Akiba’s Corner is a weekly series of thoughts on the MBA admissions process and the MBA itself by MBA Mission Senior Consultant, Akiba Smith Francis (HBS ’05).
Have you been arrested? Suspended during college? The occasional client asks us whether and how to disclose these types of experiences as a part of a business school application process.
If you have a challenge that you would rather not disclose, but it is a part of your academic or legal record, it is best to openly address it, not just in your short answer section, but also in your optional essay. Be completely honest about what happened and let the Admissions Committee know how you have grown and what you learned from the experience. This does not mean that you should get into the details of the partying that led up to your DUI (see Monday Morning Essay Tip: Personal and Too Personal), but it does mean that you should not lie or omit important information in your application.
Admissions Committees understand that mistakes happen. If you let them know that you have learned the error of your ways and are a much more mature person now, you will get ahead of the “scandal” and not have to hide from it forever.