The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #11: Researching Your Dream School

by on October 20th, 2012

You’ll find a variation on this question in just about every college/grad school application: Why this school? What makes you a right fit for our particular program? How will everyone benefit from your time here?

For too many applicants, the answer to those questions turns to pointless flattery… saying a school is “the best” won’t help you get in, period. Other students might name-drop faculty or courses but without the proper context. This just says the school has an extensive roster, not why it’s right FOR YOU.

Convincing your dream school that you’re the right fit takes some work, but with these three tips you’ll be well on your way:

  1. Be clear about YOUR goals. Do you want to go into finance or start your own business? What kind of business? Does the school you’re applying to have a track record in that field? Being specific about your own goals means you’re able to find out how a particular school can help you achieve them – something you’ll want to know for more than just letter-writing purposes.
  2. Now that you know your goals, it’s time to do some research. Look into CLASSES, FACULTY, ALUMNI CLUBS, PROGRAMS, and other services the school offers that relate to those goals. You want to convince your school that you KNOW what you’re getting into, and that your time in school will contribute to your success. The more you succeed, the more likely you are to give back to your school years later (and that’s something every school loves and wants!).
  3. Don’t just name-drop professors or clubs, CONNECT them to your goals. For example, if you’re looking for a job in banking and there’s a foremost economist working for a school you’re applying to, it’s easy to drop his name. The savvy applicant, however, will RESEARCH that economist’s work and show the school HOW IT RELATES to what HE is doing and wants to do down the road.

So remember:

  • Be clear about YOUR goals.
  • Research classes, faculty and programs that SUPPORT those goals.
  • Don’t name-drop – CONNECT.

Check out the other articles in this series:

The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #10: Sentence Breakdown: Career Transition
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #9: A Guide to Fantastic Essay Conclusions
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #8: Simplify Your Writing By Avoiding Buzzwords
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #7: “Your School Is Ideal Because…”
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #6: Breaking Down Technical Jargon
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #5: Getting Specific With Goals
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #4: Writing About Sensitive Topics
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #3: Quantifying Success
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #2: Making Your Personal Qualities POP!
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #1: Building a Catchy Intro

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