Hello! Some of you might be busy working R3 applications for INSEAD and others, gearing up for round 1. Either way, the time to act is now! Implement, implement, implement.
Even if certain recommendation forms are not out yet, now is the time to start reflecting on the questions common to all forms: areas of strength as compared to your peers, and a story about receiving constructive criticism.
Figure out the stories you want to share and outline them; then add other anecdotes/outlines later for any remaining questions. It is very unusual for schools to make major changes in this area of the application, aside from the fact that more and more schools are gravitating towards the Common Letter of Recommendation.
If you are seeking a coach to guide you on the journey, the first step is to fill out my prospective client form.
1) You want a recommender who has witnessed you demonstrate the attributes business schools care about: teamwork, leadership and problem solving, among others. This is far more important than their status at the company.
2) Speak with a few select people you have in mind regarding your plans to attend business school and gauge their reaction. If they elicit enthusiasm, keep the conversation going. If you decide someone is right for the job – make sure to ask them about work travel and vacation plans. It’s best to be in close contact around the application due date.
3) Do not work with recommenders who are unwilling to work openly. You have invested a lot of time and money into this process and need to stay in control of the content. I’ve seen disasterious results from this.
4.) Business schools pressure you for that manager recommendation, but it is not required and I have worked with clients who got into elite MBA programs with scholarships – and never shared their MBA plans with their managers.
EXECUTION TIPS: SHOW, DON’T TELL
1.) Each question narrates a SPECIFIC incident or moment in time.
2.) Stories are narrated in STAR format or, if that doesn’t fit, at least have a beginning, middle and end.
3.) These stories show how you MODEL teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, innovation, persuasion, strategic thinking; things b-schools care about.
4.) Each recommender really champions you; they see the uniqueness of you – and articulate that artfully in whatever language they speak (you can translate.)
5.) The reader is moved by the content and wants to champion you to other members of the adcom.
For more tips like these, follow me on social media. I post daily.