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How To Write An Introductory Essay About Yourself

It’s My Life

My name is Ann Smith. I am a senior in high school. Everyone can agree that I am a good student and that I like to study. My favorite subjects are chemistry and biology. I am going to enter the university because my goal is to study these subjects in future and to become a respected professional in one of the fields.

I can say that I am a responsible and a hard-working student. Moreover, being a sociable person, I have many friends since I like to communicate with people and get to know new interesting individuals. I enjoy my time at school: it is really nice to study and the students are very friendly and ready to help. The atmosphere cannot but make me want to go there every time. I like to receive and deal with challenging tasks. I am a very enthusiastic student and I think this is a strong point of mine.

My friends say that I am a very funny and an interesting girl with a good sense of humor. As soon as I meet new people who are happy to meet me, I feel extremely comfortable with them. I believe that friendship is one of the most important values in human life. We exchange new ideas, find many interesting things about each other and experience new things. I appreciate friendship and people who surround me.

Every time I do my best to be a…

Some Essential Tips On How To Write An Essay About Yourself

No matter what’s the purpose of your essay, there is a preset number of points that you will be expected to address.

The main line should be that you are not a robot, and that it is your feelings and emotions that define you as a personality. Do not get stuck with material possessions and what you have achieved in life. That has to do only with a small portion of who you are.

  • Avoid overly simplified ideas. You are a human being after all, and your life is not as simple as it may seem after years of school. You wouldn’t want to seem or sound too simple. The more substance you create out of your daily activities, the better. Longer sentences will be good.
  • Include a few dream-like paragraphs to stress the point that you are not a robot. Sometimes it can get hard explaining your feelings and emotions, you may say.
  • The best way to get to know people is to see how they react to stimuli. Use your essay to pick a few incidents or just more or less regular events to attempt and define what your character is at its core.
  • Find amusing in ordinary and showcase that. Your job is to present the ordinary stuff that happens to you in a way that will make the reader want to know you better. It’s all a matter of the right perspective. You have to take multiple stands on what you are as a person, and include that all in an ordered form.
  • How do you fit with your friends, family and just immediate surrounding? Where is your place in the world?
  • What the purpose of your life? If a question like that is too global for your work, you can just include the things that you enjoy. Don’t forget to say why or explain any symbolism connected with the things you love.

Avoid Unclear Definitions

It is really easy to get lost when you are writing something as vague and as perspective-oriented as an essay about yourself. People tend to choose a number of themes of who they are and try to describe them all.

That would be very confusing for the reader. Not to mention that it would be hard to write and navigate in between those themes. After all, very few people know you well enough, and it is almost certain that your essay is going to be read mostly by strangers or just people who know you marginally.

What you do instead is pick one theme: which light do you want to be seen in? Once you have answered that question, you are ready to go. Stay true to the theme, and you will get a coherent piece that will get you a good grade.

If you are going to write your own essay from the scratch, our manual on «How to write an essay» will be useful for you.

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Here is a sample HBS application essay reviewed by our consultant Shana! To help you get the most out of it, she has added comments indicating the strongest areas of this essay for those who decide to apply to HBS. We made things easy for you: the gray boxes below contain the essay content, and all of the text in-between the boxes are Shana’s comments for the text.

Essay Prompt:

It’s the first day of class at Harvard Business School. You are in Aldrich Hall meeting your “section.” This is the group of 90 classmates who will become your close companions in the first-year MBA classroom. Our signature case method participant-based learning model ensures that you will get to know each other very well. The bonds you collectively create throughout this charged experience will be lasting. Introduce yourself.

NOTE: This essay was written by one of our consultants—not an actual applicant. It’s meant as a demonstration of the kind of content we believe should go into the essay itself. This essay is copyrighted by The Art of Applying, and should not be copied. Plagiarism is when you present someone else’s work as your own. It is a serious issue; please don’t do it.

Here is the essay!

I’m thrilled to get to know each of you and hear your stories. But more than that, I’d like to publish them! As a writer at heart, I have a vision of how to market books in the rapidly changing landscape that is twenty-first century publishing.

Comments from Shana: Here, I can feel the applicant’s excitement jump off the page! I love how she is immediately showing interest in the other students. This is a good job explaining what her goal is in the very first paragraph.

My story begins in high school, where I served as editor of our school newspaper, The Green Light. Each week I had the opportunity to work side-by-side with the editor of our town’s newspaper, as he reviewed my work and offered suggestions to improve the articles written by my staff. When I got to college, not only did I join the newspaper, but I began to write fiction and poetry, and I was the only freshman admitted to an upperclassmen poetry seminar. Right after college, I moved to New York and took my first job as associate to the managing editor at Time Warner Books. My jaw dropped when I realized that the publication of a book requires so many more people than an author and an editor. I was amazed to discover the extensive team that included marketing staff, sales representatives, cover artists, publicists, and company executives.

Comments from Shana: She mentioned “story” in the first sentence in this paragraph. This is an interesting choice to extend the metaphor of writing stories/publishing throughout the essay.

I’ll never forget the day our CEO met with Madonna before he offered her a million dollar contract. Who knew that it wasn’t only the quality of the publication that determined its success, but like a tail wagging the dog, the decision of how profitable a title would be was often made in-house before the words were even written! In fact, I discovered that the marketing dollars were invested to yield the desired results. I was very curious about how the marketing and sales departments would ensure that Madonna’s book earned out the enormous author advance.

Comments from Shana: I’m glad that she going to tell us a fascinating story (the CEO meets Madonna!) that brings us into the action with her. In the beginning of the second sentence, she began with “Who knew.” When she uses this kind of unexpected sentence structure, she is really showing us her fun personality! Nice.

With the endorsement of the managing editor, I made a lateral move to work as a marketing assistant. Quickly I learned about how the marketing team plugged in metrics—such as comparable titles, an author’s following, and previous sales—in order to estimate likely revenue that would be generated by the new title. I gradually assumed responsibility for managing these estimation models for all book titles in the action-adventure genre. After a steep learning curve, my estimates routinely landed within 3 percent of actual sales, when the department average was 7 percent. People joked that I was psychic and should become a fortune teller. One day the VP of Marketing brought in a giant jar of jelly beans and announced that I was going to tell them exactly how many pieces of candy were in the jar. (I guessed 10,864 but was off by 231. I won the whole jar!)

Comments from Shana: So, I see that she wasn’t passively moved from one position to the other, but her questions and curiosity drove this move to become a marketing assistant. It’s good that she is showing us she is a person of action. In the last sentence, I can relate to her here as a human being. I can tell she has a good sense of humor along with excellent predictive skills. The writing paints her as very friendly, and relatable. That’s one thing that you want to accomplish through your essay—you want to come across as a likable person and not just deliver a list of achievements.

Two years later, I was thrilled to be offered a marketing position at Random House, but it was only six months later that Random House merged with Penguin, and in the process, there were hundreds of layoffs. There was more work for everyone, and we were scrambling to keep up with competition from new publishers like Amazon.com. In the middle of a marketing blitz for bestselling author TD Calhoun, the author’s agent informed us that Calhoun was going to go the nontraditional route and self-publish her next books; she felt she could market her own work through social media and keep a greater percentage of the process.

Comments from Shana: The admissions committee along with cohort peers are eager to hear about how you deal with adversity and make decisions in challenging situations. Here, the writer sounds like she is an innovator with a vision. When writing your essay, make sure to highlight your most valuable assets.

Employees in traditional publishing throughout New York were in despair. But as an avid user of social media, a passionate writer myself, and an experienced professional in the traditional publishing world, I was secretly excited about the possibilities. What if I could help merge the best of what the digital age offers authors with the best of what the big houses provided in order to create a new publishing format? Not only would I like to create a publishing house that is lean yet builds in marketing, sales, and editing, but I’d forgo the traditional advance for my authors and offer a commission-based model that would enable authors to keep at least forty percent of their profits. Although I have many ideas for how this new hybrid publishing model could work, I have even more questions, especially about the marketing and operations aspects. That’s why I’m so excited to be here at HBS. I hope to find answers by taking Marketing Segmentation with Professor Jones and E-commerce Productivity with Professor Allen.

Comments from Shana: This sentence is critical: “Although I have many ideas for how this new hybrid publishing model could work, I have even more questions, especially about the marketing and operations aspects.” She has to make it clear that although she has ideas for her career, there are absolutely missing pieces that can best be found at HBS. You never want the admissions committee or your peers to think you’re already a complete package and you’ve already got all the skills, knowledge, and experience you need.

Also, I’d like to start my own publishing industry club on campus. I know each of us has our own fascinating story to tell, so I hope you’ll join me as a marketer, sales rep, or business executive of our own HBS Publishing Club and turn everyone in our cohort into authors. I can’t wait to publish your titles and share your wise insights and experiences with a wide audience.

The Art of Applying team agrees that this is a great essay! One thing you may have noticed is that the essay writer didn’t include any information on her personal background or what family life was like growing up. This was a choice this particular author made, but it doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t include information on your personal background. It just depends how you want to tell your story. We hope that this sample essay guides and inspires you as you work on your HBS introduction essay.

If want us to help you tell your own story, reach out and contact us at help@theartofapplying.com. Feel free to leave questions or comments below. Share this article with your friends if it helped you!