Fuqua? McDonough? Kenan-Flagler? INSEAD? Haas? Ever wondered how in heck to say these words? You might want to figure it out before you talk to anybody about them. Like, in an interview perhaps? These are not official phonetic spellings (we’re not sure the rules of all that), they’re just our attempt to help you not…
There’s one part of the MBA interviewing process that is so basic, and so easy, and so often overlooked.
Will it turn a negative interview experience into a positive one? Will it absolutely guarantee that you’ll get in? Will it have any impact at all in this process for you?
But it will let you stand out from the crowd and it might make a difference in your life.
This advice is the most basic of the basics, and it’s yet again in the category of good manners.
“Oh no EssaySnark, not again!”
Today we’re suggesting that you consider sending a thank-you note to your interviewer after the MBA interview.
Is this earth-shattering advice? Is it going to change the trajectory of your life?
When was the last time you got an actual letter?
Like, in the mail, from someone who delivered it on foot, or in a little right-hand drive Jeep that goes around the neighborhood?
When you got that letter, what did you do? Did you stop in your tracks with the pile of junk mail and bills in your hand to rip it open then and there?
How did it make you feel?
What if you sent a hand-written thank-you card to the person who took time out of their day to interview you for the purpose of applying to their school?
Sure, you could whip off a quick email to say the same thing.
But what if you actually went to the trouble of sending a real note? On paper?
Yes, you need to put forth more effort.
Yes, you need to actually buy the silly thing. You need to go out and shop for some type of note card or some plain stationery paper of some kind.
You need to actually find a stamp somewhere.
These things are why it would be impressive.
Your interviewer knows that these things are not easy. That most people don’t have a nice thank-you card sitting there.
They will know you took the time and were thoughtful.
The first objection we always get is, “But if I send it in the mail, then they will get it too late. They will already have submitted their interview report. It won’t matter.”
And that’s where we have to issue a correction.
Since when do good manners not matter?
This suggestion isn’t about only trying to convince someone to think a certain way about you, so that they will be inclined to issue an “Admit” recommendation for you.
It does not matter at all if the card comes in after they have sent in their report. Who cares if they receive your thank-you after they have already written up whatever they wanted to write up about you?
The act of thanking them, and being gracious, is where you will gain the benefit.
It’s not like a thank-you will be a bribe of some kind.
It’s not like your thank-you will convince them that you’re admit-worthy now, if that’s not how they thought about you at the time of your meeting.
But if they were on the fence about you, then it surely would be a nice touch to help them see you in a different light. With a new perspective.
And even if they did not think you should be admitted, you at least have left this interaction with a complete stranger on a positive note.
It’s a real bother to do this and most people don’t.
It’s not going to change the outcomes for you if you do it, or skip it.
But if you want to be a class act in life…. well, this is one small way you can be that.
If you can’t be bothered to go to all this trouble to actually put a note in the mail, then bare-minimum, send the email.
“Regard your good name as the richest jewel you can possibly be possessed of–for credit is like fire; when once you have kindled it you may easily preserve it, but if you once extinguish it, you will find it an arduous task to rekindle it again. The way you gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”
Freeskiing. You know, that thing with skis in the halfpipe where they get major air and do all the flips and corkscrews?
Here’s the video if you missed it.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 20, 2018
We’ll start by saying THANK YOU! to reader buffalo who offered some comments from first-hand perspective as a long-time skier:
And we totally agree!
This woman has moxie. She’s apparently not a big fan of doing it the way that you’re supposed to do it.
“She’s very motivated, and did very well,” [a professor she RA’ed for] said.
“Motivated” could certainly be one word used to describe Swaney. She ran for governor as a 19-year-old; tried out for the Oakland Raiders cheerleading team; and previously mounted a push to reach the Olympics as a skeleton racer for her mother’s native Venezuela. She started skiing just eight years ago, and only became serious about it after the skeleton thing didn’t take.
(Plus, she got into Harvard!)
Mostly the word that comes to mind about the freeskiing thing is “audacity” – this type of thing would not have happened even 5 or 10 years ago, it seems. Our theory is that it’s the Age of the Individual — where self-promotion is the game on social media and selfies have taken over our lives — that has created the fertile ground for this. It’s not that people have not tried to subvert the system before. It just seems like it’s more socially permissible somehow today.
How about if we back up and look at this through a larger lens?
This American woman was successful in getting a spot at the Olympics through her Hungarian ancestry.
And based on that Globe article, she had tried to do so in skeleton as a Venezuelan.
Knowing this information, does it change your perspective on whether she acted ethically to get into the 2018 Olympics?
Again, comments are open! We would love to know what you think!!
If you’ve been as obsessed with the Olympics as we have, then you probably already heard about the American skiier who represented Hungary and failed to qualify — not only did she fail to qualify, but she seemed to only attempt tricks that any weekend winter sports enthusiast could make.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 20, 2018
So let’s talk about it.
What’s your take on what this competitor did?
Is it wrong? Unethical?
Please state your position on this and explain why.
Most people trying for an MBA are looking to make changes in their life. Some people look to the MBA only when they feel they’re out of options, like if they get laid off, or a contract runs out, and they don’t know what else to do. They think the MBA will save them. (It might, but it’s probably not going to solve whatever the underlying issue is in that case.) Most people though are just looking to be better. They want to reconfigure their lives and go for something more.
However, you don’t need an MBA to make changes.
You can make this year different by doing even very small things.
And we mean, very small.
If executed with intent, you can radically transform your experience of the everyday with little shifts in how you go about things.
There’s the really basic ones like you’ve heard many times before, such as getting off the bus one stop ahead of your destination, and walking it. Or parking at the end of the parking lot, and putting in a few more steps as you run your errands. Those are fine but they’re a little boring, and sometimes you don’t have time to do the inconvenient.
A funner trick (yes that’s a word now) is switching things up in your daily routine. For example, try brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand in the morning. It’s hard! It’ll also make you stop and think. You’ll have to pay attention to the task, instead of just going through the motions. It’s a way to trick yourself into staying more present, and anchoring yourself into what you’re doing and the small thing you’re trying to accomplish.
Here’s another set of ideas, all based around the outdoors , many of which are tricks to help you change perspective. Like, instead of hiking that Big Famous Mountain that attracts all the tourists and ends up being crowded on the trails, scout around for another smaller peak adjacent to it, and hike that. The author claims the views are often better anyway.
Getting out of the city and into nature on a regular basis can radically change how you feel. There’s this concept of “forest bathing” that started in Japan which has wisdom and merit. It’s not just that you’re surrounded by trees and feeling the crunch of leaves or pine needles beneath your feet. It’s that you’re out of your everyday rut. Change your environment and it changes your thoughts.
So how about this. Consider this your assignment for today, and tomorrow, and the rest of the week.
Find a moment to give a genuine compliment to a complete stranger, somewhere as you go about your day. It has to be genuine. It can be anyone though. The barista as you pick up your coffee. The bus driver as you get on the bus. The bike messenger chick whizzing past you as you’re crossing the street (as long as you’re loud enough that you know she heard you). Doesn’t matter. Just make a point to a) observe, and b) appreciate, and c) say it out loud. At least one time. Today. And tomorrow. And keep going for 7 days total.
Or keep doing it forever.
That’s how change happens in life.
Sometimes it comes in a massive wave of disruption, where you pack up your life and you move to a new place to start some big new adventure. Like bschool.
But the REAL change comes when you change. You can be the same person who comes out the other end of the MBA process if you relocate your same ideas and habits and being-stuck-ness into bschool and don’t let go of them.
Or you can explore life TODAY. And see what happens.
What new shift will you embrace for 2018?
Today is Turkey Day here in the U.S., and so we’re not hanging here much – but if you’re looking for something to do, you can head back to this post from a few weeks back where we invited all BSers to analyze the BusinessWeek rankings which had Duke at #3 for 2016. What factors in the BW methodology account for that placement? It may be more fun to examine a poster from Starbucks, but we assure you, understanding what goes into the MBA rankings is time well spent when you’re an active consumer in this MBA market. We got very little commentary on that prior post and it would be great to hear your thoughts on it!!
UPDATE: OK, so we’ve got some sharp-eyed Brave Supplicants caribenamorena and buffalo who’ve identified some typos, which is definitely the first step. Now, Why is it a problem? Anyone care to go to the next level on this?