The Value of Persistence in securing an Admission in a Top College
- Written by
- Category: Admission Application
- Published on 16 Mar 2018
Epitomized by Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours rule, success eventually boils down to ‘persistence.’ If you pull in efforts over a period of time (called rigor), you would succeed – get into a college of your choice, learn a new skill, make your business successful, etc. I have seen this principal manifest itself in pretty much all the situations. Given the fact that all people have a certain basic intelligence and the IQ variation for most ofthe humanity is within 10%, success (or lack of it) can only be attributed to rigor and resilience.
Let me share a few client-experiences to further elaborate upon this point. A client was sure that the only school that he wanted to study at - was HBS. Laudable objective, but with acceptance rates well under 10%, HBS was not going to be easy! Further he was an Indian male – one of the most over-represented demographic at HBS. To make matters worse, he was very average – no spikes in academics, nor in sports or extra-curricular activities and a fairly average professional experience at an IT services firm. His GMAT scores were also just about average – at about 710/800. The first time he applied, he could not get in. He applied for the second time but could not make it then either. The third time, he did not want to apply (and had already secured admissions from some other great MBA colleges) but eventually put in an application. His story this time was very unusual. He talked about his resolve of getting into HBS at any cost. He talked about his two past attempts and his failure to make it to the coveted institution. He also talked about the impact that it had on his career and personal life. And he capped it all with a dare – that HBS should consider itself lucky that someone is so persistent about getting there. Not taking him would be their loss and not his! He got an early decision admit at HBS with 50% tuition waiver!!
This is a story of persistence. Of not giving up! And if you don’t give up, you shall eventually taste success!!
Often, young people come to me with a clamor that they want to do something new in life. These are prospective college applicants, young entrepreneurs, people who are trying to develop a new hobby or an interest or new employees. My usual response is a question – ‘How long have you been at it?’ The answers have always surprised me and hold the key to their lack of ‘success’ in their ventures. Most tell me that they have been at it just for a couple of days to a few months!
Damn it, unless you have spent time at a particular vocation, you cannot succeed at it!
Another client came to us in the first year of her undergraduate studies. She had more than 2 years before her MIM application was due and she wanted to build a narrative that was powerful and truly representative of who she was! Over the course of time, we realized that she is passionate about smells – she was particularly captivated by the smell of the ‘first rain.’ She chose to explore her interests in that area and went on to research and develop deeper skills/ and understanding of the subject. She went on to the narrow by-lanes of the city of Old Delhi, explored the process of ‘holding a smell in a ghara’ in the suburb of Kannauj, learnt to mix oils with the Hyderabadi artisans in the old Begum-Bazaar and explored a design-thinking approach to build out bespoke smells (more western method) in the city of Bangalore. This is again an adventure ofpersistence woven through more than 2 years of labor. Her narrative was on ‘smells’ and in her application, she expressed an intent to be a part of luxury and leisure industry. She got into the best European colleges and is currently pursuing her Masters in Luxury Management.
A student wanted to be a soccer player! Let’s face it – you cannot want to be a soccer player in India. You can choose to be cricket player, even abadminton star (more recently phenomenon though) but not a soccer player. Thankfully, he realized that pretty soon and gave up on that. However the love and passion for soccer did not go away. He kept coming back to it – as a player (he was a national level soccer player), possibly a coach (briefly he flirted with the idea), event management at local events and even soccer entrepreneurship. However, none of those turned into a durable career. However, over the course of 3 years that he spent at these soccer related vocations, he matured as a soccer enthusiast and in the process built a ‘love for soccer’ profile that was unparalleled. He later applied to one of the most coveted programs in sports management – the FIFA Masters (International Masters in Management, Law and Humanities of Sports) jointly conducted by three universities in England, Italy and Switzerland. This became a stepping stone not just for a promising career with Real Madrid as an assistant team manager but also for realizing his passion. Persistence eventually paid off!
The core message of this article is that you need to spend time in building your narrative to get into a top-notch school. Eventually, it does not boil down to your academics or generalized scores but rather on the story that you are telling. And the only way that this story can become potent is by building this narrative over a period of time. Evidence based inputs (over a period of time) which give credibility to this story are a prerequisite to make it powerful and realistic.
Other Informative Blogs