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Eight Simple Things MBA Applicants Can Do to Make 2016 a Great Year

Posted by Chioma Isiadinso

Another year, another chance to set new goals!

If you’re applying to MBA programs, some of your goals for 2016 might include writing a killer application essay and acing the GMAT. But this is only half the story.

To really make 2016 a standout year, try setting some personal goals that take you out of your comfort zone too. Not only will this make life more interesting – it’ll also broaden your perspective as a person, help you become a stronger leader and make you a more attractive MBA applicant.

Here are eight simple things MBA applicants can do to make 2016 a great year.

1. Volunteer

To get more out of 2016, try giving more in 2016! Volunteering is a way to do something that makes a direct difference in the lives of other people and gives you a larger sense of purpose.

But volunteering doesn’t just make the world a better place – it also makes you happier and healthier. Research has found that people who volunteer more even tend to live longer, so why not make 2016 the year you help yourself by helping others?

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Eight Simple Things MBA Applicants Can Make 2016 a Great Year

2. Learn a new skill

Nothing gets your brain working in a different way more quickly than learning a new skill. If you want a New Year’s resolution that will pay off for years to come, commit to learning a new skill in 2016!

This could be anything from computer programming to playing the piano to speaking Chinese – the important thing is to challenge yourself to figure out how to do something you haven’t done before. 

3. Visit somewhere on your bucket list

We are all products of our environments. For a new perspective, cross a destination off your bucket list by going somewhere you haven’t been before.

If you aren’t sure whether it’s worth the time/money, just remember that you have to invest in yourself as a person to reach your full potential. 

4. Do something that frightens you

We don’t grow by doing the things we’re comfortable with. We grow by doing the things that scare us. To make 2016 a year of growth, choose a fear you’re going to conquer.

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And don’t try telling me you don’t have any fears! If you really don’t have any fears, then help someone else conquer their fear in 2016! 

5. Be fitter

Exercising is one of best things you can do for your mind and your body. Whether you’re a couch potato or you run marathons, make this a year that you stretch even more and become fitter than you were in 2015.

6. Make an unexpected friend

You can learn something from everyone, and the less you have in common with someone, the more you can learn from them! Broaden your horizons this year by striking up conversations with people you wouldn’t normally talk to and making an unexpected friend. 

7. Make this a year of Yes!

As Shonda Rimes says in the title of her book Year of Yes, “dance it out, stand in the sun and be your own person!” Make 2016 a year you accept yourself, embrace life and follow your heart. 

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8. Give yourself permission to try new things

It’s easy to fall into a routine of doing the things you’re familiar with, but the best way to learn and grow is to try things you haven’t done before. Broaden your horizons in 2016 by giving yourself permission to try new things.

Sometimes trying new things means being uncomfortable, having to put in more work or having to sacrifice time. That’s OK – let yourself be uncomfortable, work harder and sacrifice time for the sake of gaining new experiences in 2016.

These eight changes are simple enough to make, but the effects they’ll have are powerful. If you do these things, you’ll become more fulfilled and engaged with life. You’ll also be a more interesting person and have more perspective as a leader, making you a compelling MBA candidate and the clear choice in a competitive admissions pool.

Happy 2016! Here’s to a year of having new experiences and conquering old fears!