‘THIS ELITE SCHOOL TENDS TO ATTRACT HIGH-CALIBER APPLICANTS WITH HIGH GMATS’
Shinewald believes that higher reported GMATs could encourage more applicants to apply to elite schools with GRE scores. “Fortunately, for now, some schools are welcoming GRE test takers and not publishing the GRE averages, so there is a workaround for those who find tests to be challenging,” he adds. “Ironically, that workaround is artificially inflating the GMAT scores, because weaker applicants are leaving the GMAT pool. That should not be the solution for applicants who have a “fear of heights.” GMAC’s power in general is waning. Which school will be brave enough to take a step back and reconsider? Aren’t these b-schools striving to teach that kind of bravery?”
Dan Bauer, founder and chairman of The MBA Exchange, another top MBA admissions consulting firm, had a slightly different view. “It’s important to distinguish between correlation and causation,” he says. “Rather than Stanford aggressively seeking to have an astronomical average GMAT score, the high-caliber applicants that this elite school attracts tend to have – among other key strengths – a high GMAT score.
“That said, GSB’s concern about discouraging potential applicants from even trying to gain admission is valid,” adds Bauer. “The 740 average could easily intimidate those unable to crack 700. To mitigate the misperception that only those with stellar scores should apply, GSB should emphasize the full range of scores for admits rather than the average. As long as potential applicants with below-average scores believe they will still get fair consideration by the adcom, then the 740 average becomes less of a deterrent. Having a GMAT within that range should provide sufficient motivation for any serious MBA applicant to include Stanford GSB on his or her target list.”
‘MY NUMBER ONE BOSS IS THE FACULTY’
Moss, who took over her job as admissions chief on June 1, also attempted to explain how the school’s admissions team evaluates candidates’ leadership ability. “At the end of the day for Stanford, the number one thing that should pop out is intellectual vitality,” explained Moss. “What does that mean? It means intellectual curiosity. My number one boss is honestly the faculty. So if I pick you and you are not in the classroom with your hand up excited, I’m going to hear about. So my job is to make sure that I find evidence of how curious you are and what you have been thinking about, both in your essays and in your recommendations. Sure, I’ll see the transcript of what you’ve studied but that doesn’t tell me if you are going to be an energizer in the classroom who is really here to learn. That is number one for us.
“And the second part for me is all about our mantra which is to change lives, change organizations, and change the world. I have the greatest job ever. I have to go out and find the 400 or so students who have the potential to change the world. It really comes down to what we call demonstrated leadership potential. It’s about your past behaviors, what have you done whether in college or in your job that will predict what you will likely do in the future. That is the data I have to go on. and you have a lot of places to show me that.
‘I’M NOT A UNICORN. I DON’T THINK I’M GOING TO APPLY’
“Whether you are in a hierarchical job or you are in a startup, you are in a community and you are having impact of some kind on others. Maybe you are the one who is always helping your teammate learn and get up to speed. That is leadership..and you can do that no matter how many people report to you. You can also do it in church, on your sports team, on your club volleyball. Your job is to show me how you have behaved as a leader and precisely what impact you have had on your community. If you can tell me that, then we are aligned because that is what I’ll be looking for.”
Just three weeks into the job, Moss noted that a potential candidate came up to her and suggested that he had no chance of admission. “Kirsten,” he said, according to Moss, “I’m not a Unicorn. I don’t think I’m going to apply.’ And that was their feeling that if they didn’t have big horns, I wasn’t going to notice them among the 8,000 (applicants). I don’t want Unicorns. Leadership doesn’t come from a socio-economic status, from someone who did a Harvard undergrad or from someone who works for a certain institution. It doesn’t come from the fact you’re in private equity. It really comes just from what I told you (see below for our Facebook Live session at CentreCourt with the officials from Stanford GSB, Chicago Booth, INSEAD, and UT-Austin McCombs School).”