Executive summaries are common in the Walden MBA program, but they are also found as part of some government and business documents. As a student, you should complete an executive summary when specifically requested to do so. An executive summary is a comprehensive review of a larger document. For example, a 35-page report may begin with a single-page executive summary all of the main information in the longer report. Any findings, conclusions, recommendations, or other details that appear in the larger document must be touched on in the executive summary. Readers should be able to read the executive summary alone and have a complete understanding of the larger document in its entirety.
It is important to meet all length and content expectations, so be sure to review the specific directions for your assignment. Also remember that the executive summary can only be written after the full-length document is complete.
Tips for completing the executive summary from Laureate Education (2013) include:
For academic writing, be sure to include appropriate citations and a reference. This is typically not part of a business executive summary, but should be included for purposes of this program.
Laureate Education. (2013). How to write an executive summary [Course handout]. Retrieved from http://class.waldenu.edu
Like an executive summary, an abstract is a short summary of a larger text. Both executive summaries and abstracts are meant to capture the main ideas, findings, and conclusions of a longer document. Executive summaries, however, tend to include more details than abstracts. An abstract includes enough information for readers to decide if they want to read the full-length document. Executive summaries must include enough information for readers to understand the full-length document without reading it.
Another difference between executive summaries and abstracts are the fields where they are used. Generally, executive summaries are common in business and government, while abstracts are more common in academia and at Walden, especially when seeking publication in a professional journal.