Chicago Booth MBA Essay Analysis – Essay 2

Describe a time when you were surprised by feedback that you received. What was the feedback and why were you surprised?

This sucker is all about “being in touch with the inner you.” Knowing thyself.

Let’s figure out what “surprise” is all about. When do we experience surprise?

If we found out that O.J. Simpson did in fact “do it” — no one is going to bat an eyelash.

If, however, we were to learn that Mother Teresa was responsible for the murder of JFK, we would probably not believe it at first, but if evidence were to come out… I think it’s safe to say the world would be… “surprised.”

Apologies for the absurd examples. But the key is about… EXPECTATION. When we enter into a situation with a set of expectations, we anticipate a certain outcome. When that outcome looks very different, our first and strongest reaction is that of SURPRISE. Most folks believe [expect] that O.J. did it. So what should be an earth shattering reversal of such a titanic verdict, ends up being shrugged off casually. In order to truly get to a moment of surprise, the expectations need to be at serious odds with the outcome.

So the KEY to talking about a famous moment of surprise in your life is to travel back to the moments BEFORE the feedback was delivered, and bring us into what your expectations were. This is where alllll the gold’s at. Because now we’ll learn a little about who you are, what you had expected, and we’ll know in an instant, why the feedback you received threw you for a loop.

The mistake most folks make is not setting this up properly, and diving STRAIGHT into the situation and the feedback—-and then telling us THAT they were surprised. We will learn nothing this way, and you’ve just burned a few hundred words along the way. Set it up right. Paint a picture of your expectations. Then slap us with feedback received that runs wildly contrary. Surprise US the same way someone else had surprised YOU.