Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Writing Tip #2: Tell a story

Hello friends! I am back with another writing tip that I frequently give when reviewing essays.

Writing Top #2: Tell a story

So, we all know that word limits for applications are pretty low. Sometimes they even feel impossibly low. Unfortunately, what that world limit restriction often leads to is that essays become a disparate collection of sentences, without proper connections, transitions, or places to "stop and breathe". Thus, I think that as each of you write your essays you should be very careful to not try to cram too much into a small number of words. A story that is well told and has slightly less "information" in it is much more impactful than one with tons of facts but no flow.

A trick I used to see how much flow my essays had was this: after I was done writing an essay I would put it away for a day or two. Then, I would take it out and immediately try to read the essay out loud either to myself or to others (no reading it silently first, that is cheating!). There would inevitably be spots where it was awkward and "out of rhythm". I would mark these spots, recognizing that those were the places that either had bad or non-existent transitions, and then focus my efforts for the next revision on building those transitions. Then it was onto the next draft, and lather, rinse, repeat!

Hope this helps!

Disclaimer: the thoughts and ideas represented in this blog are my own and do not represent that of any specific business school or Admissions Committee or office.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kicking off the 2010-2011 Essay Editing season!

Hi all - hope you have been doing well. My apologies for the lack of recent essay tips. We had some personal family stuff come up and I've been "away from the computer" dealing with it. But, I'm now back in action and better than ever!
So what does that mean? It means more writing tips coming soon. It also means that I'm officially kicking off the 2010-2011 MBA Application Essay Editing season! I had such a great great time last year meeting applicants and helping with their journeys to Business School and am excited to do it again!

I've included below the ad I have been posting around about the services I offer. For questions, more information and/or pricing please feel free to either email (jagarwal@mba2009.hbs.edu) or call (617-794-5949) me.

Finally, As an incentive to get started early I am offering a 10% discount to applicants who start essay review services with me before September 1st, 2010 and mention this blog post. Looking forward to another great year!

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Are you applying to college or MBA programs and struggling to get those essays just right? I'm here to help you make sure that your essays are clear, concise, and all about showing YOU off in the best light possible!

How I can help your college or MBA admissions process:
- Simple Essay Review: I will look at your essay, correct any grammar mistakes and write up a summary of strengths and areas of improvement.
- Extensive Essay Review: Includes the above. I will also extensively edit the essay document itself, increase the detail of the summary document and suggest how the essay should balance with the rest of your application.
- School Package: Includes a review of all essays for a particular school (with the choice of either simple or extensive reviews) and a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the application as a whole.

My credentials:
- I graduated with my MBA from Harvard Business School in June of 2009. During the application process, I was accepted at 6 schools.
- In 2003 I got my undergraduate degree from MIT. During my time there I wrote numerous speeches and proposals.
- In between, I also applied and was admitted to numerous medical schools (I decided a life of medicine was not for me and didn't matriculate).
- My job as a Management Consultant at a Top 3 firm revolves around communicating information quickly, concisely and effectively!

Please contact me either via email (jagarwal@mba2009.hbs.edu) or phone (617-794-5949). Looking forward to helping!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Writing Tip #1: Be specific about what you want to do

Hi everyone! Hope you are doing well. Through the last application season I was fortunate enough to review a number of essays and help some great applicants with their journeys to business school. Thank you!

Through that work, I came across a number of essay writing "issues" that were common among applicants. I thought it might be helpful to share these along with my tips for remedying them as people start to gear up for the new season. please let me know if you have any questions!

Writing Tip #1: Be specific about what you want to do

As you all know, many schools ask to hear about what you want to do with your career. Even when questions were as clear as "What are your short-term and long-term career goals," I reviewed many essays where even after I was done reading I had no idea what the writer wanted to actually do with his/her career. Often times applicants would lay out the qualities of the organization they are looking for (i.e. "I want to work somewhere with a strong culture of fun," or "I want to work somewhere where I will be challenged by my peers"), but I had no way of knowing whether they wanted to do that in an organization that already exists or if they wanted to start their own company. I had no way of knowing what field (i.e. retail, investment banking, etc.) excited them the most. I had no way of knowing what sort of function (i.e. strategy, marketing, etc.) they would want to do within that company. I had no way of knowing what they really wanted. Remember that the purpose of all the essays are to give AdComs an idea of who you are; with an essay like this, they should ideally be able to imagine what you would desire professionally if they met you in a "career counseling" situation. This is your chance to show them what you are passionate about, don't waste that chance!

Disclaimer: the thoughts and ideas represented in this blog are my own and do not represent that of any specific business school or Admissions Committee or office.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Limited capacity available for essay reviews for later Round 2 schools!

Hi all,

I'm sure you are in the crunch phase of applications - I so fondly remember printing out my applications one last time, spell checking every word and finally clicking SUBMIT!! It's so refreshing to know that you have done all you can do and now it is in someone else's hands. Congrats to everyone as you each go through this!

I also wanted to announce there I do have some limited capacity for essay review spots available for later Round 2 school applications (e.g. HBS, MIT/Sloan, NYU Stern, Kellogg, etc.).

Please feel free to call (617 794 5949) or email (jagarwal@mba2009.hbs.edu) to discuss and/or for pricing! Thanks and I look forward to helping :)

At some point I will write up a new post of tips and tricks that I've put together from this essay service. And finally, a HUGE THANKS to all my clients thus far! I'm loving helping you all with your essays and I thank you for helping me start a little fledgling side business doing what I love best - mentoring others :)

Happy new year everyone! (below is the view we had this year for NYE - how awesome??)