Got the entrepreneurial bug? GREAT! Before you trot out your high hopes and fancy dreams to the bschool adcom in your admissions essays, though, you need a reality check.
Remember that a bunch of bschools are gonna evaluate your goals based on how achievable they are. You’ll want to prove that you’re the type of Brave Supplicant who’s gonna pulls this stuff off.
Sometimes, a more realitic/achievable path forward is to go work for the man for awhile before hanging out your own shingle.
Check out this little videoette from Inc. Magazine from a woman who had a seriously cush setup. Most people won’t be so lucky as to get the startup red carpet rolled out for them quite this way. But listen to what she says starting at 2:51. “I think a lot of times people are uneducated about what it means to truly be an entrepreneur.”
The statistic is what, 50% of all new businesses fail in the first X years?
The bschool adcoms know this. They know that lots of rosy-cheeked Brave Supplicants will come to them with stars in their eyes (or is it dollar signs) thinking that they’ll be the next Bill Gates.
In your bschool essays, if you wanna go the startup route, you need to do two things:
1. Show that you’ve got the entrepreneurial mindset. You need to demonstrate the wherewithal, the moxie, the brute force determination, the stay-with-it-ness, the innovation and creativity and passion (yes passion, even though you know how much we hate that word in bschool essays), to take a thing from 0 to fabulous. You need to offer at least one solid example of where you’ve brought something new to life, even if it was within the confines of your standard corporate America deskjob.
2. Show that you’re ready for it. Make them believe in you. Keep that “50% failure rate” or whatever it is in mind, and help them shed their skepticism.
This might be done through showing your relevant industry experience, it might be a discussion of your connections, it might be a mention of your capital in hand. It might just be offering an awareness of the need for these things and some hint of how you’ll pull them together.
OR it might be a very practical plan for you to, God forbid, go get “a regular job” straight out of bschool (short term goal); then after acruising (we meant “accruing” but it came out “acruising” and we like this new word) the requisite experience, you’ll launch your exciting new venture a few years hence.
Note that that latter plan (wow 7 Ts in four words) often is the best winner for bschool admissions. They want you to be practical, not so flamboyantly full of yourself that you think you’re gonna take the world by storm armed just with your noble idea and the newly-minted three initials after your name.
And one final warning: Regardless of whether you position your entrepreneurial plans as your short-term goal or the long-term, you need to keep the focus of your essays on YOU. Resist the urge of writing a business plan. You do not need to — nor do you have the space to — convince the reader that the world needs this amazing new invention of yours through justification of product idea, target market, launch plans, whatever. Keep the focus of your essay on you. That’s what the adcom cares about.
Over and out.