What Is Your Greatest Achievement?

"I’m having trouble with the essay questions that ask me to describe my greatest life achievement."

Your Greatest Hits | Admissionado

“No matter how hard I try, I completely freeze up.

After all, I’m getting my MBA so that I could have achieve great things in the FUTURE. I just feel that what I’ve got to say is boring… Any ideas?”

We received this question from a former client. Here’s what our CEO, Jon Frank, had to say back:

I find it hard to believe that you’ve had NO great life achievements to date. Yeah, an MBA is going to help you get ahead in your career, but I’m SURE you’ve done some great things so far. And even if they aren’t GREAT, you’ve done SOMETHING… and that something could make for a great essay. So relax. You got this.

The best way to approach this sort of question is to take the pressure off a bit. It doesn’t have to be the biggest, coolest thing on earth. Not even the biggest, coolest thing you’ve done. In fact, some of the BEST versions of this essay are very “simple,” or “not impressive accomplishments.” Crossing the street, for example. Man, that sounds so easy! How could it be your best accomplishment, the reader wonders? Well, in the second paragraph, we learn that “I was born with no feet.” You get the idea.

Also, the impressive-ness comes when we talk about the lessons. So let’s say it’s a deal you worked on. Any old deal. Blablabla, it only made the company $10,000. Not a ton of cash, no, but the LESSONS you drew from it were priceless. You learned to be CONFIDENT. You learned how to manage a team. You took SOMETHING from this experience. Sure, the accomplishment wasn’t amazing, but it led to some AMAZING learnings. Again, it’s almost BETTER if the lessons are simple or obvious – it makes you seem that much more confident when you get to the lessons.

Lastly, in choosing the one to go with…don’t forget what we ALWAYS say:
think of your app like your life’s Greatest Hits album. Which of your greatest hits haven’t you written about yet? What story do you want the admissions committee members (we call them adcoms) to know that you haven’t shared yet? Got one? Go with THAT one. Write about THAT one. It doesn’t have to be so amazing or something you’d include in your memoir 30 years down the road, but it’s good for now and for showing those adcoms who you are and what you can do. Gussy it up by focusing on the lessons and you’ve officially unfrozen yourself.

Now, get writing 🙂

MBA News You Can Use: The Subconscious and B-School Admissions