Are You "Unique" ?

It's getting hard to stand out these days. It sometimes seems as if everyone meanders through life with the same or similar routine, all doing the same or similar thing - so when it comes time to differentiate yourself in your b-school application, how do you pull it off?

Schools are actually very enamored with the achievements of their incoming class, and for good reason. Having a diverse class increases the innovation that happens when solving problems or tackling business cases and sends smart, high achieving MBAs out into the workplace to do the same. Our global marketplace demands the perspective of a wide variety of individuals to produce products and services which appeal to everyone and consider all angles. This all adds up to profitability. Admissions directors talk about their students like so many grandchildren, listing accomplishments and bragging on talent like an aging foster parent.

But what does it really mean to be unique?

The best way to give you an idea of what schools like to brag about, is to look at a list from a top tier b-school of things they tout about their most recent incoming class, which apparently contained:

•    A Wheel of Fortune winner and a Jeopardy contestant
•    The inventor of The Keg Koozy
•    A novelist
•    An engineer who holds 6 lighting patents in China
•    A forensic consultant
•    The only female competitor of the National Championship Sailing Team
•    A professional lacrosse player
•    A student whose grandfather founded the Grammy Awards
•    A White House Intern
•    An activist who raised over $200,000 for cancer research by biking from Austin to Anchorage
•    A Silver Military Science Award winner for developing the image navigation system on the M14 missile
•    A welterweight silver medal winner of the Indian National Boxing Championships
•    A pilot
•    An environmentalist who lived in a rainforest for 5 years
•    A calligrapher whose work is on display in the Louvre
•    A trapeze circus performer who trained at the Circus School of Moscow
•    A yacht builder
•    A bowling medalist in the Junior Olympics
•    A baseball player from the Mexican National Team
•    A country music DJ from the Middle East
•    An elite army sniper who served in the Second Lebanon War

So you can see that schools are impressed with a wide variety of achievements, and it's not always just about what they have done personally.

Perhaps you have a unique cultural history or a family tradition which is unusual? While it's certainly helpful if you met an impressive goal or participated in a crazy adventure, know that you don't have to have cured cancer or saved a village from burning down to get attention. Revisit your past in your mind and think about the one or two stories you always seem to mention when the opportunity arises to toot your own horn. We are all unique in some way…perhaps you simply need to take a fresh look at your past to remind yourself of something impressive!

If you would like to discuss the unique nuances of your individual background one a one-hour complimentary consultation, please contact us at or

Are you a unique applicant to business school? One of these is not like the others.

Are you a unique applicant to business school? One of these is not like the others.