It’s your job to demonstrate to the adcom that you stand out from the applicant pool and are exactly the person they want in their next MBA class. In this series, you’ll learn how to dig deep to unearth your unique character traits, experiences, skills, and talents and bring them to the forefront of your application, so that when the adcom pick up your file, they’re hooked from the very first moment.
As members of one of the largest sub-groups in the MBA applicant pool, candidates with finance/investment banking/private equity/venture capital backgrounds are really going to need to step up their game! You’ve got competitive stats and a strong resume…but is that enough to make you stand out from the other highly impressive candidates? How can you demonstrate to the adcom that you’re more than just a quant buff in a nice suit?
How can you really make your application stand out?
1. Showcase your non-quant strengths.
We all know that you’re a super-strength number-cruncher, but so are the other finance applicants (not to mention the programmers and the engineers). Highlight your verbal abilities and your communication skills by talking about your experience at Toastmasters or on your college debate team, and of course, by writing a slam-dunk application essay.
2. Discuss your non-professional talents and achievements.
Your resume is impressive, but once again, you won’t be the only one with work experience worth bragging about. What else are you good at or passionate about? What do you care about most that is unique to you, that won’t clump you together with the others in your sub-group? Maybe you’re a skilled weaver or a member of your local hospital’s clown troupe. Maybe you’ve spent three summers as a Habitat for Humanity volunteer. Maybe you started a local lacrosse league and manage your own team. These are the things that will make the adcom pause and think, “This is someone I’d like to get to know!”
3. Delve into the WHY of your career goals.
Your resume should nicely detail your work experience, but it will say nothing about how you envision your future. This is where your essays step in. Will you continue to pursue a future in finance? If so, why? What is it about private equity that intrigues you, excites you? Do you plan on shifting or changing your career path? How has your past investing experience motivated you to make this change? What does this change say about you? The adcom readers seek thoughtful individuals who have internalized the past and pondered the future. Share your insights to help you stand out in this way.
4. Use your voice.
I know that just because you work in a popular industry, it doesn’t mean that you have nothing unique to share. You know this too. In fact, even the adcom know that every person is unique. But unless you speak (or write) using that unique voice, it’s true that your application will get lost in the shuffle. Don’t use large words if they’re not words you’d generally use. Don’t try and add a joke if you’re not genuinely a natural comedian. Don’t tell stories that you think the adcom want to hear but that aren’t on topics or experiences that you actually care about. Instead, speak naturally and openly, so that your true colors shine.
Read the complete 9 Secrets to Standing Out in Your MBA Application series for more tips on how to create a compelling application that highlights your unique strengths, character traits, and talents.
For personalized advice tailored just for you, check out our MBA admissions consulting and editing services and work one-on-one with a pro who will help you discover your competitive advantage and use it to get ACCEPTED.
• Why MBA, a free guide to writing about MBA goals
• Extracurricular Activities in Your MBA Admissions Profile
• Stand Out! A Critical Goal for Your Application, a podcast episode