There are a few sensitive topics that you should either address very carefully, or avoid altogether. This is all about good judgment; if your reader feels uncomfortable with what you have written, he or she may take it as a sign that you are less likely to do well in the diverse MBA setting, and this may dampen your recruiting prospects.
Here are some taboo topics (and the exceptions to the rules)
1. Religion: while religion plays a big role in many people’s lives, there are only a few places where you should discuss your religion; one of them is a personal essay about your background and upbringing (such as INSEAD’s first personal essay). Exception : I have seen successful essays on inter-faith marriage and open-minded families and their impact on the candidates’ approach towards life and diversity.
2. Sex and gender: this is not a topic to be discussed in most workplaces, and the same applies for the MBA application. If you are an LGBT applicant and feel comfortable discussing your issue, make sure to do so in a professional way. I have had a client who talked effectively about the insulting and somewhat abrasive treatment he suffered while working in a top financial services firm as a gay man, and how he was part of a corporate project to educate others and promote diversity in the work place.
3. Medical issues: there is such a thing as too much information. You don’t want the reader to feel uncomfortable while reading your essays, so if you have any physical and mental issues that are relevant to your profile and application, discuss them in a succinct and professional manner. I have seen applicants talk about this topic as a story of overcoming adversity – that could work.
4. Racial and ethical comments: you never know who is reading the essay and what their background is While you should do your best to make interesting observations about your global experience and interactions, make sure you are not coming across as arrogant or culturally insensitive.
Have a question on how to address a specific topic? Email email@example.com and let me help you with the application.