The combined elements of your character are what make you an individual distinct from others; your Character Strengths include character attributes like creativity, honesty, and generosity; they are the qualities that society and, it follows, business schools hold in high regard.
In this video, we'll introduce you to a profiling tool developed by psychologists that will offer you a number of valuable, initial insights on which of your Character Strengths you might want to emphasize in your application.
One of the secrets to developing powerful MBA applications is starting with a thorough understanding of who you are, what your strengths are, and what you have to offer the schools you’re applying to.
The combined elements of your character are what makes you an individual distinct from any other. This class will teach you how to assess your Character Strengths – which are the qualities that society and, it follows, business schools hold in high regard. We’ll be directing you to an online profiling tool developed by psychologists that will allow you to quickly and confidently identify your own Character Strengths.
So let's get started! Your lecturer for this class is Tyler Cormney.
Your character strengths are the qualities and capabilities you possess that make you a valuable member of society – they are high level attributes like honesty, bravery, and determination.
Assessing your own Character Strengths can be difficult from the inside looking out. Fortunately, psychologists have developed a diagnostic tool for us that has proved to be remarkably accurate in identifying a person’s Character Strengths.
The VIA Survey of Character is a 240 multiple choice questions and takes about 30 minutes to complete. You will need to register on the VIA website to access this tool but you will receive a free results report immediately upon completion. The free results report provides a ranking of your character strengths from one to twenty-four. The website will offer you a more comprehensive "VIA Interpretive Report" for US $40 but the free report is sufficient for our purposes.
Let’s take a quick look at the survey instrument.
Once you’ve registered and started the survey, you’ll be presented with 240 multiple choice questions. For each statement, you are asked to assess whether or not the statement is a valid description of you.
For example, you will presented with a statement like "I find the world a very interesting place" … and then you’re asked to rate how well this statement describes you on a sliding scale:
> Very Much Like Me
> Like Me
> Unlike Me
> Very Much Unlike Me
Click the correct radio button and then proceed to the next question.
Don’t over-think each question! Your first instinctive response is the one you should record. It goes without saying that you need to be completely honest in your answers if you want to get the full benefit of this exercise.
In a moment you can take the survey for yourself, but first let’s take a peek at the kind of report you’ll receive when you’re done.
The report you’ll receive from the VIA Survey will look similar to the one above, except it will show all 24 of your character strengths in order from #1 (your top character strength) down to #24 (your lowest character strength).
The point of this exercise is not to print out your results and pull them out during an admissions interview. Rather, you want to review the results and compare them to your own perceived Character Strengths. Ask yourself if you feel they are a good representation of your best character attributes. Your top five Character Strengths will serve as a helpful guide when you are brainstorming for your essays or trying to shape the response to an essay or interview question. They provide yet another focal point that you can use to better understand where your strengths lie and a guideline for focusing your application messaging.
When it comes to communicating your character strengths the adage "show them don’t tell them" applies. Telling the admissions committee that you possess creativity and ingenuity is never as powerful as showing them that you do by sharing an example of your creativity and ingenuity in action. Use the outputs of this report as a guide for prioritizing your points of difference and selecting stories and examples for your essays that feature the character strengths you possess. By doing so, you’ll offer substantive proof that you will enrich the MBA community that you’re applying to be a part of.
You’re now ready to complete the VIA Character Survey which is the final exercise in our Application Strategy Series. You’ll find a link to VIA Character Survey in the self-study materials associated with this lecture. Register for the survey and take the test!
Good luck and prepare to be accepted!
Reference: Lecture Slides and Speaker Notes
Tool: VIA Institute Character Strengths Survey