My undergrad GPA is 3.85, 750 GMAT. I have approximately three years experience in audit for one of the "big four," and three years as a financial analyst for a Fortune-500 corporation. Volunteer work with a non-profit organization with which I have been involved for approximately six years. My experience is entirely unremarkable; my performance has always been strong, but entirely bereft of leadership and impact.
I honestly have no idea what to write for essay topics such as describing leadership experience, or a significant impact I have had on an organization. I have only worked for very large organizations, and have had little opportunity to make an impact, much less a significant one.
I'm interested in applying to top schools (Stanford, Columbia, MIT) but fear I will not be competitive because my background is too typical.
Any thoughts on things I may be overlooking that will exemplify leadership and impact? Thanks!
You need to persuade yourself that you have something to offer the schools before you try to persuade the schools that you have something to offer them. I find it hard to believe that your performance is entirely bereft of impact. Why should they keep you if you have not had impact?
I can't tell you how to persuade yourself or the schools without interviewing you, but usually the details of your life, not the broad brush strokes, are where you will find topics of interest. I can say that six years of volunteering for the same organization does show commitment. How can you show (or if possible quantify) that your performance "has been strong"?
If you search my blog
, you will find quite a few entries on leaderhsip and posts that direct you to others' thoughts on leadership, including different models of leadership and examples of leadership. I would like to highlight one entry about a quiet young leader
who does not exhibit the classic charismatic traits of leadership.
Finally, I suggest you look at "MBA Admissions: Application Advice for Investment Bankers
" and consider purchasing The Finance Professional's Guide to MBA Admissions Success
. The latter in particular deals with a "typical" finance professional who does not have a lot of leadership experience on the job and much less community service than you do.
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