The value of the Comprehensive Profile Review

Almost every single one of our many Success Stories posted here on the blahg is from a former Brave Supplicant who, at minimum, went through our Comprehensive Profile Review process. As of this moment, there are more than 75 of those posts. That’s a lot of successes (and a lot of Profile Reviews from EssaySnark!).

Today we’re going to offer something wholly and completely unrelated to back up our assertions of the value of this service.

Here’s an excerpt from a blog post made last year by college basketball player Frank Kaminsky , at a time when he was considering whether to pursue a professional NBA career… or finish school:

[W]ho wouldn’t want to find out how people at the next level view your potential career … Find out what they think you need to work on, what you do well, and what people are looking for. I believe I would have been stupid if I just ignored all that information.

That pretty much exactly sums up what we do. We’re in the been-there/done-that category when it comes to both getting the MBA from a great school ourselves, and of course helping literally hundreds of applicants navigate the process successfully. We’re more advanced in career progression than you are today with experience across many of the hottest industries (the whole life of EssaySnark has not been solely devoted to this MBA admissions stuff – though a good chunk of recent history has been, else how would we be any good at it?). We can advise you on what you need to do to get from A to B based on your background, interests, and priorities.

Why would you not want to take advantage of that??

And of course, the best part of this service is, despite our recent exhortations to GET BUSY and start WORKING ON YOUR APPS: With the Comprehensive Profile Review, YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO ANY WORK. All that’s required is you fill out a (fairly extensive) online form to communicate the specifics of who you are and what you’re about, in the context of this getting-in adventure.

You can get started without exerting any effort.

How’s that for a win/win? 😉

Talk to current students… just NOT about how to get in.

In the category of well-intentioned but potentially damaging:

We keep having BSers tell us what they’ve been told by the current students attending the schools they want to go to.

It’s awesome when they report to us about their experiences or what new changes are happening or some amazing popular course or professor.

It’s often cringe-inducing when they tell us what the students are claiming about admissions to their schools.

Current students just LOVE to tell you how to get in.

Problem is, mostly, they’re wrong.

Current students rarely have the perspective offered from seeing massive amounts of data on who is getting in – and not. They hear about ONE case or ONE applicant – or maybe a handful – and they make all sorts of interpretations about that.

As in, “If you’re a military candidate, you have to have more than 8 years of experience to get into a Top 10 school.” We’re paraphrasing, but that’s essentially what a BSer reported to us recently, that he gleaned from conversations with current vets at different schools.

That is untrue.

No school makes admit decisions like that.

Wait, no, we take that back. Many schools DO make admit decisions on LACK OF experience. But the implication with what was reported to us is that these military candidates believe that they need MORE experience than average to have a shot at a good school.


There’s also huge danger in isolating ONE candidate profile who, for example, didn’t make it into H/S/W. This happens on the applicant discussion boards all the time. Someone has their stats posted in their profile – 750 / 3.8 / PE or whatever. And they have the little log of all the Top 10 schools they tried for, and as decisions come out, you start to see the Rejected flag show up on the best schools.

And then you’re like, “D@mn, even a 750 + 3.8 isn’t good enough for Harvard!”

No, Brave Supplicant, no. That is not the conclusion to draw from it.

Someone with a 750 + 3.8 should be exceptionally well positioned to have a go at H/S/W” and if they play their cards right, AND IF THEY HAVE SOMETHING NOTABLE TO PRESENT ABOUT WHO THEY ARE IN THE ESSAYS then this person should have NO TROUBLE getting into at least one of those schools. Or at MINIMUM getting the interview invite.

Yes you can quote us on that. With stats like that, there’s practically NO EXCUSE to not at least make it to the interview stage at one of those schools.

Now, we’re completely going against our own advice about how a good consultant would never predict someone’s chances based on these two core stats alone. In fact we call that borderline professional malpractice.

What you will note, though, is the very big disclaimer that we’ve put on this prediction: That the person has something worthwhile to present about themselves in the app.

Of course it’s not enough to simply have a 750 + 3.8.

And of course it’s always possible to get in with a 650 + 2.8.

In ALL CASES it comes down to how you actually pitch yourself.

Which really boils down to: What have you done in your life?

The danger of listening to current students offering advice on how to get into bschool is that they have only a tiny sample size from which they’re drawing their conclusions. And current students should KNOW BETTER. They took stats in their first term!

Even for those schools that have current students help with admissions interviews, it’s rare that those students are so intimately involved with the behind-the-scenes decision-making that they can give out meaningful insights about the actual factors that their admissions people are using to issue admits by. Sure, they may hear an anecdote here or there – but anecdotes cannot be used to draw your own strategy from. You have no idea what other factors may have played a part in one individual’s acceptance or rejection.

So just like our exhortation that friends don’t let friends read their essays…. this is important to understand.

Yes you want to be reaching out to the schools and talking to students. And sure, listen to everything that they have to say.

But treat it as gospel? Like they have some insider access or privileged information that can help you get in?

We say, be careful with that.

The only way for a non admissions person to tell you what happens in admissions is to have volumes of data to analyze about what different applicants have presented at that school, and how their candidacy turned out. And the only way to extrapolate full-system trends and insights from that is to have the appropriate volumes across the ecosystem of schools.

It’s also a reason why you want an admissions consultant who deals with lots of clients every year. That’s the only way for the consultant to be able to give valid advice.

Talk with lots of people. Then talk to some more.

Then carefully filter out the information that your different sources are offering and evaluate it based on what the source actually has access to.

There are so many myths and misconceptions in this industry. You don’t want to get thrown under the bus inadvertently by a well-meaning friend.

“Will I be blacklisted if I change my mind after accepting a school’s offer?”

This is admittedly a rare situation but those are fun to talk about sometimes, too. We had a BSer who went through the whole process and got accepted at a Very. Good. School. They were stoked. They put down their deposit. They were making preliminary plans for the move. And then another opportunity came up….

While much of the blahg is available completely for free, the content here is reserved for members with full blahg access only ($9.95/month, cancel anytime). Please login to view this content or purchase a membership – or return to the home page.

($) Harvard wants to be like…

Columbia?!?? Please don’t get us wrong. We are not under the delusion that during the process of developing their app, that anyone in Harvard’s admissions office has even glanced at the website of another top business school, much less studied their essay questions. However the similarity between Harvard’s essay question this year and some long-running…

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Announcing the 2015 Rd 1 MBA Countdown!

Planning on applying to business school this year?

Don’t know where to start – or worried that you’re a procrastinator who might slough off and not get the important things done on time?

Or perhaps maybe you simply don’t know what those important things are?

EssaySnark can help!

The MBA Countdown is a guided weekly tour of the requirements and necessities for getting your MBA applications done.

And guess what?


Kickoff for the 2015 Round 1 MBA Countdown is Monday, May 25th. That’s the day that the first MBA project planning email will go out to all the Countdown peeps. (That’s Memorial Day here in the U.S., too – not that it matters, though we do count that as the unofficial start to the new admissions season!) There’s nothing magic about next Monday, except for the fact that it’s 15 weeks out from the Harvard Round 1 deadline.

You don’t have to be applying to Harvard to do the Countdown, we just gear it around them since it’s the earliest due date.

The Countdown also includes a membership to the EssaySnark blahg – which costs almost as much as we’re charging for The Countdown itself! Talk about a screaming deal!

You can read all about The Countdown here or go straight to sign-up here.

Sign up at any time, now through like July, and benefit from our guided tour of what to work on – but signing up now is obviously advantageous since then you get the whole shebang of it, every single week’s worth of to-do goodness.

In other news: We published the MIT 2015 MBA Application Strategy Guide over the weekend and the HBS Application Guide is due out any minute!