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Adding Personality to your B-School Application

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Getting started with your application? Here is a post to help you get that one key ingredient into your application – a personality. Ever wondered what the fundamental difference is between your resume and your business school application? Other than the fact that your application is a lot more detailed, it is also expected to demonstrate your personality.

Most of us at the time of starting the application pick our resume and begin detailing it out. That is not a wrong approach, per se, but that alone is not sufficient. For your target school the purpose of your application is not only to understand your work profile and achievements but also to know you as a person. This is important to assess the overall value that you bring to your candidacy. In a number of cases, the personality, directly or indirectly, ends up as the defining factor to choose among otherwise similar looking profiles.    

There is another way to look at it. The decision to call you for an interview, or not, is made without meeting you in person. You have to get your evaluator to ‘like’ you to help her make a strong case for your candidacy. In such a scenario, it becomes even more important to effectively demonstrate your personality in your application, to get your reviewer to ‘like’ you – beyond just your credentials.  

Let us discuss some effective ways of adding personality in your essays:

  • Tell your story: Make use of your essays to tell a captivating story, without losing the context. Let there be clear themes to your essays. Move from one point to other in a seamless manner to keep the reader (evaluator) captivated. Do not reduce the essays to a bunch of bullet points. In essence, the reader should be able to understand the central theme of your answer.  This will stick with her when she ultimately evaluates you.
  • Add Humor: Wherever possible, add humor to your essays. Obviously, it has to be in good taste and in context. A person with a good sense of humor is very likely to be a confident person who can handle pressure situations. These are very important traits that a school wants in their candidates.
  • Don’t shy away from adding trivia: So, if you like to cook and serve – please go ahead and mention it in your essays. While the admission team will not select you for your cooking skills but they surely add few points to your social skills. So, it always helps to share limited amount of such trivia, but not at the cost of important information.

In conclusion, the evaluator will make an impression of your personality in the application and that will influence her decision. Inject ‘your’ personality into your application, and capture those additional points. All the best!

About Anshul Gupta

Anshul is an MBA Application & Interview consultant with more than 5 years of experience. He has helped candidates get into top B-Schools in the US, Europe, & Asia-Pacific region. An ISB Hyderabad Alumnus himself, he has been part of their admissions team and has evaluated application for his alma mater. Know more

1 Answer

Career Preamble

Christopher Nolan's 2006 Hollywood hit "The Prestige" opens with the following lines:

Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called "The Pledge". The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course... it probably isn't. The second act is called "The Turn". The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it, because of course you're not really looking. You don't really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn't clap yet. Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back. That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call "The Prestige".

Writing essays for B-school applications may often feel as complex as pulling off a magic trick. After spending hours writing multiple drafts and iterations, you may feel that something is still missing, stopping your essay from becoming magical. Lets follow Christopher Nolan to figure out what can transform your essay from average fare to awesome sauce:


Lets take the essay on challenges you overcame for illustration. You may have cleared IIT entrance in spite of surmounting challenges, or you may have gotten a critical project delivered against all odds or you may have helped homeless families get a roof over their head. Great job!! All other applicants would have done something similar. How do you differentiate yourself?

You stand out by virtually transporting the essay reviewers to the scene of action. Do not just describe what you saw or what you did. Talk about how you felt when you first saw the challenge. Help the essay reviewers visualize the scenario. Elaborate on the emotions you felt when you overcame the obstacles and tasted success. Let the essay reviewers take vicarious pleasure in your achievements, because this would remind them of their own days. Engage them.

Career Preamble - For top notch B-school essays



You have so many life events to choose from when you are writing an essay but you also have a word limit. For instance, take the essay on achievements. So lets say you are a computer science graduate who became the secretary of the College Debating Club at college, led your coding team to complete a client project before time and got a paid internship to trade renewable energy bonds in Germany.

The essay reviewers can figure out how you might have become the secretary of the College debating club or how you finished the client project before deadline. They have already been through such situations. But they would not be able to figure out how you ended up being in Germany and that too in trading of bonds. To find that out, they will call you for the interview.


When a boy is proposing to a girl, he can be Hercules-incarnate himself, and yet if he does not answer the simple question from that girl “Why me?”, the proposal is doomed. One of the things a B-school usually wants to understand is why you want to do an MBA and why from that particular B-school only. So even as you enchant the essay reviewer, it is important that you mention from time to time how a particular situation could have been handled better, if only you had done an MBA and especially from the B-school in question, because it has a great course on the topic. Lets consider the essay on challenges once again. So for example, when you share how you handled a difficult sub-ordinate successfully, do share that you would be able to handle it even better after you have done a course in “managing teams” from ABC School of Management. It may not be genuine, and the essay reviewer may figure out that it is not genuine. But it would at the very least demonstrate that you have done your research on the girl…err..the B-school.

So engage, mystify and link your way to MBA glory!! Do share your feedback and experiences with us at

This article was first published here: Career Preamble

About Career Preamble

At Career Preamble, we assist students and working professionals seeking admission in premier B-schools. We do this by evaluating profiles of prospective applicants for chances of success in admission. Thereafter Career Preamble helps them create effective and succinct essays, SOP and resume to enhance their chances of a successful application. In addition, we help applicants crack the interview round using mock interview sessions with detailed feedback. You can find out out more about us at

answered Dec 16, 2015 by Beginner (1 point)
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Jyotsna Mehta

Indian School of Business, Co'18

I am very thankful to Gmatxchange and would definitely recommend Gmatxchange mentors to all those students applying for MBA admissions

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