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MBA Application


" Darden strives to identify and cultivate responsible leaders who follow their purpose. Please provide an example of a situation in which you have made a meaningful impact. (200 Words)”

The Purpose: “Darden strives to identify and cultivate responsible leaders who follow their purpose”

The goal behind the question is to understand whether your impact is in alignment with the greater purpose in your life. An explicit statement about the purpose sneaked into the narrative is the only way to navigate the limitations of a 200 words short-question

Framing Purpose Statement

In 2006 when I was brainstorming the purpose of my life in a 3-day session called Perspective, I had to stand in front of a 20-something crowd and shout out my purpose. Everyone in the audience should believe that I would achieve the purpose by analyzing the sincerity of the proclamation. Even when I felt really good about shouting out my purpose like a mad man, there would be one skeptic in the audience who would say, “I don’t believe him” or “I don’t feel it.”

Tired, and frustrated, I would go back to my chair, edit my purpose statement, and come back. Each word must land, connect to the next supporting statement, and finally mesh into an idea of a ‘purpose.’ This went on for an hour, and I shouted at least 12 to 15 times. Finally, when I thought I would never complete...

Categories : MBA Application

I had this client, who had a tough time articulating why he was a natural-born leader. The class monitor to college president to leadership roles in the current job was self-evident in the resume. Unfortunately, not all schools look at the resume and say to themselves – here is a leader. Even military applicants, who have leadership experience and skills in managing a highly volatile environment had to start offering context on ‘why their job’ is unlike any other.

When applicants are nudged to start the draft, many come back to me with the question that you might also have – “where do I begin.”


I tried to create narratives on the school experience. Perhaps his father had a role in inculcating the habit of owning responsibilities at a younger age. The narrative didn’t resonate with him. Perhaps he wants to take ownership of the students’ outcome in school. Not really.

Finally, I asked him what excited him the most about his journey. Immediately, he went into an extensive narrative of his current job and its complexity. Managing the suppliers, negotiating the price, planning for the operations, and the...

In early 2008 when the seeds of Entrepreneurship were sowing into my mind, I used to hang out with Entrepreneurs a lot – technologists who want to revolutionize the consumer market, small business owners who had scaled, and any relative who extended the brand to multiple geographies. One such legend was a gentleman in his mid-60s, who had his humble beginnings in an obscure village in South India but went on to create a recognizable Consumer Goods brand. I would assist his meetings and initiate conversations with potential customers. Through his authenticity and obsessive focus on reaching a win-win deal, he would close one deal after another, with a signature, “My team will reach out to you later today.” There was no shortage of showoff. The meetings were always in luxury hotels with the tab taken over by the Entrepreneur. In one of the weeks where the deals hit some ungodly record, my reminder for the meeting at 11:00 am went unanswered. I visited his house. He had a few extra liquid courage the night before. Sitting at the palatial bungalow, I would see what it seems like a small stone in his hand. He was engaged in a wrestling move, fighting to squeeze the last drop of paste out of the tube.

I was intrigued by the duality of luxurious spending and austerity for toothpaste.

...

Applicants learn the fundamentals of writing a persuasive essay when we brainstorm the most relevant stories, edit and captures the most impactful achievements in the resume, and share techniques of storytelling through Winning MBA Essay Guide. The brainstorming, as part of capturing the most relevant life experience, involves writing narratives on your motivations, leadership skills, and life lesson. This exercise, although exhaustive would give applicants the start to bring experience to life through persuasive phrases. But not all narratives start in the right direction

First Draft

The first draft of an essay is messy with the applicant’s consciousness poured into the answer without structure, relevance, and sometimes missing the intent of the question. The flawed output could be discarded as a rambling of an applicant desperately seeking admissions. But through the process of pouring one’s heart out, the applicant touches upon points that missed the initial brainstorming sessions or captures a moment of vulnerability that breaks the ‘foolproof’ impression that one gets from the resume.

...

Now that you have an overview of the kind of candidates who are accepted at MIT Sloan (read our Essay Guide), it is time to do a life audit. We recommend this to all our clients. If you skip this exercise, the chances are that you will cite a ‘not so great’ event that will miss the mark due to perceived non-competitiveness of your role or lack of context, or both. Especially with 300-words and a professionally communicative device like the cover letter, you can’t cite multiple examples from your professional life.
 
When you are shortlisting the most impactful events for MIT Sloan, follow the three-structure format

Achievement Overview-> Achievement Specifics -> Impact of your team’s success


Our team earned the honor of the fastest growing department in China Telecom contributing a yearly revenue of $500 million, allowing the company to invest the surplus cash in 5G technology.

<Achievement Overview>
  Our team earned the honor of the fastest growing department in China Telecom

<Achievement Specifics> contributing a yearly revenue of over $500 million
...


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 : MBA Application

“I am currently working on a robotics project that would solve the potential food shortage in 2030”

The MBA applicant was answering my question on “what is your core story”


He began insisting that the project is unlike any other. I agreed. Among all the ‘cool’ technology solutions I have heard, this was the first one that had an ‘Avenger’ like ‘saving humanity’ theme to it.

“Your cool project is not your core story”


It is tough to admit especially from someone like me whose identity is closely linked to what I do.

If you ask me ‘what is my core story’, I can go on about the diverse content and services that we are offering, but it is not.


When I began partnering with an MBA Admissions consultant in 2010, I introduced an Applicant to her services. ...




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