Spending time reading the months before your applications are due can be one of the best steps you take to improve your candidacy for top business schools. Unfortunately, many applicants will not have read a book for education or for leisure for years, and they often don’t consider the time before MBA application season a good time to begin. However, when you look at the list of reasons for reading good books over the upcoming months, it really makes sense. Reading can:
- Enhance your vocabulary and mastery of grammar
- Advance your writing: your MBA application essays will represent one of the largest and most critical writing projects of your career. Finding ideas about interesting sentence structures and storytelling will be important.
- Give you more content to write about: you may consider new writing ideas or filter ideas about certain sections of your essays.
- More information to discuss: MBA interviewers want to learn about all of your experiences. Many interviews talk about recent events, history, etc., so if you can demonstrate that you’ve kept up to date on the world, you may be able to separate yourself from peers.
Demonstrate Your Passions
I want to clarify, it is not necessary to read through all of the latest business books so that you can include buzzwords in your essays and interviews. You also should not feel required to round out the lesser areas of your business experience by visiting the local bookstore to read all the “How To” books.
The most critical part is to further develop your own interests and passions. If you are interested in art, focus on books on art. Similarly, if you enjoy the history of soccer, immerse yourself in those books. On the other hand, it never hurts to develop some form of business perspective on the areas you really enjoy. For example, if you enjoy medicine, consider reading books on the economics of the healthcare system in Europe.
Additionally, if you aim to transition to a different career after your MBA program, demonstrating this kind of commitment can be very important. If you have been an IT consultant for the last five years and want to become an entrepreneur, reading books on entrepreneurship will be beneficial.
My personal recommendation list includes books ranging from Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions to Nick Hornby’s Songbook—an excellent book of short essays that you will enjoy reading while you think of ideas on how to improve your own essays.
As a summary: read anything. What is most important is that you read. Focus on considering words, structures, and exposing yourself to something new.
For more robust guidance on your MBA application essays, check out the Stacy Blackman Consulting Essay Guide Series – school specific guides with essay tips, sample essays, information on what your target schools value and more. Visit http://www.stacyblackman.com/essay-guides/ to learn more.