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Support Material
Writing Skills
2009
Why session on writing skills?
§ Lots of institutes ask subjective answers in
their application form itself
§ Institutes like XAT, TISS has separate
subjective test
§ What is the ideal way to write different types
of writing like SoPs, Essays, Précis etc.?

.... and above all, good writing is not easy


Why session on writing skills?
"Writing is easy- All you
do is sit staring at a blank
sheet of paper. . . until
drops of blood form on
your forehead"
~ Gene Fowler
(American journalist, author and dramatist)
Why session on writing skills?
Institutes that consider subjective answers
§ FMS, Delhi
§ MFC, Delhi
§ SPJIMR, Mumbai
§ XLRI, Jamshedpur
§ T. A. Pai, Manipal
§ MICA, Ahmedabad
§ TISS, Mumbai
... and many more
Essentials of writing

§ Good handwriting
§ Clarity of ideas and unambiguous
language
§ Grammar
§ Concise and focused
Essentials of writing

If its online, its alright.


If it is not handwriting is important
Essentials of writing

This is... very bad


Essentials of writing

This is unacceptable
Essentials of writing

... and this is crime


Essentials of writing

We don t even ask for this .


Essentials of writing
What does it mean...
Whatever you write in the form filling
procedure or in an exam, your
handwriting should neither be of a
doctor nor of an artist
Neither be too complacent nor try
too hard
Essentials of writing

Just these will do .


Essentials of writing

Just these will do .


Essentials of writing

Just these will do .


Essentials of writing
Clearity of ideas and unambiguous
language
§ Don't use esoteric or unusual words, it
may confuse many readers
§ Spelling, grammar, and punctuation
mistakes make writing hard to
understand
§ Pronouns are inherently ambiguous,
and pose a constant threat to clarity.
Essentials of writing
Grammar
§ Poor grammar can make your writing
confusing or impossible to understand
§ Be careful with spelling, and especially with
homonyms (words which sound the same but
are spelled differently)
§ Incorrect punctuation can change the meaning
of a sentence. "My brother's money" belongs
to my brother, but "my brothers' money"
belongs to my brothers
Essentials of writing
Concise and focused
§ Brevity, according to Shakespeare, is the soul
of wit
§ Don't write bloated and repetitive documents.
Here are some examples of trimming the fact
Right now, gasoline is expensive.
Gasoline is expensive.

Mr. Smith, who is my lawyer, wrote this document.


Mr. Smith, my lawyer, wrote this document.
Essentials of writing
Concise and focused
§ A well-written document should have a point
§ After the document is finished, go back over it,
keeping your theme or purpose in mind,
anything that doesn't contribute to your central
message or goal should be removed
Types of writing
§ SoP
§ Essays
§ Précis writing
§ Analytical framework writing
§ Achievements
... and questions like
§ Why do you want to do MBA?
§ Why this college?
§ Why this course? etc.
Types of writing
The Statement of Purpose (SoP)
§ The Statement of Purpose is what
brings your application to life
§ It is your personal statement about
who you are what has influenced
your career path so far, your
professional interests and where
you plan to go from here
Types of writing
Which colleges ask for SoP

§ FMS, Delhi
(both for MBA and MBA-MS)
§ TAPMI, Manipal etc.
Types of writing
What do B-schools seek to see in an SoP?
§ Real YOU
§ Rationality
§ Clarity of thoughts
§ Justified intent to get into that particular
college.
§ It must reflect real YOU in a subtle way
§ Smartness and yet not over-smartness
Types of writing
How to write an impressive SoP?

By your own hand


using your own brain
Yes, nobody knows YOU better than YOU know YOURSELF
Types of writing
How to write an impressive SoP?

§ You must write your SoP yourself


§ No one can describe you and hence sell
you better, but you
§ Write your SoP first, then take it to the
faculty at your center for any changes or
correction
Types of writing
Some DOs while writing your SoP

§ Be honest, look inside yourself and do


your best
§ Take and express pride in what you have
been till date
§ Be confident and humble
Types of writing
Some DON Ts while writing your SoP
§ Try to be something you are not
§ Try to tell the admissions committee what
you think they want to hear and what
might not be real you
§ Be boastful
§ Be loud
§ Be too philosophical
Types of writing
Essay: What is an Essay?

A short piece of writing, often


written from an author's personal
point of view.
Types of writing
Exams asking for essay writing

§ XLRI Admission Test etc.


§ TISS, Mumbai
Types of writing
Why do B-schools make us write essays?

§ To check reasoning ability


§ To see the approach to practical problem
handling
§ To see the thought procedure that we
apply
§ And finally to check our writing skills
Types of writing
Some DOs while writing an essay
§ Essay must be concise
§ Plan it well
§ Establish clear direction and
understanding of the topic
§ Thoughts need to be organized
§ Create clear structure
§ Use an appropriate style
Types of writing
Some DOs while writing an essay
§ Support your arguments with evidence
§ Express yourself clearly
§ It should end with a conclusion
§ If it talks of a social issue you must be
able to give a solution
§ Don't be too lame neither too
overwhelmed with personal emotion
Types of writing
Some DON Ts while writing an essay
§ Be too overwhelmed with personal
emotion
§ End an essay with a contradiction to your
previous approach
§ Shuffle too much within the topic
§ Give too many examples (hence reducing
the actual content part)
Types of writing
Some DON Ts while writing an essay
§ Include irrelevant information
§ Try to solve the mysteries of the world in
an essay.
§ Use overly long quotations
§ Use slang or unnecessary technical jargon
§ Forget to proofread
Types of writing
Précis Writing : What is précis?
A type of summary written in the writer's own words
about a text source.
Précis usually
§ States the name of the article/document, the
author and the source (is it from a magazine,
book, encyclopedia, etc.)
§ Avoids use of phrases such as "in this article",
"throughout history" or other clichés
§ Is written in past tense
§ Has subheadings which are underlined or in
italics
§ Does not uses contractions
Types of writing
Institutes asking for précis writing

§ MICA, Ahmedabad etc.


Types of writing
Steps to précis writing
§ A précis should reduce the length of the
original passage by at least two-thirds.
§ Every important idea must be retained,
preferably in the order in which it appears
in the original
§ Unimportant points, including details,
illustrations and anecdotes, should be
discarded
Types of writing
Steps to précis writing
§ A first draft of the précis should be written, then
checked to see that it contains the main ideas of the
passage
§ Although you should be as brief as possible. Guard
against being so condensed that you obscure the
point of passage
§ Try to capture the tone or feeling of the original,
particularly if it is deliberately humorous, ironic or
biased
§ Check the draft for expression errors, repetition or
vague phrasing; then write a smoother final version
Types of writing
Achievements

Institutes like SPJIMR which focus


highly in the personality of the
candidate and during the form filling
procedure ask them to mention their
achievements in various walks of life.
While quoting your achievements
Types of writing
§ You must be humble and must use a language
that is not too pretentious
§ Never lie
§ Be honest and respect who you are
§ Don t compare yourself with any of your friends
§ Achievement no matter how big must not be
quoted with its magnitude. Let the people in the
selection committee decide how big your
achievement is. Never use the phrases like
impossible for others etc. to describe your
achievement.
Types of writing
How to rate yourself

Institutes like SPJIMR also ask


candidates to rate their achievement as
outstanding / excellent / very good /
good and so on .

While doing this remember .


Types of writing
§ Don t underrate yourself, and at the same
time don t overrate as well
§ What ever is your rating according to
yourself, it must be justified automatically
by your description
§ Achievements only after the higher
secondary class must be considered until
and unless they are exceptional before
that
Types of writing
Debate
A statement is provided and the candidate is
expected to either favour the topic or write
against it. For example -
Types of writing
Institutes asking for debate writing

§ MICA, Ahmedabad
Types of writing
For a good debate writing
§ Try to think against the notion that you are
supporting and then try to negate them
§ Come up with cogent points and examples
§ Stick to one thought only. If you keep
changing sides it is considered as lack of
decision making ability and may prove
devastating in your selection procedure
Types of writing
Description
In this the candidate is expected to describe
any fact. For example -
Types of writing
Institutes asking for description writing

§ MICA, Ahmedabad
Types of writing
Things to remember for a good description write-up

§ Requires to work more on facts and


less with his/her own view point
§ Not required to take a stand but to
describe all the aspects of the fact
Types of writing
Analytical framework
In this the candidate is judged on his
analytical reasoning skills. For example -
Types of writing
Institutes asking for
analytical framework writing

§ MICA, Ahmedabad,
§ MFC, Delhi etc.
Types of writing
Things to remember while
writing analytical framework

§ In it candidate not only requires to


put facts but more than that he/she
must be able to conclude
§ Also the solution/conclusion must
not just solve the problem but must
also be viable
Types of writing
Why do you want to do MBA?
OR
Why do you want to do MBA
from this particular college?
OR
Why do you want to do these
particular courses? etc..

Your answer can be…


Types of writing
§ Because it pays good or
§ You guys are among top 10 B-
schools or
§ Because it grooms one s complete
personality or
§ Because my technical knowledge
from bachelors degree is so weak
that I can t afford a masters in the
same etc.
Types of writing
Whatever your answer be ...

Try finding your reason yourself


All we can suggest is

§ Your answer should be just


§ Should not be negative
§ And finally should be yours i.e.
original