Today’s post is not about school culture which is a very important aspect for you to learn about and understand in your process of figuring out which bschools to apply to. If you want to learn more about that, then please see the many posts here on essaysnark.com about “school fit.”
Today’s post is about culture in the broader sense of the term, as it’s most usually applied.
This piece published on Medium last year from an American teacher who’d spent time in South Africa goes a long way towards expressing what we mean. It’s written as advice to college freshman who may find themselves with a roommate from a different country, and frankly it’s something that all Americans should read. It explains away many of the stereotypes that Americans hold about people who live on the continent of Africa, and it touches on many details of culture through example. Here’s another article with quick business anecdotes from ex-pats working in Australia .
Most of the European MBA programs that you might be interested in are very international in makeup – much more so than the American schools. Programs like INSEAD and LBS frequently have questions in their applications asking about international experiences that have shaped you, or a time when you dealt with culture shock. Tuck and more recently Stanford have also had questions in their apps asking about international experiences and perspectives. It’s not mandatory for you to have traveled outside of your home country in order to be a successful applicant to these schools – but it certainly helps.
That being said, oftentimes we get BSers who have done a bit of traveling who still stumble with these sorts of questions. Careful reading of the prompt is important (that’s always important, but it seems particularly critical with these types of essays) – people often overlook what’s truly being asked for.
What’s so great about that Medium piece linked above is that the author provides direct examples from her own experience and the experience of others. That’s key to all good essays, and it’s of paramount importance in writing to these prompts especially.
You may have accrued a colorful series of stamps in your passport which shows that you’ve traveled all over the world, but if you don’t have an appreciation for how people are different then it’s going to be difficult to present a compelling answer in this essay.
So, one small brainstorming exercise for you to embark upon today:
What does culture mean to you, and how have you experienced it for yourself firsthand?
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