When you are ready to begin your business school application essays, you will need to first outline your story. Our clients go through a planned process to help pull out key messages that they would like to present. We begin by having our clients complete a “brag sheet.” This manuscript should complement your resume. If the resume is a solely professional document, the brag sheet is the opposite. It’s the manuscript that talks about who you are outside of your professional career. This discusses information about your family, passions, and your obstacles. You can make your own sheet by answering questions such as:
- How many languages are you fluent in?
- How many countries have you traveled to?
- Does your family have any interesting traditions?
- Have you encountered any significant obstacles in your life?
- Do you have any patents?
Once you have filled out your brag sheet, you can sort through it and select the themes that stand out. Would you consider yourself as a leader? An innovator? These attributes come together to create your overall brand. Once you have four to five attributes, you need to support them with something that companies call “reasons to believe.” The “reasons to believe” are your real-life examples. As you write your business school essays, you will need to use very specific stories to support your brand. When you discuss specific essay questions for a given MBA program, you can refer to your brand document and run through the list of stories to decide which stories fit in with which essays. Many stories are flexible and can provide evidence for a number of attributes. Once you have coordinated these stories to particular MBA essay questions, you are ready to begin writing your essays.
As An Example:
Brand Attribute 1: Excellent Communicator
1) Founder of Toastmasters club
2) Led incoming training class at JPMorgan
3) Chosen as lead negotiator
Brand Attribute 2: Global Experience
1) Worked in four continents over past four years
2) Lived in six countries during adolescence
3) Fluent in three languages
4) Career interests focused on international expansion of current employer
For more robust guidance on your MBA application essays, check out the Stacy Blackman Consulting Essay Guide Series – school specific guides with essay tips, sample essays, information on what your target schools value and more.