Yeah we know.
If you’re saying in your MBA essays or the interview that a reason you’re choosing this school is because of “the network” then we’re going to push back on you. What exactly does that even mean?
“The network” is one of those MBA buzzwords that everyone mentions, but hardly anyone ever discusses in a meaningful way.
Yet the schools do care about this – partially because they’re evaluating YOU.
What type of student will YOU be in their network?
What kind of alumnus/a?
How will YOU contribute and give back?
How do you do that?
Well, MIT Sloan tells you directly. In their admissions FAQ , they talk about the “behavioral interviews” that they do, where they want to hear candidates talk about past successes and experiences. They spell this out directly:
We are looking for specific examples of how you have built relationships, influenced others, and made decisions.
Those aren’t just things to say. They really truly are looking for this.
Notice the “built relationships” especially?
So here’s the deal, Brave Supplicant.
If you want to go to bschool for “the network” then the best way you can PROVE that “the network” is meaningful to you is to show how you’ve used your current network effectively.
And, Pro Tip: Using your network effectively means how have you contributed to someone else’s success?
(Didn’t see that one comin, didjya?)
Every single school in the whole wide world has “a network.”
That fact alone does diddly squat for your chances in getting in, and it is completely meaningless in terms of how successful you’re going to be in pursuing your post-MBA goals.
What matters is who is in the network.
If your pitch to the adcom is, in part, “Admit me because of your network!” then that’s clearly not sufficient of a reason.
If it’s, “Admit me because of how I WILL contribute to your network!” it’s way more compelling.
If you’re feeling flummoxed on how you will demonstrate your own past contributions to your own network, because, like, you really haven’t used your network before, then the best way to handle that is to start now.
Do you not have a network?
Well, that’s impossible. You cannot have gotten where you are today with a complete absence of relationships.
Somewhere in your past or present, there are people you’ve impressed. People who are mentors, formally or casually, who are on your side and want you to succeed.
Nurture those relationships, grasshopper!
And, there are also people who you know who could use your help.
What about those newly hired employees in the last batch of recruiting?
What about those who didn’t get hired?
What about your friend’s little sister who’s starting out her career?
Nurture those relationships, too!
Showing yourself as an overachiever who’s going to provide value to the school that you’re aiming for is not a purely transactional thing — but a lot of the things that will demonstrate that you’re a high-quality candidate are things that you can be doing already, that have in-born benefit and value.
Want to make the world a better place?
Start doing so NOW.
There is literally nothing about the MBA that says you should wait to start bschool in order to start all these efforts.
If you are saying something is valuable that your target school provides, well guess what? You don’t need to go to that school to gain value from it.
Sure, the MBA is a concentrated experience full of massive amount of opportunity and value — but that alone is not needed in order to advance in this life.
The things that you do NOW are what will showcase how you’re ahead of the game, an overachiever who’s motivated to make a difference in life.
Don’t wait for that to be served up on a silver platter, BSer.
And make sure that everything you claim in an essay can be backed up with meaning and significance.
Everybody talks about “the network.”
Are you going to be the applicant who PROVES why the network is valuable?
You’re going to stand out from the crowd so much if you become the person who belongs at this school.