Speed of sound

I have been obsessing about this whole B-school thing for quite a while now. Its kinda my thing to obsess about things. It keeps me sane because I can’t tolerate a blank head. Pursuits of this type require effort and dedication and I have enough free time to afford it. Maybe that’s why I am looking forward to doing this.

Butterscotch, my sweet ol’ computer is completely in ruins. Because of rotten software and rotten installer files. I can’t do anything. I can’t even install my GMAT tests and I’m stuck doing paper tests. HELP ME!
Poor ol’ scotch.. I keep thinking of buying a new laptop but I can’t bear the thought of ditching her. But you know “mes sentiments respectaux” towards laptops. *shudder*

So I was surfing because that’s the only activity I can do. (and even that hangs every ten minutes). I was looking at MBA essays…and came across the Stanford essay question. See I kinda have mixed sentiments about essay questions…I know they can bolster up your applications and all that jazz. But come on, not everyone is honest on their essays. And an essay is a test of English really and how well you can write. How well you can bullshit, if you will. And yes, while we know that that is exactly what managers do, it should not be a pre-requisite for becoming one.

Another thing that bugs me is the “so what?” angle. Take this question for instance “What matters the most to you in life?”
So you’re honest on your application. So you saved hungry children in Nicaragua. So your son is the most important factor in your life. SO WHAT? How does that translate to a great MBA student? How is this perception of a heart of solid gold have any bearing on how person XYZ turns into this awesome MBA student who turns into a top-notch investment banker? How? If I spent a year of my life doing social work, why am I being all capitalistic and pursueing an MBA all of sudden? The orphans don’t ask for my degree certificate.
In other words, why should I prove to the admissions commitee that I am The Happy Prince in character but completely aggressive over-ambitious MBA aspirant otherwise? What’s with this fake sense of grandeur?
(The Happy Prince is one of the most beautiful little children’s stories about being selfless, about being good and doing good…read it!)

Secondly what is the right answer to the “What matters the most” question…how do they differentiate? Is it social service? Is it patriotism? Is it family? Is it music? Who’s to say one is more important than the other, and who’s to say one essay is more honest/more MBA-worthy than the other?

To be completely honest, I am stumped by the question and I admit it is a toughie. One that needs to be answered but not neccesarily one that is a reason to admit/deny someone. I have been obsessing about it and haven’t come up with an answer yet.

The real answers are just this–
Why MBA? want better job
Why now? Very poor, Want better job
Why School XYZ? Better school=better job
Describe awesome experience? None to show for, want better job. please.


9 thoughts on “Speed of sound

  1. I’m glad i didn’t study management. ha. But they only ask these questions cos all the companies that have to `good jobs’ have hearts of gold too. Like shell is doing so much for the environment, and nike has this whole history with helping underpriveleged children, and the cola companies here are so pro-rural-development. 🙂

  2. Have you read that famous essay by one of the Harvard Undergrads(well he applied to the Undergrad Pgm.) by an Indian. It was truly hillarious. Went something like ‘…..I have flown fighter jets over pakistan and fought 3 wars with China, I have swum the English Channel in 9 minutes and circled the globe in 3 hours….’ so on and so forth for a whole page. And the last line goes ‘….But I have yet to study at Harvard.’The chap got admitted!Go figure!

  3. Its an urban college legend. I’ve read an two american versions of that sop. They can’t all have gotten in with the same basic idea into the same college. Or maybe one did, and the other two not so true.

  4. You know Jups, I doubt it matters *what* your answer is – like you said, how does it make you a better B-school student if you care for Nicaraguan kids? I think what they look for is that you *have* a ready, well-thought-out answer. People with goals tend to make better students, etc. If your goal reflects passion and your story shows commitment, so much the better. So I’m thinking you should just go and write it out that you want a great job (and a million bucks before you turn 30) etc etc in your essay. I daresay they will find honesty coupled with drive and ambition worthy of a place in their snooty school.(See, people who won’t get in will of course sour-grape the school… But I’m betting you’ll enjoy that.)

  5. Saurabh, I feel much better reading 4WD’s comment.. I get the feeling it’s one of those stories that get bigger, better and more preposterous as they are chinese-whispered ad infinitum.Wendelin- I guess you’re right..I mean its all about impressing the panel. Well I’m just being all pissy about it because it’s gonna be hard.

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