6 Traits Top MBA Programs Look For – #3 Leadership

December 14th, 2012

| Last Updated on May 21, 2019

The third vital trait that AdComs look for is Leadership in MBA aspirants. At some schools, this trait is given even more importance than Academic Potential.

Who is a Leader?

I bet if there are 20 people answering this question, we will receive 20 different answers. This is because every person has a different perspective of a leader!
According to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, there are two circles in life:
1. Circle of Concern
2. Circle of Influence
Circle of Concern covers a broad gamut of concerns that each one of us has in life, such as our professional and personal problems, health issues, concern about kids, managing finances and so on.
On the other hand, Circle of Influence covers those kinds of concerns that are under our control to some extent and about which, we may actually do something.
Can I make a difference to my neighborhood in any significant way?
Can I take up more responsibilities at work to get the project delivered on time?

What Admissions Committees are searching for?

Remember, Adcoms are constantly looking for proactive people; such people focus on issues within their circle of influence and try to do something about them, thus increasing their circle of influence eventually. Conversely, reactive people are those who are likely to ignore those issues that come under their circle of influence and it eventually decreases.
Who is a leader?
Now, it will be a little easier to answer this question! 🙂
“A leader is someone who wants to expand his Circle of Influence!”
You may not be a born leader, but leadership is a trait that can also be developed over a period of time. How?
Avoid… Wishful thinking!
If I’d had a better education, I would have…
If I have a better employer, I would…
Inculcate… Proactive action!
I can be a better manager by…
I can be more attentive to…
Your essays, recommendations, interview should all reflect that you have the leadership quality to influence others around you and make a difference to the work place and the society you live in.

Your MBA application will carry more credibility if:


You have been a part of the solution instead of part of the problem in your professional and personal front.


You have contributed substantially to the company you worked with as well as the community you live in.


You have the ability to take initiative, organize events and eventually manage projects efficiently.


You can take timely and calculated decisions and take ownership of the same.


You have the ability to communicate effectively, convince people around you and get things done smoothly.


You can keep yourself motivated and inspire others too to achieve professional and personal goals.

For instance, if you are the one who does your day’s job, comes back home, have dinner, watch crime reports on T.V and goes to sleep… you are not a leader because your circle of influence is tiny!
You will be a leader if you contribute to the society surrounding you in some tangible way. Remember, leadership is the most vital quality that can distinguish you from other applicants. You need not necessarily be an entrepreneur or a part of an NGO. Even if you are pursuing any constructive hobby consistently, that can display your leadership qualities, it is sufficient.
For example, if playing football is your hobby, how have you contributed to promote this sport within your sphere? This can speak a lot about your leadership traits.
In essence, what AdComs want to know is whether managers like you can be transformed into great leaders of tomorrow. Thus, ‘Leadership’ is one of the important requirements for MBA admission.
Click here to read about the 2nd trait B-schools are looking for!
There is still  more to your MBA application! Look out for 4th trait
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