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MBA Video Essays: Ready for Your Close Up?

September 6 2018 By The MBA Exchange
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Originally posted on July 17, 2015, we are pleased to share a slightly refreshed version of this timely topic!

Does staring into a webcam and responding to an MBA adcom’s question that you’ve never heard before make your knees buckle and head spin? Well, you’re not alone! Thousands of business school applicants have that same reaction to the mere mention of those dreaded two words: “video essay.”

Regardless of how you feel about it, this component of the MBA application process is here to stay. As we predicted back in 2015, it has become even more common! Admissions officers at schools that use video to help assess applicants do so for two reasons: efficiency and authenticity. The chance to look into the eyes of an eager admit and analyze how he or she communicates under pressure is very tempting.

You could simply avoid applying to the schools that require video essays. However, it would be a shame for you to miss out on the chance to attend your dream MBA program for that reason. Instead, you can turn the video essay into a valuable device for convincing the adcom that your candidacy is truly special and deserves their highest consideration.

But how does an MBA applicant get past the jitters to become a video star? It really comes down to these 3 basic steps:

1. Preparation.
Being able to identify which aspects of your candidacy align best with the school’s admissions criteria is essential. And you have to do it quickly and naturally in front of a camera. This requires organizing your candidacy within a simple framework from which you can retrieve and articulate your key selling points, depending upon the question being asked. During the “analysis & planning” component of our Comprehensive Consultation, we help our clients create a matrix that organizes their best examples into an actionable construct.

2. Practice.
Once you have your potential content organized in your head, it’s time to gain proficiency and confidence in articulating it. There’s only one way to do this – repetition. Producing practice videos in which you reply to an array of potential questions will help you overcome the doubts and fears that constrain most applicants

3. Refinement.
Once you feel reasonably comfortable with the content and delivery of your practice videos, it’s time to elevate your performance. This requires candid feedback, constructive criticism, and actionable advice. You could ask a trusted friend, colleague or family member to help you. But, in most cases, they’ll know less about video communication than you do. That’s why The MBA Exchange features professional editors to help improve messaging and a video essay coach with expertise in production. Our clients benefit from this guidance and support so that when they’re answering real questions from an MBA adcom, the substance and style of their replies are top notch.

So, don’t let the challenge of video essays deter you from pursuing admission at any business school. You don’t need to become a movie star or news anchor in order to succeed. Being yourself and telling your compelling story is all that it takes. With preparation, practice and refinement, your video essays can really shine.

Lights, camera, ACTION!