When admission committee say they’re looking for passion in b-school applications, they’re not expecting you to ramble on for pages about your love affair with chocolate, or for you to divulge private details about your love life with the girl next door.
In admissions, “passion” means dedication. The admission committee want to see that you are committed to something. Why is this important? Because if you show that you are a committed person, that you’ve dedicated yourself to an activity or cause and motivated yourself to action because of that dedication, then there’s a good chance that you’ll have what it takes to dedicate yourself to your chosen course of study and your Alma-mater.
To put it in quantifiable terms—I am after all speaking to a bunch of calculating b-school applicants—Passion = Action + Dedication. The admission committee want to see passion? No problem. Simply think of an example in your life where you’ve been staunchly committed to a cause or a goal so much that it’s motivated you to act, pushing forward until you’ve contributed to or influenced that cause significantly or achieved your goal.
You can be passionate about a hobby, about a cause, about an idea or concept—anything that moves you to action. Here are a few examples:
- Spending hours upon hours, day-in and day-out, year after year practicing the violin.
- Training and training so you beat your personal best (and your friends too) in the yearly marathon.
- Volunteering as a “big sister” once a week since you were in high school.
- Raising thousands of dollars for your favorite charity by assuming responsibility for your community’s annual silent auction.
So when you’re preparing your b-school application and the word “passion” pops up, make a quick translation to “dedication” or “commitment.” You’ll find that the examples that follow are a lot more on track (and probably more appropriate) than were you to start getting carried away by “passion.”