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Monday Morning Essay Tip: Employ Active Verbs

Anyone who has ever written an email that has been misunderstood—let alone an MBA application essay—is no doubt aware of the subtleties of language and the simple nuances that can change a message’s meaning. Indeed, you can enliven a simple sentence by simply choosing a more active verb.

For example, consider the verb “earn.” By using “earn” rather than a more passive verb in the following examples, we can alter the meaning and impact of each sentence. Suddenly, you are in control—suddenly you worked hard and, as a result, accomplished great things.

Passive/Bad:  “I was promoted from junior to senior analyst.”
Active/Good:  “I earned a promotion from junior to senior analyst.”

Passive/Bad:  “After being awarded my MBA, I will be able to….”
Active/Good:  “After earning my MBA, I will be able to….”

Once you have finished your application essays, review them to see how often you can replace certain words with “earn” or a similar verb—such as “achieve,” “gain,” “attain”—that denotes action on your part.




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