On 4/4/2011, I went to Stanford MBA admission site, trying to learn something about their program. Their view pretty much summarizes and represents those of other topnotch institutions like Harvard and MIT.
First, Intellectual Vitality,
…your attitude toward learning is as important as your aptitude
…your passion, dedication, and genuine interest in expanding your intellectual horizons throughout your application
…evidence of the kind of curiosity and passion that will allow you to spark
…the initiative with which you seek out opportunities that enhance your knowledge.
…your willingness to “suspend disbelief”—by mastering concepts that may not be immediately relevant to your intended career, to carve your path in ambiguous environments, and to support the School’s goal of developing knowledge that deepens and advances the practice of management.
Second, Demonstrated Leadership Potential
…your character and your professional competence.
…evidence of behaviors consistent with your ideals, even under difficult circumstances—a sort of directed idealism.
…your personal motivation and convictions, and your ability to confront complex, unfamiliar issues with good judgment.
…how you defend your position with vigor and respect to a peer advocating a different view.
…the ways in which challenges to your beliefs may have changed some of your perspectives and reinforced others.
…we look for both leadership experience and potential.
…We look at your background for evidence of your impact on the people and organizations around you, and the impact of those experiences on you.
…your activities, experiences, interests, and aspirations
…your awareness of what you do well and the areas in which you can improve;
…your group and interpersonal skills;
…your commitment to utilizing fully your opportunities and available resources.
…evidence of your desire to leave a legacy in the organizations you serve throughout your career, inspiring and motivating your colleagues.
Third, Personal Qualities and Contributions
…your experiences, beliefs, your passions, your dreams, your goals
…Take time to reflect on who you are, and have confidence in yourself.
It is what you make of an experience that matters to us, not simply the experience itself. That is, how you interpret what you experience matters.