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We’ve invited mbaMission to share their Business School Essays Analyses as they’re released for the 2013-2014 application season. Here is their first analysis, for Columbia Business School.

Introductory Note: Typically, Harvard Business School launches the MBA application season and then other business schools quickly follow suit. Earlier this week, HBS admissions director, Dee Leopold, announced that HBS would be releasing its essays during the final week of May. Meanwhile, Columbia Business School’s Admissions Director, Amanda Carlson, sent a message that she waits for no one. CBS officially released its essay questions today “ you will find the questions and our analysis below.

This year, Columbia Business School (CBS) continues a trend that has developed over the past three seasons, once again reducing the number of words applicants can use to tell their story. Last year, CBS allowed applicants 200 characters with which to respond to its short-answer question and 1,250 words total for its three essays”not much room to showcase one’s strongest attributes and set oneself apart from the pack. Now, CBS candidates have a mere 100 characters for the short-answer question and 1,000 words for the three essays.

Unfortunately, this reduced word count does not make your task as an applicant any easier”especially when you have only one essay (Essay 3) in which to discuss something outside the professional/academic realm and reveal your more personal side. Hopefully, our essay analysis can help you strategize

Columbia Business SchoolShort Answer Question: What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (100 characters maximum)

Do not pretend to be anything you are not. Reveal honest, ambitious goals that are also realistic.

These two sentences are 98 characters long. You can now see just how brief you need to be with CBS’s short-answer question. Yet you must still demonstrate that you can convey a point within such strict limits. So, we are sticking with the advice in our example. Do not misguidedly believe that admissions officers have a preference for specific professions or industries”they do not. Think about what you truly want to do with your career and state it directly. Then, be sure that the rest of your application provides evidence that this goal connects to your existing skills and profound interests, making your professed goal achievable and lending credibility to your statement here. If you can do this in 100 characters”and remember that we are talking about characters, not words”you will have answered this question quite well.

Essay 1: Given your individual background, why are you pursuing a Columbia MBA at this time? (Maximum 500 words)

Because the CBS admissions committee is asking why you have chosen to pursue an MBA, you can justifiably delve into your professional career and explain how you identified your need for this particular advanced degree. However, take care not to overwhelm the admissions committee with an unnecessary level of detail about your career history. We cannot emphasize this strongly enough”the admissions committee does not want a recap of your entire resume”moreover, such detail would use up valuable word count. Approximately 100“150 words on your past should be enough to provide appropriate context.

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Our good friends at mbaMission have released their 2012 Essay Analyses for Columbia Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Wharton, Stern School of Business, Yale School of Management, and the Ross School of Business. We’ve compiled these six analyses into one handy 2012 Essay Analysis Resource for you. Enjoy!

Columbia Business School Essay Analysis, 2012-2013

Applicants to Columbia Business School (CBS) this year must complete one short-answer question and two essays. Perhaps CBS is returning to the mind-set that less is more by getting rid of the third full essay from last year and adding a 200-character, career goal mini essay instead.

Stanford Graduate School of Business Essay Analysis, 2012-2013

The Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) has tweaked its essay questions and word limits this year, moving from an 1,800 word count across four essays to a 1,600 word count across three. Some quick math will reveal that you have more words per essay now”maybe the admissions committee felt it was not getting the true depth of candidate experiences previously? The most important broad advice we can give you is to be sure that you keep the reader learning. Keep your audience in mind”your admissions reader will be going through hundreds of essays this application season. If he/she gets to your essay three and has to read about the same theme yet again, he/she will be bored or frustrated or both. So as you write, be sure that you are introducing new experiences and dimensions of your profile. This will greatly improve the likelihood that you will be able to hold your reader’s attention throughout.

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This post orignally appeared on the mbaMission blog. Read the introduction below and find the full post here.

Columbia Business School (CBS) whittled its essay questions from four to three to two over the past five years but is now back to posing three essay questions. Maybe the school’s admissions committee felt that, with just two questions, they were not learning enough about applicants? This year, CBS is offering a variety of creative options in its final essay question, giving candidates greater flexibility”and thus greater control over what the admissions committee will learn about them.

Here are the Questions: Continue Reading…