And as you’ve gathered from our posts this week, it’s ramp-up time for Round 2!!
We’re not doing a Round 2 MBA Countdown this year but instead we’ll be offering concentrated and practical advice as progress through these coming two months for writing those essays and getting everything done. Consider this your Wake Up Call and get moving!
Today we’ll talk about a fundamental aspect of application strategy: Diversity.
When you’re writing multiple essays for one school — like for Tuck where there’s two separate questions that are in some ways kind of related but really not — it’s important to be bringing in different aspects of your background and unique parts of your profile to emphasize in each. This is one reason why a full-app strategy is necessary as you’re planning out your ideas; it’s how you meet the adcom’s interest in providing a “holistic review” (LINK)
Another important tactic to use in writing such essays for Tuck and also for Columbia and Wharton (and others) is to bring in multiple aspects of your own school outreach and give evidence that you’ve been interacting with the school community.
This needs to happen through a call-out to a conversation you had with a student or alum.
There are good ways and not-so-good ways to do this. Having more such references is not better; instead, using a handful of them strategically is the way to go.
This means not using the same reference in more than one of your essays, and it means talking about different aspects of the school’s community each time.
Simply referencing a conversation isn’t enough; you can’t say “Mary Singh (T’19) told me about the Tuck culture and now I know I want to go there.” Instead, you need to say “Mary Singh (T’19) told me BLAH BLAH BLAH about the Tuck culture and now because of my [INSERT SOMETHING MEANINGFUL FROM YOUR BACKGROUND THAT’S RELATED TO WHAT MARY TOLD YOU] I know I really want to go there.”
Going beyond the really basic stuff will help. If the only comment you offer about a student came from a webinar or info session, then that’s better than none, but it’s not doing that much to demonstrate the effort you put in. Same thing if you are writing for the Tuck essays and you are referencing what you spoke of with your interviewer. It’s fine to do this once, but only once. You also need to show that you had other conversations with not only students but hopefully alumni as well. While it’s certainly very positive that you got on campus and went through the interview before applying, and using those experiences in the essays for Tuck is quite smart, you don’t want it to seem like that’s the only contact you’ve had with their community.
Both of these tips on presenting diverse elements are flip sides of the same coin: You’re talking about school fit.
School fit comes down to:
1. Do you know what this school is like? Have you had interactions with people in the school community? Do you understand the culture? Can you ARTICULATE this?
2. Do you know who YOU are like? Have you done some self-reflecting? Have you identified stories that will DEMONSTRATE that you’re a fit to the culture?
Yeah, even when we say it like that, we still appreciate how daunting this is.
So — wait for it — check out our App Accelerators! 😀
They’re not the only way to figure out who you are and identify stories that might demonstrate your points of value to the adcom. But guess what? They’re actually designed to help you to do it!
The Accomplishments & Achievements App Accelerator in particular (though all of them are useful in specific and meaningful ways).
This too is why we say to START EARLY! It may seem like you have for-ev-er until Round 1 deadlines in January.
But guess what?
We said that back in June, in advance of Round 1, and did you listen then? And did the summer go by lickety split before you could even catch your breath?
Yeah. That’s gonna happen now, too.
If you ended up in the “Uh-Oh” category in our wonky decision tree from Monday, then that means, don’t let more time slip on by. If you KNOW you’ll be applying in Round 2, please. Get started now!!
Like, this weekend!!!!!!
You’re gonna need all the time that’s available if you want to do the best job possible on those MBA apps for this last opportunity this season.