Essay Mistakes Engineers/Techies Make, Pt 1: “I…I…I”

Posted By SWatts on Jun 11, 2014 |

From The Staff of MBA
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Essay Mistakes Engineers/Techies Make, Pt 1: “I…I…I”

Applying to business school is hard, but applying to business school as an engineer or techie can be even more challenging than it is for the average applicant. This can be especially true for those of you from South Asian or East Asian backgrounds, where your broad profile makes your competition that much thicker. However, there are certain techniques that can help you differentiate yourself to better market your candidacy to business schools. In my experience, these techniques can greatly increase your odds of admission.

My first piece of advice is all about how you market yourself to the admission committee. Many applications will ask you to describe one of your leadership experiences in the workplace. Engineers and techies usually have great examples to write about, given the complex and interesting projects they work on. Teamwork experience? Leadership experience? Engineers and techies often have both. But in the MBA admissions process, it is not just what you have to say, but how you say it.

Engineers and techies often work in the “self-centered” arena, whereas business school is all about the “team-centered” approach. All too often, engineers and techies write about the “I” in the situation. “I had to solve a problem with the product reliability. I figured out a good way to fix the problem. I designed the appropriate program. I explained the changes to my supervisor. I rolled out the solution.”

But what the admissions committee wants to know is: Where is the “we”? Sure, you can do work by yourself, but can you work with others?

Leadership involves much more than completing a project successfully. It involves motivating others to work with you toward specific goals and challenges — and this is what business schools value. The more you can stress in your essays how you led others, motivated others, and communicated goals and timelines, the more likely the admissions committee is to see you as more than a techie, but as a leader and team player.

I hope this helps you in the admissions process!