Apparently we’re giving free services to assholes.

Yeah, that’s a little harsh, but we’ve got our boxers in a twist at the moment. (And sorry for the late post today… we were debating whether to put this one up at all.)

For many years now, EssaySnark has been offering pro bono MBA admissions consulting work for members of the military and alumni from Teach for America and the Peace Corps. We do this because we really appreciate someone who has a mentality of service and has dedicated their early careers to giving back to the system, and also because we know that people in these service fields aren’t exactly being paid the beaucoup bucks.

Not that our services are all that expensive in the first place. But, you know, you get a lot out of life, as we have, you’re obligated to give some back. At least, that’s basically where we’re coming from with it.

We are not doing it for accolades and recognition. We’re doing it because it’s our aesthetic. (If you want to learn more about this type of orientation to life, you can check out a very good book on the subject of giving and success, called Give and Take by Adam Grant.)

Now, just recently, we’ve started to wonder about the kind of people who we’re lavishing these free goodies upon. This probably won’t make us stop offering these freebies, but it sure has given us pause.

Of the free Comprehensive Profile Reviews that we’ve done this year, none of the recipients has even acknowledged receipt. Oh wait, take that back; one of them did… after we asked about it. Here’s how that exchange went:

On Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 3:03 PM, Military Snark wrote:

Hello XXXX –

Your free Comprehensive Profile Review was delivered on 1/9/14. We never heard back from you. Was it received?

Military Snark

On Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 12:55 PM, XXX wrote to Military Snark:

Yes, I received the profile review. Thank you for the analysis.

Well. They told us, now didn’t they? Didn’t even sign the damn email.

[Update: Since first drafting this a week or so ago, another one of these guys sent an email with some thanks - but again, not till after we followed up.]

It’s not like we’re looking for all these oohs and ahhs of appreciation. But check it out: Those reports we produce, they average like 13 pages. This is not no trivial thumbs-up/thumbs-down read on your profile. We dig in and look at the details. Each one takes about two hours of our time. We don’t cut any corners because it’s free; we give you the exact-same service that we give to others who plunk down 150 bucks for it (the whole thing should cost even more than that, but whatever).

Why should we continue doing these for free for a group of ungrateful punks?

Because yeah, that’s kinda how we feel about some of you right about now.

Like, c’mon. How hard is it to send a simple email to say ‘Thanks’?

Didn’t your mama teach you no manners?

Sheesh people. As you can see, we’re rather disillusioned at the moment.

Some of our strongest relationships to date are with military candidates who have gone through this process and ended up at great schools. We’re big fans of some vets currently at places like Columbia, Duke and Cornell. We’re still in touch with some who’ve already graduated and gone out into the world – we know some vets at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Amazon, and Goldman Sachs, among other top firms. You guys can be quite successful in life. We’ve also spent the last season rooting from the sidelines for a bunch of military applicants who are now headed to MIT, Wharton, and Booth. We love you guys. We’re going to continue to give back to the system and especially to try and help those who serve make a smooth transition back into civilian life. The MBA can be a great path for a soldier.

The very best way to say “thanks” to anything the ‘Snark may have provided as input into your process is to go on and achieve success: Get into a great school, go on to an awesome new career. We totally dig it when we hear back from people who have done that – and we know that it’s due to their efforts, not ours, that they made it happen. It’s not like you wouldn’t have gotten to where you are except for that 15-page report that we provided to you at the beginning. We’re not interested in taking credit for all your success.

We’re just a little surprised at how this has gone lately. You guys are making us feel old; we’ve got those “Damn kids these days!” thoughts running around the head.

Military candidates, we’d love for you to step up and show us the type of people you are – that we know you to be. Maybe a couple guys got sloppy or forgetful or whatever. We know you’re not all like that.

To show that we aren’t holding a grudge: We just published a special getting-in guide specifically to help military candidates navigate the waters of MBA admissions. It’s designed to assist your planning and strategy as you start the process. We lay it out straight in terms of how military candidates are evaluated and what’s different with this candidate pool.

We originally planned to give this puppy away to qualified servicemembers and vets.

What we’re doing instead is we’ve slapped a nominal price on it – $ 9.95. We will offer it as a freebie with the purchase of any MBA admissions consulting services for military BSers.

And we’ll keep an open mind on how this little pro bono initiative of ours may proceed from here. If the doormat treatment ceases, then we’ll make this new Military MBA guide available for free as originally intended. Let’s see how things go.

Thanks for listening.


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