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The Importance of Being Personal


What I stand for the most is taking a personal approach with my clients, and from there, helping my clients develop a personal rapport with their audience – the admissions committee.


One of the grossest misperceptions out there is that because you are applying to business school, you should therefore act businesslike in all areas of your application. Be professional. Be serious. Don’t show weakness.



This is a very grave fallacy and the reason for many “dings” out there. If you are trying to create an impression, it will backfire. This is why admissions officers say, “Don’t try to tell us what you think we want to hear.” This piece of advice is hard to implement because it is basically saying to do the opposite of what you are inclined to do.



What it really means is to stop boring the hell out of them by putting work anecdotes in the essays, where they are trying to get to know you on the heart level. Stop cramming and jamming every achievement from age 12 in 9-point font on your resume. Stop having your recommenders throw around a bunch of meaningless words like leadership and hard-working and outstanding. Stop acting businessy-perfect all the time in your application.



And even more importantly, help them get to know you as a person. This is so underestimated. It’s hard to do, but the work is well worth it.



But you have to get to know yourself first, and that’s hard. A lot of people don’t observe their strengths, why they make certain choices, what their values are. However, all these things are what help the adcom get to know you. When they feel you share their values, it resonates, creates curiosity, creates empathy.



It’s what takes you from being words on a screen to a real human being that adcom can see. They can imagine you thinking stuff, feeling stuff, and yes, also doing stuff. But they first want to see you are a sentient being, not Achievement Robot.



Remember, they are not hiring you for a traditional job – they are hiring you as the product they are selling. Selling to your colleagues, and selling to employers. Achievements and test scores are clearly important, but not sufficient. Being likeable and interesting is really underestimated by most.



Why are they important? They want your learning team members to have a positive experience with you. They want their recruiters to have a positive experience with you. They want everyone who knows you as one of their alums to have a positive experience with you.



People do business with people they know, like, and trust. This is a common adage that holds true in dang near every circumstance. So in order to achieve this, the adcom needs to know who you are, what you stand for, what makes you unique, what motivates you, where your passions and true ambitions lie.



Knowing these things helps them feel they know you, can trust you, and like you as well. Share who you are.




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