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July 1st, 2014

Most Important Expression for a B – School: Why do I love you ?

Most Important Expression for a B School

All of you will face a very important question stating “How will our school help you in your goals?” or “How will our school help you reach where you want to reach?”.

In this article, I wanted to reach out to you and bring up a better understanding of how focused you should appear while you are building your response to these questions.  Any top tier MBA program will be very keen on learning more about your interests and knowing more about how they can add value to your profile. And I always use the analogy of “Dating”. Just as in any dating endeavours that you may have lived through, schools want the same personal attention of knowing why are they important enough for you and what parameters did you look at while making that decision.

WE WILL LOOK AT: The three Varying Degrees (From worst to Best) of the response to “Why do you want to pursue MBA from our school?”

 WHOM DOES IT REFER TO?

Existing Candidates:  You are an existing candidate and are currently working on your school specific essays. This will help you in giving a “Degree 3” expression mentioned below. You already have a good framework to follow for the first and second degree, and this will further create a very articulate expression.

Prospective Candidates: If you are currently contemplating starting with us, and we have spoken on the recent past, this will probably help you in the thought process. I have already been sharing a lot of other emails around personal statement, class visits and other related chain of messages that may apply to your candidature as well.

GMAT Test Takers: If you are considering GMAT, and are a part of our classroom program( or have enquired but are still contemplating), this will probably apply to you in the near future. But there is never a bad time to think about “Why this particular school?” .

WHAT IS THE TOPIC?

Worst to best case scenarios of approaching the question: “Why do you want to come to our school?”

A lot of people spend enormous amount of energy on the school’s website in learning more about the popularity of the program and the major accomplishments, and in final expression on the essay, they are essentially describing something that the admissions office is already aware of, and something that the admissions office designed in order to sell the school to you.

i.e. They developed their elevator pitch to sell the school to you and the entire world. And you picked up the same pitch while describing “Why is this particular school good for you?”….. Just imagine the number of essays they will be passing through specially on weekends (YES ! A lot of admissions committee members love to go through the applications on the weekends as their day to day routine on a weekday does not allow them to lay keen attention to details on endless documents). And one after the other, they just read the same prose describing “Why is Wharton an amazing school?”

Three Degrees of essays (Starting with the worst)

Degree 1

Worst Expression of “Why Wharton is meant for you?” – The worst expression responding to this essay question will involve statements containing all the superlatives from their website. As stated earlier, you will be talking about “How Wharton is the greatest brand in the business community?” “How Wharton has an accomplished alumni?” “How the curriculum is the best in the industry?” and the overall academia, teaching quality, and the overall IVY league stature of the university. While some of you may not like to agree, this may be the worst expression you can have while responding to “Why do I want to join your school?”. They asked for “Why are we meant for you?” and you told them “Why are they the GREATEST school and why are they meant for everyone?”. You lost that personal touch that should have contained an equation describing “How Wharton will fit your goals and your aspirations, and how could you personally relate to Wharton?”

Degree 2

The next degree( better than the one above but not the most suitable) is more specific around some of the target courses, clubs, and the teachers, and the other international projects, or practical engagements you get to work on. Essentially, the candidate is following the framework that covers

–       Everything Included in Degree 1

PLUS ( Adding the following)

–       Some courses that the candidate is interested in: The school understands that you went through their website and wanted to introduce a personal touch.

–       Some clubs that you would like to be a part of: even though they had specialized essays on this one last year, you still ventured into explaining this in “Why this school?” essay.

–       Geographical preferences ( Being on the North East) + Proximity to New York ( For people planning a career in Finance or even consulting

–       The school’s philosophy and how you could relate to it and made them realize you were meant to live with it.

Degree 3

The next degree in the entire sequence of seriousness includes a great emphasis on “What measures you have taken to learn more about the school?” “What are the specific areas that can really help you in generating value in your profession and in your life?”. Think about it this way: They are not just looking at a two year association: They are very interested in a life time relationship of getting you as very successful alum. What will make this expression most serious

Degree 1

PLUS (Adding the following)

Degree 2

PLUS (Adding the following)

–       What measures did you take to learn about the school and your overall learning curve about them: Something that makes the admissions committee member value your statement: Do you know some schools have specific essays on “What measures have you taken to learn more about the school?”

–       These measures include but are not limited to

  • Conversing with the alumni in India/International locations/current students
  • Building the right elevator pitch to showcase your readiness for their program and asking smart questions. Smart questions are the ones that seek smart opinions and not address mere facts.
  • Finding time to network with the right people within your area of interest (Industry / Function).
  • Spending some extra money to make a trip to the target country and visit your target schools. It is not a bad idea of take a two week vacation and show the seriousness to your schools by visiting their campuses. Visiting their campuses does not mean you will be hanging out aloof in the school campus. A planned school visit essentially is your opportunity to interact with the key members of the school committee, and conduct informational interviews. It also gives the school an opportunity to display their strengths to you in action.

While there is no “SET FRAMEWORK” for Degree 3 and the one used in Degree 2 just sets the foundation of this expression, the overall goal is to build up that maturity in the personal statement. And BY GOD! There is no doubt that with your attention to details on the points mentioned in Degree 3, and your perseverance, your tone , your expression and your overall reason for “Why this school?” takes the most meaningful turns. These small steps incrementally give such an amazing deviation from the monologue that you were planning to write initially (the one with sleeping pills for the admissions committee members).

Thank You !

Jatin ( PythaGURUS Admissions Team).

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