our everyday life

Five Tips on Writing MBA Research Papers

by Christopher Cascio

MBA programs place high value on writing and communication skills, and they assess these skills by means of research papers and other writing assignments. Often the assignment topics can seem daunting, almost impossibly so, but preparation and adhering to a few key suggestions can turn a harrowing writing experience into a clear and competent communication of thoughts.

Understand the Assignment

Making sure you understand the purpose of an assignment will help you construct a properly focused argument.

Writing a paper may seem like an opportunity to showcase your knowledge, but be careful not to stray from the requirements of the assignment. First and foremost, your job is to address the assigned topic directly and thoroughly, and you will be judged according to your success in completing that task. Proper planning leads to a more focused and finely tuned argument. Identify the purpose of your paper, and then work toward that purpose directly.

Keep the Voice Clear and Consistent

A clear, concise voice will add authority to your writing.

While it may sound obvious, clarity and consistency are crucial in an MBA research paper. MBA papers test the author's ability to communicate profound, complex thoughts in an effective manner; and writing tangled prose is an easy way to fail that test. The narrative consistency is critical as well; a narrator that loses control of the rhetorical flow will appear as someone who also lacks the ability to organize his or her thoughts. Keep the prose simple and steady and with the purpose of the assignment always in mind.

Keep the Language Fresh

Take the time to avoid clich├ęs by finding specific, concrete language to express your views.

You want to be seen as someone who provides fresh insights into the assigned topics, so choose phrases that are themselves fresh. Using clichés to express that you are unique will undermine your arguments. If you can't communicate without using weathered language, why should anyone think you can offer new and exciting insights? Be as specific and as literal as possible to ensure exactitude, which will help to keep clichés out of your prose. And, when possible, illustrate your skills with examples instead of simply telling the reader you possess them.

Edit to Condense

Condensing your essay will tighten the writing and increase the readability of the work.

A longer essay is not necessarily a better essay, especially if the assignment has a word limit. The most successful papers are those that have been edited and distilled to their most concentrated forms while still delivering a thorough and thought-provoking argument. After each draft, comb through the essay and remove all extraneous language. If an idea can be expressed in a simpler, more straightforward manner, do it.

Cite Sources Properly

Citing sources may not be fun, but it's necessary for a successful research paper.

As with any academic essay, proper source citation is required in order to earn a high grade and avoid accusations of plagiarism. Understand the formatting style of the assignment along with any personal preferences the professor has added. Once you understand the format, obtain the appropriate style guide to assist you with the proper methods of citation.

About the Author

Christopher Cascio is a memoirist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and literature from Southampton Arts at Stony Brook Southampton, and a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in the rhetoric of fiction from Pennsylvania State University. His literary work has appeared in "The Southampton Review," "Feathertale," "Kalliope" and "The Rose and Thorn Journal."

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images