In high school, most American students are taught to write essays with a formal introduction, a body that supports that introduction and a conclusion that reinforces the central point presented in the introduction. Although this structure makes for easily comprehensible academic work, business school application essays are constrained by word count, so candidates often have to find alternative openings, not having the luxury of “wasting” 100 words introducing their topic.
Depending on the context and pace of your story, we, at times, recommend the “non-introduction” introduction. If you have a gripping opener that places the reader in the middle of a scenario, we recommend that you launch right into your story to grab and keep the reader’s attention.
“Throughout my career, I have strived to continuously learn and develop as a manager, frequently taking enrichment courses, seizing mentorship opportunities and seeking frank feedback from my superiors. When my firm staffed me on its $4.5M ‘Oregon Project’ (our highest-profile product launch in a decade), I considered it a tremendous opportunity to deliver and never imagined that it would become the greatest test of my managerial abilities.
“When I arrived in Portland, I discovered a project deemed so important by our firm that it was overstaffed and wallowing in confused directives from headquarters in Chicago. I quickly surveyed the situation and began to create support for changes to…”
What if this essay, under the pressure of word limits, merely began with a slightly modified version of the body?
“When I arrived in Portland, I discovered that my firm’s $4.5M ‘Oregon Project’—our highest-profile product launch in a decade—was overstaffed and wallowing in confused directives from headquarters in Chicago. I quickly surveyed the situation and began to create support for change…”
In this case, approximately 70 words are saved, and the reader is immediately thrust into the middle of the story, learning how the writer jumped into the Oregon Project and ultimately saved the day. Although the “non-introduction” introduction should not be used for every essay, it can be a valuable tool when applied with discretion.