A speaker recently told a story about traveling in Asia where he saw a stunning emerald. Enchanted by the stone’s beauty, he decided to buy it. On the spot.
He returned home and took the emerald to a jeweller for appraisal. The jeweller began to examine the stone through his magnifier, and as he did so, his face went pale.
“What’s the matter?” asked the proud owner of the emerald.
“I can’t find a flaw.” said the jeweller.
“Wonderful!” said the stone’s owner.
“No, it’s not. If it’s flawless, it’s a fake. A phony. It’s not real. Nothing in the natural world is flawless.” replied the jeweller.
“Then find a flaw!!!”
After a few more tense moments the jeweller found a small flaw, and the owner of the stone could again enjoy its beauty without worrying that he had been taken in by a piece of plastic masquerading as a gem.
The adcoms are trying to appraise you through your essays. If they ask you about a flaw, failure, or weaknesses and you fail to provide that proof of authenticity, then you will be a phony and fake in their eyes.
Remember what the jeweller said: “Nothing in the natural world is flawless.” Everything in nature has an imperfection, a flaw. Certainly human beings are wonderful proof of his point. But, the question becomes how do you handle yours? Do you deny they exist? Do you just throw up your hands and say, “That’s me. Take it or leave it.”
If asked, don’t hesitate to reveal a real weakness. Also, try to show how you have strengthened that area, developed other talents to compensate, or grown as you dealt with and minimized your imperfection so that over time it has become much harder to see, perhaps imperceptible.
Now if we can only get the schools to realize that when asked about their weaknesses they too should answer honestly to prove authenticity and enhance their credibility…
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.