Remember F. If you take responsibility of the failures, you will be respected and considered for candidacy in top schools. There are no extra credits for making excuses. Another important element of the essay is the proof that you have implemented something unique with the newly acquired knowledge. If you write your essay focused only on your achievements, post-MBA goals, and your pre-MBA experience, you will be among the rejected applicants.
If you don't have enough leadership experience , our Winning MBA Essay Guide will show you how to highlight non-obvious qualities like Trust, Focus, Listening Skills, Personal Responsibility, Humility, Self-Knowledge, and other secondary traits to prove your leadership. If you don't know how to review your essays , our Winning MBA Essay Guide will demonstrate how to improve readability with the power of iteration, and maintain your original voice by removing review biases.
Obviously, if we are going by external stakes, the first one sounds like a much bigger deal. However, external stakes don't dictate the magnitude of the failure. Being a selfish friend because you are too absorbed in your own life is a much bigger personal mistake than putting the decimal point in the wrong place simply because no human being can work for 72 hours straight. This error goes both ways: some essays transition way too fast to lessons learned basically skirting right past the mistake and others never make the transition.
You must have proper tone and balance in this essay. Stand on your own two feet rand be honest about making a mistake, but don't forget to explain how you learned from it. From the "best friend" example above, that essay has to transition to "I learned to prioritize people over my schedule and to make decisions with a long-term view. If the growth isn't on display, we can must?
Take our decimal point example: what lesson could you even learn? As with Item 1, this could really be a flaw with any bad essay. Structure is so incredibly important in essay writing and yet from what I see largely judging from the ding analysis type work I do , structure is just horrid, across the board. Having good structure makes it easy for the reader to follow along, it ensures proper balance in what you write about, and it just generally is the only way to write a good essay.
Put it this way: I've never seen a quality failure essay written as a haiku, starting with a quote, or consisting of either one or nine paragraphs. A good failure essay is going to feature four parts, almost every time, and be either two, three, or four paragraphs - depending on word count.
You must have a thesis and then a statement of what the mistake was Part 1 , typically followed by an explanation of why you made that mistake Part II , then how and what you learned from the experience Part III , then, finally, how you adopted those lessons Part IV. There are different wrinkles to this - some ask you hypotheticals or for evidence of adopting those lessons or even how you will continue to grow at School X - but thats the basic flow.
It requires having a plan and sticking to it. Obviously, this is a self-serving observation a whole bunch of people reading this will turn to use for help with doing just this , but it's not somehow less true just because it helps our business. Respect the question, respect the reader, and respect yourself. If you are hedging or trying to use external consequences to prop up something weak, take the essay and crush it into a ball and throw it away.
Go deeper and be a real person who has had real failings and isn't afraid to talk about them. The Partners. What We Do. Who We Hire. In the Press. MBA Admissions. Our Commitment. Client Reviews. Full Service. Individual Services. Current Incentives. College Admissions. Our Team. Our Philosophy. Comprehensive Services. Get Started. Free Guides. October 30, Essays , Failure Essay , Tips. Today, we are going to be breaking down the failure essay and the biggest reasons why everyone blows it.
We are going to walk through the five biggest reasons why people fail on this essay. Lack of a Thesis Statement. Lack of a True Failure. Note: there is no person on this earth who has never made a mistake, in some aspect of his or her life. Fixation on External Measures for Failure. Improper Focus on Lessons Learned.
Bonus: Lessons Learned is also a great test on whether you are picking a true failure. Poor Structure.
Describe a failure or setback in your professional or academic life. How did you overcome this setback? What, if anything, would you do differently if confronted with this situation again? Carnegie Mellon University. If the school requires a leadership essay as well, consider choosing a failure that occurred before your leadership success, since your success can often prove that you overcame your failure.
The best failures are events you have some measure of control over and are also the direct result of your actions or decisions or inactions or indecision , since the incentive for self-reflection and learning potential are higher. Since many people make the same mistake, it is also understandable. However, sexually harassing that same subordinate is not, so use good judgment. Background — a brief but focused explanation of the situation, built around the details that illustrate the difficulty and importance of what you were trying to accomplish 2.
Process — a description of your actions and decisions leading up to the failure 3. Analysis — the core of this essay. Show your analysis of your failure and explain how and why your actions and decisions led to the failure, while also recognizing your responsibility for it.
Please note that most failures involve some form of communication or interpersonal issue. Recovery — if possible, you can show briefly how the next time you were faced with a similar situation you made the right decisions and took the right actions based on your previous experience of failure. The list will continue until another 7 billion names are added to it. And then applicants become petrified because they heavily discount their own candidacy on account of this perceived failure on their part.
They start doubting themselves before they even begin. And at that point, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. However the venture failed to take off and I am now at a crossroads which is why an MBA makes a lot of sense so I can take up my career plans anew. Just see the difference. If you were reviewing these essays, which candidate would you be more excited about? If your experience is something similar to the second statement above, then why are you still getting bogged down by the so-called weight of your failure?
So what do you do in your application? Turn the tables around. Showcase the positive you. Absolutely describe your failures, but while thinking of them as practical teachers in a school called life. What did you learn from the experience?
How did you do things differently going forward? What has that experience meant to you? In closing, keep your chin up, discuss your experiences — successes and failures — with a positive frame of mind, and let your natural ebullient self come through in your essays. Thanks for your query.
If you believe your academic record bad, it is. How you move forward is up to you. The answer to your question is within you! A very insightful and helpful post for all MBA prospective candidates. Thank you for sharing those thoughts, Mr. Good luck for the upcoming application season!