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Monday Morning Essay Tip: Be Honest, but Avoid Negativity

Sincerity. Honesty. Candor. We encourage MBA candidates to incorporate these attributes into their applications, and when they do, successful essays tend to follow. Yet, can an applicant go too far? The answer is “yes,” especially when candor turns to negativity. Sometimes, when MBA candidates believe they are being candid, they are in fact revealing themselves to be predisposed to pessimism; as a result, the admissions committee has difficulty identifying with their file. Such situations are unfortunate, but luckily, they are often also avoidable; an ostensibly “negative” idea can almost always be expressed in a positive and optimistic manner.

Example:Monday Morning Essay Tip: Be Honest, but Avoid Negativity - mbaMission

“In my current position, I am no longer learning and am afraid I will continue to stagnate without my MBA. I cannot achieve my objective of becoming a leader in the marketing department at my firm unless…”

Common sense would say that the admissions committee would likely not be very excited about accepting an applicant who believes he/she has stopped learning or that his/her career progress can be thwarted by basic obstacles.

Revised Example:

“As I look to the future, I recognize that with MBA training, I could dramatically increase my impact on my firm. With an eye toward a leadership position in our marketing department, I am…”

In this revised example, the candidate is expressing the exact same need for an MBA in positive terms and is thus making him-/herself a more warm and engaging prospect, while still candidly stating a need for further education.

Before submitting your file, check for unnecessarily negative statements. Although we would never suggest that every line in your essays must be full of sunshine, you should certainly take steps to avoid portraying yourself as a pessimist.




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