Learn From the T



Updated June 8, 2022

You’re reading an excerpt of Admitted by Soundarya Balasubramani. Written by an Ivy League graduate from India, this is the proven guide for students worldwide looking to pursue undergraduate or graduate study abroad in the U.S., Canada, or Europe. Purchase for instant access to the guide and other exclusive resources—including sample SOPs, sample resumes, scholarship lists, and a private community with other readers.

There is a famous saying when it comes to hiring: look for someone with T-shaped skills.*

The T here is a metaphor that conveys that companies want someone with both breadth-wise and depth-wise skills, indicated by the horizontal and vertical bar of the symbol T. Think of the T-shaped person as a “jack of many trades and master of one (or a few)”. The earliest reference of this goes all the way back to a paper published in 1978.* Since then, it has been referenced in various articles* as a way to encourage people to acquire skills across varied fields.

We will now use this mental model* to help you make the final choice.

The Vertical

When you were eliminating universities to apply to in the chapter Choosing the Universities, you were using just a few factors on the surface level. You might have used some hard requirements you set for courses, research, and location to do the elimination. Now, you have the luxury to go deeper into all the factors that you deemed to be important back then. We will specifically talk about Academia and Career.

Academia: Your Opportunities

Courses and research are still the most important factors that will define your experience. You already spent some time looking at the course catalog, research areas, and professors’ pages in the beginning. Now, we need you to dive deeper into these areas and get more questions answered.

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