The last few years haven’t been kind. Most good and capable professionals in eviable pre MBA jobs had to face the heat of an economy that went spiralling out of control, in the wrong direction. Companies felt the easiest way to deal with it was to cut costs, and employees were easy targets. So much for the ‘Our employees are our biggest assets’ spiel.
A whole lot of guys who got the short end of the stick didn’t know how to deal with the unexpected change of events. Many started looking at MBA programs to fill in the vacuum. But the bschool application process isn’t easy or fast. It takes at least 1 full year for applicants to go through the whole rigamarole of GMAT preparation, TOEFL/IELTS test, MBA essay writing, recommendation, transcripts.
And then if you haven’t got another job in the interim, there’s the tricky part of explaining what you did in the previous 1 year before joining bschool.
One good way to tackle career breaks is to talk about how you converted the forced break into a sabbatical. If you went on a back-packing tour, or learnt to play the piano, or got trained in a new language or volunteered for some cause that you believe it. Use that to explain how you grew on the personal front when you were suddenly blessed with a lot of free time and complete freedom to pursue activities outside work.
Professional life saps the energy out of employees and that’s one of the big excuses applicants have for not having any time for pursuing activities that interest them.
Use your essays to demonstrate how you saw opportunity in adversity. You could have slid into depression and sat in a corner sulking. But you didn’t do that. That demonstrates your maturity and your perseverance. Businesses and people both go through bad phases. If you’ve managed to resurrect yourself from personal crises, chances are you’ll be able use that trait to do the same for the businesses that you lead after the MBA.
The next application season is slowly sneaking up on us. Pull your socks up and get into action mode. Chak de phatte, guys!