Harvard | Mr. Policy Player
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
MIT Sloan | Mr. Healthtech Consultant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.44
NYU Stern | Mr. Army Prop Trader
GRE 313, GPA 2.31
Harvard | Mr. Software PE
GMAT 760, GPA 3.45
Kellogg | Mr. Social Impact Initiative
GMAT 710, GPA 3.1
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
INSEAD | Ms. Spaniard Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 8.5/10.00
Rice Jones | Mr. Carbon-Free Future
GMAT 710, GPA 4.0
London Business School | Ms. Private Equity Angel
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Navy Nuke
GMAT 710, GPA 3.66
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
NYU Stern | Ms. Entertainment Strategist
GMAT Have not taken, GPA 2.92
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
London Business School | Mr. FANG Strategy
GMAT 740, GPA 2.9
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Indian Dreamer
GRE 331, GPA 8.5/10
Wharton | Mr. Hopeful Fund Manager
GMAT 770, GPA 8.52/10
London Business School | Mr. LGBT Pivot
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.15
Harvard | Mr. CPPIB Strategy
GRE 329 (Q169 V160), GPA 3.6
Rice Jones | Mr. Student Government
GMAT 34 (ACT for Early Admit Program), GPA 3.75
Chicago Booth | Mr. Healthcare PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
Kellogg | Ms. Sustainable Development
GRE N/A, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Mr. Army Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.89
Kellogg | Ms. Big4 M&A
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
MIT Sloan | Ms. Rocket Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. African Energy
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4

Defining Leadership On Your MBA App

You do not need a title to lead. Eisenhower defined leadership as the “art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” No mention of title or hierarchy there.

What you do need to have, however, are followers. Being a leader or possessing leadership skills is worthless if you have not motivated people to follow you. Leadership does not exist in a bubble.

You lead when you take on responsibilities and motivate other people to act or think in a certain way. You lead when you propose a new policy to higher-ups, gather support, and then get your proposal accepted. You lead when you influence the behavior of others.

In general, applicants tend to think of leadership in narrow terms: title, underlings, and reports. It is far broader than that. Admissions committee members recognize that breadth. So should you. And then portray it.

In more practical terms, in what ways have you acted as a mover and a shaker? Of course, you should mention any job titles or positions you’ve held that specifically denote leadership, but you should also discuss other experiences in your life in which you’ve stepped up, acted passionately and convincingly, and moved others to act. And of course, when you had the title, what did you do with it? How did you earn it? How did you act on it?

Perhaps you’ve honed your leadership skills in the office by developing a more efficient way of running meetings (and then implementing it), or perhaps your role as Little League coach has taught you what it means to be a leader. Perhaps you were in the military—you should have no trouble coming up with leadership examples there.

Remember the three essential ingredients of leadership – motivation, responsibility, and followers – and make sure that your application reflects them.

By Linda Abraham, CEO and founder of Accepted.com, the leading MBA admissions consultancy, and co-author of the new book, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.  Linda has been helping MBA applicants gain acceptance to top MBA programs since 1994.

Our Series on the Essentials of an Awesome MBA Application

Part I: The GMAT

Part II: Grade Point Average

Part III: Extracurricular Experience

Part IV: Work Experience