Frequently after going through a couple rounds of feedback, a Brave Supplicant we’re working with starts to get a little frustrated, and sometimes they toss out a question asking, “Is this what you want me to say?”
We did a rant on this some years back, with the observation that this is often a cultural issue. If you don’t have a lot of exposure to the American way of doing things, then you may be more of a passive learner, someone who is studying to the test but not necessarily working to absorb the lessons and connecting the dots of meaning.
And, more than one Brave Supplicant along the way has fallen into the trap of trying to come up with the “right” answer that will get them admitted, to say the “right” things in those essays. Trying to say what the adcom wants you to say is a recipe for a set of very boring, and often totally unbelievable, MBA application essays.
Even more important…. People, you gotta remember, this is your LIFE we’re talking about.
When you’re working out your goals and figuring out which school to go to – it’s not about coming up with the answer that’s going to get you admitted. It’s about figuring out who you are and what you want to do with your career. These are big questions.
First, you don’t want to outsource the answers. Don’t look to someone else to tell you what you should be saying.
And even more important: This isn’t about gaming the system to get the coveted admit to an impressive-sounding school. It’s about planning your future.
Yeah, for realz.
That being said: There’s a good way and a not-so-good way to be pitching your goals to the adcoms. There are mistakes that many people make and things that you should probably avoid saying in your essays. Our job is to help you not make those mistakes.
But our job is not to tell you what you want to be when you grow up.
Every now and then, we get a BSer who says, “Do you want me to say X?”
No, Brave Supplicant. No. This is not about pleasing EssaySnark. It’s not about coming up with the right answer on a test.
It’s about coming up with a realistic and believable plan for yourself – that you actually intend to pursue – and sure, things may change as you go through the process, but for now it’s your #1 actual plan.
That is a personal decision, that only you can make. Yes you can solicit input and opinions, and most definitely you should be doing research on what that career looks like, to vet it and make sure it sounds like something you’d actually enjoy doing – and that you have skills that can be put to good use in that endeavor.
Swapping out goals on a whim because we give feedback that it’s not coming across well is not the best use of your consulting time with us. It’s fine to be kicking the tires on multiple ideas but hopefully you will have done enough of that groundwork BEFORE you submit stuff to us for review that you are already pretty convinced that it’s the right path for you. If one comment from EssaySnark prompts you to throw away your entire plan and go off in some other direction…. well, we’ll sort of wonder why you actually need an MBA.
The MBA is the means to the end, it’s not the end in itself.
Yeah, we get it, there’s a whole wide world out there and sure, you could do so many things! It’s exciting! Sometimes people come across as a little fickle, or flakey, or flighty, or in other ways perhaps not quite ready for the whole MBA proposition, when it’s so easy for them to jump on the next new bandwagon.
Our feedback is meant to help you refine, and revise – and yes, sometimes overhaul – your plans. Hopping from one idea to the next is probably not the way to go about it, though. Bringing some level of self-reflection and insight into the process – and maybe doing more of that needed homework – will take you far in this process.