One of the most dreaded questions asked by business schools is, “Tell us about a time you failed.” It can feel like a double edged sword: you have to come up with an honest answer, but you are afraid to reveal too much. You have just expended a ton of energy trying to prove you are fantastic and now you need to reveal a failure. My advice here: be as brutally honest as possible about your failures. By being honest about how you failed, you are actually revealing a strength: self awareness. Self awareness is key to growth and success, and to being admitted to business school.
Last year, I had a client who was laid off three times throughout his four year career. He was terrified of revealing this to the admissions committees. However, when he finally did tell the truth, he also demonstrated self awareness, an ability to learn from his mistakes and the mistakes of others, maturity, resilience, determination, and a whole host of qualities that business schools are looking for.
Honest introspection allows the admissions committee to get to know you. Discussing failures with honesty and maturity is the key to turning weakness into strength.