There was an article in “Financial Times” this past weekend that discussed how business schools often share stories of admitted students that are so exceptional as to make potential applicants feel inadequate. If you’re a prospective student applying to MBA programs, you probably started getting these brochures after you took your GMAT.
There’s the story of the admitted student who took his/her startup public or sold it for many millions to a big corporation. There’s the story of Olympic badminton players. Or soldiers with Bronze Stars for their intrepid gallantry on the field of battle in Iraq or Afghanistan. Or of the violinist who plays at Carnegie Hall.
But don’t let these kinds of stories scare you. Business schools are sharing the stories that are exceptional. Most applicants haven’t earned Bronze Stars. Most applicants haven’t founded Facebook. If they did, they probably wouldn’t be applying to business school in the first place!
There is, however, a valuable lesson to learn from the stories. MBA programs are in search of great narratives. The same is absolutely true in college admissions. Students applying to MBA programs must find a compelling (though truthful) way of sharing their personal story so that they can stand out from the pack as admissions rates to top MBA programs continue to get tougher in this rough economy.