So on Wednesday, I went to a Stanford MBA Admissions session in Bangalore, to be on the student panel. It was a lot of fun talking to the applicants about the program, about our classmates, the courses, etc. I was there with Dan, my buddy from South Africa, and Vasily, my buddy from Russia, as we were all interning in India for a month.
The session was fun and the questions were interesting. But, once we broke into small groups, the obvious and most frequent question was ‘how should I write my essays?’, ‘what are they looking for’, etc? Answering those questions is almost as impossible as writing the essays is. The only advice I could tell anyone was to read THIS book.
When looking for the right book to read when I was applying, I skimmed the table of contents of every relevant book and thought this was the most useful…I felt that this one did the best job, to me, of explaining (1) what the admissions committee is thinking and (2) what the question archetypes are and how to respond to them.
I read the entire book, cover to cover, 3 different times over the course of my application preparation and essay writing process. It was literally my reference guide every time I got stuck writing my essays; I marked it up, re-read certain passages many more times, etc.
Everything about the entire application process requires so much personal introspection that it’s REALLY hard to give applicants advice…the usual lame stuff like ‘be true to yourself’ is really unhelpful, so the only advice I can possibly give is, “read this book and do what it says.”