The Importance of Being Yourself in the MBA Application Process

Being Yourself

by: madbubbles

Hi All. Hope you all had a great holiday season. I wish you all a very happy new year 2010 and may all your dreams come true!

On my side, I received the first taste of success in my MBA application journey when Tepper admitted me to the class of 2012 and selected me as Forte Fellow. I am preparing for my Darden interview which will happen this week. Amidst all these happenings, one thing that stood out as the most essential aspect of my MBA application process was the importance of being yourself.

Being yourself simply means listening to your heart, understanding your aspirations and following them. This is important all through one’s life and especially so in the MBA application process. In that context, I will just list down the various steps where it becomes important to be yourself and follow your heart.

  • The MBA decision – It starts as early as the moment you start thinking about MBA. Its entirely upto the individual to decide whether he/she requires an MBA or not. In my post on MBA Channel – The MBA decision, I have mentioned possible reasons to pursue/not to pursue an MBA.
  • Timing one’s MBA –  How much work experience one needs to get before turning to B school is again a personal choice. One can choose to get her MBA soon after graduation or after some X years of work experience.

  • School Selection – Always, always, always select a school based on factors of personal fit. Though rankings play a good role in selecting B school, you should always have your personal choices as a major factor in selecting schools. Only you can tell if you like a big class size or small class size, finance hub or entrepreneurship hub, urban or university town etc. So be yourself in your school choices.

  • The essays and Interview – It becomes very important to personalize your candidacy as you project it to schools via your essays and interview. Be yourself and tell them the truth. Don’t try to be someone who can please the AdCom. Never try to wear a facade of someone who is not you. Here is excerpt from Interview with Sara Neher, Admissions Director, Darden School of business.

"I don’t always expect people to reveal as much about fit as I think some schools might. I think that if you tell me who you are, what you’re about and what you want to accomplish, I’ll be able to see if you’re a fit or not. It’s more important to me that we get personal details, because one of the mistakes people make is regurgitating the Web site back to us. You telling me that you want to take so-and-so’s class or the case method is important because of what we put on our Web site is just a waste of your word count. It shows me that you can read our Web site, but it doesn’t show me anything about who you are."

So there you go. It’s really refreshing to be yourself and understand what you really want to do, what you are passionate about. I have done it and it has worked positively now. So if any of you are looking for a best thing to help your MBA apps or even to that matter a New Year resolution, here is my 2 cents, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."


madbubbles is an International MBA applicant and MBA in the USA® global blogger. Follow her on Twitter @mbabubbles and check out her blog here.

Author: Grayson Leverenz

Grayson Leverenz founded MBA in the USA® to help international students build networks, find jobs, and have fun in the USA. Hundreds of global professionals have benefited from Grayson’s intercultural workshops, and she has worked with people from Brazil, China, India, South Africa, South Korea, the UK, and the USA to build effective virtual teams and craft brilliant careers.

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  1. Nice thoughts. Can’t agree more.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Hari. Posts by madbubbles are definitely some of my favorites. I checked out your blog, and enjoyed reading it; the consultants vs. bankers video was priceless. Best of luck with your application journey!


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