Congratulations, you've made the big decision: You're going for an MBA.
Now begins the hard work, starting with the seemingly basic task of getting into a program.
Your first assignment as a business school candidate: Don't fall for the temptation of marketing yourself as the traditional, perfect MBA candidate from Central Casting.
Instead, just be yourself, business coach Paige Hewlett tells Brazen Careerist.
"Not every applicant has private equity or big consulting firm experience, but instead of parlaying what unique experience you have into a version of that, showcase your experience for what it is — a diverse and unique addition to a student body that’s known for its strict adherence to finance, strategy and consulting experience," she notes.
Miller says candidates have two avenues for showcasing their unique value: their essay and their recommendations. Before you begin to compile either, she urges applicants to answer this question:
"What story are you trying to tell? Are you a goodie-two-shoes who’s followed every rule and lived a fairly vanilla life full of good grades, good schools and pastels? Or have you passionately pursued your interests, juggling challenging coursework and bettering your community (all while eating organic, free-range meat)?" she asks. "Which story is more compelling?"
Once you've decided what sets you apart and makes you a valued addition to the student body, then you can start choosing recommendations and writing an essay that support that narrative.
Click below for specifics on choosing your references and writing your essay. Also, click here for information on Brazen Careerist's free Oct. 17 Webinar, Mastering the B-School Application Process.