Emotional Intelligence emerged in the public domain in 1990 with the influential article – “Emotional Intelligence” in the journal - Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, but became part of general vocabulary in 1995 with Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.
Business Schools have adapted the essays to measure some of the key metrics that are used to analyze emotional intelligence.
Why Emotional Intelligence is important for management?
A high IQ or ability to solve Quant and Verbal, as measured by GMAT, does not reveal whether a person can excel in a team environment. Are the candidates self-aware? Can they manage their emotions? Can they communicate effectively? Will they manage and respond to a team’s emotional cycles? Can they maintain focus on the bigger picture?
Essays in MBA application measure four aspects of emotional intelligence: clarity of thoughts, motivation, persistence, and ability to recognize emotions.
1) Clarity of Thoughts
Most MBA application essays are still in written format. To write effectively about one’s weaknesses, strengths, failures and successes, candidates have to analyze their career and personal life with minimum biases, even before writing a single word. With each question, essays measure personal attributes and applicants who understand the scope & context of the question will be able to convey their thoughts in a concise manner.
Another common theme in MBA application essays is motivation. The “Why MBA” and “Why Now” essay questions are some of the classic examples. These are the first set of questions that give insights into the candidate’s psyche. Are they motivated to change their career path with one year/two-year break, and switch job functions, industries or both? Although words can mask emotions, eventually the coherence of argument and knowledge about post-MBA career paths will be evident in the essays. Unless the candidate does due diligence with Business School research, and understand the various career paths that she can take, the essays will not be effective.
Motivation is not limited to the “Why MBA” questions. AdCom also wants to learn how candidates motivate themselves after failure and how they motivate team members to achieve common goals.
Another key trait that constitutes emotional intelligence is persistence. Delayed gratification is a key behavior characteristic that is integral in developing persistence. Often, the ones who quit a project midway or give up on a goal are the ones who do not believe in delayed gratification, and cannot foresee a better future. Applicants should be able to articulate the motivation behind persisting. What are the aspects of the goal that motivated the applicant to persist even under extreme pressure? How did they envision a better future?
4) Ability to Recognize emotions
Recognizing emotions is the foundation for Emotional Intelligence (EI). According to Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer - the first researchers to bring EI to mainstream, Emotional Intelligence is:
“the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions"
To recognize emotions in oneself and others, the applicant should be sensitive to each emotional states. To acknowledge negative emotions, applicants should be mature - one of the qualities that the AdCom admire. To think clearly and act, after recognizing negative emotions, requires focus on team goals.
Once you understand the four characteristics that Business Schools use to measure Emotional Intelligence, it will be easier to review the essay, and measure its effectiveness.
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Winning MBA Essay Guide Includes
+Harvard MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
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+ The Art of Storytelling
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+ Review Tips
+ Persuasion Strategies
+ The Secret to "unleashing" your unique voice
+ How to write about your Strengths
+ How to write about your Weaknesses