Incorporating Humor into Your Essays

By Jeremy Dann

While business school essays should never attempt to reach “Borat levels of comedy, MBA aspirants should look for opportunities to add some humor into their applications.  As we’ve discussed before, MBA applications are not judged by machines, but by people who have to read a couple dozen of these things each day.  Applications that incorporate a bit of well-placed humor are more entertaining and memorable for admissions readers.

If you believe that your sense of humor is one of the defining characteristics of your “Brand You,” this trait is best captured by demonstrating it rather than talking about it.  A dry essay that lists sense of humor as a personal quality won’t ring true.

The first rule when incorporating humor into b-school essays is “Less is More.”  You don’t have room and readers don’t have the patience for bits with long set-ups.  We’re not talking about jokes here; rather, the best kind of humor to incorporate falls more within the categories of the wry observation, the fond remembrance or the honest portrayal of a confusing situation.  Discussing the quirks of interesting and much loved characters who have impacted our lives can also make for an engaging essay.

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