E3. Who did you get feedback from and why?

MBAs were divided on the optimal number of reviewers for essays. Many had 3 or fewer reviewers, some had more than 3. It comes down to how well you handle feedback whiplash - many different answers/opinions about the same question. See Brad Feld's article on mentor whiplash about how to manage this.

There was high agreement (73%) that a close friend or family member was a very valuable thought partner for the essays. Someone who knows you well can make sure that your authentic voice comes through.

There was also agreement (57%) that a current MBA student or recent graduate was one of the most helpful type of reviewer - they were successful, so they must know something good (which is the entire premise of Fat Envelopes :-).

Many MBAs also relied on one friend or colleague who was a professional writer or English major. Someone to make sure that i's were dotted and t's were crossed.

Only 3 people got zero feedback. And even they don't recommend that strategy.

Prepare for feedback whiplash

John Wilson

Had some friends who were also applying and the comraderie was nice; sometimes the essay felt like Frankenstein's monster with so much feedback

Saritha Peruri

Tempting to blast it to all your friends, don't do it because you will get too much conflicting feedback

More than 3 reviewers

Alex Slawsby

Family members and MBAs; the number one challenge is getting outside of your own head

Jay Wong

Got feedback from a lot of people: recommenders, colleagues, family

Ashish Kasturia

Showed it to a lot of different people; every one had some improvement

Family or close friend

Elizabeth De Montigny

Only had 2 reviewers - couldn't bear to get another set of opinions

Jason Liu

Had my family read it because they knew me well; this sounds like you or doesn't sound like you

Benjamin Olds

Talked to the wisest person I know

Elizabeth Kearney

You have to bring in someone else, you get too close; my husband gave me feedback

MBA graduate

Dan Gagne

Should have used a strategy of talking with MBA graduates

Amber Turley

Didn't know many MBAs; visisted the schools, met students, asked them for help on essays

Anjali Saraf

Find someone who's been through the application process; ideally, a graduate of the school you want to attend

Kahn Jekarl

Current MBA students or graduates are the most helpful; they were successful at getting in

Professional writer, english major

Jason Mitchell

Had a professional writer and english major for proofreading; used a consultant, but that may have hurt more than helped

People who don't know you well

Daniel Siegman

First thought partner was my wife, who knew me best and was analytical; and then a few others who don't know you

David Sauvage

Used smart people who aren't your best friends, but would do you a favor

General advice

Seth Familian

You need to find your authenticate voice and story; find someone who can help you be authentic

Christina Claudio

Had a friend to empathize with; sometimes you need bitch sessions