Mission Admission: Be Sincere—the MBA Admissions Committee Will Believe You

Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.
Candidates are often skeptical about whether MBA admissions committees will believe their stories. After all, is anyone available to corroborate that what made the difference in a particular situation was truly you—that you had that particular innovative idea? The response to this concern is pretty simple: if what you are describing actually happened, do not worry about credibility. You simply need to write about your experience with sincerity. If you can offer details about the events as part of a narrative, the story will unfold logically and truthfully and will have its desired impact. Conversely, if your story is basic and vague, it will not come across as compelling, regardless of its veracity.

An equally important point is that you are innocent until proven guilty. The admissions committee will not assume that you are a liar and read your application seeking proof of facts that are in doubt. The admissions reader will take your stories at face value, recognizing that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction and that strong candidates will stand out on the strength of their experiences.

In addition, if you accomplished something truly remarkable, you can always ask your recommender to emphasize this in his/her letter. This does not mean that the committee is seeking proof and that if something is not highlighted in a reference, it will not be believed. Still, your recommender can play an important role in legitimizing certain accomplishments.

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