Sunday, April 27, 2008

Admissions Advice

This week I read Susan Coll's Admissions, which reminded me of my time as MBA Dean at GW. We had an excellent admissions staff with fine judgment, but they would sometimes ask my opinion about close calls. I remember one mediocre candidate who began his essay with something along the lines of "when people work for me." He then proceeded to describe what everyone would do for him--nothing about what he would do for them. He basically showed himself to be the sort of person with whom no one would wish to work.

So my advice to those writing admission essays: don't be a putz.


Acad Ronin said...

Serious question: however good your admissions staff was, were they any better than a random draw from a pool of qualified applicants based on scores and grades? Based on discussions with some MBA admit officers, knowledge of some cases of what I believe were false negatives, and from observations of false positives in the classroom, I really have my doubts. Does your mileage vary?

Richard K. Green said...

Acad Ronin has a point, although part of admitting a class into a cohort involves admitting a community that will more or less get along with each other.

In any event, so long as there are more applicants than places in a school, admissions will always involve borderline cases, even if one just goes by the numbers. So perhaps highly qualified students can get away with being putzes, but those at the margin should avoid doing so.

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