Now that both the #RNC and #DNC are behind us, it’s full speed ahead to election day. And, while Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spend the next few months touting their accomplishments and bashing their competition, those seeking admission to business school this year can learn a few things (both good and bad) from the process.
- Know your Audience
Just as our esteemed politicians tailor their campaigns to the voters they are trying to reach, you should consider a similar strategy with your business school application. Including precise reasons why a particular school is the best fit for you (and vice versa) is always a smart strategy. When possible, try to include the names of specific professors, classes, centers and clubs you see aligning with your business school goals. As an admissions officer, I can tell you it’s pretty easy to see when an applicant designed their application specially for our school vs. cutting and pasting the name of our program into their application. For more applicant tips, click here.
- The Truth Matters
Telling a whopper or two may not disqualify you from the presidency, but it can harm your chances of admission to the MBA program of your choice. There are plenty of fact checkers in the admissions office, and applicants who intentionally misrepresent their academic and professional accomplishments may find themselves being denied from programs they are otherwise qualified for. Worse yet, those who are admitted based on dishonest applications could see their admission and/or scholarship offer revoked after the start of the academic year. Unlike what we see from our presidential candidates, it’s best to take ownership for any shortcomings – like lower test scores, bad grades in your undergraduate studies and/or a spotty work history – in an honest and thoughtful manner. Bonus points often go to applicants who (instead of covering up their failures) talk about what they learned from them and how those lessons learned have made them a better professional. *Imagine if we saw that level of maturity from those who want to run our country!*
- Storytelling creates engagement
Sometimes our politicians go too far with this one (see above) but, in general, it’s better to provide rich and compelling context in your essays and letters of recommendation than simply listing accomplishments. Keep in mind the whole reason we ask for qualitative components in the application is because we want more than good students and good test takers – we want those with leadership skills, communication abilities and a strong ethical compass. Be sure to use all aspects of your MBA application to tell a unique story of who you are, why you want to earn your MBA and why the program you are applying to is a great fit for your goals.