It’s always nice to be promoted, appointed or acknowledged in some way. But too often, I read essays from applicants who essentially restate their resumes without helping the reader understand all of the activity that went into earning the kudos. An essay about being given a promotion or assigned a special project basically tells the reader what someone else did (they promoted you, or gave you a project!). More important: what did you do? Did you suggest a new initiative, lobby for ownership of the project or pull off major accomplishments in order to earn your promotion? Make your essays active rather than passive and see them come to life. This concept also comes into play in essays about weakness or failure. Watch my video to learn more about this and how to make it a good one.
Transcript for this video:
Today’s tip is to “Make it a good one.”
Note that I say “make it a good one” rather than “have a good one”. My point here is this: Take control. Empower yourself.
This point plays into your MBA applications in so many ways, but I want to focus today on the idea of being active rather than passive in your MBA stories.
Compare these two statements:
1) After working for Goldman for two years I received a promotion.
2) In my first year at Goldman I initiated and important project that fundamentally changed the way we reported out to all current and prospective clients. Doing this required x y z. I was thrilled to receive a promotion as acknowledgement of all of this hard work.
The first statement is passive ”“ you could have just been lazing around, counting the days until the 2 year mark. In the second, you illustrate why you deserve that promotion. What you actually did is more impressive than just receiving a title change.
This idea of being active vs passive is also very applicable to talking about weaknesses, challenges and failures. Don’t just talk about what happened, talk about how you reacted, what you learned and how you grew. Take control and make it a good one even if it did not start out that way.
When you draft your essays, think about your actions, your reactions, your thought processes, and emphasize that as opposed to what happened to you.
The quote for today is, “Keep steadily before you the fact that all true success depends at last upon yourself.”
Theodore T. Hunger
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