In the cinematic achievement Legally Blonde, loved by all millennials with a pulse, ditsy main character Elle Woods submits a provocative yet clever video as part of her application to Harvard. Elle creatively demonstrates her achievements, her lifestyle and provides the admissions officers with a sense of her personality and potential. The video certainly sets her apart from the other more muted and “stuffy” applicants and earns her a spot in the world’s most coveted university. Ten years ago the idea of submitting a video to admissions officers certainly seemed daring, unconventional and bold. But now, top MBA programs are actually requiring their applicants to do just that as part of the application process, including Yale School of Management and Kellogg School of Management.
Applying to top MBA programs is stressful enough, now schools are adding video. Why? According to a recent interview with Kellogg’s dean of admissions in Bloomberg Businessweek last week, the two-minute video response to a short-answer personal question gives everyone on the admissions team the opportunity to meet applicants no matter where they reside in the world. Talk about the importance of first impressions! Veritas Prep Director of Admissions Consulting and Kellogg alum, Travis Morgan, says that the idea, and one that has been attempted unsuccessfully in the past by other MBA programs, is to give admissions committees “a quick glimpse into who you are as a person, what your personality is like…It’s like a mini-interview before the full-in-person version.” And though there is an increasing reliance on video technology in global business communications, Travis wonders if the new video applicant response will become a “staple of the admissions process or another passing fad.” Regardless, the ability to present your best self on this type of platform is absolutely essential in business.
Yes, this is yet another piece of the application process that will require preparation and likely additional grooming time, but the end result can actually serve as a unique opportunity to distinguish yourself from other applicants and really showcase how you will succeed in a particular b-school’s program. And if all else fails, send in a scented pink resume.