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Start strong

Begin with your thesis, the main thrust of your essay. Your admissions reader will be working through many essays very quickly, so be sure to make a good first impression.

Show, Don't Tell

Before: He got an electrical engineering degree from [redacted] due to hard work and perseverance.

After: When he graduated from [redacted] with a degree in Electrical Engineering, instead of going to work for a major corporation, he decided that he would make his own path and start his own business.

Use Vivid Language

Before: My father kept growing the company with his engineering education and technological understanding of manufacturing.

After: My father's initial success was based on his technical understanding and his ability to streamline manufacturing processes by using cutting edge technologies.


Prompt: Why do you want an MBA?

Original Essay

My father greatly inspires me. His parents sacrificed so much so he could be the first in the family in college. He got an electrical engineering degree from [redacted] due to hard work and perseverance. Then he started his own company. This company is now one of the largest semiconductor suppliers in Zhejiang Province in China. His company makes products for automotive, wireless infrastructure, lighting, mobile, consumer electronics, and many more.

My father kept growing the company with his engineering education and technological understanding of manufacturing. Even when young I was impressed with his skill and leadership. He has always helped me in my education as well. He always says he wishes he had more education in business and economics to help the company grow. So he has helped me gain my education with a double degree of a BA in economics and a BS in electrical engineering.

I now have been working in China for our family company for two years where I manage the supply chain and work with the best vendors in our province to contract out work we previously did within the company. In this way, I have helped our company expand throughout China. Another issue I focus on is creating energy efficient products that are good for the environment. This is not common for Chinese businesses, but I think it is a trend to follow in the future for the long-term growth of the company.

These are the challenges I want to tackle with an MBA from HBS. I have heard that the case method is the best way to learn about real world problems so I am eager to try it. This experience will help me think of new ideas for our company. Also, by meeting other students both international and national we will be able to share our perspectives and work together. Best of all, we will have excellent professors in every field to guide us in our studies. I have read books by so many professors at HBS. My favorite is “The New Science of Retailing” by Ananth Raman which I read in my senior year. This incredible experience will prepare me to help our company grow internationally when I return to China with a broader worldview.

Edited Essay

I am pursuing an MBA at Harvard Business School in order to grow my family's burgeoning semiconductor business into an international organization. My father was the first in our family to achieve an education; his parents made many sacrifices to ensure that he could attend the best schools possible. When he graduated from [redacted] with a degree in Electrical Engineering, instead of going to work for a major corporation, he decided that he would make his own path and start his own business. Today, he is CEO of one of the largest semiconductor suppliers in the Zhejiang Province of China. Our products are used in a wide range of automotive, wireless infrastructure, lighting, mobile, and consumer electronics applications.

From an early age, I have aspired to work with my father and to eventually lead our company onwards to greater heights. My father's initial success was based on his technical understanding and his ability to streamline manufacturing processes by using cutting edge technologies. By his own admission, however, our further expansion has been hampered by his lack of formal education in business and economics. Following his advice, I pursued my undergraduate education as a double degree candidate, obtaining a BA in Economics along with a BS in Electrical Engineering.

Since graduating from college, I have returned to China to work for our family company. In the last two years, I have been heading our efforts to streamline our supply chain, working closely with the best vendors in our province and refactoring our manufacturing processes to contract out work that we had previously done in-house. My work has been a direct part of our company's expansion out of our province into the rest of China. I have also spearheaded our company's move towards producing more energy efficient products. While conservation is not a major priority in most Chinese businesses, I believe that being ahead of the curve with regard to energy efficiency will help keep us at the top of our market.

An MBA from HBS will equip me with the managerial skills necessary to take our company to the next level. I am eager to engage with HBS' rigorous and unique Case Method, and I believe that studying a wide variety of business situations will broaden my expertise and help me think critically and creatively about my own business. I also am excited to meet and collaborate with diverse and brilliant HBS classmates. Moreover, I believe that my own unique perspective as an international student will enrich our discussions. Finally, I look forward to studying under some of the most eminent professors in the field. I am particularly keen to work with Professor Ananth Raman, whose book “The New Science of Retailing” was hugely influential to me in the last year of my undergraduate education. I hope to return to China with new ideas and fresh strategies, ready to expand our company into new Chinese and international markets.