMissionHow can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out. You do not need to be actively working on a $5 billion deal or have won an Olympic gold medal to go to HBS. You just need to have done the everyday things remarkably well, and you must make sure that your essays reflect your actions.


After just one year, Harvard Business School (HBS) has done away with its “introduce yourself” essay prompt, which gave applicants a lot of leeway to share their story on their terms, and has returned to an even broader prompt—one that at first may seem as though it has no parameters at all. This year’s question is almost exactly the same as the one the school used in 2013–2014, when it asked, “What else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy?” This year, the question is “What more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy?” (italics ours). We presume that after seeing the essays candidates submitted in response to its “introduce yourself” prompt, the HBS admissions committee simply determined that the previous essay question generated “better” essays that proved more valuable in their decision-making process. Regardless of the reason behind the change, you will need to find the best way to approach this year’s prompt, which we will now analyze in more detail… Read more