When you’re hard at work on your MBA applications, it’s easy to get caught up in what sounds great to you, or what seems impressive to your friends, co-workers or parents. But what you really need to be doing is considering your materials from the admissions committee’s point of view.
Granted, it can be tough to form a truly objective opinion of your own candidacy. For example, some candidates think that if they have a high undergraduate GPA, aced the GMAT and have been successful in their career so far, their admission is all but guaranteed to the top programs. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
The majority of candidates who apply to the leading business schools are bright, personable overachievers who would be an asset to any program. Adcoms see literally thousands of deserving profiles come across their desks each year.
That’s why you need to think beyond your obvious achievements and differentiate yourself through your essays and interviews by picking stories and experiences that are memorable and unique.
This becomes even more critical if you’re in an industry that typically makes up a bigger portion of the applicant pool, such as investment banking or consulting.
Having said all of that, if you’re so down about your shot at getting into a certain school that you’re considering not even applying there in the first place, take heart. While the process is extremely competitive, you shouldn’t count yourself out before the game even begins. Chances are your humility is a trait the adcom would appreciate.
Focus on highlighting what you can share with your classmates that would be valuable to them—experience or knowledge that others can learn and benefit from. Look at your application from the viewpoint of the people who are charged with putting together a diverse group of outgoing students. How will you enlighten your classmates over the next two years?
Here’s one way to think about it:
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