What do a turkey and Stanford Business School have in common?


We’re gearing up for Thanksgiving: a day to stop, reflect on what we’re truly thankful for…and also eat a ton of turkey (or “tofu-rkey”, for the vegetarians) (Yes, this is an actual product).

As the symbolic and dietary center of the Thanksgiving holiday, the humble turkey has a ton in common with…Stanford Business School?

Well — ok, maybe not the school. But…absolutely with its dreaded essay #1:

“What matters most to you, and why?”

This is the hardest question to answer in any business school app in the world, because it’s just so broad, vulnerable, open to judgment, and therefore terrifying.

In the ApplicantLab, I lay out a step-by-step process to to narrow down what to write about in this dreaded essay (different advice for people who already know what matters most to them…and different advice fr peop, and then structure it accordingly. I have different advice for people who already know what matters most, for people who “sorta” know but aren’t sure, and for people who have absolutely no idea where to start*. No matter what, the ApplicantLab has got you covered! 

It occurred to me that Thanksgiving is a great litmus test of your “What matters most” topic:

When you’re sitting at the table, about to chow down on Mr. Turkey, and thinking about the things you’re most thankful for, is your “thing” that “matters most” on that list? Has this “thing” led you to the most valuable, significant, game-changing experiences of your life?

If the topic at the heart of “what matters most to you” essay is something that immediately pops to mind when you’re giving thanks, then you’re on the right track. And… if you’re totally lost on how to approach this essay….well, your Thanksgiving list might be a great place to start.

(And…. once you’ve started to compile that list, and want to move forward on that question plus essay questions for the other top schools — check out the ApplicantLab, my interactive admissions consulting tool that makes applying a breeze. Plus, at $299, it’s super affordable, too!)


Gobble gobble,



* And by the way, don’t feel bad if you look at that essay question and have no idea where to start. Some admissions consultants like to make this seem like a magical process, where you meditate deeply, gaze at your navel, and then POOF!, you just know… so then you might think, “GAH, if I don’t have this moment of clarity, does that mean that I’m totally screwed?!”. Of course not. You can be “magical” about it, but you can also be “practical” about it.  I created my GSB guidance in the Lab especially for people like you! 🙂

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