Digging One Level Deeper

I recently listened to a webinar put on by Business Week, and the admissions officers all suggested that candidates take the time to figure out how and why a particular school is a good fit for the candidate. I think this is solid advice. Too often, applicants will simply write that XYZ B-school has a fantastic alumni network, world-class professors and a cutting edge curriculum… and that’s about it.

Frankly, that’s not going to cut it. These things could have been written about any B-school. Why not take the 10-15 minutes to mine a B-school’s web-site to find the morsels that will allow you to tailor your essays in a way that will make you shine? 10-15 minutes for a lifetime of being able to say that you graduated from a fancy school? Sounds good to me.

Here’s an example. A recent client wanted to attend HBS so that she could complement the economic theories she learned in academia with some practical, on-the-ground business sense that would allow her to be a better public servant. We all know that HBS loves leaders. Why not discuss how HBS has a history of developing public servants, such as New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg.

Most applicants will throw out some generic sentences that sound good but that really state nothing substantive about the applicant’s genuine interest in attending a particular school. Don’t be like the rest of the pack. Take the small amount of time to dig down one more level to make your application stand out.

Real Estate and the MBA