These questions would produce a holistic picture of an applicant. #4, however, could be any question that elicits non-professional information from a candidate like Duke’s “25 Things.” Or even more off-beat: “If you were to bury 5 things in a time capsule to be found in 100 years, what would they be and why these items?” You get the idea.
Some schools have what I call a “signature question,” a question that is unique to that institution, like Stanford #1 or NYU Stern #3. If your school has a signature question and you want to keep it, substitute it for any one of 2-4
- 2 Letters of Recommendation. (1 must be from a professional context and from a supervisor; the second can be from a significant, but non-professional commitment.)
- Interview, by invitation only. I believe that Wharton’s team interview is a great addition to one-on-one interviews since so much work both in business school and beyond is done in teams. Many businesses also require a team interview as part of their hiring process. Obviously adding the team interview requires a serious manpower and logistical investment.
Some of you will probably read this proposal and think, “Ah, she just wants more essays so she can make more money.”
My motives are irrelevant to the merit of my proposal. They can be noble or nefarious, selfish or altruistic. They simply don’t matter. Ultimately, either my proposal improves the application process and gets admissions offices the information they need to create the ever-improving classes they like to brag about, or it doesn’t. And there are plenty of schools out with more demanding applications than I am proposing above.
Here’s to an ever-improving MBA application.
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com, co-founder and past president of the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants, and author of MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools. Last week Abraham wrote on The Shrinking MBA Application.