Mba Essay Chasedream
Overall, good job. You've put a lot of efforts into it. Keep it up!
Warning: Given the time limit, I'll be very straight forward and focus on how to improve the application package, rather than what you did right. I may sound a little harsh. :)
Comments on the CV
1) Describe "achievements" rather than "responsibilities". Right now it looks like a well-written yet rather plain job decription, not something that gets the adcom excited and makes them want to know more about the candidate.
IMHO, a CV/resume for b-school application differs from what is used for job application--it should portrait the candidate's career progresses and professional milestones, rather than his/her work experience and technical/business skills.
So how do you give it a make-over? -- Numbers speak louder than text. Try to use sentences like "achieved xx% of growth in revenue", "doubled client base in one year", etc. For example, in the decription of your previous job, you gave an example using numbers/percentages. It immediately caught my attention. Try to do the same with your current job, because the adcom will start reading from there and usually if they don't see a good example of achievement by the third or even second bullet point, they will lose interest.
2) Need to use more "powerful" verbs. Currently the tone is a bit weak and again, sounds like a job description. It does not show your unique contribution so why would YOU be chosen, not some of your colleagues who are doing similar work?
B-school adcom wants to find traits of leadership potential and pro-active attitude in the candidate. So, show them these qualities by describing how you "drove/managed" a project, "created" a new working method, "initiated" an exciting plan, and "led" a team.
Even if you are not in a leadership/management role, think about how you affected outcomes positively by causing others to act in their best. Made a difference, basically.
3) Refrain from the urge of providing too much info. Rearrange/prioritize your "selling points" and make the key ones stand out by trimming the unnecessary details.
Right now each job description contains 5+ bullets and many of them are longer than three lines. Is that really necessary? You are not interviewing for a job so your reader does not need to know EVERYTHING you've done. The adcom just want to know, in the 90 seconds that they spend on average reading a resume, "what this person wants to tell me about him/herself?" and "what makes him/her shine?"
Suggestion: Cut down to 3-4 or fewer bullets per position and clean up words that only provide info rather than paint a portrait of a unique you.
4) Finally, all verbs in a CV/resume must be in past tense even if it's about your current job.
And don't use the phrase "responsible for" which sounds too passive. For example, instead of "Responsible for devising ABC strategies and executing DEF plans", say "Devised ABC strategies and executed DEF plans". Much neater and more powerful, isn't it?
Comments on the Essays
1) Don't just "answer" the essay questions. Treat each essay as an individual piece of written art work instead of an examination paper. This means:
- No repeating of the question (even partially) in your opening sentence. For example, when the question is "What is your biggest professional decision so far?" don't begin your essay by saying "My biggest professional decision so far is ..." Makes you sound like a "repeat-after-me machine 复读机" (no offense!)
- The opening paragraph sets the tone of the full essay so be a bit more creative. Make a little drama, tell a story, describe a scene -- visualize your ideas!
- Use more powerful words. Vary the length of paragraphs (by the way, they look too long.) Don't be mono-tone. Use a little artistic writing techniques. Be interesting.
Like your CV, the essays serve as a vivid portrait of you and you don't want it to look like a thousand other people.
Think about your poor readers (adcom) who go through hundreds of essays a day. They need something that catches their eyes and keeps them from dozing off. Something that makes them want to read on, and better, makes them laugh or ponder.
Recollect your personal experience and bring yourself back to the day that important decision was made or that idea was created. Relive it in your essay and excite yourself and your readers!
2) Maybe it sounds contradictory to my first point, but your essays must "answer" the questions. Ie. tailor-make them for each school and each question.
- Don't repeat your resume. Your first essay was like an elaborated version of your resume. It does not go straight to the topic -- "choices". Giving a bit background is okay, but too much background makes adcom wonder if this was adapted from some generic "describe your professional experience" essay.
- Hit the most important point and hit it hard. Don't just give a list of things that you will only spend 1-2 sentences on. Since you cannot cover everything in 1/3 of an essay, it's better to cover 1-2 things only. What gave the biggest impact to your life so far? Write about that.
- Identify the key words in the questions. For example, "personal" experience with a school is not some presentation that maybe 200 people saw at the info session. It is who you talked to at the session, what you learned from him/her, etc. Why does the adcom emphasize the word "personal"?Because they don't want to be a back-up school that you only researched by browsing their website. They want to see your personal commitment.
- Think like a consultant if you aspire to be one. A consultant identifies clients' issues/needs and tackles their most important problems first. For example, a school in NYC does not want to be overshadowed by the glory of the city, although they probably sell their location hard on their website. They face the competition from nearby schools, so what does this school differ from all the nearby ones? That's the thing you are going after.
3) For most situational questions (tell us a time when you...) and achievement/failure questions, consider using a "STAR" (situation, target/task, analysis/action and result) approach.
Situation: Set up the background and identify the issue(s). About 10-15% of the space, no more than 20% for a really complicated issue. Don't drag on by including too many details. You'd be surprised to know how many people can get carried away by nostalgic emotions when they "relive" the memories that they forget the 500 word limit. If you cannot cover the situation part in 100 words, you may want to use another example.
Target/task: What you needed to do. Just a simple sentence will suffice. Sometimes this part is combined with the "situation" part.
Analysis/action: 50%. This is where you dig into your issue, find a solution and act on it. Be logical with the analysis and support it with facts/data/research. Don't jump into the conclusion like "it suddenly dawned on me that..." Business decisions are made based on facts and figures, not someone's light of wisdom (智慧之光).
Results/learnings: Another 20%. Rather than describing what awards you won or praises you got, focus on what you learned from it and how you'd do things differently in future. Adcom want to see someone who keeps making progress, instead of taking a nap on the glory (躺在荣誉上睡大觉) or sobbing over spilt milk.
Round 1 Decisions
Application volume is way up (again) at Rotman, and we’re as committed as ever to getting to know our applicants well. At Rotman, we take the whole package approach to the application process, and that process takes time. So, if you are waiting for a decision on your round 1 application, sit tight as all round 1 decisions will be communicated on or before next week’s December 15 decision deadline.
This year we received competitive round 1 applications from all over the world including Antigua & Barbuda, Bangladesh, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, China, Congo, Georgia, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam. We’ve had the pleasure of interviewing many of you over the past 2 months in your own home cities (places that are near like D.C, NYC, Calgary, Vancouver and Montreal, and places that are far like London, Singapore, Manila, Istanbul, Mumbai, Shanghai, São Paulo, Lima and Mexico City – just to name a few) and it’s been wonderful to host so many of you on campus as well.
We’ve definitely taken notice of the spike in technology as a post MBA industry of interest from this group. Toronto is the third-largest tech hub in North America and was recently named the world’s fastest growing tech market. It’s great to see applicants broadening their horizons and considering their post-MBA goals when choosing where to apply!
Getting Ready for Rotman Round 2
For those of you targeting this deadline, you’ve got until Monday, January 8 at 12 midnight (eastern standard time). That gives you just over a month before hitting submit so here are our top 2 pieces of advice for round 2.
- Use our Resume Template: Our resume template shows you how you can best showcase your experience. using the template as a reference is a great way to ensure your own resume includes all of the information we’re looking for. It’s also worth mentioning that our MBA candidates use this template and our director of careers is on our admissions committee – so following this advice is certainly a good way to show that you’re coachable and makes a great first impression!
- Use Your Essay to ‘Connect the Dots’: This year’s application essay is the perfect place for you to bring it all together and create a cohesive narrative for your overall application. We ask you to ‘Please describe why you are pursuing an MBA? Why Rotman? Why now?’. Focus on being authentic and stay away from using this space to tell us all the things about our school you might think we’d like you to say.
Finally, the recruitment & admissions office will be closed for the holidays from Thursday, December 21, 2017, to Tuesday, January 2, 2018, inclusive. Join us for an admissions webinar before the break where we share our best advice for putting the final touches on your application.
RSVP for our Dec 14 admissions webinar.