SBC Scoop: Neutralizing Negativity

*Please note that no client details are ever shared in SBC Scoop or otherwise without complete sign off from client.

Everyone has a difficult period in life, and often those experiences are strong fodder for MBA essays. There is a concept called “grit” that describes individuals who persist in a long-term goal despite hardship. This quality can often predict success, and is certainly an essential quality in a highly successful entrepreneur or senior level executive. The way you frame your challenges is important to showcase your resilience in the face of difficulty.

While most MBA hopefuls understand that positive framing is important in MBA essays, it’s not easy to write initial drafts with the correct tone. For example, Seema started working with Stacy Blackman Consulting on an hourly basis once she had completed several drafts of her Kellogg essays. She was focused on achieving admission, but was not confident about her professional achievements.

One of Seema’s first essay drafts focused on a tough situation at work when Seema had to overcome significant resistance to implement a new process in the Marketing department within her company. Seema diligently worked through the major issues and obtained buy in from key people to accomplish her goal. It was a great subject for an MBA essay, but Seema’s tone was disgruntled and negative. She repeatedly disparaged her co-workers and the project in the essay, which communicated that she was easily frustrated and discouraged.

When I brought the tone issues to Seema’s attention she noticed that she was not communicating her experiences the way she meant to. She consciously adapted her tone to be more positive and empathetic to the people around her, and focused on the successes she had found in the project. In the end we not only created a more positive set of essays for her admission process, she felt better about her work and impact.

Seema’s attitude shifted so much that she ended up attending an EMBA program so she could continue working at her current company. Overall it was a great outcome!

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