We have a wide range of nationalities hanging out here on the EssaySnark blahg. The commonality is that you all want to get into a high-end Western bschool — if not Harvard or Stanford, then Columbia, or Ross, or UCLA — or LBS or INSEAD or one of the other great European programs. We also help out with the ISB quite a bit however they’re pretty Westernized, as Asian schools go. By contrast, we don’t help with IIM because it’s not our specialty, and there’s little demand on this side for it; there’s plenty of other local providers who can assist if that’s the school you’re going for. Same with CEIBS and the others. We’ve literally never even looked at an essay for most of those Asian schools.
What does this mean if you’re not American, or more broadly not a Westerner, and you’re seeking advice from EssaySnark?
It means you may get a crash course in American expectations. We’ve found that for some BSers, there are significant obstacles in navigating the Snark style which are largely due to culture.
BTW, most Americans are quite nice. EssaySnark tries to be nice too. We don’t always succeed. We are totally not saying that our snarkiness is cultural — you should not expect all Americans to be like us in that respect.
But yes we are snarky — oh boy can we be snarky. What triggers the Snark’s snark more than anything, we find, is the BSer who is overly passive.
Who expects to be spoon-fed.
Who comes to us with questions that seem rather obvious — specifically, ones that have already been addressed on the site.
We have a FAQ for that, you know.
There’s also an FAQ for subscribers (available in My SnarkCenter).
The product pages explain what the products do and who they’re for.
Sometimes our responses are a bit blunt. We get frustrated when we see you asking totally basic questions. We should not get frustrated — we admit this — you are only human, we should have more patience.
But the thing is, BSer, by being here at all, you’re saying you’re TOP BSCHOOL MATERIAL.
As in, an overachiever.
As in, a leader.
As in, not a follower.
As in, self sufficient.
As in, not clueless.
If you can’t follow directions – if you don’t think for yourself – if the first thing you do is pop off an email instead of trying to work out the answer on your own – you’re gonna get a chilly reception in Snarkville.
Some of you have mixed up the relationship somehow. We are a consultant. We don’t do the work of figuring out what your applications need to say. We don’t put the pieces together for you. They’re your pieces. This is YOUR life, people. How in heck should we know if you should talk about XYZ in such-and-such an essay? We tell you what good essays have in them, and what the bschools are looking for. It’s up to YOU to figure out how to make that happen for you.
We’ll certainly tell you if you’ve hit the mark — or if you haven’t. If an essay is off we will tell you why and suggest some ways to fix it. Or we’ll tell you that you should consider starting fresh. We’ll tell you if what you’ve got is salvageable, and we’ll celebrate with you when you’ve got it good. If you want someone to dictate your strategy for you, well, that’s a different consultant than us.
The other thing that irks us is when people say “Do you want me to do it that way?” or “I think you’re looking for this.”
No, Brave Supplicant. No. We are telling you what the adcoms tend to respond to.YOUR TASK IS NOT TO MAKE ESSAYSNARK HAPPY. (Lucky you! ‘Cuz that sometimes seems like an impossibility!)
You’re not writing essays to please EssaySnark (gawd no – reading essays is never something we look forward to – never ever ever – would that it were that way). You’re writing essays to present your best self to the admissions board, so that they can understand who you are and decide if you’re a good match to their program. You’re writing essays to demonstrate who you are as a leader, and as an accomplished individual in this world.
Please be that, starting now, in your interactions with us.
We give a lot o’ stuff here on the blahg, and in the essay guides, and in the App Accelerators. You are expected to leverage all the goodness we’ve already made available. It’s up to you to READ what we offer and LEARN from it and ADOPT that advice into your own strategy. Then we will REACT to what you come up with.
Some of this is cultural. Some societies train people to be passive, to wait to be asked to do something, to do what they’re told. Those societies have a lot going for them; there are definitely certain advantages to those cultures.
The United States is not like that. We’re about pull yourself up by your bootstraps and if it needs to be done, you should do it yourself . The American Dream and all that jazz.
If you’ve never lived or worked in the U.S. (or Europe), you may find yourself in trouble if and when you land at one of these bschools. We do things differently in the West. You need to learn to step up.
If the ‘Snark has offended you in email recently, we’re sorry. We don’t actually mean to be a jerk. We just lack patience (and, apparently, social skills).
You’re saying you want to play the game — well, the game is on this turf. Ya gotta get familiar with the lay of the land if you’re gonna have a chance to win.