Want to start thinking about your MBA app strategy without doing any heavy lifting?
Here’s a great series of questions posted on the Darden admissions blog late last year . These are meant to illustrate how they look at candidates but they’re an excellent set of questions for you to sit down and consider right now, before you’ve actually started thinking about essay topics or which schools you’ll be trying for. Not all schools evaluate on exactly these dimensions, and even Darden was only using this to illustrate the perspective they take. But these are quite interesting things to ponder! They touch on things like teamwork and collaboration and leadership and all the standard buzzwords that you’ll get so sick of hearing about as you traverse this process of applying to bschool:
- Are you collaborative?
- What kind of teammate are you?
- Do you freely share your expertise?
- Do you enjoy learning from others?
- Do you want to be an active participant in your educational experience?
- Are you relationship-oriented?
- Do you value different backgrounds and perspectives?
Don’t just breeze over this list nodding your head and saying, “Hmm interesting questions!” Instead, get your MBA essay planning notebook and jot them down – consider putting each one individually at the top of its own page. Do some brainstorming. Can you think of an example from your life that fits each question?
Keep a running list as you go through the rest of the day, and week, and month.
This should be an ongoing process.
Some of these questions are actually quite deep. What does it mean to be “relationship-oriented”? Can you redefine that term? Now, can you think of an instance where you acted that way, that would demonstrate you being that way?
Don’t feel you need to be “relationship-minded” in order to get into or succeed in bschool. It’s OK if you answer “no” to that question. But give yourself space to ponder it. Maybe tonight on your commute home, set up some time for just thinking about these concepts.
But you will need to do some serious self-reflection if you’re going to be coming up with quality essay content in a few short months! That’s true at every school, definitely not only Darden.
The best essay topics are considered over time. Starting with this list will be your first effort to prime the pump and get that brain trained to spit out the good stuff.