We believe that the MBA admissions process is inherently a marketing exercise.  This does not mean “spinning your story” to impress the admissions committee or telling them what you think they want to hear.  It means, presenting your authentic self in the best light possible.  It means taking a premium product (YOU) and wrapping it in beautiful packaging, showing off your true colors inside, then adding a well-written label that lets your personality shine through, so that you stand out from all of the others.

And as any good marketer knows, the key to marketing success is a solid brand foundation. It’s impossible to market a brand effectively if you don’t know what it stands for.  Similarly, before jumping into the application-writing process, it’s important that you understand your own personal brand and have the same sense of understanding about yourself.

You may have heard the terms “brand identity” or “brand positioning statement.”  Coming up with your personal brand is a very similar exercise.  While there are a number of meaningful elements that comprise the branding process, we recommend that you focus on these 5, and you’ll be off to a running start:

Vision statement:

What is your overall reason for being?  Your ultimate dream?  How do you envision the world after you play your role in it?  In MBA application terms, this is your long-term career goal.  Think big.  This should be your ongoing source of inspiration.

Mission statement:

What gets you out of bed on a daily basis?  What do you plan to accomplish today, or tomorrow?  Take a nearer-term view and think about the immediate impact you intend to have.  In b-school terms, this is your short-term career goal.


What is important to you?  What do you believe in?  What are your priorities?  By what criteria do you make decisions?  Brainstorm broadly, then consolidate your list to 5-8 core values.

Brand personality:

What are you like?  What are your core traits and characteristics?  These special qualities make you relatable to your target audience and help foster a connection between you.

Brand positioning statement:

How are you differentiated from others in your competitive set?  What do you uniquely have to offer?  What can you promise (and deliver on) that others can’t?  Then, include three good reasons why we should believe you. Keep this on your desk to inspire you as you’re putting together your resume, your essays, and preparing for your interviews.

Remember, no other MBA candidate is exactly like you.  And before your own marketing process can begin, you’ve got to know what your brand is all about and what makes you the most deserving product on the shelf.


[For help with your personal branding, or for general MBA admissions advice, please contact us at]

© Hillary Schubach, July 24, 2013, 10:12 am MT