Everyone relax - HBS third essayreally just a 400-word chill pill (email)  http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/
Everyone relax - HBS third essayreally just a 400-word chill pill (email)       By the Amerasia Consulting Group,      Bou...
Today the MBA-journalism website Poets & Quants publishedan article (http://poetsandquants.com/2012/07/02/hbs-third-essay-...
First, relax. Ha! These are people applying toHarvard Business School. Surely Dee hasencountered this type once or twice b...
These are not the kind of people who are just goingto relax and rip off a quick email after the interview isover. Theres n...
Second, this whole Real World notion. Do peoplesend emails after interviews in the Real World.Yes, of course. In fact, mos...
Of course, it doesnt work that way. And it cant!Now, if were misunderstanding the meaning of thiswhole Real World analogy,...
It seems a little paternalistic to tell an "elite" MBAapplicant, "hey, we want to make sure you can writean email or put t...
Third, this somewhat obnoxious in its attempt toblock admissions consultants.Theres a part of the piece - not in Dees word...
HBS is not asking "Why an MBA?" (the lone question,to our mind, that has always separated the veryresponsible nature of th...
Its not asking about the applicants upbringing.Values. Passions. Vision. Its asking almostnothing! You dont have to do a l...
Who would hop on a plane and fly to Boson with zeronotion of what they want to say to this most powerfulof schools?Youd ha...
When you have the pressure of this process,combined with the logistics of travel, combined withthe desire to get your voic...
We stay completely hands-off on letters ofrecommendation, valuing authenticity overperfection.We say "dont worry so much a...
The truth of the matter though is that now thisdiatribe is out there (and so is ours, too, we guess).So will we continue t...
Were going to have no choice but to tell our clients:sorry, were out on this one.Any involvement from us now hurts their c...
In the end, this will be much like Whartons highlypublicized switch to behavioral interview(accompanied by the leak of a s...
http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/
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Everyone relax hbs' third essay really just a 400-word chill pill (email)

  1. 1. Everyone relax - HBS third essayreally just a 400-word chill pill (email) http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/
  2. 2. Everyone relax - HBS third essayreally just a 400-word chill pill (email) By the Amerasia Consulting Group, Boutique MBA Admissions Consulting MBA Admissions Consultant | http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com
  3. 3. Today the MBA-journalism website Poets & Quants publishedan article (http://poetsandquants.com/2012/07/02/hbs-third-essay-really-an-email/) that was more or less a summary of arecent blog post(http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/blog.html/) from DeeLeopold, the managing director of admissions and financial aidat HBS.In it, she tries to better articulate HBS much-discussed new"post-interview" assignment. In a series of emphatic points,she takes great pains to tell applicants the following:1) Relax2) This is meant to emulate the Real World (capitalizing thesewords was not our idea, by the way)3) Admissions consultants are NOT ALLOWED MBA Admissions Consultant | http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com
  4. 4. First, relax. Ha! These are people applying toHarvard Business School. Surely Dee hasencountered this type once or twice before. Doesshe really think saying "dont stress" is going toallow HBS applicants not to stress?These candidates ask 25 of their friends, relatives,and co-workers to review their essays. They havetheir application data (much of which is purely forreporting purposes) proofread time and again. Theywant to get involved in their own letters ofrecommendation so that they are *perfect.* MBA Admissions Consultant | http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com
  5. 5. These are not the kind of people who are just goingto relax and rip off a quick email after the interview isover. Theres no higher stakes game in admissionsthan applying to a school like HBS, so anythingincluded in that process is going to be treated assuch - high stakes.That means tension, pressure, and anxiety. Nomatter what the school says. MBA Admissions Consultant | http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com
  6. 6. Second, this whole Real World notion. Do peoplesend emails after interviews in the Real World.Yes, of course. In fact, most candidates shouldalready be doing that. But since when is theapplication process primary function to mirror theReal World?If that was the case, candidates would have specificqualities and traits they would be told were requiredof "the position" (an HBS student), they would be pre-screened purely on resume, and then brought in formultiple, escalating interviews until they "get thegig." MBA Admissions Consultant | http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com
  7. 7. Of course, it doesnt work that way. And it cant!Now, if were misunderstanding the meaning of thiswhole Real World analogy, and its supposed tosuggest, "Look, you are going to have to send emailsin the Real World, so were going to measure yourability to do so," well, then that is kind of hilarious.Even so, theres a precedent for this in things like theresume (half the reason schools want to see aresume is to see that you can successful put onetogether, so they can put one in their Resume Bookthat fall) or an assignment like Booths famousPowerPoint essay. MBA Admissions Consultant | http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com
  8. 8. It seems a little paternalistic to tell an "elite" MBAapplicant, "hey, we want to make sure you can writean email or put together a PowerPoint presentation,"but more power to the schools if they want to do that. News flash though: people are going to want to getthose things perfect.You dont just toss together a PowerPointpresentation for Booth, nor will people want to justtoss an email together for HBS. Going back to Point1, this would ask applicants to completely throw outall emotion, instinct, tradition, and history inherent inthis process in order to just let it rip. Not going tohappen. MBA Admissions Consultant | http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com
  9. 9. Third, this somewhat obnoxious in its attempt toblock admissions consultants.Theres a part of the piece - not in Dees words but inthe authors - that suggests consultants are havingtheir clients "hold back" material from the essays sothey can write about in the post-interviewassignment.Hold back? Theres a mere two questions, totaling800 words. The applicants are already "holdingback" just about their entire life stories! MBA Admissions Consultant | http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com
  10. 10. HBS is not asking "Why an MBA?" (the lone question,to our mind, that has always separated the veryresponsible nature of the MBA process from the WildWest of law school applications - cut to about amillion unhappy lawyers and out of work law schoolgrads going, "oh yeah, I guess I wasnt ever askedwhy a JD...").HBS is not asking "Why HBS?" (even though HBShas long wrung its hands over applicants applying toHarvard for "the wrong reasons"). MBA Admissions Consultant | http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com
  11. 11. Its not asking about the applicants upbringing.Values. Passions. Vision. Its asking almostnothing! You dont have to do a lot of holding back tostill have plenty you can talk about (in the interview)or write about (after).Which brings us to the ongoing discussion of how tohandle this whole thing.A smart consultant would advise a client to of coursehave some powder already jammed into that gun. MBA Admissions Consultant | http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com
  12. 12. Who would hop on a plane and fly to Boson with zeronotion of what they want to say to this most powerfulof schools?Youd have to be borderline insane to just flow withthe action.Well say it right here: yes, we have advised ourclients to do some brainstorming on the front endand to even get some thoughts down on the page. Itonly makes sense. MBA Admissions Consultant | http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com
  13. 13. When you have the pressure of this process,combined with the logistics of travel, combined withthe desire to get your voice through to the school inquestion ... why wouldnt you think about this stuffmonths in advance?Of course you would - the stakes are too high to justbury your head in the sand. And whats funny is thatwe are the consulting firm that Dee would probablymost agree with philosophically.We challenge our clients to be completely authentic,to search within, to avoid cliche. MBA Admissions Consultant | http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com
  14. 14. We stay completely hands-off on letters ofrecommendation, valuing authenticity overperfection.We say "dont worry so much about this" about athousand times to our clients. And even we cantpretend that applicants wont stress about this, orwant to work on it, or at least *think* about it. Itsalmost negligence if we tell them "just deal with it inthe 24 hours after it happens."But hey, they can make oodles of grammar mistakes!So I guess were all off the hook. MBA Admissions Consultant | http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com
  15. 15. The truth of the matter though is that now thisdiatribe is out there (and so is ours, too, we guess).So will we continue the measured approachdescribed in the previous paragraph? Probably not.What the messy and ill-conceived "post-interviewassignment" has become is a vetting instrumentdesigned to measure how "coached" an applicantlooks in 400 words.The messier and crappier the email that follows theinterview, apparently the better it will be. Because atleast no one will have thought about it, looked it at, or- heaven forbid - edited it. MBA Admissions Consultant | http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com
  16. 16. Were going to have no choice but to tell our clients:sorry, were out on this one.Any involvement from us now hurts their chances tosucceed, because we cant risk a piece of writingbeing "too good" or anything (now were starting tosound like an Aaron Sorkin character in "TheNewsroom.") MBA Admissions Consultant | http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com
  17. 17. In the end, this will be much like Whartons highlypublicized switch to behavioral interview(accompanied by the leak of a super amateurpresentation to alumni interviewers) two years ago -something to just shuffle through without upsettinganyone along the way.Kind of a shame, really. MBA Admissions Consultant | http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com
  18. 18. http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/

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