Getting ready to tackle the HBS essay? Alex has practical guidance on how and where to start thinking about this challenging essay prompt.
Hi everybody – so you’re thinking about writing your HBS essay?
The first thing that comes to mind, like most, is to write a career narrative. Because after all, this is for an MBA program; it feels the most comfortable.
But, in fact, I’ve studied different archetypes of successful essays, and that’s only one of six options. If you write a career essay, you run the risk sometimes of writing a cliched essay or running into the pack.
There are other options, as I’ve mentioned. Let me give you an example of a good choice for a career essay. Someone’s working at a major consulting firm but they suffer from severe food allergies. So they’re writing about how they dedicate a lot of time to research a venture to help people with severe food allergies; a social networking site. This can create a lot of emotional interest in your candidacy.
Conversely, I had a client from Singapore who was working in transaction services and his dream was to be an investment banker. Terrific goal; won’t moisten a lot of eyes for HBS so that person would be better served to choose a more personal essay outside of the career narrative.
So don’t just go for the easy answer — really think about what will connect emotionally with your audience.