How to Find Your Voice, Then Sell It to Harvard

Do you worry about how well you’re conveying your “personal brand” in your application? If so, have no fear. We’ve highlighted three key areas that will help you seal the deal with schools like Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, Stanford, and so on.

First off, chill out.  Luckily for business school applicants, formal education is pretty straightforward when compared to say: entertainment artistry. The goal posts are very clearly defined. You need great scores, a good transcript, an awesome personal statement, some outstanding recommendations, and a solid application. Relax, take a deep breath—and try not to drain yourself in the process of applying to business school, or you’ll risk losing some of your enthusiasm and shine!

If you simply study, review, and learn from any prior mistakes, you will achieve your goals of getting into business school. Thus, when you approach competitive schools, there’s no need for intimidation, or nervousness. Instead, there is a need for confidence. Confidence helps you propel your GMAT scores and other quantitative measures. But, confidence also helps you craft a winning brand and sell it to schools that will clamor for it.

Harvard Business School

Finding your brand. So, how do you confidently unleash your brand?

First, outline three characteristics or experiences that are unique only to you.

For example:

  1. I grew up in a far away village.
  2. I earned the only scholarship available to attend college in a capital city.
  3. I paid my way through college by launching a smart business idea.

Next, sum up these unique traits in a slogan, so that you have a nifty reminder of your brand.

For example: “I’m a rags-to-riches scholar with an entrepreneurial edge.”

Selling your brand. Now, the best kept secret in the admissions field is that, many business school programs need you more than you need them—but you have to show them that. Make them want you as much as you want them. Research your prospective M.B.A. program and jot down specific ways in which your brand matches that program’s brand. (Is the program strong in social entrepreneurship, for example? Does it have an international emphasis? Is it the best in marketing?) Once you have an idea of the program’s brand, simply ensure that your brand is placed strategically and consistently throughout your essays—in a way that matches the program perfectly.

By Penn & Paper, the premier editing and admissions counseling service. MBA Podcaster listeners receive up to $100 off Penn & Paper MBA services (code: winning).

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