Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Do away with business school admissions essays?

A post titled Scrap the B-School Admissions Essay concludes with the text:

If business schools really want to attract applicants who are a good fit for their institutions--and do away with plagiarism, duplicate essays, and the problems posed by consultants all at the same time--the answer is simple: do away with the essays. That's probably easier said than done, and would mean relying much more on interviews, but it's not impossible. A well-crafted application and resume gives admissions committees everything they need to make the first cut. And a 20 minute conversation between the applicant and an admissions rep--no consultants, no cut and paste, no search and replace--will tell them everything they need to know.

The post seems to recognize that having consultants do essays is a bad thing:

plagiarism is a growing problem and the widespread use of consultants to polish essays makes it impossible for the admissions team to tell where the applicant ends and the consultant begins.

but curiously doesn't extend this issue to ghost writing. When a business exec has someone else do a speech or a paper, it's impossible to tell where the exec ends and the ghost writer begins. Same problem.

Invention sort of came up in the post:

One such principle is “question the status quo,” so one essay question asks applicants to describe a time when they questioned an established practice at their organization. Columbia Business School has applicants choose from a series of inventive questions that include writing an elevator pitch for a new business, a campaign speech, or a description of how they would take advantage of 30 minutes of face time with a top executive.

One can't take the novelty thing too far. Like they say at the Harvard Business Review: Plagiarize with Pride!


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