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Bringing Out the Flavor in Your MBA Application

Lizabeth C., Associate Director of MBA Admissions, offers some healthy tips on serving up a well-rounded and authentic application.

Living in California, I've begun to think about food differently. I understand what "California Cuisine" is all about - fresh, local ingredients prepared simply so you can taste the amazing flavors. Food that is actually a pleasure to eat. Not that I don't love certain processed foods, but I'm more aware of the difference between the two, and how much better I feel when I eat good food.

Getting up to read applications today, I thought about the parallel. Over the years I have seen more and more applicants over-strategizing, being "coached," or trying too hard to "package" themselves. Sometimes after a day of reading it can feel like I've eaten processed foods all day. There's less pleasure in it for me as a reader, but I think it matters beyond that.

To me, a great dish has good ingredients and is presented well. To put your best foot forward in your application and "present a great dish" to us, here's my advice:

  • Try to find the right balance between "well presented" and "processed." We expect you to show us your best self, just make sure it is YOURself.

  • Focus more on being a great candidate than on creating a great application. Follow your interests. Take the risk to try leading something or someone. Learn from your successes and failures, and apply that learning to do it better the next time. Step up for challenges. Do an excellent job.

  • Stay true to yourself. Don't let anyone else tell you how you should be or what we want. You know yourself best, and if you want to know what we want, then come to us. That's why we travel around the world, do webinars, answer phones, and post on our website. Always go to the source.

Well, now that I've made myself hungry, I need to get back to reading. Happy cooking!