April 13, 2017

College Admissions: Start a Blog!

One way to make your college application stand out is to create a Web site. I've previously mentioned the Lafayette students who created Local Helpers and the seventh grader in my computer class who wrote Zach's Art of Architecture.

It takes guts put yourself out there. Guts are impressive. (A piece of intestine here, a bit of kidney there...)

Fortunately, your content doesn't have to be completely original. Some of my students started by posting their class notes, book reviews, and English essays online.

What's your favorite class? Put your study tips in a blog. If your work is good, give colleges and future employers a chance to see it.

The site you're reading right now exists because a consultant told me to create it. I could tell clients that I'm a good tutor in my sales pitch (blech 😣), but I prefer show them through my writing.

This guy really, really needs a blog. He also needs a better phone.
Consider creating a blog on a subject you've always been curious about. Do you like thinking about stocks and bonds? You could do some reading and post book reviews. Hop on the Web and find some suggested reading.

Here are a few comments about the finance books from this list:

Michael Lewis is a former investment banker who used to work at Salomon Brothers, whose CEO at the time was John Gutfreund. His candid autobiography allegedly destroyed Gutfreund's career. Lewis really knows how to weave a story, whether he's chronicling the 2008 crash (The Big Short) or describing how the Internet is stripping power from corporations and giving it to individuals (Next: The Future Just Happened).

Are you a World War II buff? Read Barton Biggs's Wealth, War, and Wisdom. Biggs lists the investments that survived the devastation of the war. Here's a spoiler: Bonds lost most of their value due to inflation, art and gold were stolen by the Nazis and given to Hitler's friends, real estate kept part of its value (the land, not the bombed-out buildings), and stocks did the best, especially for people who bought during the war when stocks were really cheap.

Learn about Hetty Green, history's most successful female bond trader. She was infamously miserly and homely but also very intelligent.

Mr. China is the autobiography of one of the first men to buy shares of companies in China. The owners of the companies cheated him by funneling money into other investments, leaving only shells of the original businesses behind. He'd been right about China's emerging capitalist transformation but wrong about the best way to invest in it.

When Genius Failed is the story of Long-Term Capital Management, the hedge fund founded by Nobel Prize winners. They became overconfident of their mathematical models and didn't test their theories thoroughly enough. The fund made a lot of money in the beginning, but as it grew, it had to take bigger and bigger risks to maintain its return. A relatively minor market crash eventually took the fund out because it was so leveraged that it couldn't sit through market volatility.

Expand each of the paragraphs above into a new blog post. Put one of those up every week. After two years, you'll have a hundred reasons for any business school to drool over your application.

This is what the admissions committee will do when it sees your blog.
If you've read one book a week for two years, you probably know more than most finance professionals do. (Yes, I'm talking about vice presidents and licensed brokers who don't actually have any time to read.) You can go into your college interview and actually answer questions. What a thought!

Finance isn't your thing, you say? Find something you do like — astronomy, art, accounting, alliteration — and post one blog entry a week.

Create your blog today.

In two years, amaze the world.


Post a Comment