Brainstorming Leadership Essay Material
A good leadership essay tells a story about your leadership ability. Coming up with a good story requires some reflection about experiences where you demonstrated leadership. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you brainstorm material for your leadership essay:
- When have I lead people to take action?
- When have I taken charge of a situation?
- How have I made use of other people's talents and skills?
- How have I helped people fix their mistakes?
- When have I identified a new problem?
- How have I marshalled resources to solve a problem?
- How have I helped a group reach consensus?
- What have I done to boost morale within my organization?
- How have I helped other people overcome personal or professional challenges?
Answering these questions will allow you to identify your leadership skills. Next, you need to reflect on the impact you had in these situations, since this will give business school admissions a better idea of how you will contribute to their school.
How to Get Leadership Experience
If you can't think of any leadership experience, there's still hope. The ways we lead in our daily lives aren't always obvious to us. Even if you do not hold a leadership role at work, there are still ways to exhibit leadership in your daily life. In fact, you may already be demonstrating leadership qualities, and not even know it. Here are some less obvious leadership stories you can develop for your MBA application, based on a 2009 Business Week article.
- Recruiting employees from your alma mater allows you to take action at work, even if you aren't a project manager. Most companies rely heavily on employee referrals for their staffing needs. Recommending employees shows that you are able to take initiative. If the employees are hired, then you are able to state that you have played a direct role in shaping the talent at your company.
- Think of ways that you are or could be a leader in your family. Some MBA candidates have used successfully used their role within their family to make the case for their leadership ability. In order to do this, you may need to think broadly about leadership and trace your memories back pretty far. For example, if you have a single parent, you can show that you had to take on responsibility at an early age. Other family leadership roles include working for a family business, helping relatives with their finances, or organizing the care of a family member. Just make sure that you focus on the leadership skills that can be transferred into your MBA program, instead of getting stuck on details about your family.
- Solve problems. This could be as simple as changing the way something is done at work or even at home (see above). Think about how you solve problems in your daily life. If you can achieve a goal or have one you've already achieved, then you can include this on your MBA application.
- Start a club, business or non-profit organization. Not only does this show leadership, but you can also list this as an extracurricular activity. Candidates who start a club or side business are particularly impressive to business school admissions committees, since they have proven their organizational skills and work ethic.
- Focus on your future achievements. Tell the business school admissions committee how you plan to get involved in campus activities when you are admitted. Be specific -- include which programs you would like to improve and how you would change them. You should also mention any leadership roles you want to take on once admitted.