The look of an MBA student

What does an MBA student from a top 5 program look like? How do they act and what things have they done? How can I be just like them?

I’ve met MBA students from schools all over the US, who come from every profession. I’ve met early career MBAs fresh out of college and older ones who had big jobs before coming.

And I can tell you this: many of them don’t have much in common. They don’t share gender, job title or income level. They didn’t go to the same college, take the same classes or have the same goals.

Ironically, one thing you’ll notice about MBA applicants is that they all seem to be trying to be the same person. Take the same classes, tell the same stories, talk about the same experiences and submit the same applications. All in hopes to be accepted to their dream schools.

You see the disconnect in all of this, right?

This is bad news is that if you’ve got the wrong genes you are NOT going to make it to the NBA or to the NFL (although I have one friend who figured out how–despite his scrawny stature he still made it all the way). But the good news is that if you want to go to the best business school in the world, become a better leader, and change the way business is done–you can. ├é┬áBecause neither your genes nor your job will get your in or keep you out.

Actually, MBAs do have one thing in common. Every MBA made the decision to apply to school and then worked hard to make sure they got in.


Monday, September 17th, 2012 Admissions, Business School, Careers

3 Comments to The look of an MBA student

[…] Jeremy Wilson writes, ‘The Look of an MBA Student’ – […]

October 26, 2012

Hello Jeremy,

My name is Stanley and I met you at the MLT happy hour earlier in the week. I want to personally thank you for the advice that you gave me on both the MLT process as well as the MBA admissions process. I think those pieces of information will go a long way in helping me complete my essays during my attempt at going to business school. I believe the main thing you said was to answer what, why, and how when addressing your essays: with the most important area being the focus on the why.

I also have a follow up question on essays around the idea of if it is better to create the most complete story for business admissions counselors on what your background most relevantly points towards rather than create a story about what you really truly want to do if your background work doesn’t strongly support that field or work (ie currently doing financial consulting and aspire to get into management consulting/ as appose to currently in financial consulting and aspire to become an entrepreneur in the field of education). What do you think? Should I go for the story all the websites say works or should I go for the story of my true passions despite not having the strongest backgrounds to support wanting to do this. Finally I know you said that you had two blog entries that you wanted me to read and I am eager to find out what they are because at this point I welcome informed advice.

Otherwise, I think what you are doing with the education matters project as well as this website and you work with MLT is admirable. Please keep it up, you have no idea of the positive impact that it brings. Thanks for all the advice and I hope to hear from you soon.

Kind Regards,

Jeremy C Wilson
October 26, 2012

@Stanley Okoye Hi Stanley,

Good to hear from you. Thanks for finding me and thanks for your thoughtful message about our Education Matters Campaign. I am always happy to help however I can.

Regarding your questions, you’ll get two responses from me on this one. First, as promised, I’ll leave you with the two web entries below. I’ve got a few more for you as well, but this should be a nice start.

1 – MBA Application Tips:

2 – The Most Important Question: [be sure to watch the video]

Second, I’ll respond to your email question this weekend, probably in video form (#AskJeremy). So stay tuned.

Finally, we’d love to hear your Education Matters story if you’d be willing to contribute once your MLT application is done. If you haven’t seen the MLT mix video yet, here is the link.


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Jeremy C Wilson is a JD-MBA alumni using his site to share information on education, the social enterprise revolution, entrepreneurship, and doing things differently. Feel free to send along questions or comments as you read.


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The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect the views or position of Kellogg, Northwestern Law, the JD-MBA program, or any firm that I work for. I only offer my own perspective on all issues.
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