MBA Essay Samples : Beware of Using Them!

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MBA sample essays should be avoided

Creating strong and compelling MBA essays that interest as well as impact MBA Admissions Committees is never an easy job. With multiple schools to apply to, and different essays for each, the pressure for putting in all the required elements and yet stick to the word limit can be immense. Of course, reviewing your essays multiple times and incorporating the feedback obtained from others also saps your energy. At this time, some applicants can feel fatigue and make the fatal mistake of looking for MBA essay samples online – some for outright usage, others for ‘inspiration’.

MBA essay samples are a bad idea!

Why using MBA essay samples from online is a fatal mistake

It’s late season. You’ve worked hard on your MBA applications. And all you feel like doing is taking that one interesting line from this great sample essay you found. It’s not the entire essay, after all, but just one line. Surely this much is forgiven? DON’T! 

Using online MBA essay samples means exposing yourself to great risk of rejection and more-

There are multiple things here which will get you into big trouble. For one, MBA Admissions officers are experienced essay readers – through just a quick read, they can tell if a line has been used from a common source.

As Admissions Consultants, we look at hundreds of essays an year and in most cases will be able to identify if a line has been taken from somewhere else.

Further, MBA Admissions committees use sophisticated plagiarism detection software which will flag the copied phrase instantly – and get your application rejected, no questions asked! Avoid doing the wrong thing here, not because of fear of being caught, but because you have always held – and will continue to hold – yourself to a higher personal standard.

Why it is important for your MBA essays to be customized to your profile?

Online MBA essay samples were essays written keeping someone else in mind. They had no bearing with your profile, your goals and aspirations, or your plan to achieve them.

It is your story and your ideas that must shine through here, and not the borrowed ideas of someone else that are likely in all probability to be misfits with your story.

Some applicants feel that they could use essays to understand the structure or how ideas are presented. Again, what you understand through MBA essay samples is how someone else projected his/her story, not how you should write about yours.

There is no one winning way to create a great MBA Admissions essay, and the one that will work for you is one that speaks of you and your experiences.

Still not convinced? Here are multiple other reasons why using sample MBA essays is a bad idea:

The Admissions Committee sees a lot of the same topics

Many applicants draw on similar experiences to respond to the MBA essay question about what drives them or how they overcame challenges. This can lead to reading many similar essays that repeat the same stories over and over again. Admissions officers do not want to read these essays, and you should avoid submitting one at all costs. Using a sample MBA essay is also likely to result in an essay that contains one of these overused stories.

Sample essays do not show your personality

The admissions committee wants to know you better through your essays so that they can differentiate you from other applicants. As such, if you use a sample MBA essay, it is unlikely that your personality will come through in the essay. The committee will not get to know you personally, which will hurt your chances of acceptance. It is important to remember that the admissions committee has access to your resume and other portions of your application where they can learn more about you. The point of

They may not be relevant to your dream school

Your essay might not be relevant. If you are using a sample MBA essays for your own essay, you might end up using something that is not relevant to your life or experience. Using such essays in your own application will only hurt your chances because they are not original or personalised.

Many times, sample MBA essays are not relevant to what a particular school is looking for in its applicants. If you copy such an essay and submit it without doing any significant changes in it, there is a good chance that the admissions committee will reject it with a generic rejection letter or (even worse) no response at all.

They don’t accurately represent the current application process

Business school admissions committees have changed their essay requirements over the years to reflect the changing business landscape and the increasing diversity of their student bodies. Even if the essay topics themselves don’t change completely, the emphasis and the key aspects that admissions committees look for can certainly evolve.

Many of those available online were written before such changes took effect, and they don’t accurately reflect what you need to do today to get into business school. This is especially true for schools that have changed their essay requirements in recent years.

Why common ‘great’ elements may provide inspiration but not work for you

Another excuse that some applicants make when using MBA essay samples is that these samples will help them to understand how ‘common elements work’.

They won’t necessarily work for you though even if they worked for someone else. Think about it. For most applicants, it is difficult to read an essay and pinpoint the exact elements that worked and others that didn’t.

Perhaps that person had a life of adversity and showcasing his challenges growing up and getting an education helped him to show grit. Taking inspiration here is not such a great idea (even if you use different examples) because perhaps grit and struggle is not the quality that YOU need to show.

The best essays are thoughtful, specific to one’s profile and objectives, and usually go through a number of iterations and reviews before you can iron out all deficiencies in them.

Develop your story and your ideas through reviewing and improving, not through looking at other people’s work. It is the most relevant and well-crafter essays that win, not those that try to conform to a ‘standard’ that does not exist.


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One Response to “MBA Essay Samples : Beware of Using Them!”

  • ManuMBA / / Reply

    Nice post on the dangers of using MBA essay samples. In this article, you mention that you can make out if someone has used information from some sample online. However, it is also possible that if someone writes a legitimate (non copied) essay, the structure can come out to be similar. How can MBA candidates guard against this?

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