MBA Essay Format Guide

mba essay format

Ever feel like dissecting an MBA essay is about as exciting as staring at a spreadsheet? Yeah, we’ve been there, too! But what if we told you there's a way to ditch the dull and write about MBAs in a way that's actually interesting?  

Think unpacking a box of business ideas – fun, surprising, and full of potential. This guide will toss out the textbook MBA essay format and show you how to create an essay as cool as a casual Friday meeting with friends.

What Is an MBA Essay?

An MBA essay is a writing format that explores business-related topics in a personal and analytical way. It could be a reflection on a business trend, a leader's perspective on a unique challenge, or even a fictional story set in the business world.

How Long Is an MBA Essay?

The ideal length for your MBA essay depends entirely on the specific program you're applying to.  Here's the breakdown:

  • Business School Specific Limits: Every MBA program sets its word count for application essays. It can range anywhere from a super short 150 words to a more standard 500 words, with some outliers going even higher.
  • Sticking to the Limit: It's crucial to respect the word limit. Going over shows you can't follow instructions, which might hurt your application.
  • Focus on Quality, Not Quantity: Craft a concise and impactful essay that hits all the key points within the allowed word count.

Here are some resources to help you find the specific word count for your target programs:

  • School Websites: Most MBA programs clearly state their essay requirements and word limits on their admissions web pages.
  • Admissions Contact: If you can't find the information online, reach out to the office of the admissions committee directly for clarification.

Here's an additional tip: Aim to stay under the word limit by a small buffer (like 10-20 words) to ensure you have room for edits and final formatting.

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MBA Essay Formatting Tips

Here are some formatting tips to make your MBA essay shine:

mba essay formatting

General Formatting:

  • Font: Use a standard, easy-to-read font like Times New Roman or Arial, size 10 or 12.
  • Line Spacing: Double line spacing is preferred for readability.
  • Margins: One-inch margins on all sides create a clean and professional look.
  • Alignment: Left alignment is the standard.
  • Pagination: Include page numbers in the top right corner, starting on page 2.


  • Clear Introduction: Briefly introduce yourself, the essay topic, and your main point.
  • Body Paragraphs: Each paragraph should focus on a single idea, supported by specific examples and experiences. Use transitions between paragraphs to ensure a smooth flow.
  • Strong Conclusion: Summarize your key points and reiterate your fit for the program.

Additional Tips:

  • Formatting Consistency: Maintain consistent formatting throughout the essay.
  • Avoid Fancy Formatting: Don't use bold, italics, or underlining for emphasis unless absolutely necessary.
  • Readability: Proofread carefully for typos, grammatical errors, and clarity.
  • File Format: Save your essay as a PDF to preserve formatting across different systems.

School-Specific Requirements:

  • Essay Prompt: Pay close attention to the specific essay prompt and tailor your essay accordingly.
  • Optional Formatting: Some schools might have specific formatting requirements, such as font size or margins. Always double-check the program's guidelines.

These formatting tips will ensure your MBA essay is professional, readable, and makes a strong impression on the admissions committee.

How to Format a 5-paragraph MBA Essay?

When you’re formatting an essay for a b-school, it’s important to keep in mind the correct use of punctuation, among other things.

Section Description Content
Introduction (Paragraph 1) Hook: Grab the reader's attention with a strong opening sentence, anecdote, or relevant quote.
Background: Briefly introduce yourself and your relevant experience/achievements.
Thesis: Clearly state the main point of your essay and how it connects to the essay prompt.
Briefly introduce yourself, your career aspirations, and how the MBA program aligns with your goals.
Body Paragraph 1 (Paragraph 2) Topic Sentence: Introduce the first specific point supporting your thesis.
Evidence: Provide concrete examples, such as work experiences, achievements, or leadership roles, that showcase your skills and experiences.
Analysis: Explain how the evidence relates to your thesis and what you learned from the experience.
The STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) describes a relevant experience. Focus on achievements and the results you delivered.
Body Paragraph 2 (Paragraph 3) Topic Sentence: Introduce the second specific point supporting your thesis.
Evidence: Provide a different example that further strengthens your argument.
Analysis: Explain how the evidence connects to your thesis and highlights a different skill or quality.
Showcase another relevant experience using the STAR method. Demonstrate transferable skills and how you overcame challenges.
Body Paragraph 3 (Paragraph 4) Topic Sentence: Introduce a third specific point supporting your thesis (optional).
Evidence: If applicable, provide another example that adds depth or a different perspective.
Analysis: Explain the significance of this additional evidence to your overall argument.
This paragraph is optional but can address a weakness or provide a contrasting perspective.
Conclusion (Paragraph 5) Summary: Briefly restate your main points and key takeaways.
Future Goals: Briefly reiterate your career aspirations and how the MBA program will equip you to achieve them.
Closing Statement: Leave a lasting impression with a forward-looking statement that emphasizes your fit for the program.
Summarize your key accomplishments and how the MBA program will help you achieve your long-term goals. End with a confident and professional closing statement.

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How to Print and Email Your MBA Essay?

After you finish the draft, print the document and send it to your chosen business school.


  1. File Format: Save your essay as a PDF document. This ensures that the formatting remains consistent when opening it on different devices.
  2. Print Settings: For a professional look, use high-quality settings. Choose black ink on white, standard printer paper.
  3. Double-sided Printing (Optional): If the program doesn't require single-sided submissions, consider double-sided printing to save paper.
  4. Proofread: Double-check for typos or formatting errors that might have slipped through during the digital editing.


  1. Subject Line: Craft a clear and informative subject line. Include your full name, the essay prompt or title, and the program you're applying to. (e.g., John Doe - MBA Application - Leadership Essay)
  2. Attachment: Attach your final PDF essay document.
  3. Body of Email: Keep it brief and professional. Briefly introduce yourself and mention that you've attached your essay for the program you're applying to. Thank the recipient for their time and consideration.
  4. Proofread: Before hitting send, double-check for a professional essay tone and any typos or grammatical errors in your email.

Here's an example of an email body:

Dear [Admissions Committee/Program Director name],

I am writing to submit my application for the [MBA Program Name] program. Attached you will find my essay for the [Essay Prompt/Title] prompt.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


[Your Full Name]

Summing Up

A business essay might seem like just another application hoop to jump through, but trust us on this one – it's a skill worth having. It's basically training wheels for becoming a business pro – you learn to communicate clearly, make a convincing case, and influence decisions. A pretty handy perk, no matter where your career takes you.


Should MBA Essays Be Double Spaced?

What Format Should an MBA Essay Be in?

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