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The term ‘Leadership’ has been bastardized by Instagram, motivational gurus, corporate honchos and spiritual leaders of all reputation. The MBA Admissions team has a realistic expectation of your leadership narrative. Unless you were a Founder of a successful startup (unlikely to apply for an MBA) that exited for millions of dollars, leadership doesn’t require ‘saving the world’ qualities.

Leadership Definition for MBA Application

Leadership simply translates to IMPACT and permanent change in the way the company, project, team or a client operated. If you have directly contributed in introducing processes, technology, products, communication framework or expanded the context of the problem to a long-term view where IMPACT lies, the examples will show your potential as a leader.

Changing Culture as an example for MBA Application

We had a client, who transposed a US start-up culture to India

For 2-years he worked in a start-up in the US where the team ranged in age from 22 to 58. There was no one spoon feeding on the...

Categories : Leadership

Leadership Traits MBA ApplicationLeadership traits cannot be learned from manuals and textbooks. It consists of behavioral patterns and traits that are organically evolved in people. Some traits are inherited and others, acquired, but the important ones are acquired by overcoming challenges.

For instance, choice between ethics and inflated profits is a clear test of the leader’s moral compass. The best decisions, maintain a balance between good ethics and healthy profits. If an ethical dilemma prevails, then leaders should rely more on hindsight and less on intuition. It is not easy to judge leadership potential, but most MBA AdCom agrees that applicants with leadership potential show most of the following qualities.

1. Self-regulation

Self-regulation determines the manner in which leaders behave in the workplace. The leaders who do not keep emotions in check, would likely put off people; and the ones who do, gains amiable support from peers. Before enforcing rules and regulations in business, leaders should ensure complete adherence from their part. One of the ways to gauge this trait among MBA applicants is to look at past records – both academic and professional. A simple phone...

Categories : Leadership

Courage MBA Leadership QualitiesWhat is the first image that comes into your mind when you think about leadership? For me it is someone who inspires a large crowd to listen carefully, and act decisively. Most likely, the action is not routine and require you to come out of your comfort zone. When Gandhi inspired Indians to protest against the tax laws of the British, he was not asking them to like a post or re-tweet a ‘thought’. He was asking millions of Indians to join a 240-mile march from Ahmedabad to Dandi in protest against the salt taxes, and violate the British Law by producing Salt in the coastal town of Navsari. The march in 1930 was the pre-cursor to India’s independence movement.

When MBA Admissions team asks you to write about leadership, one quality that they actively seek in a candidate is courage. Unfortunately, applicants tend to devalue their moment of courage as a routine action, and in many of our interactions with applicants, we have found it to be true. To figure out the moment of courage in your professional and personal life, we have shortlisted three qualities that define ‘courage’.


We have an instinctual bias towards people who act, not the ones...

Categories : Leadership

MBA Leadership Explicit Values
When MBA Applicants are asked to write about leadership, they start with how they allocated the tasks to the team, monitored, and completed them as per the schedule. Managers play a pivotal role in project management, but when schools ask about leadership, they are not expecting your experiences as a Manager. The implicit questions hidden behind the ‘leadership’ question are three:

a) How did you manage a Crisis?

As we face one challenge after the other, our values metamorphose, and our foundational values change. The foundation takes shape as a child, primarily through our parents or the primary caregiver. We mimic the behavior of the adult, and unknowingly absorb implicit values behind each action. If the adult is a risk taker and encouraged you to experiment, make mistakes, and learn from it, an Entrepreneurial streak would have become part of your DNA. The sub-conscious reaction to the crisis is a learned value from childhood but with each experience, the values change, either as a...

Categories : Leadership

Self Knowledge MBA Leadership360-Degree feedback about Managers and leadership rarely offer an in-depth review of what is lacking in a leader. In such a scenario, knowing about oneself is limited to the opinions of the close network, majority of whom depends on the leader’s evaluation for promotion and other benefits. When the balance of power is blatantly one-sided, leaders live in a bubble. The grandiose self-image comes from the exaggerations of sycophants.

If you had the opportunity to lead a team, what was the biggest criticism that was hurled against you? Find out how to showcase your leadership by downloading our Essay Guide.

Most 360-degree feedback offers token criticism like “too much control” and praises hidden as criticism like “non-negotiable deadlines.”  The most obvious criticism in such an environment is “lack of inspiration”.


When was the last time you sat with a team member, and asked her to list five areas where you can improve? It takes a strong...

Categories : Leadership

Leadership MBA AcknowledgementLeaders have the ability to listen and empathize. But acknowledging a person involve more than that. We had comprehensively covered about leadership qualities in our Essay Guide (download here). A quality that proves our listening capacity is the ability to acknowledge. As kids, we were trained to acknowledge the other person while they were talking. The rudest listeners gaze up, or get distracted when the conversation lasts more than 30 seconds. The speaker gets anxious and feels disrespected when the listener shows signs of “boredom”. In a 140-character universe, this tendency might seem acceptable but leaders are the exception.

Acknowledge Emotions

Great leaders have the ability to acknowledge emotions. During the 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton famously used the words “I feel your pain”. Although the authenticity of the emotions...

Categories : Leadership

MBA Leadership Trait - Reaching OutLeaders possess an innate ability to reach out to the marginalized, the underdogs, and the “odd one out”. This seems an unnecessary chore but leaders understand that to get the team to work as a single unit there should not be an ‘odd one out’ that affects the team spirit.

We had a star performer in our company whom people hated. The man in his mid-30s had a family, and the burden of managing the family was worn in his sleeves. He had no time for silly discussions, and when team meets every week, he was sure to miss the fun. As a team, you are likely to meet some aberrations and the leaders in our case – the manager did not find it worthwhile to convince the senior team member to join the discussion. He was a critical piece in the puzzle when it came to solving complex problems. With a new project, leadership changed, and the new Manager was hell bent on finding the root cause.

Instead of avoiding the star performer, the Manager engaged with him, talked about the challenges, and obtained valuable inputs about the project. He wanted to get reviews about team members. Initially, the reclusive star performer hesitated to give inputs but with persistent prompting, he spelled out the problem – “My...

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