The best MBA essays aren’t about showing off your technical skills. Most Indian MBA applicants (who are engineers or work in the software industry) aren’t sure about what Admission Officers expect and they approach it like a job application.
Jon Frank, founder of Precision Essay, continues his guest series and shares some more MBA essay tips for Indian MBA applicants. This is the third in a 5-part series.
Here’s the full series:
MBA Essay Tip #1: Undo the adcom’s preconceptions about India
MBA Essay Tip #2: Don’t be so quick to throw away the tech background.
MBA Essay Tip #3: Focus on SOFT skills. Leadership, not tech.
MBA Essay Tip #4: Be creative. Take Risks.
MBA Essay Tip #5: Don’t kid yourself.
By now you know that applying for business school is a uniquely challenging process for applicants from India for a variety of reasons. In the past few weeks, I’ve discussed two (the adcom’s misconceptions and the abundance of applicants with a tech background), and offered some strategy for success.
And now it’s time for another must-do for Indian applicants:
#3: Focus on SOFT skills. Leadership, not tech.
OK, so it sounds like it might contradict with my last piece of advice, but let me explain. Yes, you have this tech background, and it can be GREAT. Like I said before, don’t throw it away.
That being said, there are some rules.
When you DO talk about your great tech background, focus on the LEADERSHIP aspects of it. And there are plenty of ‘em. How so? Well you didn’t just sit in a room, alone, coding, right? You managed a small team, even if only briefly. You led some people. You worked, and, this may even be a bit of a stretch, you led people from different COUNTRIES!
You did stuff, great stuff, and that’s the stuff adcoms need to see.
So don’t just make it seem as though you just sat in your room all day alone. Make it clear that to you, tech isn’t about code; it’s about inspiring others to help you to achieve the BIG picture.
Use your experience in tech only as a backdrop. You worked in tech, sure, but you used that role to prove your leadership. Your tech position contributed to other valuable skills: inspirational, public speaking; creative skills; your ability to make important decisions with little information.
See where I’m going with this? Your job is more than just the technical stuff… at least it has to be if you want to stand out. So dig deep and pull that stuff out. Think outside the box a bit.
Sure, on the surface you worked in technology, but what’s UNDER the surface? That’s what will set you apart. That’s what will get you into b-school.
* Next week, it’s all about the importance of creativity. And, yes, it’s verrrry important.
Next Post: MBA Essay Tip #4 – Be creative. Take Risks.