Vitamin MBA – What We Can Learn from Abraham Lincoln

Vitamin MBA is my attempt to help applicants work through road blocks to success that may include self-doubt, anxiety, procrastination and generally feeling overwhelmed by this process.  I now present you with a dose of “Vitamin MBA”:

I recently read an interesting post in the LifeDev blog, which discusses Abraham Lincoln, and how he positioned himself for success.  I agree it makes sense to learn from other successful people, so why not from the 16th President of the United States?

You can (and should) refer to the full entry, but here are some highlights that I found particularly interesting and relevant to those of you slugging it out with your MBA applications.

Point 2 – Learn the value of hard work.  This may be a difficult pill to swallow, but hard work is necessary to success, even when it is not always FUN.  Sometimes we procrastinate and come up with multitudes of excuses because we just don’t want to do something, (like write another essay about short and long term career goals).  However, for me it makes it strangely easier to acknowledge that – true, it may not always be fun – but you still need to slug it out and get it done.  Lincoln said, “My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it.”  So…like or not, tired or not, frustrated or not…just do it!

Point 3 – Don’t fret about formalities.  I have said this many times:  stop worrying about all of the steps and outlines and checklists, websites, meetings, forums…just start creating.  There is no “right” way to get this done, you just need to dive in and start making your applications appear.

Point 11 – Don’t fear adveristy.  Lincoln said, “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.”  Applicants can become crippled with anxiety.  They wonder what the competition looks like, how fierce the competition is, how admissions will evaluate them, have applications increased this year, are they good enough, is their score good enough, is their GPA good enough…?  This is all somewhat irrelevant.  Set your goals – make them both ambitious and reasonable, and then go after it and do your best.  Stop feeling scared and focus on the accomplishment.


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