“I’m passionate about coaching because I see so many candidates who are committed and driven to not only succeed in their careers, but to make real and tangible changes in the world for the better,’ says Fortuna’s Brendan Kramp. “Each of the candidates I’ve worked with have really incredible personal and professional histories – it’s inspiring to me to help draw those out and make them available to admission committees so they can see the whole person behind an application.”
Brendan’s background is an unusual one for someone who went to business school (HEC Paris), having received his Bachelor’s degree in literature and creative writing before going on to get an MFA. He has also spent more than 17 years in the nonprofit sector working in international finance, and held positions in the US, UK and France. Brendan also brings deep communications and marketing savvy to his admissions coaching practice, and in addition to his coaching and writing practice, is a successful artist based in Minneapolis.
I interviewed Brendan for Fortuna’s Meet the MBA Experts series, where he speaks to the art of self-storytelling, client success stories that inspire him, and how business school gave him the confidence and tools to navigate a multifaceted career at the intersection of arts and business.
Brendan is one of Fortuna’s veteran coaches, guiding candidates pursuing MBAs at both US and international programs including CBS, Stanford GSB, UCLA Anderson, NYU Stern, Kellogg, INSEAD, HEC, LBS, Oxford, IMD, and IESE, among others. Brendan served as UK Director of Development at INSEAD, in addition to working with several Oxford University colleges on their marketing and fundraising campaigns.
View my 10-minute interview with Brendan, or read Q&A highlights, below.
What’s your coaching superpower?
The superpower I bring is that writing core that has always been my base, which really is about storytelling and drawing out of people, ‘what is your life story, what is what is the trajectory that you want to go on for the future? And how do we tell that in a very unique way?’ Then, relating to people and helping them see that the things that they might think are unimportant about them, or in their background, are actually the things that really set them so apart.
Why are you passionate about coaching?
There’s this whole generation coming up that wants to solve really big intractable problems. They’re not looking at business school just ‘to be a banker’ or just ‘to go into industry,’ it’s rather how are these roles are enmeshed into society… I get to play a crucial part because I’ve been involved in the admission process, I’ve gone to business school myself. And by being a coach, I’m able to walk them through how that story that they want to tell – and what they want to achieve in the future – is really worthwhile to the schools, is really worthwhile to society, and help put all those pieces together.
What’s your top piece of advice for admissions candidates?
Many candidates think too much about trying to fit into a mold of what they imagine a school is looking for at the cost of not communicating the key experiences and talents that make them unique. I advise that a candidate imagine what it is like to read applications from 100 different applicants, and then envision what would make someone stand out in their mind afterwards. The differentiators are the personal details, the special circumstances, and the thoughts they had that drove them through their toughest challenges. Bring the full person to an application and you can’t go wrong.
For more information, view Brendan’s bio or our full video interview.
Fortuna’s Meet the MBA Experts video series shines a spotlight on the perspectives, personalities, and unique expertise Fortuna Admissions coaches bring to their work with business school applicants. View more expert coach interviews, along with strategy sessions on an array of relevant topics, on Fortuna’s YouTube channel.
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