Weakness, Setback and Failure
Achievements are easy to write. Setbacks, failures and weaknesses, however, pose a challenge because we are not sure how to project them without adversely affecting our chances of being admitted.
All of us fail regularly to equal our dreams of perfection and to perform as well as we feel we can. The big issue is not that we have weaknesses or we have failed; it's part of life. The point to make through the essays is that you have a system to manage these imperfections in a way that they do not dictate you. It's about showing setbacks and weaknesses as robust stepping stones that lead you to growth and maturity.
Our weaknesses are usually a result of over pursuance of our strengths. You are inquisitive and want to do new things always, so completing routine tasks is a weakness. You are methodical and organized, so you find it difficult to take impromptu decisions. You care about people's feeling so you struggle to communicate bad news to them. You are so keen on taking responsibility and want to get things right that you find it difficult to delegate tasks and end up micromanaging subordinates.
We find it challenging to overcome the weaknesses because we don't want to dilute the associated strengths in the process of addressing the weaknesses. Yet, we can develop perspectives and work on them over a period of time to address their negative fallout. Go ahead and share a weakness using this perspective. It won't ever harm you.
Don't use a phony failure experience.
Identify an experience when you tried your best and yet failed. And you were the reason for the failure. It won't count as your failure if you did not stop someone else from doing the wrong thing that led to the failure.
It's OK to show a real failure if you can show that you learned from it. You were hopeful that you would raise the funds on your own but you couldn't and you had to cut out an important activity at the event at school. The experience taught you to take along others and made you a strong proponent of the value of working with others in teams.
Don't focus so much on proving the learning from the failure that you end up showing the failure as an achievement. Even if you bring in a follow up experience to prove the learning make it short and crisp.
ARE THERE FAILURES AND WEAKNESSES TO AVOID?
If your decision to join business school is a well thought out one you need not worry about sharing a weakness or a failure that could prove detrimental to your admission.
What could be a disastrous weakness or failure?
The business world is all about taking decisions under uncertainty. If you say that uncertainty troubles you and you find it difficult to decide in the absence of extensive data, you would make admissions committee question your suitability to pursue a business program. Similarly, avoid traits and experiences that question your leadership skills and ability to persuade others and get things done.
Chapter 1: Achievements
Chapter 2: Career goals and career progress
Chapter 3: Leadership and Teamwork
Chapter 4: Unique Applicant
Chapter 6: Why MBA? Why XYZ school?
Chapter 7: Miscellaneous issues