Who Are YOU to the Adcom?

I read a Forbes article yesterday titled Why ‘Results-Oriented Professional’ Is The Worst Personal Brand that was so relevant to our work at Vantage Point that I had to share it. The term “personal branding” gets thrown around a lot, especially in MBA application strategy. But what does it really mean, tangibly?

The definition of a personal brand is a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group or organization. But as the author, Liz Ryan, put it so eloquently, most of us are still playing by the 1980’s era rules of personal branding and resume writing. We refer to ourselves as “strategic problem solvers”, “innovative thinkers”, or “results oriented professionals”. But what does that really mean? And how does that description make your MBA application any more compelling to the admissions committee? The short answer is that it doesn’t. Not to say that you won’t get accepted if the other parts of your application are strong but it certainly won’t help set you apart. MBA admissions committees read hundreds of applications per year and are fed jargon up to their eyeballs.

So what can you do to differentiate yourself with your personal brand? You can humanize your brand and tell the unique story of you in a succinct and direct way. You can reveal the how and the why of what you stand for and where you’re headed. That’s much more interesting to anyone evaluating your MBA applications – from the adcom to your alumni interviewer.

Maybe this seems straight forward to you or maybe this is an “aha” moment. If you’re in the latter camp, you’re not alone. This is a challenge that we come across and address with our clients quite frequently. Here’s an example of how we’ve turned a generic descriptor into an interesting and unique personal statement. (All names have been changed to protect our clients’ privacy.)

Before: High-achieving consultant

After: I am a senior consultant specializing in acquisition integration planning and implementation for the financial services industry. My recommendations have achieved over $150MM in savings for my clients and have allowed them to successfully close 21 M&A transactions despite last-minute operational challenges. My experience has taught me that many of the transaction complications I’ve encountered could have been avoided altogether with more thorough diligence planning in the upfront phase. With that lesson as a guiding principle, I am pursuing an MBA in order to transition into investment banking where I will advise my clients on their strategic transactions in the most preliminary phases.

If you’d like personalized advice on how to create or strengthen your brand in your applications, contact us through our website www.vantagepointadmissions.com for a free 30-minute consultation. You can ask questions and get to know us before you purchase any of our services.

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