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Wharton – Essays

September 24, 2008

So expecting that by now things have sufficiently picked up for all of you and most of your essays already stand drafted, let me give you a quick update from my end. I just submitted INSEAD today. They have this really cool pdf application form which functions like an online tool for you. Good thing is you can see everything in one shot, the bad thing is you always need to carry a copy with you and can’t just arbitrarily decide to enter something online from a different PC.

So one down, 5 more to go!

I have just started Wharton’s essays this week, and the first drafts are almost ready for 3 of them. So it does get faster once you are done with the first few school’s essays! Now, before you start exclaiming how supersonic I’ve become, let me tell you that I’m just done with –

drafts for Kellogg-1, Ross-1, Tuck-1, Wharton-1.

Yes you read that right. The minus 1 means that in all the gardens, among the roses and dahlias, there’s a thorn that pricks me everytime I look at it. So though my position seems comfortable, I still have 4 essays left, and then revisions, re-drafts, edits, revisions, edits, re-drafts,revisions,edits…..

Ok so before it begins to worry me further, here’s what I feel about the Wharton essays.

Essay 1: Describe your career progress to date and your future short-term and long-term career goals. How do you expect a Wharton MBA to help you achieve these goals, and why is now the best time for you to join our program? (1,000 words)

Standard career goal essay. 4 parts, 1000 words. I don’t think anyone should need more. I think after a long time, Wharton would see a change in reason for joining Wharton from “I want to be an Investment Banker” to “I would never ever again want to be an Investment Banker!”. There are no questions you haven’t already answered elsewhere. See how real you can get while answering the Why Wharton question.

Essay 2:Describe a failure or setback that you have experienced. What role did you play and what did you learn about yourself? (500 words)

I chose setback, and it becomes similar to a challenging time in your life essay. Be it a failure or a setback, as long as you were screwed by life, make it the subject of this essay. Its implied, but not necessary, to have turned things around, but how you dealt with it and grew from the incident is what matters. In one word, reflect. Also, something that I had to keep in mind was not to start philosophizing about life. The question wants to know what you learnt about yourself, and not about others and your neighbours.

Essay 3:Where in your background would we find evidence of your leadership capacity and/or potential? (500 words)

Capacity isn’t mandatory. Leadership potential would do just fine. I really like the words and the way Wharton chooses to form its prompts. Instead of a direct thrust-in-your-face question like some other schools, Wharton’s approach is very understanding and polite. Understated. Perhaps its also the type of leadership trait they are looking for in their applicants ? You can’t offer them much in 500 words, so I’ve touched briefly upon 2 examples and elaborated the third one.

Essay 4: Please Complete One Of The Following Two Questions:
4.a. Describe an experience you have had innovating or initiating, your lessons learned, the results and impact of your efforts. (500 words)
4.b. Is there anything about your background or experience that you feel you have not had the opportunity to share with the Admissions Committee in your application? If yes, please explain. (500 words)

4a gives you the right opportunity to showcase your talents. If you have them. Else you can choose 4b and cry and tell them why your background prevents you from having them. Just don’t repeat anything already covered in the other 3 essays.
Yes I’ve chosen 4b, unlike you. Just need to make my background and experiences sound interesting enough to end the 4 essays on a positive note. I really don’t want them to see great sparks in the first 3 essays only to be dowsed by the fourth one.

You see? I have a habit of ending it on a bad note everytime. Thats another thing we must ensure. Do what you can with the opening, but the last sentence should make sure that you last.

My essay style is largely becoming ‘fluffly passionate’. That happens when the content has 1 dose of action and 3 doses of over-reflection. Not an attractive proposition for Ross!

Quick question – while selecting our recommenders, we get the option for waiving our rights to see the recommendation later. With no wisdom in these matters, I had selected ‘Yes’, meaning I would like to view them later. Do you think thats a blunder serious enough to write to the adcoms to revert the option to ‘No’ ?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. praz permalink
    September 25, 2008 7:02 am

    waive ur rights, ur recos are not for u…u can always request informal feedback from those who gave recos later…waive it!

  2. September 27, 2008 5:41 am

    Waive it. It’s just cleaner that way. If you want to see your recommendations afterwards, just ask your recommenders if they would send you a copy.

  3. ahembeea permalink*
    September 27, 2008 9:05 am

    Praz, tinydancer – yes of course I had no intention of ‘wanting’ to see the recommendation later, but just assumed that this option wouldn’t be harmful in any way. I agree though, its better to play safe. I’m able to click on the recommender’s name, waive the rights, and save the same, but I guess we also need to re-send the email again to our recommenders. Any clues on this?


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