As I often state, the MBA application process is very much about marketing yourself to the admissions committees. Some of my clients find it helpful to actually create a Marketing Plan, consisting of the four P’s: Positioning, Product, Place and Promotion. A Marketing Plan is designed to launch a product thoughtfully and effectively. Here, the product is you. This will help you focus your strategy by articulating several key elements outlined below. Once these elements have been clarified, you can more effectively put your strategy into action. You may want to try this exercise yourself before diving into your essays. Below is a sample using Wharton as the target school.
General Statement – Inside and outside the office, I am known as a key contributor to every team. I am a self starter who not only takes initiative, but also energizes those around me. I bring strong communication, an open mind and respect for others to every setting and work with diligence and focus to bring about strong, positive outcomes.
Specific Background – I have a strong background in strategy consulting, primarily in the technology industry, where I have been involved with all stages of the product lifecycle ”“ from market research and development through to product launch. Most recently, I was part of a team that advised a high profile security firm on a new product launch into a competitive space. I also serve on the boards of the Stanford Alumni Club and Nature Support, where I initiate positive change for causes about which I am passionate. I want to combine my current knowledge and skill set with an MBA to successfully manage my own brand after business school.
Goals – I am pursuing an MBA to facilitate a transition into a brand manager position with a large consumer products company, and to enhance my personal growth. Ten years from now, I plan to be CEO of an innovative consumer products company, focused on environmentally friendly products.
Product = Key Competencies (Skills, Knowledge, Traits):
Skills – leadership, teamwork, analytics
Knowledge – client services, non-profit, technology industry
Traits – compassionate, self-starter, strong communicator
Place = Characteristics of Target School:
Values – Leadership, diversity, initiative and focus
Teaching Methods – Case and theory
Geography – East
Size – Largest program
Culture – Collaborative, innovative, creative, team based
1) Apply first round
2) Campus visit
3) Side letter from current student
4) Attend local presentation
5) Highlight accelerated career progression
6) Highlight board positions, especially Nature Support
7) Clearly link personal and professional experiences to future goals
8) Demonstrate passion for Wharton curriculum, culture and non-traditional programs