When one thinks of passion, one doesn’t generally think of investment bankers. But the admissions committees are looking for passion in their applicants; so how are you – a computer guy, an engineer, a biology major, or yes, an investment banker – going to craft a winning application that shows them the passion they’re looking for?
“Passion” has a sexy ring to it. An emotional, visceral appeal. It evokes images of glamorous actors and actresses in hot and heavy romances. The good guy in a Frank Capra film changing history. Generals exhorting the troops before sending them into battle.
Forget the steamy romances. Forget the hero delivering a stirring speech. Forget the generals addressing their troops.
That’s not what we’re talking about in admissions.
“Passion” in admissions – be it college, MBA, law school, medical school, or grad school – means dedication. It means commitment. It requires action over time. It can be very calculated and goal oriented, and not at all glamorous. It may lead to a feverish culmination, an earth-shattering moment, and it may not. It can be any one of the following and an infinite number of other activities:
• Spending hours practicing the cello day-in and day-out, year after year.
• Assuming responsibility for an annual silent auction that raises thousands of dollars for your favorite cause during the five years that you have chaired it.
• Training and training and training so that you beat your personal best in the race of your choice.
• Volunteering at a medical or legal clinic twice a week since your sophomore year in college.
Next time you see the word “passion” in an admissions context, look between the lines. Read it as “dedication.” And those calculating, number-crunching, spreadsheet addicts among you, remember this equation: Passion = Action + Dedication.