You will be competing against incredibly talented applicants. Every year, I see candidates who try to pull off a rush job, and in doing so, they underestimate with whom they are competing.
Some candidates talk about their accomplishments as if they have single-handedly saved an entire industry. In the essays and interviews, you will fail if you come across as a pure self-promoter.
Admissions readers make judgments very quickly. After all, they do have a stack to get through. Regardless of your scores, if you fail to engage the reader and sustain his or her interest, you are toast.
Close to 10,000 applicants will be tackling the HBS essay this season, and I wanted to share the two major mistakes folks will make in approaching this prompt.