Many MBA candidates—whether they are working as bankers or lawyers, in internal corporate finance or corporate strategy—feel they must tell a “deal story” in their application essays. Although discussing a deal can be a good idea, showing your distinct impact on the deal is what is vital. Remember that you are the central character, not the deal. As we have discussed before (Monday Morning Essay Tip: Conflict Is Key), a straightforward story outlining how you dutifully completed your work and steadily supported others as a deal became a reality is not likely to be very compelling. Further, the important thing is that the admissions committee experience your personality, not your spreadsheets.
Ask yourself some of the following questions to ensure that your story is truly about you:
- What did you do that was beyond expectations for your role? Did you grow into additional responsibilities at a crucial time?
- Did any particular interactions take place in which you used your personality to change the dynamic, thereby ensuring the deal’s progress or success?
- Did you need to take a principled stand at any moment or speak out on behalf of a needful party?
- Did you help others overcome any corporate or international cultural barriers?
These are just a few questions to get you started, but the point remains: do not simply offer any deal, but instead provide insight into your deal.