Your business school application should be a reflection the unique experiences that drive you to pursue your MBA – but not all experiences merit mention. Today, Yael Redelman-Sidi, of Admit1MBA, is here with a list of experiences that you should not include in your MBA app.
1. Your high school experience
Unless you did something extremely extraordinary in high school – mastered 5 languages, saved the rain forest, became the first person in your family to complete high school, or overcame a significant physical or mental illness. Business schools want to hear about what you’ve done recently – there’s a reason the MIT Sloan MBA program asks candidates to refer to events from the last 3 years when they answer the essay questions.
2. Talk about your pets or going to the gym
Yes, cats and other animals are adorable, but the admissions committee doesn’t want to hear about how you spend your time grooming your cat or taking your dog to the dog run. Exception: if you run a business that has something to do with animals, are passionate about animals rights, or learned an enduring life-lesson while swimming with dolphins. Likewise, there’s no point in mentioning your routine workouts at the gym; on the other hand, significant experience with the business side of exercise or sports (or that gold medal you won at the Olympics!) might be worth bringing up.”
3. Talk about your parents too much
Kids applying to college often write about their parents as their role models, but business schools expect you to be independent and mature. While parents who were able to overcome adversity or bring you to a new country are definitely inspiring people, you shouldn’t spend too many words talking about their achievements. After all, you are the one applying to b-school.
4. Share funky/risque/topless pictures
Many schools, from Chicago Booth to NYU Stern, now include a creative essay that asks applicants to describe themselves to their future classmates, or talk about their personality. While it is okay to show a picture of yourself on top of Mount Everest or Kilimanjaro, pick pictures that you would not mind having published (years later!) in the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times. Exception: if you’re a Hollywood or Bollywood star, an ex-marine or a Victoria’s Secret model, any picture will work.
5. Too much negative content
No matter how horrible your previous boss was, how bad you felt when you were bullied in college or how difficult your eating disorder was, save the details for another time. Don’t mention anything that you wouldn’t bring up during a formal dinner. While you might feel fine sharing all this information (as part of the healing or just your personal tendency to share), some readers might feel that you’re trying to make them pity you. Emotional pressure and sob stories don’t mesh well with the need to present yourself as the next CEO / entrepreneur / social media mogul.