This might be one of those posts that you “Favorite” – using that little button at the bottom of the post. Because if you’re in the U.S., you’re likely scrambling to get on the road today to make it home in time for a Thanksgiving feast tomorrow. But this post is probably one you’re gonna…
We’re reblahgging this gem from the snarchives that we just rediscovered at random – from way back in 2011! Dang we’ve been doing this a long time. Some posts are timeless.
Amazing video from Pixar University:
Very inspiring, touching on themes of innovation, collaboration, and even improv — though frankly, we weren’t sure if he was talking metaphorically or not when he made those points:
To wit (we’re paraphrasing):
* Take every offer
* Give praise
* Build from what you’re given
And, he threw out this so-powerful bit of guidance around hiring — that companies trying to create something new need to look for evidence of past mastery in *something* rather than depth of skill in the desired area. In other words, if the candidate is a crackerjack skateboarder, and has “mastered” that art, then she knows how the skill of mastery.
But this other part was the most relevant for your bschool apps: The “I’ve done that” aspect.
He says that “it’s one of the great things about the proof of a portfolio, versus the promise of the resume.”
This is what your bschool essays are for, Brave Supplicant. They are essentially your portfolio. Your essays are where you talk about what you have done, what you have accomplished, what you have achieved. It’s how you prove to the adcom that you’ve got it going on.
So many people talk in huffy fluffy terms in their bschool applications, and it’s all vaporware. There’s no “proof.” Your bschool essays are about proving that you’re ready for bschool, that you’ll make a contribution, that you have something to offer — based on what you’ve done and how you’ve offered your somethings before.
Love that video. Makes us want to quit our essaysnarkin’ and go to work for Pixar.
If you’re working on your essays to a school like Kellogg (or NYU or Duke), you may want to spend some time with this video and see if you can grok what this guy is talking about.
DISCLAIMER: This post is not trying to tell you that you can reuse your essays from one school to another! Because really, you can’t. Even if the essay prompt is nearly exactly the same — which, this year, there’s at least one pair of schools where this is true — even when the questions are…
Northwestern Kellogg has an MBA entire essay question asking about values this year, and Stanford has asked “What matters most” for years and years and years. Values-driven companies are more attractive to employees, and it’s becoming a prominent feature at many top MBA programs that values are examined and explicitly expressed as part of their…
This paragraph is stolen from our just-published 2019 MBA application guide for Kellogg in our discussion of Kellogg Essay 2: Please. Please. Do not use values like “collaboration” and “teamwork.” That would be pandering. In some very rare cases, yes, there is a Brave Supplicant out there who does truly care about such qualities. But…
This may come off as basic, or even insulting — are we saying that people don’t do this? Why actually, yes. When you’re so focused on establishing “school fit” that you’re tossing out names of your target school’s classes and clubs hither and yon, it’s really (really) easy to lose sight of what this technique…
We’ve got this thing where anyone can submit an essay for consideration for a freebie review here on the blahg and look! Someone submitted one! And they did so before it was too late for us to look at it before deadlines! This is for Kellogg essay 2 whose question is: Kellogg’s purpose is to…
We know that this is an innocent error — a well-intentioned one, even. But it can be a real problem in your essays. When you’re trying to write about why you want to go to the school, you need to reference specific things about that school. You know, like classes and clubs — but more…
The first page of the Kellogg School MBA application has a very polished video that flashes images of the gorgeous new Global Hub building and plays one-second soundbites of students sharing the stress and anxiety (and self-reflection) that they experienced in their application.
It’s easy to tune out and not really absorb any of it. We’re hit with so many marketing messages every day that we become immune.
But we encourage you to spend time with this, and with every other production that every other school you’re trying for makes available. Sometimes their messaging is straightforward; sometimes it’s so overbranded that you can’t actually distill anything meaningful. But in many, there are real gems of wisdom that are not only important but also relevant, and can possibly be reflected on to find nuggets on the inside of you that you can leverage in presenting your message back in your apps.
One comment that somebody makes in the video is “Rankings will not tell you what’s the best school for you.”
This is the type of thing that can wash right over you, because yeah, you know it’s true.
But why not stop and think about it?
Many, many people are focused on rankings and often rankings alone in their choice of an MBA program. This makes total sense, since everyone wants to go to the best program they can. But rankings tell an exceedingly limited story.
The only legit way to choose schools solely on rankings is if you have spent the time yourself to dig into the methodology used by that publication that develops the rankings. If you cannot sit here and spout off the factors and weightings that Bloomberg BusinessWeek uses to identify Kellogg as a Top 10 school, or that USNews does, then it’s irrelevant that Kellogg is Top 10. (Their methodologies are quite different, BTW.) To go only by rankings is to completely outsource the entire selection process to some nameless corporation. Rankings are useful as a starting point, but that’s it. We’re not going to go so far as to say that rankings are fake news but in this day and age especially, you need to be an informed consumer of everything you take in.
After all, we’re talking about YOUR LIFE.
Remember that these promo videos by the schools are designed for a reason. Significant time and effort is put into them. They are the result of many deliberate choices to try and convey something about the school — something that the school thinks is important. While it’s easy to think that all schools are alike, and to review a bunch of websites makes all of them start to blur together, it’s also important to recognize that each school is desperately trying to convey what they’re about.
Sometimes all it takes is that you listen.
Or likely at most top American MBA programs over the past five years. This post focuses on Kellogg mainly because their employment reports are detailed enough on this particular dimension to do the analysis. They’re also a solid general management program which attracts employers of all stripes. They continue to send graduates into the traditional…