Making assumptions can be risky in the admissions cycle. When I applied last year to b-schools, I had assumed that I had done my best in preparing my application. I do think it was okay to feel that way after my content went through many rounds of reviews through my friends. Sure, I emerged as a better writer through the process.
However now I seriously realize, after working with Eric, that a much smarter step would have been to take reviews from people who are experts in their field. It’s definitely expensive, but considering how expensive an MBA is and how important is it to get into the “best” school for one’s career, an expert review can be considered a fair investment. One thing to keep in mind is that there could be lot of guys who will be willing to help you out. It’s great if they know generally how the essays of a successful applicant look like. However, bad if they are just giving plain advice without knowing the reference level of b-school essays.
In this context, I am really fortunate this year to be working with Eric on my applications. Here’s an example of above:
I assumed that I had done my best in preparing my resume – focused on showing impact, leadership traits, etc. However, when I received an in-depth review of my resume from Eric, I could see how much I still needed to work on it to improve and take it to a higher level.
I had to explain my job responsibilities in a much greater detail – something I didn’t do last year because somewhere on the web, I had read that “it’s always good to mention accomplishments rather than job responsibilities.” However, one can not predict what assumptions the poster made when writing the article. In this case, the writer could have been thinking about common job titles. If the background is common, it’s okay to just mention accomplishments. However, when one does something different from what the “title” may seem to convey to adcom, it’s a good idea to explain it briefly. (I covered this point in detail in my previous blog post.)
One more learning was that I had mentioned some of the community work later in my resume in the accomplishments section, and that reduced it’s impact and focus. This time, I created a new section – “Community activities” – that’s easy to locate in my resume. With my resume ready, I am now gearing towards recommendations. I have already informed my recommenders (after a thorough selection of whom to contact – again, thanks to Eric on his insights). I am happy that my recommenders will have enough time now to work on my recommendations. Well, I’m sure there’s lots more to learn and share. More on recommendations in the next post.
Walter’s your “typical” (in the eyes of the adcom) Indian IT male, meaning his application journey is a LOT like that of aaaaall the other Indian IT males out there. He’ll be sharing his (re-)application story and lessons learned from start to finish for 2014. Follow along riiiight here.