While using quotes in your MBA essays is not recommended–you are better off using your own words–I do like Mark Twain’s line: “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Answering Chicago’s MBA short-answer essays requires you to start from the end: think about the message, the punch line, the core of the story.
Your short essays for Chicago will take a maximum of one or two minutes to read, and you need to take the reader on a short journey, and get her excited about your story. A great short essay is like a good joke – it has to start in the right place and progress quickly toward the end. If the punch line is missing, you won’t get a reaction.
2 – Short-Answer Essays
a. What has been your biggest challenge, and what have you learned from it? (200 words maximum)
Analysis: skip the intro and jump straight into the story. Since this is hard to do, I recommend that you write an intro that helps you build up the story, and later edit it out.
b. Tell us about something that has fundamentally transformed the way you think. (200 words maximum)
Analysis: “FUNDAMENTALLY” is a strong word. Make sure you have something real here; otherwise it’s not going to be interesting. Some potential ideas: moving to a new country, travelling, failing, personal and medical issues, etc. This essay doesn’t have to be all bells and whistles – it just has to be personal and strong.
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