Not only is self-discovery a sign of emotional intelligence, it’s also key to any winning MBA application to business school. So listen up! Do you want to write an impactful MBA essay? Do you want to show your very best self to the adcom? Do you want to get into business school? Well Angela Guido is here to guide you on the first baby steps to understanding your achievements, discovering your best and most meaningful experiences, and putting it all to work to get you an MBA.
Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:
If you don't know who you are and what you want and what your limitations are, you're going to be severely limited in terms of what you can achieve. Welcome back to MBA Monday. I'm Angela Guido, the founder of Career Protocol. And today I'm going to talk about the magic of our discovery process and how you can deepen your self-awareness as you apply to business school.
Know Thyself (And Show It In Your MBA Essay Questions)
A lot of what schools are looking for in the application process is self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is one of the foundational components of emotional intelligence. It's how you relate to the world in a way that is productive and constructive. So, a huge focal point of the MBA interviews, as well as the MBA essays, if you look closely at the questions and sort of intuit between the lines, what schools are getting at is this idea of self-awareness and self-knowledge. They want to understand that you really know yourself inside and out, because if you do, then they know that they can give you a little bit of a goose with their MBA education and you're going to take it and you're going to go somewhere meaningful with it. So we put a lot of emphasis on self-discovery with our clients as we go through the process, because it's what leads them to present the strongest and most authentic MBA candidacy that they can. So let me talk you through the steps that we go through with our clients.
- The first big step is what we call “you discovery”, and this is a deep, deep dive into your past experiences. So we ask our clients to catalog many, many things about their life to date, both inside and outside of work, through a very detailed and structured questionnaire that helps them bring out some of their most important memories, experiences, achievements, setbacks, failures and formative experiences. If you want to execute this on your own, you can kind of extrapolate from what I am saying, the kinds of questions that you want to ask yourself. You want to look back on your achievements that have been the most meaningful and try to flesh out the details of those achievements and why they were meaningful to you. And then you also want to look at a little bit the dark side. What have been some of those formative experiences in your life that may not have been successful or the easiest as you were living through them? And then how did they further shape your character? So that's the first step, is to really look very closely at the details of your actual life experiences to date.
- The second step is to then take a step back and look at all of that and make decisions about what is the most important and the most meaningful from your experiences that really define who you are as a person and shape your characters and your values. So when we work with our clients, we do this step ourselves. We create a huge PowerPoint about your life story that has absolutely everything that's happened to you and why it's meaningful and where it fits in in the grand scheme of your life and your character, and we give you this sort of 360-degree view of your life so that you can cherry pick – and we do this together – the best experiences to form the basis of your essays. After you've recorded all of the details of your experiences, set it aside and come back a couple of days later and try to imagine that you're a coach, that you're not looking at your own experiences, you're looking at the experience of some second person and then ask yourself “Which of these stand out to me as seeming the most important?”. A really good sign that an experience is important and meaningful is how much emotion is attached to it. So if, when you look at a certain memory, it makes you feel sadness or anger or joy or happiness or pride, any emotion is good in this case. Anything that makes you feel something is meaningful. So, pay attention to that as you're trying to prioritize from your experiences which ones are the most formative and meaningful towards your stories.
- And then the third step that we go through is we take the most meaningful stories and we start to slot them in to essay questions. And we look at a given school holistically. So if a school has two or three essays, we're looking at the whole set together and we're trying to figure out how we can take the most meaningful aspects of your life and show them to the admissions committee in a really vivid and emotionally impactful way through communication that connects, so that they can really understand who you are. One of the things that many of our clients say, and this is in fact our goal in the process, what they say is that by the time they submitted the essays, they didn't care what the school said because the package they submitted was so true and authentic and inspiring, it was the most inspiring version of who they are, that if the school didn't want them based on that application, then they really didn't want to go to that school in the first place. And that's really where you want to get to when you submit your essays in your resume and everything about you, you want to feel so good about what you're submitting that you can honestly say, look, if they don't want that person, then they just don't want me and so I just don't want them. And I'll go to a school that really wants me. And I promise you, there is a school that really wants you out there. You know, in a way, finding the right MBA program for you is a lot like dating. It has to be a mutual match. And you really want to end up in a program that wants you because that's where you're going to thrive the most and have the best experience.
Let Your Very Best Self Shine Through!
So I really encourage you to try to go through as deep a discovery process as you can in preparing for your MBA applications so that you can really bring out your very best self in the applications. And as always, if you want to talk to us about working together and learn a little bit more about our amazing discovery process, just click the link in the description below and sign up for a free MBA Strategy Session. I'll see you next week. Thanks for watching #MBAMonday.
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