MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Love You So Much That I Cannot Stop Writing About It

Although admissions officers want to know that you are interested in their school, they do not want to read your repeated professions of love for it. Some candidates mistakenly believe they must include in each essay numerous enthusiastic statements about how they will improve their skills at their target school, regardless of whether the school asks for such information.

For instance, consider this entirely fictitious example of an individual who responds to the essay question “What achievement are you most proud of and why?” by writing the following:

“In starting ABC Distributors, I learned a great deal about entrepreneurship, and I hope to formalize this knowledge at the XYZ School of Management. Only with XYZ’s vast entrepreneurial resources and profound alumni connections will I be able to take my next venture to a higher level. At XYZ, I will grow my business skills and potential.”

We can identify numerous problems with this submission—including that the statements are cloying and have no real substance. However, the most egregious issue is that the school never asked the applicant to discuss how the program would affect his/her abilities. Thus, the “Why our school?” component is just empty pandering.

As you write your essays, always focus on answering the essay questions as they are written—do not try to anticipate or respond to unasked questions. So, if your target school does not explicitly request that you address the question “Why our school?,” do not look for ways to sneakily answer that question in your essay(s).

Of course, if the school does ask for this information, then certainly do your research and provide it. Again, the key is to always respond to the school’s question and give the admissions committee the information it wants.

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