MBA Essay Tips for pitching your personal and professional achievements or accomplishments
Whether personal or professional, achievements bring a sense of pride and satisfaction. Achievements are always crucial to one`s growth and success as they assess one as a capable individual. Achievements provide opportunities to review past events and bring forward one`s strengths and abilities. This MBA admission essay provides a good theme for you to write about your achievements and strengths. This is the best opportunity for you to prove yourself worthy of an Ivy League MBA, if you have a list of honest achievements to state in your application essays and during the interview.
If you have a list of achievements ready, this boost up your confidence while working on your MBA essays. Make sure to start first by sequentially listing your achievements. Think of achievements where you created the most value or made a significant impact on your organization, team, or individual in a professional or personal setting. Initiate the process of stating your achievements with utmost care. Pay special attention while describing your personal and professional achievements. Therefore, the first and the most important step you need to take before beginning your MBA essays is to jot down your achievements.
It may take some time, but spare some to discover and classify your achievements. Write down about every life experience ranging from the big, substantial ones to those trivial ones that you may not consider worthy enough to merit consideration. Look back and recall the experiences that made you feel happy and proud. These could include something like the initiative you took to make your workplace/society better or some professional achievements, or the way you helped a colleague handle a difficult situation.
Sit back, think and jot down all your achievements. When you think, you are done, you need to organize your list. Divide the list into following categories:
Professional– state the skills related to your field of specialization: experiences that describe how good you are at work in a responsible position.
Personal - This includes extracurricular activities, self-development initiatives, community work and anything else you do that you consider as an achievement.
Academic - This could include achievements such as university rank, completion of extra-ordinary academic project or publishing article or paper in top academic journals
Now give a close look on where you created most value and identify your skills and strengths associated with the particular achievement. MBA adcom value achievements which involve leadershipskills such as decision making, team work, motivating team members, meeting deadlines, critical thinking and problem handling. If you are not able to identify your strengths and achievements by yourself, it will help immensely to consult friends/colleagues/family members/admission consultant. Sometimes others can see aspects of our life that we are blind to ourselves.
We suggest that, shortlist your achievements by talking to friend or a close peer and evaluate 2-3 experiences which you would consider good professional achievements, where you added the maximum value to the organization. Weigh the pros and cons for each one of them and then make a rough outline of each one of those then finally choose the best.
Once you zero down on your anecdote, follow the SAR (Situation, Action and Result) framework to delineate your anecdote. First explain what the situation was. There you should discuss the case, environment, scope and challenges. Example: declining sales, new-product launch, conflict in the team, demanding client or developing a new product or service.
Then discuss what action you took in that situation. Discuss and justify your action. Then conclude with results, like what was the outcome of your actions, such as an increase in revenue or decrease in loss. Discuss what are the skills/strengths you used in this case and how this incident has helped you augment your present skills and develop new skills and abilities. You can also discuss any specific knowledge developed during this project/incident such as market knowledge or domain experience.
Take care of the following dos and don`ts while writing this essay,
- It will be good if it follows an analytical and problem-solving framework.
- The write up preferably have the element of team working in it.
- The answer should manifest good decision making and leadership aspect of yours.
- Give it a personal touch by mentioning behavioral aspect of the team or your colleagues involved.
- You can discus you ethical values and integrity and how they helped in your success.
- Pay special attention while describing your professional achievements, as it is one of the key weapons in your MBA application quiver.
- Project your skills and potentials, taking care not to sound arrogant.
- Present anecdotes and share the whole story of your achievements. Do not be pretentious and do not make unproven claims about them. It may have an effect on your integrity.
- Substantiate your claims with figures. For example: You directed a new marketing campaign and the sales increased by 20% in two months.
- Do not provide your own conclusions for your success story, unless you are asked to do so. Let the admission officers scan through your essay and decide where you stand in the competition.
- Do not make unsupportable statements. Make a claim only if you have relevant experiences to state along with.
- Do not fuss over your capabilities and take care not to boast your words. Never demean anyone involved in your circle.
The Good: "I am proud of my work record with the ABC because I could make important additions and contributions to the work strategy and work culture over there. I believe I could manage to be a part in fostering the growth of ABC."
The Ugly: "I believe my work with the ABC demonstrates my efficient leadership skill and shows how I will add to the diversity of your school."
Tell your success story proudly. Pride and confidence are the qualities that all top b-schools admire, so do not indulge in false modesty. "If you don`t blow your own horn, someone else will use it as a spittoon. " — Kenneth H. Blanchard
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Any one essay, 500 words, single round reviewing with detailed feedback for improvement, no editing.
Describe what you believe to be your two most substantial accomplishments to date, explaining why you view them as such.
The above mentioned question brings to memory varied accomplishments at different stages of my career. The first is where I led a major turnaround at ABC (Small-to-medium enterprise business) and the second was during an international student exchange program in the early stages of my career.
On taking charge as Zonal Manager, I realized that morale among the 1200-strong sales staff was abysmally low. We were adding new clients but the confirming collections (account activation and account-related fees) never materialized. Sales personnel were meeting just 3-4 customers per day when the business needed a minimum of 8 “quality interactions”. Traveling, in itself, consumed nearly 60% of their working time. On an immediate basis, the core team was lead towards re-aligning operations – each salesman would now be assigned leads (prospects) closest to his/her area. During various training events, I accompanied salesmen during their client visits. More than 8-10 client calls per day were shown to be possible. My core team was quick to replicate this initial “hand holding” thus creating a positive ripple effect and bringing the average (per person) to 9 calls per day. As a “third front”, a 5-person customer analytics group was quickly mobilized. We were thus able to match the right set of banking solutions – to the right prospects – and customize effectively. The results: A complete turnaround with a 30% increase in client enrollments and 50% increase in sales revenue.
Thus, the 12 months beginning May 2008 concluded with a major entrepreneurial success. In retrospect, it taught me the nuances of facilitating across various functions – right from the details of day-to-day client servicing to developing, pricing, promoting and selling cutting-edge products.
In September 2002 and as a student of management studies (at MDI, India), I was selected for an international student exchange program at the BI, Norwegian School of Mgmt. During the 4-month-long stay, I went on initiate and organize the “India Day” festival – the first of its kind at the university. The day long event showcased various aspects of my country right from its immense cultural diversity to the capital markets. It culminated with an entertaining music extravaganza followed by traditional Indian cuisine. My skills in multi-tasking and time management peaked as I organized the event and simultaneously partnered on a major team presentation the next day.
Miles away from family, I had learnt the basics of self-leadership. I had successfully “managed myself” – right from studies to basic household activities to organizing a cultural extravaganza. Essentially my first step towards leadership, the event always brings in cherished memories of working in a truly global setting.