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The Minto Mind Principle or Pyramid Principle was a common method of communicating information when I worked in consulting.

  • It is a great way to structure your argument (or essay) in order to make sure you provide supporting evidence for the claims you make in your essay.

When I review my clients’ initial drafts of their essays, a weakness I immediately see if failure to support their arguments.

  • Remember, every “statement of fact” must be supported by evidence.  Otherwise, it is boilerplate or worse yet, vacuous in the mind of the admissions committee.

This principle can also be used effectively to structure shorter MBA essays.

  • When I say shorter essays, I mean essays of approximately 400 words or less.
  • These essays require that the applicant get to the point sooner than later.

Additionally, with shorter essays, there is less need for what I call “rounding the bases.”

  • That is, there is less need for making the essay applicable to the school in question.
  • Focus on the question and less on your fit with the program with shorter essays.

The main parts of a Pyramid are:

  1. Answer: Presents the summary conclusion or recommendations of the author
  2. Key Line: Supports the answer with reasons or steps and usually answer the questions How? or Why?
  3. Supporting Ideas – Provide justification or explanation for the element of the Key Line which they support.

This is the approach I take and this is what I help my clients with.  I guess all those years spent in management consulting did amount to something.


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