Or maybe this post should be titled, Behold the Buzzword! Because when BSers discover such things as buzzwords, they become preternaturally attracted to them.
The problem with buzzwords is the exact same problem with cliches: They don’t actually communicate anything. It might seem like you’re communicating, because, heck, isn’t everyone familiar with that term you’re using?
When we see a Brave Supplicant talk about, for example, her interest in “sustainable business practices” in an essay… we honestly have no clue what she means.
Is this an environmentally sustainable thing? Or does she mean, practices that can be repeated? Or that will help the business to survive?
Sustainability is definitely a trendy term to be tossing about. But it’s like the phrase “business development.” It may seem obvious on its face, but the meaning will actually only be revealed through context. “Business Development” as a job title can in practice comprise a majorly wide variety of functions. It depends on the industry, and the company.
You have to be careful with your phrasing. The burden of communication is on you as the essay writer, not on the reader to figure things out. When there are vague or ambiguous terms in your writing, then you’re not doing your job effectively.
“Sustainability” is one of those trendy career goals in bschool admissions. About a decade ago, it was impact investing. And then it became social venture. That’s what everybody wanted to do. Sexy stuff. We encourage you to actively pursue such paths. The world certainly needs more people who are devoted to fixing its problems. But remember the risks with the starry-eyed save-the-world ideas. When you’re talking it up in your essays, just make sure to drill down past the obvious, and avoid the generic labels. Make it clear what YOU mean when you use one of these terms, and it will help your reader to understand and buy into it.
Beware the buzzword. You don’t want it to bite you in the behind.