Why this kolaveri (rage) towards application essays?

“Why are these B-Schools making me write such long stories for admission?” If you are like me, you would have asked yourself this question many times.

Having been in Fisher for less than 4 months, I can tell you that this is only the beginning. After you get into a B-School, the stories will only need to get more sophisticated, polished and precise. And most importantly, your stories will need to be aligned with your audience’s interests.

An MBA admission committee at a school like Fisher is approximately faced with at least 1000 applicants per year, which amounts to about 5 applicants a day for a 6 month admissions process. Assuming the admission committee spends about 4-hours a day going through applications, that’s about 1 hour per applicant.

Now, compare this to a corporate recruiter, who looks at roughly 100 resumes in an hour, amounting to only a little over half a minute per resume. That’s definitely tougher odds. What does this mean for you, a prospective student?

You need to look at the process of writing admission essays as an investment of your time that will have long-term benefits. Dig deeper into who you truly are and why you want to do what you want to do. Business school is a journey about self-discovery and now that you have made the decision to get an MBA, start that journey now.

Don’t look at the admission essays as an opportunity to impress others, rather an opportunity to truly write about your own self. The temptation to write and speak what others want to hear is very high but it gets you nowhere, you have to be yourself. This is the only way you can distinguish yourself to an admission committee and eventually to a recruiter. Take as an example the Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble interviews for internship positions. These are 4 daylong interviews with endless rounds. If you are not passionate about what you are talking about, it will show. I have not yet seen a showman, who can be someone else for that long in such intense interviewing environment. Sooner or later, you reveal who you truly are. So, why not begin with who you really are and naturally bring out the passion.

The hard work that you put in right now to discover yourself and present your true self in a polished and professional way will give you a head start when you are in b-school.