Why Columbia Video: What You Can Learn

The creator of this video combined a little bit of Twitter with a dash of Columbia Business School’s MBA essay questions to create a video with lots of succinct reasons to attend CBS.  I have no idea if he was encouraged, abetted, or aided by Columbia Admissions to produce this video, or if it was solely the work of an appreciative, creative, social media savvy student. What do you think?

[youtube width=300 height=200 rel=0]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQzdr1MFVFw[/youtube]

This video, in addition to simply being fun, showcases the many different reasons students can have for attending a top MBA program — from the serious and substantive to the more whimsical and perhaps trivial.

While this video clearly focuses on the specific advantages of Columbia, the operative words in the preceding clause are “focuses” and “specific.” If you find the specific strengths of any school and focus on those in your MBA essays and MBA interviews, you will have the nucleus of a strong response to any “Why School X?” question.

The one crucial element lacking from these tweets and the video is the connection between the applicant’s past, their WhyCBS, and their MBA goals. That’s OK for this video (or any PR piece from a school and its representatives). It’s not OK for applicants.

As Michigan Ross Admissions Director Soojin Kwon Koh wrote so clearly in her recent blog post:

“We’re not looking for you to tell us about us, the essays are your chance to tell us about you. We know we have a MAP program, we know we’re a student-driven community. We want to know why you think that these and other aspects of our program resonate with you.”

If you are asked “Why this School?” don’t just spit back the school’s brochure  or web site or this video. Why are these characteristics attractive given your MBA goal and your past? A persuasive MBA goals essay connects a program’s strengths to the applicant’s goals given his or her past.

That connection is magic.

Linda Abraham By , Accepted’s founder and president.