5 Ways To Ace A Business Essay

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University Business By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: Business Studies » University Business
Last updated: 08/10/2017
Tags: business studies, essay writing, mba

It's the question that I get asked most often by the uni students I tutor: what are lecturers actually looking for in a great business essay? How can I really up my grade?

I think there are five great ways that you can increase your chances of doing really well. I've marked thousands of students' scripts, and I know what makes a great paper. Here are 5 things you should think about doing to get a great mark:

1. Use Headings
Many years ago, lecturers used to tell students not to use headings, but the advice has definitely changed. If you can use headings that show the lecturer that you have read the question, answered all parts of the question, and have an introduction and conclusion, they will know where to find the key parts of your answer. Remember that markers are usually working really quickly, and there's way less chance of them overlooking a key point or sentence if you have all the right headings in all the right places. For example, if you were asked to write an essay on 'Is there a difference between management and leadership?' you might want sections headed: 'Introduction', 'What is leadership?: a brief summary', 'What is management?: A brief summary', 'The evidence for differences between leadership and management', 'The evidence for leadership and management being the same', 'Discussion', and 'Conclusion'. 

2. Use references
This is hardly rocket science, but examiners like to see that you have done your readings, and gone above what is expected. You don't have to spend hours in a library looking for exactly the right article. Read a handful of relevant things from Harvard Business Review and pop in the names of the writers in a relevant sort of a place. For example, if you were asked the same question, 'What is the difference between leadership and management?', and you searched 'Harvard Business Review Leadership Management' on Google, a heap of articles from HBR would come up. You could then see what looks largely relevant and prepare to use an idea or reference in one of your sections above. If it was mainly on leadership, it could go in your 'what is leadership?' section. If it was about the similarities, it could go in your similarities 'section'. 

3. Give yourself a day off...(sort of)
I know from personal experience how tempting daytime television can be, people. However, starting an essay a good while in advance gives you critical distance from what you've written. You can give yourself a day to work on a different essay or do something else, and then go back to your essay. You'll find you can read it a lot more objectively. And then you can make further changes. Your essay will really improve because of this. So often, the stuff that I am correcting in a proofread are things that a student could easily have found for themselves, if they'd had time.

4. Follow the rules for your university/ department/ course
I have never come across a uni that doesn't have its own set of rules about word count, penalties, how to hand in, cover sheets, etc. And often there is a heavy penalty for not following them. Make sure that before you submit any essay, you follow any rules about spacing, word count, formatting and submission style. If it says it has to be submitted anonymously, make sure your name isn't on it and that you use the right candidate number. This is again just about giving yourself time to do this, and asking your department if you are unsure.

5. Have a dynamite introduction and conclusion
Markers are busy. Markers mark quickly. But every marker I know reads the introduction and conclusion of an essay slower than the body of it. They expect students to use them to clearly state matters. The intro should be a concise statement of what you think you're being asked to do and your plan of how you're going to do it. Your conclusion should summarise the argument that you've made. Write your introduction AFTER you write your essay, and write your conclusion last of all. Make them into really good statements of what you've done and the marker will be able to award you marks that you clearly know what you are doing and have a plan.

Katie Best University Business Tutor (North London)

About The Author

I am a tutor with over 17 years of private tutoring experience. I am also a lecturer so I have extensive knowledge of how lecturers think, write exams, mark dissertations! Students find me friendly and say I make difficult concepts easy to master.

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