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How to Shine in an Overrepresented Applicant Group

Business schools often “group” applicants in ethnic, gender, and professional categories for administrative purposes. So if you are a male, Indian IT professional, you will be grouped separately from a female, Norwegian marketing expert. This certainly doesn’t mean that schools are accepting or rejecting applicants based only on these labels and groupings, though, but how you’re initially viewed will impact how the adcom approach your application.

Here are three tips to make you shine, no matter what your applicant category may be and no matter who your direct competition may be:

1. Move beyond the labels.

The admissions process is designed to let the adcoms get to know you as an individual – beyond the labels. Your job is to show the adcoms that you’re not just another face in the crowd of overrepresented applicants, but that you defy categories and labels and are uniquely you. You aren’t Indian, or American, or Indian American or American Indian, not IT and not male – you are YOU.

How to shine: Don’t focus on the group or the label. Spend some time focusing on how you can show your individuality, and emphasize what makes you stand out from the herd. You’ll need to work harder on this than, say, the non-profit female from New Zealand, but it can be done.

2. Use your essay to paint the most colorful picture of you possible.

Write a strong, passionate essay that highlights your personality, varied interests, and talents.

How to shine: Focus on what sets you apart from the group. Use your essay to emphasize your strengths and passions. These are the things that will show that you’re equally as strong a candidate as our friend from New Zealand.

3. Highlight your uniqueness.

When you use your essays and other application components to show what a rare find you are, the adcoms will be able to get a clear picture of you.

How to shine: Stress what makes you stand apart from any group or category you’re placed in. This will help the adcoms see what you – not your group – will be able to contribute to your chosen MBA program or profession.

You’ve seen that you can break away from the crowd and show the adcoms how you shine and will contribute as an individual to their b-school programs. Meanwhile, if you ARE in that large category of Indian candidates, check out our guide, Against the Odds: MBA Admissions for Indian Applicants, for even more tips.

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