How Involved Should Parents Be In MBA Admissions?
More than ever, parents are getting involved in their child’s MBA application.
But how much involvement is too much?
Stacy Blackman of Stacy Blackman Consulting recently discussed parents’ role in MBA admissions and how “helicopter parents” could potentially risk their child’s chances of being accepted into their top business school.
While undergrad universities expect parental involvement in the admissions process, Blackman says MBAs are quite the opposite.
“The admissions team expects to see independent, fully formed professionals,” Blackman writes. “Excessive parental involvement raises a red flag about the candidate’s potential for success in the program.”
Too Much Involvement
While Blackman says it’s okay for parents to chip in for costs, they should not attempt to guide the admission process themselves.
“We’ve had parents ask for conference calls to discuss their child’s issues—without the applicant on the phone. We’ve also known cases of parents impersonating their child when contacting the school admissions office with questions about financial aid, application status and more. If discovered, this deception will cause irreparable damage to the applicant’s candidacy,” Blackman writes.
Moreover, Blackman says, parents should try to steer clear of actually helping their child in the content of the application.
“The truth is, parents may know their children very well in a certain light. But they might not know how to reveal the aspects of their child that will appeal to business schools,” Blackman writes.
How To Help
Dan Bauer, chairman and founder of The MBA Exchange, a leading MBA admissions consulting firm, says there are instances where parents can help their children in the admissions process.
One of those ways could be helping the applicant “recall meaningful experiences, role models, accomplishments and lessons learned earlier in life.”
Another way to help could be offering to introduce friends and colleagues who attended the targeted b-schools as information resources, Bauer says.
In many instances, parents can act to encourage their children throughout the stressful process, but it’s important to know when is too much.
“Watch for subtle signs that your involvement is adding stress and, if so, back off immediately,” Bauer says.