If you are a typical MBA applicant, you are ambitious, hard-charging and busy as a beaver. Just remember when you apply that it’s not all about work achievements.
We all have a dual identity. There’s the person we are at work and the person we are outside of work. This is not to imply that we are somehow different people in each circumstance (although we all know someone whose personality looks very different when they are on the clock vs. off). This simply means that we hopefully “have a life” outside of work.
Applying to business school is not like applying to a job. When you’re applying to a job, your potential employer might ask you what you do for fun outside of work, but it’s more of an ice-breaker. They really could not care less about your personal life as long as you can pass a background check.
B-schools actually care about the person you are when you are off the clock.
Why? Well, for starters, business school is an all-in existence for two years. You will spend more time engaged in your full time MBA program that you will ever spend on the job. It’s almost like getting married…till graduation you part. Business schools need to know that you are smart, insightful, hardworking, and…tolerable.
Playing well in the sandbox is of high importance to the admissions committees.
You can be the smartest person they’ve ever met, but if they perceive for one second that you cannot get along with people, you’re toast. It goes beyond your average workplace cordiality. We’re talking about late-night, all-night, Sunday-night compatibility here.
When writing your essays, make sure you don’t fall into the trap of oversharing about your workplace achievements and under-sharing from your personal life.
A good balance of who you are as a professional and who you are as a person is what will paint the best picture. Unlike superheroes, exposing your dual identity to the adcoms will set you apart and make you appealing as a well-rounded leader whose potential is unlimited. At least you hope for that kind of impression.