Since Wharton's new MBA essay question is bound to induce some head scratching, Auntie Evan and Uncle David are here to show you the way.

Reinventing oneself, one's business, or one's organization is the key to success. So when a school comes out with a host of new questions and shakes it up, as the Wharton School of Business did this year, it reaffirms my faith in the power and excellence of that school. Changing things up is one of the hallmarks of leadership. It creates a state of risk, of throwing caution to the wind, and it is in that construct wherein people reveal their true nature.

So let me begin by saying, there is no right answer. Do not try to "game" this question.

Certainly, do not question whether or not you're saying the right thing. For me, when I am presented with an opportunity of any kind-from dinner with friends, to job offers-I know I go into a complete tizzy. "What will I give up if I don't say yes?" is my usual question. Who won't I meet? What won't I learn? Where will I not go, and how will I not grow?"

Many of you are going to look at Wharton's "Opportunity" question as follows: What did I lose? What skill set did I not gain? What mistake did I make by not saying yes? But I love this question, because Wharton is giving you a possibility to explore something that many this year will overlook. The obvious way to tackle it is to talk about what you gave up. But the much more interesting, fresh, and mature way to look at it might be: What did I gain by saying "No"? While I may have closed a door, what door opened?

Years ago, I was given the opportunity to write my first feature article forNew York magazine. It was a big deal. The topic was gay/straight alliances and the high school students who launched them in New York City's elite private schools. This article would put my name on the map, taking me up and away from being the upfront writer of 200-word front-of-the-book pieces, as I had been for several years. So I went for it with gusto.

But after I sent in my first draft, a senior editor of New York Magazinewhom I will call Jennifer, called me and said, in so many words, "It's not trashy enough." I remember distinctly her saying "Aren't the straight kids involved really gay? Can't you get them to admit it? To come out?" I was stunned, although I shouldn't have been. After all, it was New York Magazine! What was I expecting?

Well, I was expecting an ethically based, balanced look at this new wave of civil rights and maturity in the world of New York City's teenage population. I tried to explain this to Jennifer, and she simply wasn't having it. Essentially, she drew a line in the sand-and this is an exact quote: "If you don't rewrite this story the way I am telling you to rewrite it, you'll never be hired by Caroline Miller to write for New York Magazine again." I'm not going to get into whether she was wrong or right. In fact, if you think about it, Jennifer was right. After all, that's what New York Magazine is all about-scintillating pop culture pieces that border on salacious. That's what makes New York Magazine such a success, whether you like it or not (you know you love it, and you know you would've picked up that magazine a lot faster had I done what Jennifer had asked. I know I would have).

But, given who I am, at the end of the day, I simply could not bring myself to do it. And anybody who's read my book or my blogs knows I'm happy to take a risk-there is simply, for me, a limit. In this case, the limit was "outing" already-confused and hormonally-challenged teenagers. I said no to the opportunity, and Jennifer hung up the phone, but not before repeating that I "would never write for New York Magazineagain." One month later, I was hired to do a story about the closing of a New York institution, the Barney's store downtown.

When searching for the circumstance, event, or relinquished and/or missed opportunity to write your essay about, ask not only "what did I give up?", but "what did I gain?" That's the key. That's going to reveal your ability to think, and ultimately lead, at a higher level. (I'm not saying ya can't write about the more obvious "what did I lose or give up by saying no?". I'm just saying that whatever you write about, you want to push yourself to truly examine it, and reveal your ability to consider it at a level higher than the next guy or gal. Anyway, that's the Forster-Thomas way.)

For a more nuts-and-bolts way of approaching this question, read what Uncle David has to say:

The new "Opportunity" essay question reads as follows:

"Reflect on a time when you turned down an opportunity. What was the thought process behind your decision? Would you make the same decision today?" (600 words)

I love this question! This year (in addition to a 300-word goals essay) you get to choose 3 out of 4 questions. I love this particular question because, at its heart, it's a question about how you make decisions. What is your analytical style? Do you make decisions based on data, your gut, the people involved, the nature of the opportunity, the time-frame, etc? There are a million variables that can factor into a decision-making process, and this essay will teach the Ad Com a lot about you based on which factors are important to you. So, as with the old ethical dilemma essays, I see a clear five-paragraph paradigm: 1) describe the opportunity; 2) what are the pros and cons of pursuing the opportunity and why are they meaningful to you; 3) what are the pros and cons of rejecting the opportunity and why are they meaningful to you; 4) how did you make your decision; 5) would you make the same decision today and WHY or WHY NOT. In fact, I'd go so far as to explore where you actually have been in a similar circumstance and what you have done.

Again, the most important thing is that there is no right or wrong answer. Opportunity always involves risk, so this essay could be about how you weigh risk versus reward, but I see this essay as potentially much more interesting than that if it pulls back the curtain and lets the Ad Com know how you think, what matters to you, and how you make decisions.

The worst mistake you can make is trying to figure out what they want to hear, and Auntie Evan I will continue to say this each time we give our thoughts on how to approach questions, new or old, from any school.