In Great Application Essays for Business School, which will be released in December 2005 by McGraw-Hill, publisher of BusinessWeek, author Paul Bodine provides an inside look at successful application essays. Bodine offers suggestions throughout each of the essays to give readers an idea of what admissions committees consider a well-thought-out and insightful response to their essay questions. The following is one of four essays from the book that is being made available on BusinessWeek Online:
Essay prompt: The cover letter serves as a sort of executive summary for your application. It is also the written equivalent of the first impression which you make when meeting someone for the first time. As such, it should reflect a great deal of time, thought, and energy. Ideally, we will finish reading your cover letter eagerly anticipating reading the rest of the application. (500-800 words).
Dear Admissions Committee Members:
It is with the single-minded determination to become a new product development manager in the supercomputing industry that I am applying for a seat in the MIT Sloan MBA Class of 2003. [This lead would be too stolid for an essay, but because of MIT's business-letter format it works here] Pursuing an MBA at this time fits perfectly with my career goals and eventual desire to start my own venture.
Ambition, achievement, and acceleration are common themes in my academic and professional experiences. I chose the Hamburg Technische Institute (HTI) for undergraduate studies not for its top-ranked Advanced Computing program, but for its unparalleled emphasis on developing well-rounded leaders and managers who can take charge in tough situations, readily address any audience on any topic, and provide effective and efficient solutions for challenging problems. No other college in the world offers its students such extensive practical summer training; by the time I graduated, I had been a contributing member of a hot-air balloon team, a Baltic resort design group, a Berlin art museum renovation technology team, and a DM400 million government supercomputer project. [Responds to MIT's instructions for a "summary" by telegraphing several key projects that intrigue reader in her other essays]
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