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Failure to Launch — 4 Tips To Getting Your MBA Personal Statement Juices Flowin’

You know that moment when you sit down to write something life changing, earth shattering, and mind blowing — you know, something like an MBA essay? So you sit down to craft this brilliance and instead of magical words pouring from your fingers…

…you instead find nothing but dribble on your screen.

Honestly speaking, writing an MBA essay is super overwhelming. You’re expected to answer existential questions like “WHO AM I?!?!,” all while trying to explain your career ambitions and agreeing to quit life for 2 years!!! (ok let’s not spiral out for a second).

So what do you do when inspiration, the MBA muse, whatever, doesn’t hit when you need it to?

#1 Take a break

Sitting at your computer and staring it down won’t make the words come any faster. Get up, go for a walk, play with your dog (or cat, we don’t judge), call your mom…whatever it is, do something completely different. Tony Robbins says you have to change your state to change your story. Well in this case, you need to change your state in order to write your story. So maybe now is a good time to get that run in that you’ve been putting off forever. Because, before you know it, while you are organizing your tupperware or some other mundane task, inspiration will strike and you can get back to writing.

#2 Write out a personal mission statement

If you are having trouble writing this big massive idea of who you are and what you want, pause and instead tackle a guiding task. Write out a personal mission statement, like you are a major company (and let’s be real, with the financial investment you are making with an MBA, you are basically a one person start-up). That mission statement will help guide your essay, it will give you something to anchor to, so when you are feeling off balance in your essay writing you can refer to it and know what should guide your prompt answers.

#3 Work On Another Aspect of Your Application

This may be a novel idea to some, but you don’t have to finish your essay, before you reach out for recommendations. Hear me out, you can do the application process however you want but… if you ‘don’t got it’, you ‘don’t got it’ right now for the essays. Instead, use the time to follow up with a recommender, or work on your submission video (if your school has one of those), or start reaching out to your undergrad institution for your transcript. You can pause one aspect of the app process for another and come back when you are mentally ready.

#4 Reach Out to Your Peers (Your Tribe) for Inspiration

Your friends and peers will not only provide the motivation to push through the writers block, but they can also be an invaluable sounding board. It’s daunting trying to answer the question of who you are, but try asking a trusted peer and they might be able to help you work through that answer.

And if your peer doesn’t have the answer for YOU specifically, they can share what their answer is so you can draw some inspiration from that.

Utilize your peer network!


if you don’t have a peer network of other people pursuing an MBA, you can always come to an IRL Lighthouse event and we can help you build that tribe. Or you can join ours. We’d love to have you.

Come meet us IRL in NYC on -

Tuesday, Sept 25th for the MBA After Hours Event

A candid conversation with recent grads from Wharton, Columbia and NYU Stern. Find out more here.

Thursday, Sept 27th for the Breaking Out of Wall Street Event

A panel chat with recovering bankers who are now living their best lives working in start-up, philanthropy, sports and VC. Find out more here.

Meet some peeps, meet the lighthouse team, get connected to a potential peer mentor, and give your brain a break from your application for some no B.S. advice and conversation.

YOU GOT THIS! -thelighthouse team

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-Article written by MacKenzie Green