Perspectives for Prospectives

Brief disclaimer that all things written below are my own thoughts, opinions, and feelings and do not represent those of the Admissions Committee.

If you’ve made it to this post, you probably fall into one of the following categories:

1. A fellow 2016-er who saw the link to this post on Facebook and decided that reading was the perfect way to procrastinate on problem sets.

2. A friend or family member outside the MBA community who is relieved to see me alive and writing after two weeks since I re-entered the academic jungle.

3. A b-school hopeful applying to MIT Sloan.

If you’re in 1 or 2, glad you’re here, and if you’re in 3, especially glad you’re here because this post is mostly for you.

Whether you’re ready to press ‘submit’ on your application or are still deciding where to apply, there are a few things I want to share with you that I wish I’d known in the application process.

I want to tell you that this process is intense

Studying for the GMAT is work enough without having to clock in 14-hour days. Trying to write memorable essays about your life experiences is challenging enough when you can barely recall what you ate for lunch or what time you put your laundry in the dryer. But if it were easy everyone would do it.

I want to remind you that you are not alone

If you’re anything like me, you probably feel that this entire process is overwhelming. And fairly so–this is your future we’re talking about here. But I was in your shoes barely a year ago, and they still fit. I feel you. We feel you. We did it and you can, too.

I want to promise you that it will be worth it

B-school applications are a prelude to two years of being pushed to reflect on who you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re going. Wherever you end up studying, you will come out of this application process knowing yourself more deeply and prepared to push your personal limits in ways you’d never have imagined. You’ve been presented with an opportunity to engage in some deep and deeply-satisfying self-evaluation.

With that, use your mens and put your manus on the keyboard, and get personal. It’s time to write your story, and I wish you the best of luck.

The pen speaks for itself.

Just keep writing!

Erica Zendell

Erica Zendell is a MBA Candidate in the MIT Sloan Class of 2016. A former HBS case writer and researcher of contemporary China, she aspires to work as a Product Manager at the crossroads of the real and digital worlds of retail. When not hitting the books, she hosts a podcast with a classmate called "The Business of Being Awesome" focused on inspiring MBAs to find work they love after business school, even if it means going off the beaten path (

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