TheEngineerMBA: How I wrote the essay that got me an HBS Interview

Essay Time Analysis

I applied to a total of 6 schools, and I did all my essay writing and sharing management through Google Drive/Docs.  One of the great things about GD as a document management platform is that it will automatically perform revision control and history for you.  I was interested in seeing my writing patterns over the course of the summer and as such extracted the key dates for major revisions and plotted them (including my resume work).

Essay Graph

As you can see, I had a riveting summer.

Note that the dots at the top of each series denote each school’s due date.  Duke is still in progress and will be submitted this weekend.

Some observations:

  • I was really proactive with initial Consortium, Harvard, and Stanford essays.  I focused on just getting drafts on paper and letting them SETTLE.
  • I really picked up on evolving my resume through August to prepare for Harvard.
  • Stanford was really the essay that scared me the most and as you can see I actually did the whole “write and settle” cycle twice – once in July and once in August.
  • The early Duke draft was the 25 random facts essay, which was initially penned on my phone at a brewery – true story.
  • I attacked the hardest schools first.  By the time UT and Berkeley rolled around, I had said 95% of the things I needed to say, at that point it was restructuring my message to fit the particular prompt with some new writing.

I think many of my early drafts for Harvard/Stanford were getting my vision, story, and motivations in alignment.  After those were determined it was almost automatic writing for the rest of the prompts.

The big takeaway for everyone is to start early, let the essays sit, and in my case start with your most challenging essays!


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