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Kreisberg says that absent parents, especially absent fathers, embody themes in many of the successful Harvard essays from 20.By saying that “voice trumps everything,” Kreisberg points out that the voice with which candidates speak through their essays can be more important than any other aspect of application essay writing.
“An essay that reveals any weakness in your candidacy could quickly put you in the reject pile,” according to Poets & Quants editor John A. Best practices in application essay writing indeed exist, although some of them are not obvious and a few may seem counterintuitive.
BSchools editors reviewed analysis and advice from several authorities, along with essay examples from admitted students.
According to New York City admissions consultant Manhattan Prep, “with this essay, you essentially want to forge a meaningful connection with a complete stranger, and if you try to present yourself as something or someone you are not, you will fail.” It may be surprising how many MBA application essays display vulnerability because this quality is not generally associated with business leaders.
Candidates need to present examples demonstrating their introspection and self-awareness.
Another admissions consultant argues that emphasizing values is necessary within any approach or structure.
Admissions consultant Stacy Blackman advises clients to select themes that will enable them to display qualities HBS highly values, especially drive, accomplishment, and leadership: We have found that both personal and career-oriented topics can work, and most candidates tell more than one story in the essay.
They state the applicant’s goals, then identify three or four crucial experiences that helped shape those goals.
Frequently, candidates also include how those experiences helped form their values.
Characteristics of a “good voice” include: The essay must convey that, above all, the candidate seems like a genuinely likable person.
If it does not, the piece can render an otherwise outstanding candidate vulnerable to a “ding,” which is business school lingo for a denial.