McCombs School of Business | Mr. Microsoft Consultant
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.31
Tuck | Mr. Land Management
GMAT 760, GPA 3.85
Stanford GSB | Mr. Seller
GMAT 740, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Cricket From Kashmir
GMAT 730, GPA 8.5/10
Wharton | Mr. Researcher
GMAT 700, GPA 3.2
NYU Stern | Mr. Beer Guy
GRE 306, GPA 4.0
Columbia | Mr. MD/MBA
GMAT 670, GPA 3.77
Harvard | The Insurer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Wharton | Mr. Data Dude
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Tepper | Mr. Automotive Strategy
GMAT 670 - 700 on practice tests, GPA 3.3
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Backyard Homesteader
GRE 327, GPA 3.90
Wharton | Mr. Finance to MBB
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
London Business School | Ms. Social Impact Consulting
GRE 330, GPA 3.28
London Business School | Ms. Audit Meme
GMAT 710, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Tech Start-Up
GMAT 720, GPA 3.52
Tepper | Mr. Insurance Dude
GMAT 660, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Ms. Indian Marketer
GMAT 680, GPA 8.9/10
NYU Stern | Mr. Middle Eastern Warrior
GMAT 720 (Estimated), GPA 3.0
Chicago Booth | Mr. Chile Real Estate
GMAT 740, GPA 3.02
Yale | Mr. Sustainability Manager
GRE 319, GPA 3.52
NYU Stern | Ms. Legal Officer
GMAT 700, GPA 4
Stanford GSB | Ms. Education Non-profit
GRE 330, GPA 3.0
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Social To Tech
GMAT 700, GPA 2.7
Wharton | Mr. Mobility Entrepreneur
GMAT 760, GPA 1st Division
HEC Paris | Mr. Business Man
GMAT 720, GPA 3.89
Harvard | Mr. Football Author
GMAT 760, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Deferred Admission
GRE 329, GPA 3.99

The Ghostwriters of MBA Essays

“My clients are not lazy or trying to be unethical. They work in industries where the hours are really long and writing skills are not emphasized… I think I’m helping people. People who go to these lengths will get the most out of business school.”

That’s Blake Reynolds, founder of a college essay-writing service in New York called Perfect Words, who claims to have written MBA applications essays for 17 clients this fall alone. Edwards spilled the beans in a BusinessWeek story published yesterday. The publication reported that at least two firms–the other is Essaywriter based in England–which actually write, not edit, essays for applications to elite business and other schools.

A GHOSTWRITER OF MBA ESSAYS FOR EIGHT YEARS.

Reynolds told BusinessWeek that he has been ghostwriting MBA admission essays for clients for eight years and has helped applicants get into some of the most elite business schools in the world, including Harvard, Columbia, and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Reynolds says his clients pay between $800 and $3,000, depending on the number of essays a client requests.

He recently distributed fliers around Wall Street and posted ads for his business on the Businessweek.com B-school forums (which have since been removed for violating the terms of service), which presumably tipped off the publication to investigate what schools would consider a violation of ethical standards.

The admissions by officials of these two firms comes on the heels of a Poets&Quants report that several prominent MBA admissions consultants gained access to a Wharton presentation that revealed the six questions interviewers are asking applicants this year.

ONE FIRM CLAIMS TO HAVE 2,500 GHOSTWRITERS WORKING FOR IT.

Essaywriter, based in Leeds, claims that 60 percent of the essays it churns out are for MBA students. With 2,500 writers working for the company and a website easily found in a Google search, Essaywriter writes both admission essays and school assignments for people in a variety of subject areas. David Burton, general manager of Essaywriter, told BusinessWeek that his mostly international candidates have language challenges, while others are more mature applicants or students who have not written in a long time. The firm charges clients $240 per essay.

HARVARD SAYS THE PRACTICE IS UNETHICAL.

Deirdre Leopold, managing director of MBA admissions and financial aid at Harvard Business School, told BusinessWeek that using ghost-written essays was “unethical” and said doing so is not a strategy for success: “Anyone foolish enough to ‘buy’ essays is advised to think a few steps ahead,” she wrote in an e-mail, according to BusinessWeek. “How do they plan to ‘fake’ an interview with one of our admissions officers? Are they purchasing essays in order to camouflage a lack of English fluency—something that is essential for success in our program? As for this consultant’s claims of achieving great success for his/her clients, let the buyer beware.”

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.