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What Should You Do If You Belong to an Overrepresented MBA Applicant Group?

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I recently received a question – or more of a complaint – from a client who was concerned with his status as an Indian male working in IT. This individual was considering changing his location on his application – he was born, raised, and still lived in India, but his family had lived in Zurich for four years, starting when he was six, and he wanted to focus on that. And he wanted to highlight his job as a restaurant manager, rather than his extensive experience and education in IT.

At Accepted, we get questions like this all the time, so I thought it would be appropriate to post the answer that I gave this particular young man.

B-schools have been known to “group” applicants by ethnic, gender, and professional categories for administrative purposes, but that certainly does not mean that they are accepting and rejecting candidates based solely on those labels and groupings.

Moving beyond labels – if you can do it, so can the adcom

The purpose of the admissions process is to allow the admissions committee an opportunity to get to know you as an individual – beyond labels. It’s your job to show the adcom that you are not simply another face in the crowd of Indian (or American, for that matter) IT males, but that you are a unique, category-less group of ONE. You are not Indian, not American, not Indian-American, not IT, and not male; you are YOU.

Don’t get hung up on the group or the label. Instead focus on ways you can draw out your individuality. It is true that you will need to work on this harder than, say, an entrepreneurial woman from a village in the Himalayas, but that’s not to say it can’t be done.

Come to life with a strong, passionate essay

We explain to our clients that their goal is to craft killer essays. Similarly, you must write essays that come alive with your personality, your diverse interests and talents, and your not-to-be-overlooked strengths and passions. Those kinds of essays prove that your candidacy is equal in competitiveness to our Himalayan applicant.

That was my response to our Indian IT male friend, but it can be applied to anyone who is getting bogged down in the labels and losing focus on the process of individuating. Think about what sets you apart from your group.

Highlight your uniqueness

Highlight your uniqueness in your essays, and the adcoms will get a clear look at how you – not your group – will contribute to your chosen MBA program or profession.

Last but not least, don’t stress. Just because you are an Indian IT guy (or a member of some other common subgroup in the applicant pool), doesn’t mean that you don’t possess other unique qualities that will make you an attractive candidate at top b-schools.

You are unique, whether you realize it or not, and our expert admissions consultants can help you identify your individuality and highlight it in your applications. Check out our MBA Admissions Consulting Services to learn how we can help you stand out from the crowd and get accepted to business school!

This article was originally posted on Accepted Admissions Blog.

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