Enjoy part two of a two-part blog by Seth Gilmore, a senior admissions consultant at The MBA Exchange.
How often do you think about your own death? According to some pretty smart Buddhist monks, contemplating one’s own inevitable demise may be the key to happiness. It also happens to be a key to getting into the business school of your dreams.
If I were to walk up to you on the street and say, “My goal in life is to be a consultant at McKinsey,” what would you think? Pretty good namedrop, but is that really your highest purpose”? Think about it this way, would you want this to be the sole wording on your tombstone: “She worked at McKinsey.” I doubt it.
How about this instead? “I want to work at McKinsey so that I can become an extraordinarily good consultant with mad skills that I will one day put to use to change the world. Specifically, I want to help countries in the developing world build management practices and structures that will enable them to spend less time on recovery in the wake of national disasters and more time on sustainable economic development. This will potentially impact the lives, livelihoods, life expectancies and happiness of millions of people.” Better, right?
The good news is that you don’t have to save the world. You don’t even have to do something good for humanity. But you do need to envision doing something bold, something that positively impacts others, something that’s actually worth doing. Here’s why:
First, it will make your life more meaningful in the long run. But second, and more immediately, it will help you get into an awesome business school. Having a clear, worthy, ambitious-but-attainable goal in life will inspire and help you throughout the application process, for example in your essays and interviews. It may also help you in hunting unicorns.
A “unicorn” in this context is something that someone else does for you that will propel your application over the top, from a “maybe” to a “definitely.” Your work as a “unicorn hunter” is to present a current student, professor or alum with a concrete outline of your life ambition, the context in which you developed that ambition, and your analysis as to why their business school is the best platform from which to elevate and accelerate your extraordinary journey. Having done this, you can then engage that person in a meaningful dialogue that may just wind up knocking their socks off, so much so that they’ll want to take credit for having helped engrave your name on their institution’s list of illustrious alumni.
Furthermore, your post-MBA vision provides an authentic, unique and compelling context for your candidacy. By featuring – in your resume, recommendations, essays and interviews – the past and present experiences and accomplishments that are relevant to this vision, and by identifying the school-specific offerings that will make your vision attainable, you’ll be creating an air-tight case for your admission.
Easy-peasy, right? Maybe. But if all of this seems a little overwhelming to you, you’re in good company. The admissions consultants at The MBA Exchange can help with customized strategies and proven tactics. When you contact us to request a free, expert analysis of your application, be sure to tell us what you want to do with your life; and more importantly, tell us what you want others to say about you while you’re living – and remember about you after you’re dead.