Since we’re actually more a glass-is-half-full type ourselves and prefer to focus on the positive, let’s take a quick tour today of some other top business schools who in our experience are very fair, open, and transparent with their candidates in the admissions process. Here are some of our favorites:
1. Chicago Booth. They actually tell you that they want to be transparent, and they back this up by not just doing the bare minimum info sessions and recruting events for prospective students around the globe, but by hosting chats and participating with the candidate community in lots of different ways. They really want you to understand what they’re looking for and they regularly offer relevant tips for applicants. Plus, they release more data, and sooner, on their incoming class and on graduate placement than we’ve seen at other schools. We like Chicago Booth as an applicant-friendly school.
2. Tuck (Dartmouth). They’ve got a new website that’s really easy to navigate. They have a blog that is pretty easy to overlook but which has some great info once you’ve found it. They are super friendly (maybe it’s all that fresh air, makes ’em nice up north). They are not full of hype and hyperbole. They have some idiosyncratic admissions policies that are unique to them but they offer a comprehensive application guide (PDF) with all the info you could want, explaining how it all works — and all in one place. And you don’t have to dig for it. But this is why we adore them: At Tuck, if you took the GMAT (or GRE) more than once, they will consider your highest quant score, and your highest verbal score, even from different test dates!!! Now *that* is a nice way to do things. Talk about wanting their candidates to be successful! We like Tuck, too. A lot.
3. Stanford GSB. Now, we’re not huge fans of the entire admissions department, just ‘cuz they’re certainly not huge fans of us (Stanford gets its panties in a bunch about admissions consulting. But we don’t take it personally.) However, we do appreciate all the details that the GSB adcom offers on their website, to help applicants understand how to go about things. Like their advice on how to choose recommenders (which you should heed for any school, except that part about the peer rec, since no other school wants one of those). And advice for the recommenders themselves (PDF) which you really ought to send along to your peeps. The Stanford website has more information of value to any applicant, at any school, than you can find most anywhere. (Well, except for right here on EssaySnark, right?) Anyway. Even though they don’t love us, we love the Stanford GSB for giving good advice. After all, that’s all that we try to do every day, too.
There’s other admissions committees out there at other business schools that are working hard on the behalf of the poor scared frustrated overwhelmed Brave Supplicant. We’ll revisit this topic again in the future to send more shout-outs to the ones we like.
And while you certainly shouldn’t judge the school by the way they handle their admissions — your classes are not going to be taught by the admissions director, and at many schools, none of the admissions committee even has an MBA, much less from their own school (though many certainly have advanced degrees, just usually in education or HR or something) — we feel that the experience a candidate has in the hands of the school’s admissions team does reflect significantly on the school itself.
Bottom line? Don’t get stars in your eyes just because the school is appearing on some rankings list. You are the consumer in this relationship — you will be paying them an awful lot of money for the privilege of attending their noble institution. You should do your own due diligence to make sure that the school is the kind of place you want to spend two years, and be connected with for the rest of your life.
If they have arrogant or rude admissions people or processes, well, we don’t see any excuse for that. (And even if it’s just a perception of rude/unethical, well, perception is reality, right? Any good marketer will tell you that. They should fix it.) After all, the business school is proposing to teach you business. And ethics. And all that goodie-goodie values stuff*. If they don’t have it in their most important customer-facing department, what is that saying?
*We’re absolutely not knocking the goodie-goodie values stuff. That’s some of our favorite. But if a school is professing it’s a priority to them, that they want to see the goodie-goodie values in their applicants, then they better dang well be giving it out too. Goes both ways, dontchya think?