We got a question from a Brave Supplicant awhile back and thought we’d share the exchange with all of you.
Here’s what was asked:
“I really liked the “4-school set”. It seem to have everything I want (or need/must at this point) to submit the best possible applications.
“But I have one question. The menu of offerings included in this package seem to be modules. They can stand on their own and provide value to the final application.
“I also want to help with more high-level cohesive strategy/themes/story for the whole application. Am I right in assuming that this package (even with comprehensive review) won’t help me in identifying and synthesizing themes and stories to tell in my essays and in the overall application?
“That is a long question. Thanks in advance for your response.”
That question wasn’t too long! It’s also a good question – though it also reflects a common misunderstanding of some key points.
Your application “theme” is a nebulous concept. We believe it was introduced by some admissions consultant somewhere as a way to intimidate poor BSers who already feel overwhelmed and confused.
“I not only have to worry about the GMAT and writing essays, but now I have to figure out my ‘theme’ too? Oh no, I’m doomed for sure!”
It’s just like “brand.” “Theme” sounds sexy, but it’s intimidating, and it doesn’t have to be.
Here’s what we said back to this particular BSer:
Themes are only communicated through individual examples told in strategic places in the application assets (primarily essays, also resume). There is no such thing as developing a “theme” separate from the constituent parts. The components of the Complete Essay Package (which is the underpinning of the 4-School Set) taken individually lead you to developing a holistic strategy for your essays – which means, your application as a whole. That’s how you convey your “theme.” The “theme” thing is an abstract notion that some people get hung up on. Just keep in mind that it is difficult for most people to identify a “theme” independent of working through the steps in a process like this.
Another way to put it:
Your application “theme” is the articulation of who you are and why you are applying to bschool.
While you may intellectually have the answers to those questions in your head (who I am, why am I applying) before you write a single word in an essay (hopefully!), it is difficult for most people to do the “articulation” part of it without digging into the raw material of your life, and exploring different ideas and options. That’s what our proven MBA admissions consulting methodology is all about.
Thus, to reiterate the answer to this BSer’s question: Yes. You can be assured that our Complete Essay Package, which underlies the 4-School Set, will provide the tools you need to develop your theme.
And to hopefully further reassure you: Don’t worry about the theme. When the process is approached correctly, it will reveal itself to you as you tackle the work of presenting yourself to the adcom.