Invariably, b-schools ask applicants about their leadership qualities at some point in their essays or in the interview. Sometimes the question is explicit and other times, the question of leadership is implicit. The leadership essay is often the most difficult topic for MBA applicants to handle. Many applicants feel that they can't claim to have held leadership positions in their professional careers without stretching the truth. They think of leadership experience in terms of being someone else's supervisor or of having sole responsibility for a department or project. The answer to that dilemma lies in recognizing that the schools are interested in your potential for leadership, not just your past history of leadership. Even if you haven't yet held a formal leadership position, you undoubtedly have some ideas about what makes a good leader. The leadership essays are an opportunity for you to discuss the qualities that you believe a leader needs, focusing on the ones you already have and recognizing the ones you hope to cultivate through an MBA education. Here are some questions that might help you generate the ideas you need to get started on your leadership essays: Have you ever solved a problem for your employer or for an organization you belonged to? How did you do that? Did you see a situation or problem differently than other people did? Did you bring different tools or knowledge to the resolution of the problem? Did you help other people deal with the problem differently, or did you take direct action? Did your actions result in a lasting benefit for the organization? Have you acted as a mentor or teacher for people who were new to your organization? Have you played a role in deciding what knowledge or training new staff members needed to perform well? Have you made suggestions about how to improve employee training or retention? Have you ever had to work with somebody whose idea of leadership conflicted with yours? How did you handle that conflict? Did the experience change your ideas about what a leader is or of how you should interact with leaders? Have you ever suggested a new product or program for your employer or another group? How did you come up with that idea? Did you have to gain others' support, or gather resources in order to implement your plan? How did you do that? Whether you’re planning to apply late or early in the admissions season or you just want to discuss some pre positioning issues, we're to help. Call us at 1.800.809.0800 to learn more about how we can ensure you maximize your b-school admissions chances.
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