There are so many difference aspects to your MBA application, many of which you can influence positively, some of which you have no control over. For example, there are your MBA essays – with hard work and professional guidance, you can create MBA essays that truly present you at your best, greatly optimizing your chances of acceptance. Then there are your letters of recommendation – for these, you can do your part to choose the right recommenders and to provide them with the resources and documents they need to write you a good recommendation, but ultimately, what they write is beyond your control. The same influence-control balance can be seen in other areas as well: You can spend hours and days and even months preparing for your GMAT or for your MBA interview, but when it comes to which questions you’ll receive or what sort of mood your interviewer will be in – those are beyond your control.
Another element beyond your control – the vision the adcoms have in creating a diverse class.
To influence the adcom in this area, you need to create an application that shows you as a unique candidate who will contribute to a diverse class. You need to tell your individual story and use that as a vehicle to stand out from others. Don’t rely on your profile or demographics (you likely won’t be the only one), on your test score, your grades and major, or on your LORs. Instead, rely on your story.
You can influence, but you can’t control. There is no mathematical formula for determining the amount of influence you need to have in order to combat your lack of control, so your best bet is simply to do your best and create essays that highlight your merits and tell the adcoms what’s distinctive about you and important to you.
What if you feel like you don’t have anything distinctive to share? I say: IMPOSSIBLE. You have lived 25 or 30 years on this earth and must have unique stories. Focus on life’s smallest details or on your insights into the larger picture. Think. Think. And then think some more. You’ll come up with something. You ARE unique and you CAN contribute to a top MBA’s diverse classroom. How you express that individuality IS within your control…so influence away in the best, most unique, most compelling MBA essay possible!