Points, Runs, and Goals Essays

I’ve been under the radar recently – not just posting less here, but in life in general.  No, I’m not a hermit.  No, I’m not studying for the GMAT.  No, I’m not trying to reduce my internet presence in fear of nosey recruiters.  No, I’m not spending less time online as some sort of New-Years-resolution-in-May thing.  No, I (definitely) haven’t become less enamored with the idea of getting my MBA.  Quite the opposite, in fact:  I have been working on essays – goals essays to be exact, if you hadn’t got that from my sports related title.

(Me writing my essay drafts)

You’re probably thinking, “but hamm0, only Columbia has its essays out, and from reading this and this, I know that you’re not applying to CBS – what gives?”  You’re right astute reader (OK, I’ll stop having conversations with myself from here out..It is getting creepy.) I’m not applying to CBS.  But most goals essays are mostly the same.  Sure schools change them a bit from year to year, but as a whole, the content is the same.  Furthermore, almost every school has asked for goals in the previous few application seasons with MIT being the only school that specifically doesn’t ask you to state your goals.

So about the content.  Most essay prompts I’ve read from my target schools have a similar format:  What are you goals, why do you need a MBA to get them, and how can (school name) help?  Seems easy enough – except it isn’t.  As I’m finding out from my numerous drafts, running up against the world limit is a real drag.  Balancing an essay that is interesting to read, conveys my story, and answers all three questions that are carefully nested in the prompt is very difficult.  I remember during my project management days something called the Triple Constraint or Project Management Triangle.  *shudder* 

Basically, as you can see above, the triangle lists 3 very important qualities to your project – Quality, Time, and Cost.  The theory is that you can feasibly do two out of the three:  If you want something done fast and cheaply – it’s going to have poor quality.  If you want something cheap and high quality, it’s going to take forever.  This is exactly how I feel with my goals essay.  I’m in a position where I’m able to write an essay that is interesting to read and conveys my story – but doesn’t address all of the questions entirely within the confines of the word limits.  I’m also able to write a draft that conveys my story and addresses all of the points asked, but even an actuary would find it boring to read.

The sad reality is, I really can’t afford to be confined to the PM triangle here.  A good essay hits all three topics  within the word limit.  I guess that means back to the drawing board for me – more drafts, more iterations, more edits all in the search of  balance among the PM triangle.  I’m well aware that this will be my life for the next few months as I get further along in the process,  but things are finally starting to feel real.  No longer am I studying to a point in the future for the GMAT, or talking to students in anticipation to applying to their alma mater sometime in the next year or so.  I’m now working towards October 1st – when most Round 1 applications are due.  Things just got real – Game on.

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8 responses to “Points, Runs, and Goals Essays

  1. Try to just answer the question first. A lot of applicants make the mistake of thinking their essays need to be interesting or fun reads. They do not. They simply need to answer the question with compelling reasons. Let your reasoning add the color and flavor to your essays.

  2. I take back my words from the other day on the chat. Just met mr. reality. :|
    + great point cheets

  3. Good Luck. I think the main thing to remember is to tell a story, as the poor admissions people are going to read tons of essays. Might as well try to make them enjoy your essays in a good way.

      • Not at all- just different sides of the same coin. Agree with Cheet that the essays need to answers need to answer the question an suggests a good way to add fun/flavour to the essays. There alot difference between a factually boring essay and an essay that makes people sit up and take notice and still gets the point across. The key difference between the two essays is often the quality of the writing rather than content. Suppose the main thing to remember is with any PM triangle is to remember what your trying achieve…what’s the goal of the essay. Let us know how you get on.

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