Friday, February 22, 2008

Essay Retrospection

Many of you have read my blog for a while and you probably have a good sense of who I am. Most of you have never met me and yet, you may have preconceived notions as to whether or not we'd get along. This is very similar to your business school essays, but likely, you have not even a handful of essays to demonstrate who you are and what you bring to the table.

The season of hopes and dreams is like clockwork, we bust our booties for hours on end to finalize between 1500 and 3000 words about us, our aspirations, our research and our hope to join the business school community of our dreams. And here we are - some of us with admits to die for, others with a full set of dings and another group still pending decisions. No one knows what sort of miracle it took to hit the grand slam or what sort of luck it takes to completely strikeout. We're all good candidates in our own right, but did we whole heartedly communicate that in our essays to the adcom?

I've had the pleasure of reviewing a few essays for some friends, however, I don't count myself as an expert. As I read, I try to put myself in the adcoms' shoes, but I honestly don't know for what they are looking anymore than the next person.

It's dawned on me though. Someone made a comment about my Day@Darden post and how I truly know how to express myself. Truth is, sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. I think this blog has helped me over time sort out my thoughts as has my personal writing that I don't post. More importantly though, I know who I am.

Since I started on my essays many moons ago, people always told me to show my passion. My extra advice, remember what's important to you. If you look at Stanford or Darden's what matters to you most question and after a few minutes you still draw a blank, you need to figure out who you are. It took me thirty seconds to choose a topic for that question. And I understand the question seems weighted, but it doesn't have to be the perfect answer for the adcom, just for you. If there's a laundry list as there is for a lot of us, pick one thing that you feel can define who you are.

Even though a lot of people talk stats, I believe this process is so much more than the numbers we produce.


MBAandBeyond said...

Great post, Paige!
Yeah its important that the passion and the real person behind the whole set of statistics and numbers reflects in the essays..

HappyBunny said...

Hi Paige, thanks for the post. :) Can't wait to get the boring GMAT out of the way and start the fun stuff. :P

Metal said...

Very true, the ad coms see something much deeper beyond statistics and words.I guess its a question of how well can you portray the 25 or so years of your life in 1000 words.And yes blogging is a nice way to structure your thoughts and put them on paper.Adios.Metal

Anonymous said...

Thanks - possibly sthg in my R2 apps... maybe that I did them carefully, thought thru each sentence, rather than a 3 day rushed job like my darden application
i c ur doing well getting into the darden culture/routine :-) gr8 going!

hazyblur said...

nicely written post paige. it is definitely important to give the school an clear insight on who you are, what makes you tick, what you like and why you are willing to spend two years and quite a bit of money on a their mba program. in my mind, almost everyone communicates to the best of their ability. however, some find it hard to be honest, some want to be larger than life, some change their outlook based on the school they are applying to. This is probably because someone is not only reading your story but trying to fit you into an incoming class of highly accomplished applicants. but like you said, there is no sure shot checklist for a successful applicant. Even though I put my heart into each application, my r1 essays are different from r2 essays because of introspection and an attempt to express myself better.