How to Strike the Right Tone in Your Business School Essays

Finding the right balance between confidence and humility is one of the critical challenges you will face in crafting your business school essays and in delivering answers to admissions interviewers.

No one likes a blowhard, but at the same time, no one else is going to “toot your horn” in your MBA application either. It’s all about your attitude, which will permeate your essays and set the tone for the way the admissions committee views you.

One of the key questions applicants often have is how confident they should try to appear. When you tell a story lauding your achievements to the admissions official across the table, that person’s visual cues can help you know when to scale back the confidence by one or two levels.

With business school essays, you have one shot to craft your message, and admissions committee members with diverse personality types and differing levels of acceptance and patience for bravado will read your prose.

Likewise, some applicants face the dilemma of how much of an “expert” to paint themselves as in their field. It is critical to portray yourself as someone from whom your classmates can learn.

Many business schools are case study-oriented; the quality of the education is essentially determined by the content the students contribute in the classroom. Additionally, offline conversations are a huge part of the learning process for both academic subjects as well as issues related to career choices.

However, the “I’ve seen it all” attitude is definitely not something business schools are looking for from their typical 25-to-30-year-old applicant. Even as you highlight the fascinating experiences you’ve had and the cutting-edge knowledge you possess, make sure you take careful stock of what you want to learn, both from your professors and your fellow students.

The people who take the best advantage of business school are those who come in with a high level of curiosity and a willingness to absorb new information like a sponge. In short, the appropriate balance is struck when you have a developed a detailed awareness of what you have to teach and what you have to learn.

So, how can you highlight your business and leadership achievements without sounding like you think you are God’s gift to commerce? Here are three pointers:

1. Acknowledge the team: NASCAR drivers use the “we” technique to a fault. “We were running great today. When we took that first turn, our car was running perfectly.”

You don’t want to sound like a cliché, but positioning your achievements as team achievements works wonders. Plus, your abilities as a business leader will ultimately be more dependent on your abilities to achieve in a team format than in an individual setting.

2. Balance your portfolio of essays: You will probably have more license to emphasize your impressive achievements in some of your essays if you gain credibility in others by being honest and open about failures, weaknesses, and doubts.

If you just highlight how the incredible amount of work you pitched into an entrepreneurial venture led to its success, you shouldn’t half-heartedly chime in with “sometimes I work too hard” as a personal or professional weakness in another essay.

3. Highlight mentors: If you are shining the spotlight on your leadership capabilities, make sure you also acknowledge people in your academic, extracurricular, or work settings from whom you learned some of these skills. This works equally well for hard skills-such as finance and negotiation-and for “soft” skills, such as leadership, communication, and mentoring abilities. Doing so shows you are good at recognizing the strengths in others and know how to learn from them.

It’s also important that folks who come from positions and industries lacking that “glamour” factor don’t downplay their accomplishments. Certain high-profile investment banks and consulting firms are definitely the main feeder companies to American business schools, but it is often the people who come from less well-represented areas that have the most to teach the section or study group.

You may have run a T-shirt shack. Or conducted accounting audits for sketchy firms. Or monitored quality control at a Senegalese ball bearing plant. Rest assured, you do have valuable things to teach your classmates. The trick comes in thinking through what those lessons are and showing you have an unusual perspective on them.

What To Look For When Investing In A Rental Property

If you are looking into investing your time and money into a rental property there are a few things you will want to consider. Make sure you fully understand what you are getting into before you make the plunge. Do your research and take your time.

There are a lot of things to look into. Dig into the property history and find out if it has been successful, or why previous tenants chose to leave. Look into property management software, how tenants will pay rent, how you will fulfill maintenance requests, and how much of your time managing the property may take.

Often times rental properties may be really cheap but in the long run end up costing you more time and money on the problems that surface. Time and money are precious as a property manager and those hidden problems are not worth either your money or time. Don’t fall victim to properties such as this.

The neighborhood where the property is located can give you some information. See if the neighborhood has a high crime rate that could keep potential tenants from choosing your property. Talk with the local neighbors and get a feel for the community to see what their thoughts are about the property.

Properties in the multifamily housing industry will run much better with a good property management software. Find a property management system that will meet the specific needs of your property. Rent payments and maintenance requests from tenants, if able to be done online, will save you a lot of time and hassle.

Talk with the current property owner and see if you could speak with a resident of the property. Discuss their living situation and ask them if they are happy and if all of their needs are met. If their needs are not met then dig a bit to find the underlying problem and see what could be done to meet it.

Investing in Property is not a decision that should be rushed into. Rushing into a purchase could result in a large time and money loss. You can not just set up a property in a day and expect it to run itself. It takes time and a lot of work.

If might end up that property management isn’t for you. If it is, remember, research and do not rush your purchase.

MLM Success – How To Distinguish Genuine MLM Opportunities From Fake Work At Home Business

MLM opportunities on their own are not bad.

In fact they are a very good way to make money at home.

Unfortunately, because of the large incomes associated with MLM opportunities, there are some unscrupulous companies giving the industry a bad name.

These companies come up with a scam, dress it up as an “unbelievably successful” MLM or work at home opportunity, and begin their own money making venture… siphoning your hard earned money from your pocket to theirs.

It’s not right… and you need to know how to protect yourself.

If you know certain things to look out for, you will be able to distinguish the genuine MLM opportunities from all of the work at home business scams out there.

Here are a few tips:

Beware of Pyramid Schemes

One main reason the reputation of work at home and MLM companies has been tarnished is pyramid schemes.

Pyramid schemes look like MLM opportunities by copying the MLM concept of sponsoring others and building a network. And, just like a true MLM opportunity, every person that signs up into the network has to pay to join the company.

But that’s where the similarity stops.

With a pyramid scheme, there is no product to sell – “selling” the opportunity is the only way to make money. The only intention is to get as many people into the network as possible.

The company’s goal is for people to recruit other people… to recruit other people… to recruit other people… to continually collect more and more money which flows to the top of the pyramid… to the “organizers”.

Make doubly sure that the MLM opportunity you are planning to join has an actual product or service to sell and that you are paid for making sales… not recruiting.

What is the Membership Fee?

It’s normal to pay a registration fee when you sign up for MLM opportunities, but you have to check carefully how much you are paying.

You can become involved with most top MLM companies for less than $200.

Now, this isn’t to say that there are not great MLM opportunities out there requiring more than a $200 initial investment – it’s just that they may not be the ones to choose until you have some MLM experience.

Also, keep in mind that the main goal of a work at home scam is to get as much money coming into the company as quickly as possible… and a fast way of doing this would be to charge high sign up fees.

The Compensation Plan

Is the pay plan for the MLM opportunity convincing?

Is it too convincing?

When an opportunity looks too good, trust your instincts and do some research before joining.

Go to Internet forums and see what people are saying about the company and opportunity.

If possible, meet with a representative and go over the details of the MLM opportunity. If it’s not possible to meet in person, contact the distributor or team leader either by email or phone.

Most legitimate MLM opportunities have successful individuals who are willing to share their success and help others… through their contact information listed on their website or company profile.

Ask questions and seek answers.

Do Some Background Checks

What is the reputation of the company?

How long has it been in business and / or the MLM opportunity been available?

If possible, find out how many people are already in the MLM network and how many product sales are being made.

These are important items to know.

It will be much easier to succeed with the MLM business opportunity if your members are able to believe in both the product they are selling and the company that will be paying them.

Without both of these, it will be harder for you to find people that trust the opportunity enough to actually join your organization.

Once you are convinced that the MLM opportunity you are looking at is genuine, then there’s no reason not to go ahead and join the company.