In this week’s MBA Countdown, EssaySnark suggested that BSers going for Round 2 applications take a moment this week and reflect on gratitude.
Odd advice from an MBA admissions consultant, we know. But it is Thanksgiving and all. And we do know there’s a direct relationship between gratitude, and humility. Spend a few moments reflecting on the things you’re grateful for, and you instantly become aware of your place in the world. Remembering our place in the world makes anyone humble.
Your MBA applications must strike a careful balance: You need to be confident, and express your achievements in a way that communicates your awesomeness to your reader.
Yet you need to show that you’re a good team player and fun to be around.
The essence of this in expression is a trait we call humility.
It’s about not being an a$$hole.
Many people are confused about what true humility is. It’s not about always underselling yourself, in an attempt to pretend that you’re not all that – even though under the hood, you secretly think that you are. It’s not this weird #humblebrag phenomenon. If you’re truly accomplished, then the humble thing to do is to state those accomplishments and successes directly. No need to embellish, yet no need to hide under false modesty.
Humility is about telling the truth.
The first requirement for humility is clarity. You must see things exactly as they are – without embellishment – without unearned pride – in the correct context and with appropriate understanding of how you stack up against the crowd.
There’s always someone better than us at any given thing.
And there’s always someone who’s worse.
Downplaying your achievements because you don’t want to toot your own horn will only make you come across as vanilla and average.
Conversely, overstating your wins in life because you lack the awareness of how amazing the applicant pool is and how accomplished your fellow BSers are makes you come across as a chump.
Your bschool essays must be a balance. You need to truthfully own your achievements and successes, and convey them in a way that shows the adcom how they are important and why (typically this is done by focusing on your actions and what you had to overcome to succeed). AND you need to be realistic about how awesome the things you’ve done actually are. As with everything in life, there’s a bell curve in the applicant pool. Are you really the cream of the crop? Or are you more like the runt of the litter? Or, the most statistically probable placement, are you kinda average?
Lots of kinda average kids get into good MBA programs – and even the runt of the litter often grows up to be the complete cutest and most unique. It’s very helpful for you to understand exactly where you stand in the grand scheme of MBA things. (It’s the main purpose for our Comprehensive Profile Review service, BTW – and it’s the main reason we charge for it. If we were giving you a free evaluation, before you signed up to work with us, then how could we not be biased in trying to tell you what you wanted to hear about your chances so that you’d actually purchase something?) Once you know how you stack up – honestly – then you can prepare your presentation.
Humility is seeing things exactly as they are. When you’re a winner, you state it as such. If you have stuff to work on, you work on it.
(And we all have stuff to work on.)
Since today is Thanksgiving in the U.S., we invite everyone – Americans and ex-U.S. alike – to reflect on the gifts you’ve been given. Make a list, even. Focus on what you’re grateful for. Let it be an entry point into a deeper understanding of who you are and what you have to offer.
Yeah, OK, corny and smushy. EssaySnark is actually all that at the core. We’re grateful for having all you BSers in our life to give us an opportunity to serve. And we’re grateful that we’re eating turkey today (and not reading essays!!) – and we wish a little holiday cheer upon all of you.
Happy Thanksgiving, Brave Supplicant!