A Guide to MBA essays: How important is the word count?

Piyush Bhartiya
Modified on 2018-02-08 in Essays
Read time: 5 mins
Source: MBAPodcaster

MBA has become the most sought-after course in the recent years. MBA graduates are always in demand be it any field. MBA lately has become very popular among the students. Admissions are a big deal! One chance you get to communicate with the Admissions committee is through your essay. An impactful essay might have some amazing results.

However, many students have various queries. Students are bothered due to the word limit problems while writing MBA essays. If not now you will face the frustrating roadblock down the line. But don’t you worry, we have answers to your queries. Here we have a few common questions that may pop up in your mind regarding the word limits for your MBA essays and the best way that will help you navigate them. 

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Why is There a Restriction on the Word Count in MBA essays?

The ultimate aim of whole rules and restrictions on the word count of the essay is to standardize the process so that it becomes more convenient for the MBA admission committee (Adcom). The purpose is to make the process of comparing the output of the candidates. Every student has their own way of presenting. Some make it short and sweet while some write epics.

The members of the admission committee will indeed have a tough time going through the applications. The Admissions committee will always prefer contents of a reasonable size. You might feel, every detail is really significant but the adcom disagrees. They would rather prefer a crisp effective essay the will demonstrate your abilities. This is a test of your ability to present your thoughts in a precise, impactful manner.

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Is it Okay to Exceed the Word Limit in Just One or Two MBA essays?

To an extent we can yes it is okay to exceed the word limit but on the other hand, we can’t really consider it a yes either. Some MBA colleges overlook and don’t mind a ±5-10% difference in the word count. Though exceeding the word count is accepted to an extent, our stand would be to be safe within the limit.

Verbosity isn’t sufficiently good to communicate a point. A well-presented essay that does not exceed the word limit works the best. Certain online forms automatically prevent you from exceeding the word limits. Well, if you have submitted your essays in formats without programmatic verification of the word count, Adcoms (Admissions committee) can still identify if you have taken liberties and exceeded the essay word counts. It is advisable that you don’t exceed the word count.

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What if the Essays are Below the Word Count?

If at all you’re faced with a situation where you’re done and you haven’t yet matched word count like you are expected to write a 500-word essay and you feel you’re done within 400 words. In such situations what do you do?

There are two things you can do in such situations

1.Get creative:

Write a funny poem or doodle something to demonstrate my sense of humor

2. Nothing:

Don’t worry about it just leave it as it is.

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When to do what in MBA essays?

Well, it depends on how much you have to fill up. If it’s only a few unused words, then you need not forcibly add words. You can just lave it. If it a little gap then you can consider the first option. But if it’s a big gap, then you’ve got a different problem.

While the rest of the candidates trying to fit their multi-faceted profile fit into a 2-dimensional sheet of paper, you choose to leave it pretty much empty (Umm.. not a great idea). It is possible that the Admissions committee (Adcoms) might conclude that Is it because you don’t have accomplishments or you don’t have the right words to present them. Either way, it is not doing you good.

Every word is important as far as an MBA essay is concerned. A few precious 100 words is a great deal because the competition is high. It might also leave a bad impression before the admissions committee, they may view this as a lack of effort on your part or just assume that you don’t have much to communicate. You lose the opportunity to speak about yourself, your achievements or goals, that could have made a difference in their opinion.

MBA, as today it has become a popular course and much students prefer this course the competition is high. The opportunities that you get in the universities abroad are numerous but you have to get your essay right for that. An impactful essay is all you need, however, it sure becomes a little problematic when it comes to the word count. But now you have answers to all your queries and ready to deal with them.You can also read about the best universities accepting GMAT scores here. Please share your opinions about the post in the comments section. Also, please do mention your feedback and suggestions.

Also Visit:

  1. Admission Essays – Complete Overview
  2. Admission Essays – Types of Essay
  3. Admission Essays – Essay Samples
  4. Admission Essays – Essay Guidelines


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About the Author

Piyush BhartiyaPiyush values education and has studied from the top institutes of IIT Roorkee, IIM Bangalore, KTH Sweden and Tsinghua University in China. Post completing his MBA, he has worked with the world's # 1 consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group and focused on building sales and marketing verticals for top MNCs and Indian business houses.

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