Essay Mistakes Engineers/Techies Make, Part 1: “I…I..I”

Posted By SWatts on Sep 8, 2011 |

Many of you engineers know that applying to business school after spending years as an engineer or techie can be challenging. Those of you from South Asian or East Asian backgrounds may also believe that competition for candidates of your broad profile will be especially keen. There is a lot of advice that can aid you in differentiating yourself and marketing your candidacy to business schools in highly effective ways, increasing greatly your odds of admission. In this post, I focus on a small thing that can have a big impact on your essays. This addresses one of the most frequent mistakes that engineers/ techies make in their MBA essays.

Essay Mistakes Engineers/Techies Make, Part 1: “I…I..I”

Many MBA admissions applications ask candidates to offer an essay that describes one of their leadership experiences in the workplace. Engineers and techies usually have great examples to write about, given the complex and interesting projects they work on. Teamwork experience? Team leadership experience? Engineers and techies often have both. But in the MBA admissions process, it is not just what you have to say, but how you say it.

All too often, engineers/ technies will write on and on about “I… I… I…” For example, they might write, “I had to solve a problem with the product reliability. I figured out a good way to fix the problem. I designed the appropriate program. I explained the changes to my supervisor. I rolled out the solution.”

Big, significant question: Where is the ‘we’?

Leadership involves motivating others to work with you to address goals and challenges. Moreover, teamwork is highly valued in the business school setting. The more you can stress in your essays how you led others, motivated others, communicated goals and timelines, etc., the better your essays will likely be received.

Take-away: Remember the ‘we’!

I hope this helps you in the admissions process!