As we all know, the only Harvard Business School essay this year asks MBA applicants to ‘Introduce Yourself to your classmates.’ Most applicants are stuck about how to answer this question while being more—-much more–in fact, than just another name, face, and serial number.
Many people, under the guidance of some consultants, are trying desperately to “cut through the clutter” of all the other essays which will inevitably begin with something like, “Hi everyone, I’m Steven Smith and before coming here I worked for McKinsey . . .”
Snore. That will never get you in, say many consultants. To get in you need a value add, a selling proposition, a deep search of your yin and yang–and beyond that, once you find that yin and yang you need to start strong and cut through the clutter. CUT THROUGH THE CLUTTER.
‘FIT IN. DON’T STAND OUT’
Our resident HBS expert, Sandy Kreisberg, the HBS Guru of hbsguru.com, strongly disagrees. He believes the way to get in to HBS is to “fit in, not stand out.”
If pressed, Kreisberg would say that “Hello everyone, I’m Steven Smith and before coming here, I worked for McKinsey . . .” is a totally fine way to start an HBS essay.
We’re not here today to have that debate. Instead, we are here today to celebrate those brave souls who have taken the other consultants advice to heart–too much too heart–and to illustrate what those daring applicants have created in response to the command TO CUT THROUGH THE CLUTTER.
THE FIRST HOW NOT TO CUT THROUGH THE HBS CLUTTER CONTEST
Herewith our very first Poets&Quants HOW NOT TO CUT THROUGH THE HBS CLUTTER contest.
If you, dear readers and future applicants, have sterling examples of HOW NOT TO CUT THROUGH THE HBS CLUTTER, please post them in our comments section. We will announce 10 winners and award each a Poets&Quants T-shirt.
Drum roll, please.
HOW NOT TO CUT THROUGH THE HBS CLUTTER : 12 BOLD AND LOUD AND ORIGINAL WAYS TO START YOUR HBS ON THE WRONG FEET
1. “Friends, Romans, Section Mates, lend me your ears . . . .and with just those as ears as security, I could arrange a very favorable loan of over $100 million as part of your buy out of the AudioScope, the undervalued hearing aid retail chain. As you can tell, before coming here I was a . . . .”
2. “‘Mir뤩ta,’ ‘Ahalan,’ ‘Parev,’ ‘Zdravei,’ ‘Nei Ho,’ ‘Goddag,’ and ‘Saluton’ to you all!!!! Hi everyone. Those are just words for ‘Hello’ from countries I have visited — except ‘Saluton,’ which is Esperanto, a language I learned at an Adult Enrichment course at the YMCA in Cincinnati, O-H. O-H is United States Postal Service talk for Ohio!!!! That is where I work. I’m here to share “Hello” and “Hi” and “How are we?”–and my experiences as a marketing specialist for P&G . . . I want to learn and share with everyone as our journey goes from Hello to “Hasta la Vista” which is a way of saying goodbye in the Spanish language. I’ve visited there, too. Spain, I mean, although people speak Spanish in other countries. But let me tell you about ME in any language . . . come to think of it, I also can do charades and want to start a club.” [MAKES “HEART” HAND-SIGN ON CHEST AND PROJECTS IT TOWARDS THE CLASS]
3. “10, 8, 9, 7, 5, 6, 2, 1, 3, 4 . . . . You guessed it . . . I’m the guy who got in with the 510 GMAT.”
4. “Dee Leopold . . . there is someone, THANK GOD, I will never have to think about again.” Similarly, “HBSGURU””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
5. “Hi everyone, I’m passing out these lollipops for a reason . . . .I couldn’t afford condoms, but in introducing myself I do want you to have something pleasant to think about because my last five years at Goldman and then TPG were anything but, and that brings me to why I am here…”
6. “My goal is to be the OEC of an innovative and powerful CNM. As you can tell, I’m also dyslexic. I meant CEO of an MNC and let me tell you how happy I am to be here at BSH, er HBS, although BSH has a certain ring to it, especially if you go BSG, where I was on the Waiting List before getting dinged. KO, Seriously . . . .”
7. “Hello my future fellow rulers of the universe . . .Hey, who said investment banking is over? What until you hear about my three biggest deals . . .”
8. “What! No free food in the cafeteria, no massages . . .O.K. where did I work before coming here . . .? Right you are. We’re never ‘frugal’ at _______? Let me share that experience with you. ”
9. “Hi everyone . . . I’m Danny Brown and I was born in the United States and have lived there all my life . . .for those of you who look perplexed, the United States is a federal republic on the North American landmass between Canada and Mexico, except for Alaska and Hawaii. The United States is a member of NATO, which is an organization some of our European friends may know about. The United States is considered a developed country and it is not land-locked. Famous people who have come from the United States that you may have heard of include Elvis, Barack Obama, and Mickey Mouse. The capital city of the United States is called Washington, for now. It is named after the first resident of the United States, George Washington, but that may change soon because he owned slaves. I’m glad to be here with such a diverse and international cohort of men, women, and other learners, and I look forward to sharing our national origins, sexual orientations, racial fun facts, and getting to know you all, and contributing to our mutual understanding of everything through the case method.
10. “FIRE!!! “FIRE!!! “FIRE!!! Just kidding but that is a good way to remember me. F is for FRIENDLY . I is for INTERESTING . R is for REALLY FUN. E is for ELLEN which is very close to my real name, Helen.”
11. “Hi everyone, if you got one of those apps, and are giving me funny looks, well, let’s get this sex registry thing out of the way right now . . . .I assume we are all over 18. O.K., I’m allowed to be here.
12. “Hi everyone, I’m Jane Tuttle and I want to start by telling you two things about me that are NOT TRUE. First, I’m not related to King Tut, but if you are, and come from Egypt or one of those countries around there, here’s a big shout out for that hairdo. Seriously, how do you do that? Second, my friends don’t call me “Tutts”–I mean you can, who knows, but . . . O.K. Here are some things about me that ARE True . . . .I used to work at one of those Big Four accounting firms . . . . “