Summertime is essentially MBA application prep season. While most people are jetting around the globe to sit by a lovely beach or visit a trendy city, MBA applicants are busy organizing themselves in anticipation of application release dates. Writing a personal statement is a great way to kill the time.
One of the key things to do when preparing for MBA applications is to find your story. Finding your story warrants an entire blog discussion on its own, but a productive first step towards doing so is crafting a personal statement.
The personal statement is essentially a summary of your life which includes not only what you have done but the how and why as well.
Some schools actually require a personal statement as part of the application package, but it’s more common with Masters applications than MBA applications. Still, writing a personal statement as an MBA applicant is a great way to begin organizing your thoughts whether or not it is required. I always tell clients not to worry about length, so personal statements can be quire verbose. Better to capture too much information than not enough.
Structuring your personal statement chronologically helps you avoid getting too philosophical.
The idea is to communicate what makes you tick and how you became to be the person you are today in a straightforward and practical way, not to philosophize about your ideals. While it’s always good to speak to your values, it’s better to couch them in a narrative about your formative experiences vs. describing your life theories. Start with where you’re from and your family upbringing, and walk the reader through your personal history in a way that points to what defines you as a person and a professional.
A common mistake MBA applicants make when writing their PS is to lean towards the professional and away from the personal.
Believe it or not, admissions committees decipher far more about you from your personal side than what they can gleam from your resume. The personal statement is just that---personal. When you talk about your work experience, do it from an angle that cannot be found on your resume. When it’s time to apply, remember you will be able to submit your resume, but the PS information will more often be found in the essays. You will surprise yourself how easily the essay answers flow out onto the page if you spend some thoughtful time crafting your personal statement.