There are times when things feel so crazy, out of control, and even hopeless that our own individual pursuits start to feel trivial, selfish, and even misguided.
I can remember vivid moments over the past 10+ years where I had a distinct feeling of living the wrong life, given what was going on around me. When the financial collapse took hold in 2009, I thought to myself "why did I leave corporate law - where I could be part of the solution - to instead help people apply to business school right in the teeth of a recession?" I watched "Making a Murderer" on Netflix and kicked myself for not remaining a lawyer ... but this time not a corporate lawyer, but instead a constitutional attorney like the individuals portrayed early in that documentary series. And now, as police/citizen animus and race problems in America reach new heights, as the EU teeters, as a sitting US President remains clouded in controversy, and as [seriously, enter any of a dozen paralyzing issues] I sometimes am not even sure what I should be doing. But I do know it doesn't feel like enough; it feels to insular and self-absorbed and small. But then it occurred to me: I bet a lot of people feel that way, including my past and present clients pursuing an MBA. So let's talk about that.
One question that we get a lot from clients is "what does the adcom want to hear?" Not only is this the wrong way to approach the process in terms of being an authentic, introspective, and interesting candidate, but it also completely misunderstands who is reading your file. We don't believe in trying to play pin-the-tail-on-the-admissions-officer when it comes to your essays, but we do believe to writing to your audience.
Today is one of those days on the calendar that tend to stop everyone in their tracks and dominate the headlines. Nevermind that the Kellogg Round 1 deadline is tomorrow or that some people found out today that they were admitted to MIT - no, it's all about the HBS Round 1 notification deadline. Interview or ding? Rather, interview or ding or deferral, as that appears to be a popular option this year as well. Let's make sense of things and offer some advice on how to respond from here. We'll group it result-by-result.