If you’re writing for MBA admission and looking for ways to improve your MBA application, you’ve probably been told to “be yourself” to standout in MBA applications. Maybe you heard it from us! But what does it mean to “be yourself?” And why is it important?
In this week’s video, Angela Guido guides you on the beginning of your MBA journey to reflect on your values, motivations and goals to convince the adcom you’re a good fit for your target school and stay authentic in the process. There’s obviously no particular personality required for MBA applicants, you are who you are! Being yourself is a key part of your MBA application strategy, and the ability to highlight your personality or showcase unique personal qualities are the key qualities of successful MBA applicants.
Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:
Be Yourself, It’s the Only Way to Be.
Be yourself. It's a piece of advice that's really thrown around a lot these days without a lot of examination, which is unfortunate because really the only true way to be yourself, like as an action verb, more than you're already being yourself, which is a tautological description of your day-to-day existence, is to be more aware of yourself.
So, I think when we say be yourself, well, what we really mean is know yourself. It's understand who you are and what makes you tick and then show that to the admissions committee so that you can demonstrate keen self-awareness in your MBA applications. I like to think of the MBA application process as a very contemplative one. The most successful candidates are the ones who show the highest degree of self-knowledge and understanding. Let your unique personal qualities for MBA applications shine through. Because if I can look at you and see that you know who you are and what you want, then I'm going to have a lot of faith in your ability to be successful after business school. And this is, of course, what the admissions committees are concerned about. I consider the application process quite contemplative. And when we work with our clients, we take them through a very structured process to enhance their self-awareness to ultimately improve MBA applications. Today, I want to share with you three things to contemplate as you're approaching your MBA applications.
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Key Qualities of Successful MBA Applicants
- The first thing you want to look at is your intrinsic value. So, these are the qualities about yourself that you most value, the things that you love about yourself that you would never change no matter what, because if you change them, then you wouldn't be who you are. And I always recommend to my clients to make a list. Just sit down and make a list. Just write down five or 10 things about yourself that in your mind define you as you and not someone else. I love to read. That could be an intrinsic value. Or it could be something much more general, like my sense of adventure when confronting challenges. But take a look at your life and consider what are the things, the core values that define who you are to yourself.
- Then the second thing you want to contemplate is when were those characteristics tested or challenged in your life? So when did you have to really work to live up to those values? When was it a struggle for you to be who you are and to stay true to the person you know yourself to be? When you look in those places, you're going to start to uncover some of your most important stories, some of those experiences that are going to really bring your essays to life and give you the chance to talk about meaningful things that have happened in your life that have helped make you the person that you are.
- The first thing to contemplate is what's your intrinsic value? The second question for contemplation is one of those values been tested. And the third question for contemplation is what do you want? The MBA is a pathway to getting more of what you want in your life, in your career, in your job and in your life as a whole. So, what is it that you really want? And you'd be surprised how few people actually have a really good answer for this question. At the outset of the application process, you might be able to name a company or two that you think you want to work for. You might be able to even pull out a title or a business that you think you might want to start. But at the bottom of all of those things on the surface is an innate desire for impact, for influence, for change. You inherently want to create something in your life that is going to make you more fulfilled. And knowing as specifically as possible what that actually is will inform every part of your application. It will motivate why you want to get an MBA in the first place, why you want to go to the school in question, and what your goals are on the other side of the MBA.
So, take the opportunity to be contemplative on your MBA application journey. Ask yourself some of these big hard questions and really drive to a deeper level of self-understanding before you write your essays and before you go to your interviews. And in the process, not only will you find you're enjoying your applications much more, but you're able to put together a picture of who you are that is completely authentic to who you are. That means you'll really be able to be yourself… in MBA applications.