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Top business schools are interested in applicants who have impressive work experience. Many selective business schools use a case study approach in their curriculum for analyzing complex business decisions. Students with substantive leadership experience are well prepared for this learning environment. Business schools are also interested in building a classroom filled with professionally diverse students.
How do you effectively communicate to a business school that you are unique, differentiated, and well positioned for this challenge?
To begin, you need to establish a convincing narrative that attending business school now makes sense given your career trajectory. You need to demonstrate that you have the maturity of business judgment that will make you a leader in their classroom. You also need to show how your record of business leadership will be enhanced by the skills that you will acquire from attending their program. You need to show how you have a learning need that only they can most uniquely meet. Likewise, you need to demonstrate that your unique qualities will enrich the dynamic culture of the business school you hope to attend. You need to demonstrate how a relationship between you and your prospective business school will be a win-win deal for both parties.
If you have a "traditional" business career (e.g., investment banker, management consultant, etc.), how do your achievements stand out from your peers? How are your accomplishments more impressive than your elite peers? Answering this question effectively may be more difficult than you think.
If you have a "non-traditional" set of experiences (e.g., you are an officer in the military who is now ready to transition into civilian business opportunities or you are a Hollywood talent agent ready to move into different kinds of business management), how do your achievements qualify as a demonstration of your business preparedness? How is your non-traditional business career an asset to you? Again, answering this question effectively may be more difficult than you think.
Many business applications ask you to complete multiple essays. You should respond to all of these essays in a manner that helps to build a complete picture of you as an applicant. You need to establish yourself as an authentic three dimensional character. In doing so, you should candidly discuss your strengths and weaknesses. Do not pretend to walk on water. Failing to show your human side would be a mistake. Demonstrating that you learn from life experiences, including your failures, is important. You need to establish yourself as a talented, likeable, and effective business leader, who has continuing potential worthy of further investment.
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