Every business school strives to attract a diverse class of students from around the world. But usually, they cap the international student base at around 20-30% of the total class. With a high volume of applications from China, India, and Southeast Asia every year, this is one of the most competitive pools of candidates, with tons of applicants having stellar grades and work experience at prestigious firms.
Further, the way business school applications work in the US and Europe is very different from what Asian applicants are used to. Candidates need to describe their life and work experiences in a way that reflects depth, clarity, and coherence, all while translating the nuances of Asian societies and work cultures into essays that the AdCom can relate to.
Our team started off by brainstorming Liu’s professional experiences with her. We learned more about her work managing the wealth for some of China’s most wealthy people.
We realized that she had a first-hand view of the problem posed by global income inequality and this is something that she wanted to work on after her MBA. Our team helped her craft a story around that theme, surfacing and bringing together some really interesting anecdotes and stories along the way. Her final essays blended humor, current affairs, and a strong social message.
The last 30 years saw a huge surge in industrialization in Asia leading to advances in technology and policy, and changing societal beliefs. As our team was developing a persona for Shuning, we spent substantial time exploring these changes with her and discussing what impact they had on her life growing up.
It was evident through these conversations that Liu was really passionate about sharing these learnings with her future peers at Wharton. The former Wharton AdCom members on our team encouraged Liu to reflect that in her application documents since a desire to contribute to the Wharton community is something the school really appreciates. When her application was done, these experiences not only reflected self-awareness but also Liu’s humility.
Liu applied to Kellogg, Tuck, Columbia, and The Wharton School. She got admits from Columbia, Tuck, and Wharton. She was offered a merit scholarship of $75,000 from Wharton and decided to pursue her MBA there.