B-schools like to know that their students will enthusiastically join in and support their student bodies and alumni groups, as well as society in general. However, lavish pronouncements and assurances of future humanitarian efforts are generally unconvincing.
How can you best show your future potential? In your MBA essays, highlight what you’ve achieved in the past. The majority of adcom members are firm in their belief that historical performance is an excellent indicator of skills and interests, as well as a forecast of the future.
The following four tips will help you create essays that convince the adcom readers that you are destined for greatness, and that your history of giving is indicative of a future of generosity and impact.
1. Communicate your past successes and, if possible, quantify their impact.
Demonstrating your past contributions will show that you have the managerial and people skills and well as the creativity to be a future influence. For example, if you organized a gala event that was attended by 250 people and that raised $3 million, not to mention awareness of the constant threat of malaria in East Africa, then you’ll definitely want to share this information.
2. Talk about abilities that you’ve acquired that will facilitate future roles.
You can prove to the adcoms that you’re ready to contribute by showing that you have the necessary talents and abilities to succeed. Support your claims by demonstrating how you’ve worked to build your skill set, for example by taking extra courses or through on-the-job experience. Scrutinize your successes and failures (if asked for them), to show that you continue to reflect and develop. When asked about disappointments or obstacles, prove how you’ve grown through adversity. Show that you are always developing.
3. Show that you have versatile skills.
You’ll need to demonstrate how you can share your abilities with your fellow students, professors or coworkers. Share experiences that demonstrate how your abilities, intellect and beliefs can influence others. Also show that you are flexible and know how to compromise.
4. Discuss how your target school will assist you.
You’ve convinced the adcom readers that you have the skill sets that they want, and that you’re prepared to share them. Now you need to strengthen the notion that their school is THE place to launch your future from, that they have the tools to help you achieve your goals, and that you will in turn make them proud.
In order to impress the adcom readers, your essay on your impact needs to include each of the above areas – your past achievements, your skill development, how you plan to impart your knowledge and experience to others, and how your target school will help you make a difference in the future. Remember, the past shows a lot about the future, so be sure to communicate what you’ve accomplished and how you’ve gotten to this place. Doing so will demonstrate that you have the skills to make future contributions.