1 As soon as you know that you are going to apply to business school, you can start to prepare in a low-stress way. Keep a notebook and jot down anything interesting that comes to mind. An inspiring lecture, a disappointing performance review, an enlightening conversation with a friend, a travel experience, running a marathon, a stimulating book—all of these can be terrific material for your essays. Don’t agonise over whether it will make a great topic, just jot it down. You will find that you quickly have a plethora of material to choose from.

2 As you begin to approach essay-writing time, consider putting together a “brag sheet”. Write down all of the things about you that would not necessarily appear on a résumé: languages you speak, all extracurricular involvements, family traditions and more. This can also be mined for essay content.
⇒Resumeを作る際には主に”Professional”, “Education”, ”Additional(課外活動等を記載するパート)”の項目欄を設定します。上述のFamily Traditionsに関しては、自分がどういった環境で育ってきたか?生活環境の(自らの)人格形成に対する影響(つながり)とを確認されてはいかがでしょうか。

3 Once you have the essay questions in hand, there may still be a few stumpers. Even with lots of content, when you are faced with answering a question such as “What matters most to you?” it is difficult to decide.
⇒”What the matters most to you”(エッセイ課題)への回答を書き纏めるには相応の時間を要します。この類の課題から着手することはお勧め致しません。まずは、Career Goal型のエッセイ課題より始めてはいかがでしょうか(以下の質問に対する自分の回答を書き出してみましょう)。

・Why attend a particular business school?
・What are your short-term and long-term goals?
・Why do you want an MBA?
・How will you contribute to this program?

4 Before you actually write the essays, take the final step of mapping out the general topics you will cover in each essay. As you map a topic to a question, check it off on a master list of stories you want to cover. This way, you can make sure that a given school is receiving all of your key stories, and that you are spreading out different stories across an application and not being repetitive.
⇒最も多くみられるミスは、「エッセイ課題に回答していない」ことです。たとえば、Professional Career Goalsを述べなければならないにも関わらず、個人的な目標(Personal Goals)へ言及する。または、そのGoalsを設定するに至った背景事情を長々と書き足してしまうケース(各エッセイ課題は字数が制限されていますのでご注意ください)。各課題で問われていることへ直接的な回答を書き述べていきましょう。

5 Everyone works in different ways: some work best first thing in the morning, others are night owls. Some need to outline concepts on paper, others go straight to computer. So develop a plan that supports your individual style. Many find that the first application can take around 40 hours of work—brainstorming, drafting, editing, refining. As you approach this process, make sure you have the time. Tackle one application at a go. Do not take work leave or attempt it in a single week. Essays require time to gel. Therefore make sure that you have plenty of time to do it right. You may require six weeks, or you may even want 12.

6 Many applicants are inhibited by perfectionism. They can sit at the computer for hours, unable to generate that “perfect” essay, rewriting so furiously that they don’t get past the first few sentences. It is often easier to edit than to write. So just type. A page full of so-so text is less intimidating than that blank page.

7 It is essential that you research your target schools and understand how to appeal to each of them. Each will have a slightly different ethos and look for something different in their students. But…

8 …you can also save yourself a bit of work. There are certain qualities that all business schools want to see in a successful applicant:

  • leadership
  • team skills
  • ethics
  • communication skills

Just saying “I am a strong leader” is not enough. Every claim you make must have supporting stories that help the reader believe you. You do not need to check off every quality on the list. Select a few that apply to you and reinforce those in an honest and compelling way.
⇒上記のstoriesは別名anecdotesとも呼びます。こうした具体的な実例を述べない限り、どれだけ形容詞を並べたとしても、自分が伝えたい自分像をAdmissions Officerと共有することは叶いません。

9 Nobody is perfect. The schools know this and you need to show them that you are realistic and self-aware. Revealing your humanity—in the form of quirks, weaknesses and flaws—can often help the admissions committee to like you. A story about how you learned from a failure, improved upon a weakness or struggled with challenges can be compelling. The other side of this is the ability to demonstrate that you can really benefit from the MBA degree. If you know everything already, an admissions committee may wonder why you want to return to school.

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What is your biggest accomplishment?
  • What is your biggest regret?
  • How have you failed in the past?

Failure (失敗経験)について言及する際にも、自分が置かれた状況下におけるFailureの定義、どうしてFailureが起こったのか?(経緯と分析)、そしてそのFailureから得たこと、その経験を今の仕事にどう生かしているか?(過去の経験を応用)といった側面を書き出すよう注力してください。

10 Get some help. Even the most meticulous writers benefit from a second or third set of eyes. Ask someone to review your essays, look for typos and tell you if you are hitting all of the points in the right way. Is your attempt at humour coming off correctly? Do you seem too humble, too cocky, too serious, not serious enough? After you have been buried with your essays for weeks, a fresh perspective can often help you see the application as an admissions-committee member does: for the first time. Enlist someone who knows about the application process and make sure they are not just reassuring you that all is well, but are actually giving you some quality feedback.
⇒一人で考える時間も大切ですが、時として第三者の意見を取り入れてみることも必要ではないでしょうか。上記でも”Fresh perspective”と述べられています。互いに意見交換をするプロセスを通して、新たな気づき発見等の機会を提供できるよう、私も相談者からの依頼と日々向き合っております。