Wednesday, August 16, 2006

B-School essays- What if I'm just a mere mortal???

My arduous journey through more than 15 essays of 4 schools (so far) has warranted a few observations.

One cannot even imagine writing winning B-school application essays unless:

1. One has great grades to boast about. It's better if the good grades are in extremely complex subjects which they chose out of real interest. Of course, overlooking the fact that one wants to dump that choice now to shift to a career in business for which again one has a such a good reason, other than big bucks, that Management is almost a "Calling" now. Or even better- one has done some research under a nobel nominee during one's academic life. Coming from the other end of the spectrum, one could have had such a "happening" student life that he can eloquently make excuses for a bunch of really bad grades. Examples of happening student life: one has studied through a scholarship awarded for his participation in the olympics(even better if one has won some medals) which naturally means one played sports right through college, one has been a drummer of a band that plays in some hip hollywood club, one has worked as a bartender and supported one's family of 4 right through college etc.

2. One is an extremely accomplished person 1/3rd of whose achievements are professional, 1/3rd extracurricular and 1/3rd personal. Mediocrity in any of the 3 realms runs the risk of projecting oneself as a one-dimensional or two-dimensional person as the case may be. In short, one has to be a...ummm the word is..."well-rounded" person.

3. One has had at least one(the more the better) phenomenal failure. More importantly, the failure, the remedy and the learning is life-changing and is big enough to make 500 words seem like too less a space to describe it.

4. One is unique. Examples: one has lived in hiding during war, one has fought for one's country, one has experienced a significant amount of character building adversity, one is blessed with extraordinary luck or unusual talents or belongs to a royal family or has famous parents which automatically take care of the uniqueness problem.

5. One has planned the next 15 years of one's life. Translates to an ambition/a vision/a goal simply unachievable without shelling out $140K in B-School. And of course one has crystal clear reasons to want to go to School X, reasons which are personalized, well researched, which cannot be found directly in the school's website. Stating reasons such as brand value of the school, job security after graduation etc. is a faux pas guaranteed to send one's application to the rejected bin. Visionaries are the need of the hour.

6. There is a single thing (Eg. World Peace, Self realization, Spiritual Harmony, Patriotic fervor etc), a thing that matters most to one, a thing that is the focal point of one's life to which one can attribute one's actions, reactions, follies, successes, basically one's entire life (if possible even those drunken parties and one night stands and visits to the gym and salon).

7. First of all, one has a set of ethics by which one lives. Second of all, those ethics have been challenged at least once. Finally one has gone through mental agony and successfully resisted the tempting devil to uphold one's ethical values so that one can now sport a stiff upperlip that one has attained moral highground over mere mortals.

Now now, don't let me fool you with my display of cynicism. I was just having some fun.

But I really do thank God for my passion for writing - I cannot weather through 30 essays of making myself look good unless I treat each essay as a creative writing exercise.

Update on essays:
I'm done with Wharton! I also finished one of Stanford's short essays, plodding through the second one now. My 5 day vacation ends today. I need to sleep by 1am from today :-(. But I'm glad I've used the hols to gain some ground with the essays. I'm in a rather comfortable position now! Enough of gloating and back to my essays now...