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Sample MBA Essays – 5 Reasons they won’t work for you

You’ll find sample MBA essays for download on the internet by MBA websites and bschool forums. These well-publicized web-pages or free pdf files are a great way to draw interest from prospective clients.

MBA Crystal Ball shares a lot of MBA essay writing tips on this site, but you will not find any real MBA essay examples that have worked successfully for our clients. The main reason is client confidentiality. If you had worked with us, you wouldn’t want your confidential essays shared with the whole world, right?

But there are other reasons why successful business school essays that have worked for other applicants will most likely not work for you. In fact, apart from not helping much these free essay templates may work against your interest (Read Common mistakes to avoid in MBA application essays). Here are 5 questions to ask yourself when you come across MBA essay samples.

1. How real or successful are those sample MBA essays?

Sample MBA essays are a marketing tool. The basic idea is – if you find them impressive, you might get the feeling that your essays could end up like that as well…and you’ll sign-up. So the pressure’s on, to ensure that the essays paint the perfect picture about the candidate and the team that helped the candidate.

Pretty much like the photo-shopped celeb pics floating around on the net, there is no way for you to evaluate whether the real & successful MBA essay examples are actually real or successful.
Read How to write powerful MBA essays

2. What profiles where those MBA essay samples used for?

For the time being, let’s assume that the essay templates available for free download are real and authentic. But they still hide a lot of details. You might have labels suggesting the bschool they were written for e.g. sample MBA essays for ISB, MBA scholarship essays, MBA essay examples for Harvard, INSEAD, NYU Stern … (fill in your favourite bschool here).

The important question is – what were the attributes, traits and background of the candidate for whom these essays worked? Did the MBA applicant have the same career aspiration and post MBA goals? Without that linkage and detailed understanding, you have no clue whatsoever about the rationale that went behind that application strategy.

3. Are you losing your differentiation edge by using essay examples?

MBA Admissions teams are looking for applicants that bring in diversity and variety to their MBA class profiles.

Essays are the best way to differentiate yourself from the herd of similar sounding candidates. When you start using successful templates that have worked for other candidates, you are throwing your uniqueness outside the window and adhering to a (presumably) safe and tested approach.

With thousands of MBA applicants reading it and using it for their admission essays, what used to be exclusive earlier is in the public domain. The minute a successful MBA essay sample is available for download, the magic that worked for it is lost.

4. Are there any side-effects of reverse engineering MBA essay samples?

All MBA essay writing efforts should start off keeping the applicants strengths and weaknesses in mind. Other key aspects would be the pre-MBA professional journey and the post MBA goals. The essays are the final piece that connects all these dots together.

With sample essays, you are reversing the process.

When you start off with a perfect-looking MBA essay sample, there is a tendency to work backwards. You will try to force-fit stories in an MBA essay template that was never designed for you in the first place. Don’t be surprised if the end result is not as impressive as you expected. Even if it sounds normal to you, someone who doesn’t know you (like the MBA admissions officer) might feel the disconnect.

5. Will the Admission officers think you’ve plagiarized your essays?

This is a big risk for MBA applicants. Bschools have rejected applicants for submitting plagiarized MBA essays. It’s happened in the past and it’ll continue to happen.

Even if your intentions are noble, you can’t completely knock out the ideas, sentence constructs and overall structure used in the sample MBA essays that you’ve probably read multiple times in order to get inspired. Read College admission essay plagiarism: How do professors know if you copied essays?
At MBA Crystal Ball, when we work with candidates for the MBA essay review and editing process, we try not to get to carried away by our own previously successful essays. Creating strong and impactful essays is not a formula driven process. For every single applicant, we prefer starting off with a brainstorming process where we try to get an in-depth understanding of the applicants background, career plans and ‘why MBA’ rationale.

We share our ideas and ask the candidate to work on the first draft of essays. For the essay review and editing process, our starting point is this first draft. That ensures that we are building the story from the ground up. No templates, no sample MBA essays. Just a highly personalized application strategy that uniquely differentiates the candidate from the others who are probably relying upon the freely available essay samples to guide them in this super competitive admissions race.

Feel free to download free essay samples to educate yourself about what others have done. But be aware of the points mentioned above and resist the urge to replicate them blindly for your own MBA admission essays.

Send us an email if you’d like us to help you craft original and impactful MBA essays from scratch, and improve your chances of getting an admit from your dream school: info [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

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