The New York Times‘ article “If You’re Open to Growth, You Tend to Grow” was practically a step-by-step guide for applying to MBA programs. In it, science writer Jane Rae-Dupree discusses the three-decade research of Stanford Professor Carol Dweck.
The article discusses Dweck’s research into brain development and learning behavior and Dweck’s conclusion that business professionals with what she terms “a growth mindset” are leaders and team builders who will consistently deliver better results than those with what she calls a “fixed mindset.” Those professionals who seek opportunities to learn new skills, develop collaborative teams, and uncover new levels of their own and others’ talents are the resilient leaders capable of steering a company to long-term success. The top MBA programs agree – though they may not have read Professor Dweck’s work directly – and they tend to seek evidence of these same qualities in applicants’ essays.
Okay, so now that you know this interesting nugget, how do you bring examples of your growth mindset into your essays?
Nearly every program asks for an example of your leadership and/or growth mindset. For example,
Duke‘s ” Leaders need adaptability, imagination, and emotional intelligence as well as business acumen. What impact do you hope to have as a leader of consequence?”
Columbia‘s: “Please provide an example from your own life in which practical experience taught you more than theory alone.”
Wharton‘s ” 4 a. Describe an experience you have had innovating or initiating, your lessons learned, the results and impact of your efforts.”
When choosing the example or examples you will discuss in these and other essays, think about times when you recognized an opportunity to learn a new skill or business area and talk about your mindset in developing the team: how did you identify and select team members? What were you hoping to gain from the experience? Were you challenged by additional factors besides those you initially anticipated? By demonstrating how you have maintained a growth mindset in the past, you will be proving yourself capable of learning and growing in these esteemed MBA programs and your future career.
Senior Editor Jennifer Bloom has been with Accepted for 10 years, guiding applicants to demonstrate their commitment to learning and growing as leaders to succeed in earning admission to the top MBA programs around the world.