During your run of the business school application gamut, you will probably at some point wonder why you’re putting yourself through all of it.  You’re going to study for 6 months or more, write and rewrite countless essays, and bust your butt day in and day out in order to perfect your application, and for what?  For a shot at getting into the business school that you want to attend?  What if it doesn’t work out?  What if it’s all for nothing?

Thoughts like these definitely plagued my mind throughout the whole application process, and they are very much normal.  However, the key is to not succumb to these thoughts, and sometimes that means employing some outside sources for motivation.  Here are some of the things that helped me.



How Bad Do You Want It (Success)?

This video is my all-time favorite motivational video.  Everybody wants to succeed, but some want it more than others.  In order to succeed, you need to make some sacrifices.  How badly do you want it?

Shia Labeouf Intense Motivational Speech

This video wasn’t out when I was applying, but I love it.  When you’re facing any daunting task in the applications process, it all boils down to one idea:  just do it.  Don’t make excuses.  Just do it.



First, I feel the need to mention that I am a huge hip-hop/rap fan, so if that’s not really your style, perhaps you should skip ahead, because this list is very hip-hop/rap heavy.  With that being said, here are some songs that kept me going during the applications process.

  • Airplanes Pt. 2 – B.O.B feat. Eminem and Haley Williams
    • This song, particularly Eminem’s verse, plays with the idea of “what if?”  As in, what would have happened if I hadn’t worked as hard, hadn’t given it my all, etc.  A great song for keeping you on course.
  • Ten Thousand Hours – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
    • Based off of Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule, this song stresses the importance of hard work in pursuing your dreams.
  • 8 Mile – Eminem
    • A great “something from nothing” come-up song.  How far have you needed to come to “make it?”
  • Power – Kanye West
    • Ever since I saw the movie The Social Network, I have associated this song with those who want to change the world.  This is a great pump-up song in that regard.
  • Now or Never -Kendrick Lamar feat. Mary J. Blige
    • This is another great song about following your dreams and the elation that follows from reaching them.  A great song to play while picturing how sweet the fruits of your application labor will taste.
  • Till I Collapse – Eminem
    • THE original hype song.  If this song doesn’t make you want to go out and take over the world, I don’t know what will.


Other Sources of Motivation:

  • Picture yourself getting the acceptance letter from your dream business school.  Picture yourself attending that school, being able to wear the school’s colors, telling people you’re going to school X.  That feeling is possible.  All of that is possible.  You just need to keep working.
  • Think about the future.  Think about what an MBA at a top b-school will do for your future job prospects, for your future (or current) family’s financial security, for your overall quality of life.  Yeah, reading over flashcards for an hour each night might suck now, but you’ll quickly forget about that once you’ve gotten the rewards that diligently working on each aspect your application provides.


The whole MBA process is daunting.  It’s time-intensive, mentally draining, and sometimes frustrating.  However, speaking as someone who got into their dream business school, I can assure you that it is all worth it in the end.  So, watch one of those videos, play one of the songs, or think one of those thoughts and keep chugging.

3 thoughts on “Motivation

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