All business school adcom members want to read essays that discuss the time you saved the day at work, right? That is what I thought when I first sat down to write my Kellogg business school essays. I racked my brain to think of heroic stories where my decisions and leadership saved my company lots of time and money. It led me down a long path describing a sales deal I closed worth millions in revenue. After I finished my first draft, I realized that my story expertly touted my professional accomplishments but did not scratch the surface explaining how I thought, planned, led, or made decisions. I opened a new Microsoft Word document and started over.
Business schools do not just want to read about the time you save the day at work.
What do business schools REALLY want to read about?
Business schools want to read about what you are going to do to become a transformative business leader; one that is going to enact change and influence people. One of the best ways to show these qualities and potential is to write an essay that demonstrates how you have acted intentionally in your career and personal life, and how you will continue to act intentionally once you earn your MBA.
3 steps to demonstrating your intentionality
When I applied to Kellogg, the school’s essay prompts focused on leadership and growth. To distinguish myself, I made sure that the theme of intentionality shined through in my final essay submissions.
First, I highlighted that I had a track record of laying out and purposefully acting on plans to accomplish my career goals. This meant outlining the steps I took to achieve the most prestigious company-wide sales title at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts during my first job and explaining how I helped hotel clients achieve their revenue goals through strategic consulting at my second job with TravelClick.
Second, I emphasized that I had thoughtfully set future professional goals that required an MBA. My essays explained that my short- and long-term career goals centered around entering the real estate industry. Given that I had spent six years in hotel operations out of college, this was a logical transition. However, as an undergrad history major and career salesperson, I had minimal finance training which would be required to evaluate developments and investments. I needed an MBA program to fill in the gaps and teach me finance and accounting skills for my first real estate position out of Kellogg.
Last and most importantly, I underscored the intentionality behind my decision to apply to Kellogg. I demonstrated that I had thoroughly researched the program’s offerings and determined that it was the best program to support my goals. I cited the specific real estate classes, clubs, and conferences that I would become involved in while enrolled. I even cited specific MBA summer internships that I wanted, and how the Kellogg ecosystem provided me access to alums who worked at those companies, as well as on-campus recruitment opportunities.
During my two years as a Kellogg Student Admissions Reader, I found that I was always most impressed by students who described the intentionality behind their past achievements, future goals, and application to Kellogg. After all, endless opportunities in business school will require you be intentional with your time from day one. So why not start your application the same way?
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