Myself Essay For 3rd Class Petty

GMAT Club Essay Review 4: Duke's 25 Things About You

Thanks for reading and welcome to the fourth post in GMAT Club’s Essay Review Initiative brought to you by Critical Square. Every week or so throughout the summer we’re going to review, comment, and tear apart a real essay from last year. The streets will run red (with ink)! So grab a cup of coffee and read on – this is a great way to see how our admissions consultants, and effectively, an admissions committee looks at your essays. What we like, what we don’t like, and how to avoid mistakes that can sink your application.

If you missed the first reviewed essay on Career Goals, you can catch up [here]!
If you missed the second reviewed essay on Career Goals, you can catch up [here]!
If you missed the third reviewed essay on Career Goals, you can catch up [here]!

So, without further ado, our fourth essay!

Our fourth essay is another “off-the-beaten-path” essay. It’s one of those strange essays that don’t fit neatly into a predefined notion of what an application essay should be and that can be difficult for applicants. It’s a pretty classic essay prompt though and one used over numerous years because it really is a blank canvas.


“The "Team Fuqua" spirit and community is one of the things that sets The Duke MBA experience apart, and it is a concept that extends beyond the student body to include faculty, staff, and administration. When a new person joins the Admissions team, we ask that person to share with everyone in the office a list of "25 Random Things About Yourself." As an Admissions team, we already know the new hire's professional and academic background, so learning these "25 Random Things" helps us get to know someone's personality, background, special talents, and more.

In this spirit, the Admissions Committee also wants to get to know you–beyond the professional and academic achievements listed in your resume and transcript. You can share with us important life experiences, your likes/dislikes, hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps us understand what makes you who you are. Share with us your list of "25 Random Things" about YOU.”

(By the way – this Duke essay prompt is being reused this year - FYI!)

Let’s dive into this week’s essay!


My favorite movies are Goal-1 and Goal-2 starring Kuno Becker and I have seen each atleast 200 times. It gives me an adrenaline boost and I get ready for everything. I saw the movie before my last GMAT attempt.

This is a perfectly ok bullet. It follows a lot of the major guidelines (i.e. doesn’t break any fundamental rules) but there are some things that weaken it. For example, the movies aren’t easily recognizable. We had to Google them (they’re about a kid who has a soccer dream, to save you the trouble) and the Adcom will too. That isn’t a bad thing but the applicant should start with an immediate connection – not an immediate reminder of differences. Or, at the very least, write a line or two about what the movie is about! But we do like the line at the end about the GMAT attempt!


I tried swimming for the first time in my undergrad college and had to be rescued by a life guard. That was the starting of a long period of my abstinence from swimming and I became averse to water. After some years, I decided to confront my fear and went for a deep sea walk and then learnt swimming. Today I swim for 45 minutes daily.

This fact is useful because it showcases a terrifying event but then the desire to get back on the horse and try again. We would suggest shortening the abstinence period from a story perspective. You don’t want too much time to have passed but that’s a preference versus a sharp critique. Also, the applicant should explain WHY they went on the sea walk. How they stepped into the water in the very first place! Also, the fact that you’re swimming everyday is impressive, and it suggests it’s become a passion of yours…what changed?


I love travelling and have travelled extensively in India, along with Singapore, Dubai and Indonesia. I wish to have a blank world map inked on my back and fill colors in the countries as I visit them.

Traveling tends to be a common theme for numerous applicants in this essay – and it makes sense. It is a meaningful and deep experience. But it’s also not really that unique. The bullets that stand out when it comes to traveling are the ones that showcase a favorite city or country or people and why they mean so much to you. Being from India and traveling to Singapore, Dubai, and Indonesia isn’t…that big a deal. Of course it’s a big deal to this applicant but it isn’t unique nor special. To make it special or unique, talk about why you loved certain places so much. It’s more interesting to dig deeper into your “favorite city/place to visit” and explain the depths as to why that is the case than to list all the countries you visited.

That said, also perhaps stay away from the talk of a tattoo as well as such as clichéd piece of art as this. If we’re not mistaken, the idea was on the front page of Imgur a few months ago, no?


I love to doodle and have drawn sketches starting from the A3 pages of my art book to the walls of my room. I have tried taking my hobby to the next level and have done commission works for Birthdays and Wedding save the dates

This starts out well enough talking about a hobby but then it a) peters out into relatively unimpressive territory and b) seems a bit forced at the end. The talk about commissioning work isn’t where this bullet should go. Instead, the applicant should help the reader connect with their art. What they draw. Why they draw. Where they picked up the habit. The mention of the commissioned work doesn’t have to be removed, but it isn’t the “YOU” they want to get to know.


I love to play badminton. I was ranked 8th in my state. While playing a tournament at a state stadium, I had the rendezvous of meeting the Indian badminton team. My fondness for the sport increased even more when I played a match against the best Indian baminton player, Saina Nehwal.

Eh. That’s pretty much all we have to say about this bullet. It isn’t bad, it isn’t good, it isn’t particularly interesting, it isn’t particularly harmful. It’s a perfectly fine “filler” bullet. Maybe a line about how the game influences you now? How often do you play? Are you still playing competitively? What does the sport mean to you now?


I am fond of colors and I like strolling in the stationary shops. I make it a point to stop by if I pass a good stationary shop.

Fond of colors? We’re not exactly sure what that means. And the stationary shop comment is mildly interesting but we’d like to see this fleshed out a bit more. A little more substance. Walking through stationary shops in and of itself isn’t exactly a self-contained statement worthy of a top ranked business school.


My highest priority in my life is my family. I love my family and want to see them happy.

This is weak. For most people their highest priority is their family. So what? Also, you love them. Yes, that stands to reason. Herego you wish to see them happy. This is not only common sense, but so much so that it actually makes this a terrible “fact”. It obviously isn’t a fact either. The applicant should either find another way to showcase his/her family – niece, nephew, etc. – or remove this altogether.


I am fond of colors and I like strolling in the stationary shops. I make it a point to stop by if I pass a stationary shop.

If this is the applicant’s actual and unedited essay…then we have a HUGE issue. This is a repeat of #6. And worded differently to boot!


I received pearls of wisdom by my grandfather when I was about to start my first job and enter the corporate world. He explained me in length about the corporate world, right from how to dress to how to deal with complex situations. The lessons have proved to be immensely helpful and I recollect them whenever I find myself in a difficult situation.

The tie in with the grandfather is useful here but this is an overly developed bullet while simultaneously ignoring the true lever which is the applicant’s relationship with their grandparent. We would want to fundamentally shift how the sentiment and thought is conveyed.


I believe in the following saying: “Don’t practice until you get it right, Practice until you can’t get it wrong”

…so…you just practice? This is, in a lot of ways, the OPPOSITE of what a business school wants to see. Sure they want to see people who persevere and dedicate themselves, but how do you deal with ambiguity? How do you tackle new situations? How do you succeed when you haven’t practiced? This isn’t the right theme to include in this essay.


I am very passionate about what I undertake. I sleep at 2 or 2:30 AM on the Friday night and get up at 4:30 AM, take my bicycle and travel 10 miles to book the badminton court. As a result of the various activities and sports, I find myself much busier on the weekends than the weekdays.

The applicant is making a very common mistake here. That being busy is valued. It isn’t. Sleep deprivation is not a laughing matter. What this bullet tells US (and what the adcom will read) is that this applicant doesn’t know how to manage and prioritize their activities and engagements. 2 hours of sleep a night is not a badge of honor. To an admissions committee, this is a glaring red flag. The value behind this bullet is the passion and commitment the applicant puts into various activities. Try focusing on those characteristics and you’ll be much better off.


I was the part of a musical band – Unplugged as the rhythm guitarist in my college, but have not played much after I passed out of college. I gave a random guitar performance, when I played in a restaurant where I went along with my family. I wish to perform in front of a capacity crowd again.

The applicant shouldn’t talk about how they haven’t played in a long time – that calls attention to the wrong things. Instead, they should highlight their involvement in the band and how they play an instrument. Maybe even talk about a particularly memorable performance?


I was a firm believer in luck, before a conversation in one of the interviews changed my life. It was a life changing experience as the interviewer expounded about hard work, preparation and luck. That conversation has made me more resolute, prepared and has removed as excuse from my life to which I can fall back in case of failures. I take full responsibility of what I do and never blame the failures on uncontrollable factors.

There are so many things wrong with this bullet that we won’t get into all of them. Suffice it to say that this entire bullet needs to be removed. They want to get to know you – don’t wax poetic and unnecessary.


I dream big and put in all my strength to achieve it. I dreamt of a 99th percentile in GMAT and achieved it on my 4th attempt. For my last attempt, I wrote the lines from the movie, Grey: “Once more into the fray, Into the last good fight I’ll ever know, Live and die in this day, Live and Die on this day”. I learned from my mistakes and implemented them. Finally when I saw the score, I had teary eyed and told the invigilator that I would not come back.

While this highlights the applicants long journey to the GMAT score they wanted, it calls attention to it in a strange essay. This isn’t the essay that values this. It is awkward. Not terribly awkward – and if you feel the need to talk about this, go for it – but we would advocate against it. By the way – if the applicant had a 740 in his/her 3rd attempt and got a 770 in their 4th one, then it calls attention to the wrong traits. Lastly, the propensity of this applicant to use quotations is…frustrating. Besides, wrote the lines where? That part was confusing.


I taught lessons in English to some kids in a shelter home, those kids taught me a lesson on how to be happy always.

If we had a nickel for every Indian applicant that taught English to underprivileged children…Also, this is an incredibly condescending statement. Why did they teach the applicant to be happy? Because they’re so poor the applicant was amazed they were happy? You’d be amazed at how often people use that as justification without realizing just how terrible it sounds See where we’re going with this? It’s ok to talk about helping others here but do so in a more engaging way and try not to demean the poor.


I was the part of a musical band – Unplugged as the rhythm guitarist in my college, but have not played much after I passed out of college. I gave a random guitar performance, when I played in a restaurant where I went along with my family. I wish to perform in front of a capacity crowd again.

Wow…this is the SECOND bullet that has been repeated in this essay. THE SECOND BULLET. That lack of attention to detail is appalling. One repeated bullet may have been ok in an excellent essay (but even then…) but TWO? Even the best essay couldn’t be saved from that.


I give a high priority to my fitness and make sure that I keep fit by participating in various activities such as playing, running, swimming and cycling. I do not even spare my wife and drag her along in all the activities I do.

This is fine – again, not a good or particularly bad bullet. That said, the end isn’t great. You should always try to encourage and develop others – not drag them places. But, that all said, it isn’t exactly an exciting or insightful bullet. A lot of people stay fit.


I hate being unorganized and cannot tolerate someone else also. As a result, I always get irritated when I am behind the wheels and someone does not follow lane driving or other traffic rules.

Oooh…so…no. Never talk about pet peeves or what irritates you. And never use words such as “cannot tolerate”. You’re applying to a class of hundreds of students from all around the world. Some will be unorganized. Others will have habits you don’t even know annoy you yet. This isn’t exactly someone an admissions committee would welcome with open arms, right?


Time is of utmost importance for me. I am way too finicky about time and hate if I need to wait for someone. Even worse, if somebody has to wait for me.

Again with the hating of others. Being punctual is ok. Hating others who “waste your time” is not. Well, it’s ok but not in this essay.


As part of some unusual adventure, I visited one of the world's most haunted place, Bhangarh Fort in Jaipur.

Ahh, see – now this is an interesting bullet. But it ends so prematurely. Why is it so haunted? And what was the adventure? Did they go alone? Were they scared? So much potential left unsaid.


I feel a sense of fulfillment if I am able to help others. I was the moderator of the ISB forum at GMAT Club. I myself was not able to secure an Interview call in Round 1 last year, but I mentored a student for Round 2 and he was able to secure an admission. He wrote a heartfelt thank you note for me which is one of the proudest moments of my life.

This is a good bullet – it shows how the applicant failed but it didn’t stop him/her from helping others! We would edit / rewrite it from a literary perspective but it’s a good theme!


As the Global B-School moderator, I was responsible for conducting information sessions for the applicants. It was fun to work with the ADCOM of ISB, a B-School where even I have applied.I felt a sense of accomplishment when other candidates at the ISB interview recognized me as [APPLICANT NAME] from GMAT Club and even told me that they liked my posts a lot.

This bullet comes immediately after the preceding one and is therefore repetitive. They could be merged together easily. At the moment the applicant is beating this drum a bit too hard.


Like every Indian child, I have played cricket from my childhood and am a mad fan of Sachin Tendulkar. The madness prevails to the extent that I have stopped watching cricket after his retirement. I have played alongside the players from the Indian Cricket team such as Mohammed Kaif.

So the applicant grew up on cricket, watched it religiously, and played with folks from the national team but stopped after their player retired? Not sure we follow. It’s just a strange sentiment. And while it is totally fine to talk about a passion for sports, we advise applicants to not cross the line from fans to zealots.


As a kid, I always dreamt of topping my class during my school days, unfortunately couldn’t. The dream still lingers on and I still wish to fulfill it someday (at the bshool!)

This is the 25th, and final, statement. And it is a terrible way to end this essay for two reasons. One, it calls attention to academic performance. Is it necessary to top your class to get into a top business school? Of course not. But the applicant is calling attention to it nonetheless. That isn’t the biggest issue, however. The bigger issue is the applicant has a clear misunderstanding of what bschools are looking for. They don’t want folks who can rise to the top academically (although obviously someone will have to claim that spot) – they want people who will make the most of the ENTIRE experience. Business school isn’t school. It isn’t a GPA. It’s so much more than that. And this applicant, in one fell swoop, showcases that they do not understand that.


Overall, this essay is there for your personality to shine through. Not your desire to “make an impact” but what makes you, you. What makes you tick. What sets you apart. This applicant does a fairly poor job on that front. His/her examples aren’t, for the most part, engaging, exciting, nor unique. Remember – your statements don’t need to be off-the-charts awesome for them to be unique. Unique just means they’re special to you and they’re told in a way the adcom will remember. But the comments above are so generic, forced, and canned that they turn off the reader almost immediately. Not to mention some of the themes s/he shares are the opposite of what business schools are looking for!

Also, pay attention to order. Just because they ask for 25 facts doesn’t mean there isn’t flow here. There absolutely is. How you engage the reader and pull them through the essay is vitally important here.

These essays, when written correctly, are a wonderful way to really add some *pop* to your application file. Consider yourself lucky that they’ve given you this chance to really show them who you are! It may SEEM daunting but it is a blessing in disguise. They aren’t easy – we know that – but they’re exactly what you should be looking forward to.

Oh…and folks? Proofread your essays.

- The folks CriticalSquare

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Ambassador, Goodwill
Ambassador of one country
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Baron, Baroness           
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Bishop, Catholic            
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Bishop, Episcopal        
Board Member     
Brigadier General       
Business Cards      

Canadian Officials    
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Chargé d’Affaires         
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