Can You Use a Personal Statement for Multiple Applications?

A vibrant illustration depicts a man in a sweater, cheerfully popping out from an oversized green recycling bin brimming with papers, in a whimsically messy office. The bin is humorously adorned with a 'RECYCLE' emblem, emphasizing the theme of reusing. Papers flutter through the air, mimicking the man's buoyant spirit towards the concept of repurposing content. The chaotic desk, cluttered with documents and a computer displaying a text document, signifies the multitasking involved in tailoring personal statements for various applications. The room is adorned with academic certificates, hinting at the academic nature of the applications, while a night sky visible through the window implies dedication to the task, regardless of the hour.
Mastering the Art of Essay Recycling: A Clever Approach to Tailoring Your MBA Applications

As the flowers bloom and spring arrives, many of you are planning your MBA applications. One of the most common questions I get as an MBA personal statement consultant is whether and how to reuse personal statements.

Indeed, applying to business schools is a time-consuming process, often involving multiple application essays to multiple programs. With each institution looking for specific traits and experiences in candidates, it’s imperative to craft applications that resonate with each program’s unique ethos. As such, it’s vital that you take a thoughtful approach to reusing parts of or entire essays for multiple applications. This blog post will delve into strategies to efficiently manage and tailor your MBA applications, ensuring your efforts are both effective and coherent.

If you’re more of a video learner, check out this presentation we did for GMATClub. It also includes an example of how to use a Stanford GSB MBA application essay for Duke Fuqua. Gurufi has nearly 15 years of experience helping applicants get into top programs. We focus exclusively on personal statements, CVs, and other written aspects of your application, so we deliver excellent products at affordable price points (see our perfect rating on GMATClub!).

Understanding the Landscape

Most MBA applicants apply to 6-8 programs. Given the fact that most applicants are also working professionals, this can constitute a real time commitment. As such, it’s important to apply in a manner that produces excellent results while not wasting time. The approach we outline here not only improves your chances of acceptance but also allows you to target a range of schools that align with their professional goals and personal values. In other words, we seek to achieve maximum results in the most efficient way possible.


The Golden Rules of Application Management


  1. Individualized Approach

The cornerstone of a successful application strategy is treating each application as a standalone project. This means deeply understanding what each school values, how you align with these values, and how the program fits into your career trajectory. This tailored approach ensures that your applications are not only relevant but also compelling to each respective admissions committee.

  1. Avoiding the Shoehorn Trap

A common pitfall in application management is attempting to force-fit an essay or personal statement crafted for one school into another’s application. While this might seem like a time-saver, incongruent essays can dilute your message and reduce the impact of your application.

  1. The Art of Repurposing

Efficiency doesn’t have to come at the cost of personalization. Repurposing content across applications is a practical strategy, provided it’s done judiciously. Identifying universal themes in your story that resonate with multiple programs can allow you to reuse content without compromising the bespoke nature of each application.


Practical Steps to Application Mastery

Deep Dives and Brainstorms

Brainstorming is the most important aspect of personal statement writing that most people ignore. There are many ways to do it, but however you do, DO NOT SKIP this step. Begin your application journey with a thorough research phase for each program, focusing on its unique characteristics and values. This phase is crucial for tailoring your application narratives to echo what each school holds in high regard. Also be sure to consider how you fit within the program and what you hope to accomplish.

Crafting and Refining

Start with a comprehensive draft for your first application, focusing on creating a compelling narrative that reflects your aspirations, achievements, and the impact you wish to make. This initial effort lays a solid foundation, making subsequent applications easier to manage.

Strategic Borrowing

With a robust initial essay, you can strategically borrow elements for other applications. This doesn’t mean copying and pasting entire sections without thought. Instead, adapt and tweak these elements to fit the new context, ensuring they align with the next school’s specific prompts and values.


A Symphony of Applications

Managing multiple MBA applications is akin to conducting a symphony—each piece must be played with precision and care, yet all must harmonize to create a compelling overall narrative. By understanding each program’s unique requirements, maintaining authenticity in your narratives, and strategically repurposing content where appropriate, you can navigate the application process with confidence and efficiency.

Embarking on this journey with a clear strategy and an open mind can transform the daunting task of application management into an opportunity to deeply reflect on your goals, values, and the impact you wish to make through your MBA journey.

For more help with your personal statement, check us out at Our personal statement editors and consultants have decades of experience helping clients get into top Masters and Ph.D. programs in STEM, humanities, fine arts, and social sciences. Our specialty is helping you craft compelling personal statements that move the needle in your admissions process! For questions, shoot us an email at Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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