If you’ve read any of the other posts in this series, then you already know we’re focusing on learning how to navigate through the various permutations of questions like these:
- Why do you want an MBA… AT ALL?
- Why do you want an MBA… AT THIS EXACT MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER?
- How will OUR SCHOOL… help… YOU?
- Of all the B-schools on earth, why are you interested in US?
Now we’re moving into question #3:
(3) How will OUR SCHOOL… help… YOU?
There two main ways they skin it. And the distinctions are HUGE.
- How will our school help YOU?
- In your search for the perfect B-school fit, what led you to US?
Today, we’re focusing on the first one. This tends to be implied by a great many questions, and is most often the single-most NEGLECTED answer because people are chomping at the bit to profess their love of the school by pointing out incredibly common things that may be true, but won’t help the adcom learn anything about you as a candidate.
Let’s break it down.
- You have goals
- At present, you can’t just go out and achieve your vision [if you could, why bother with an MBA?]
- With an MBA, however, you WILL be able to achieve them
What happens in those two years such that you went from:
(a) not being able to attack your goals to
(b) BEING able to attack your goals???
Something happened. A school’s MBA SOMEHOW added stuff, taught you stuff, exposed you to stuff, etc., such that you emerge from that revolving door wearing a red cape with a big S on the front, whereas you entered into the thing… clutzy and mild-mannered.
We need to know how a certain school turns you INTO Superman.
Let’s pick a school at random–say Stanford because they have the wording that’s exactly appropriate to this blog post:
What are your career aspirations and how will your education at Stanford help you achieve them?
Well, the guys at Stanford know they rank somewhere around 1 every year. They know their reputation by itself is a magnet for B-school aspirants. They know all about Silicon Valley, they know a lot. Don’t tell them what they already know—you have such a limited amount of words!
Don’t tell them THAT an education there will help you achieve your goals. It’s baked into the question itself. We all want to know HOW.
Do NOT just say “XXX class in finance, will improve my skills in YYY.” Wait, of COURSE it will—-that tells us nothing!!! Those classes are offered BECAUSE they’re gonna teach you something! The trick to cracking this is lacing into every single piece of supporting evidence a sense of how you will have gone from A to B; NOT being able to pull something off to BEING able to pull it off.
Example: “In order to succeed as an X, I will need to be masterful at Y. While my skills are adequate at present, Stanford’s program for XXX will train me in the art of A, B, and C. This program is designed to challenge students at X and Y, which is exactly the exposure I do not have in my current job. Through this unique program, I will be able to not only XXX, but more importantly YYY.”
The key here is a sense of dynamism… evolution… improvement… enhancement… something going from Good to BETTER. And showing that THROUGH whatever the school-in-question may be. For this you need to dig hard and isolate specific professors, clubs, off-campus opportunities, on-campus offerings, whatever you can get your hands on to illustrate how THAT school improves your skill set, such that two years later, you have a cape and will SOAR toward achieving your goals. This is NOT a love poem to why you’ve loved that school always-n-forever. It’s an almost scientific argument for explaining the following chemical reaction:
You + School X —> Guy/Gal Who Can Achieve His/Her Goals
This particular piece explains the chemistry, what that reaction is that TURNS you from Clark Kent into Superman.