You have finally homed in on the topic you would like to write about for your business school admissions essay, but you are struggling to flesh it out. So, how do you develop it? How do you think about it? What do you want to say about it? What message do you want to leave the reader with? How does it portray you?
Addressing these questions and having a roadmap before you actually start writing the essay may make the process much easier for you.
Use a mind map
An essay outline is a fantastic way to develop your idea, but if you are even more of a visual person, a mind map can be helpful as well. A mind map is just that – a sheet of paper where you visually “map” all the aspects of a particular idea. For example, let’s say you started a lemonade stand in high school and you are using that experience to showcase your entrepreneurial drive (i.e., this would be the thesis of your essay). What are you trying to say or portray through that experience? Put the words “lemonade stand” in the center of your map, circle it and then branch out all aspects of that experience and continue to branch it out.
Depending on what the essay prompt is asking, you could talk about organizational planning, managing everything yourself, managing the budget and making the sales. Or you could talk about other entrepreneurial experiences that were sparked from starting the lemonade stand. For each of those “branches” off of the main theme of “lemonade stand,” you would then have smaller branches or more supporting details.
Benefits of a mind map
Just what are the benefits of using a mind map to further flesh out your response to an essay prompt? Mind maps will:
Help you brainstorm any idea, topic or concept
Help recall past experiences or thoughts that may relate to the central idea
Keep all your thoughts on that particular topic on one page for easier visual reference going forward
Help you organize tangential links and concepts together as a subtopic to the main topic/central theme
Ultimately, a mind map is a helpful process to get your experiences and thoughts on paper related to an essay question when you get to the point of selecting a topic to write about. Because the responses to essays in MBA applications have a word limit, by having all your experiences and thoughts on one sheet of paper, you will have a visual image of everything associated with that idea.
Using a mind map to further develop your idea and having all of your thoughts in one place visually may help you to really focus on the main points you want to deliver and may make the process not only easier for you, but also more efficient.
Finally, have fun as you map out your responses, and learn more here to see how we can help you develop your MBA essays!
About Ivy Groupe:
Ivy Groupe is a boutique MBA admissions consulting company founded by Shaifali Aggarwal, who has been recognized as a top MBA admissions consultant by Business Insider and Poets & Quants. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Shaifali’s philosophy focuses on authenticity and storytelling to help clients craft compelling and differentiated applications that stand out. With this approach, Shaifali’s clients have gained admission to top-tier MBA programs such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Booth, Tuck, and Yale, among others.
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