You must have heard this so many times from B-school adcom members..  Many applicants often dgress from what is asked . And then while the resulting essay may be compelling in language, replete with examples and perfect in style, it often doesn’t fulfil the elementary criterion:: It doesn’t answer the question!!
This often is a result of copy-pasting answers between two similar-sounding essay prompts. And this can go undetected even after several rounds of self and peer-reviews. Especially, when you’ve digressed only a little and when the Qs are quite similar; may be sth like:: Michigan’s “Most sigifican professional accomplishment” and Yale’s “A professional accomplishment that exhibits your leadership style.”

I attended a B-school fair last year. There one of the adcoms (from Vanderbilt or HEC, Paris i remember) gave this simple magic formula. I’ve started using it; so thought of sharing it with my blogosphere friends.

When you’ve completed the essay, give it to somebody who knows you well: a friend, a colleague, your wife or anybody you deem fit for this. You may be wondering, what’s new here.. The new part comes here:: Give them only the essay, not the question.  And then, ask them  to guess the question.
If they guess the question correctly or are even close,Bingo!! you’ve been writing the  essays well. At least you’re answering the questions!!!! 🙂
But in case they guess “What did you learn from a failiure?” or “Tell us about a challenging time in your life” when the question is “Tell us about a constructive Criticism that you’ve received”, may be the forced-fitting hasn’t come out well.  The theme and the story may remain same, but perhaps you need to concentrate less on the challenge faced and more on the post failiure/challenge feedback,

Hope that helps!!

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2 Responses to “Are you answering the question??”

  1. ahembeea says:

    Thats a brilliant point you’ve made, and a very essential one to keep in mind. Its possible to fall so much in love with our essays that we can forget whether it actually served the purpose for which it was written. It means you’re not a procrastinator anymore !

  2. […] or tricks they honed while others sought advice. MissionMBA advised that you make sure that you are answering the question. Ahembeea provided three basic tenets when it came to writing essays. Samantha sought opinions on […]

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