Through this short video, understand an effective approach and avoid the most common mistakes that most applicants commit in writing an ethical dilemma essay. The pointers shared in this video will enable you to consolidate your thoughts in a structured manner and produce a well-written MBA Applications essay.
How to Write an Ethical Dilemma Essay in MBA Applications
When asking for an essay like this, the committee is looking for two broad qualities. They want candidates, who, as students, will conduct themselves with ethical integrity, and, as alumni, will not only continue with this ethical conduct but also possess the capability to effectively deal with the countless ethical dilemmas
they might encounter in their professional lives.
Typically, the question will simply ask the candidate to describe an ethical dilemma or challenge to the ethical values they encountered in their professional or personal lives and what they did to resolve it. There are some basic factors you must keep in mind while writing this essay. First of all, this essay is not about distinguishing right and wrong in a legal or technical sense. It is about navigating a moral gray area. To qualify as subject matter for this essay the technical or legal aspect involved must be clear-cut; it must be the morality of the choices offered that produces doubt. Misinterpreting the question in this way is the most common mistake made in writing this essay.
It is also very important to remember that the point of this essay is not just to gather a factual account of the situation. The question is asked to get a better sense of the candidate as a person - that is the subject the committee is looking to get takeaways on. As such, a greater focus should be put on the candidate’s thoughts and less on the details of the events. Some key virtues that can be highlighted via this essay are leadership potential, honesty, ethics, strong sense of commitment etc. Your understanding of and possession of such virtues are the takeaways you want the committee to get from this essay.
Now that we have taken a look at the type of content expected in this essay
, let us examine what type of structure should be employed while writing it for maximum efficiency.
You may begin the essay with a strong opening expressing what ethics mean to you, though, this is optional. After the opening you should begin describing the dilemma itself, starting by giving a clear background to the entire situation. Once you have made the background details clear, explain how exactly you came to be or were involved in the situation. Once you have set the stage in this manner, move on to explaining the dilemma properly. You must clearly explain what choices you had in this situation and what the potential repercussions for each choice were. Once the nature of the dilemma has been established, we get to the heart of the essay. Now you have to explain what you did to resolve the dilemma and what the outcome was. Give the committee a good insight into your thoughts on the situation and your reasoning process throughout the whole situation for the Committee needs to understand your rationale behind making the decision that you did. For the conclusion, explain what you learnt from the situation and provide a powerful ending. Avoid suggesting that you may have made the wrong choice. If you must do so, clearly indicate that you feel you made a mistake and that in a similar situation you would now choose differently.
Now let us recap this structure and take a look at just how much attention should be paid to each segment.
- Opening on what ethics mean to you (optional) - 15%
- A clear background of the situation - 10%
- Explain how you were/got involved - 10%
- Explain the dilemma - 20%
- Explain the choices you had and the potential consequences of each choice; explain what you did and what was the outcome - 35%
- Explain what you learnt and provide a powerful ending - 10%
Aside from the more specific points mentioned above, here are some broad tips to also remember while writing this essay. First, do not use essay templates, old essays, or any other plagiarized material. This method is inefficient and of course highly unethical. The irony of doing so with this particular essay will make it even worse.
There is no singular “right” way to write an essay. Naivety present in your original style will only help your essay stand out. It is okay to take a second opinion on your work but do not get too bogged down by the opinions of others. Throughout the essay, make sure to maintain a positive and inspired tone and above all focus on delivering the proper takeaways.