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How to differentiate yourself in a B-school application

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Getting into a top tier B-school is a dream. And as you are aware, it is not easy. Faced with many strong applications, it is a difficult job for the admissions committee to decide on which ones to select for the next round. Hence, differentiating yourself in your application is a must. Otherwise, you would remain a mere number in the pool of similar looking applications. SO how do you really differentiate yourself. Here are a few pointers:


  • Be very structured and clear in your thought process: Being structured is a pre-requisite of sorts for admission committees. A poorly drafted, unstructured application essay will not hold the attention of the reviewer, resulting in instantaneous rejection. Hence, it is of prime importance to have an organized essay, flowing seamlessly across paragraphs and bringing out a compelling story that the adcom can’t ignore.
  • Know exactly WHY an MBA fits in your career goal: Your career goal can showcase facets of your personality which might not come out in other areas and are unique to you. For example, ‘I want to do A for the rest of my life because of B (the reason could be anything-even personal to you). This will also help you manage the above point better
  • Talk about achievements and not mere efforts: Adcoms look for future leaders who the B school will be proud to refer to as alumni. Hence, rather than talking about efforts (e.g. I worked 16 hours a day for 2 months on a deal), talk about achievements (e.g. I was the lead analyst of a $500 million M&A deal).Achievements are at the heart of your story, they are the deal makers in a B-school application essay. Ensure you utilise the word-limit judiciously and speak about your achievements (and not only efforts) in your essays.
  • Bring out the impact: Various applicants have too many stories to tell. However, given the limitations on the number of essays / word-limit on each essay, they find it difficult to decide which one to talk about. The answer to that is very straightforward: talk about the most impactful story – the one that will have a lasting impression on the adcom. That story may neither be the a recent one, nor associated with a brand your worked with, but it should be the one you are most proud of!
  • Showcase various facets of your personality: B schools love diversity. Other things being equal, they would select the more diverse profile – one which goes beyond academic and professional achievements. So bring out the dancer / singer / painter / mountaineer in you and showcase it in your application. It will go far in getting admission to your dream school

To connect with your ISB application consultant (an ISB alumnus) and prepare a strong ISB application, click here


The author is an ISB alumnus and Co-Founder of Strategy4GMAT.

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