We got an excited email from a BSer recently telling us about an admit to a Very. Good. School, with lots of thanks and gratitude for our help. We always appreciate those emails of course, and we most definitely are happy to know that this BSer is headed to their MBA! The note contained this line which we thought was kinda funny:
“I’ll admit – you guys are mean, but I needed some tough love for me to understand the hard work necessary to write the essays.”
“Tough love”? Yes, we’ll accept that characterization. But “mean”? Sorry but no.
First of all, “snarky” is not the same as “mean” – at least, we try never to cross that line. And anyway, we are rarely even all that snarky in our one-on-ones with clients. We reserve the bulk of the snark for the postings here on the blahg. But “mean”? No.
- “Mean” would be correcting a grammar mistake here and there and passing the essay back.
- “Mean” would be telling you “These essays are great! You’re definitely going to make it in.”
- “Mean” would be taking your money and shining you on about your chances for success.
It is not “mean” for us to say it like it is — and believe it or not, we try to say it in as nice a way as possible. (If you’re rude to us or the team, then we don’t waste quite so much time sugarcoating our words back to you.) We know that it’s tough to get the direct feedback that what you thought was your best work is kinda crappy. It’s never a personal attack on you – that would be mean. We only critique the profile, and the presentation, not the person.
Just for the record, here’s an excerpt of one of the critiques we offered back to this BSer – this was the “meanest” one we could find from the many many reviews we did of the submitted materials:
Bottom line: While this career path maybe is in the “believable” category for you, we are not convinced that it is “achievable” — there’s just too much outside your control. This plan doesn’t show you taking control of your destiny in any way; it leaves way too much up to other factors and fate. We think you need to have a more buttoned-up approach. The adcom will want to see your aspirations, and they’ll want to see evidence that you’ve given this a lot of thought and planning and you have some contingencies mapped out. None of that is really here yet.
“Mean” is letting the adcom’s rejection communicate to you that your pitch sucks. It is not mean to tell you that it sucks when you still have a chance to fix it. Obviously that’s what we did (in nicer words than just “it sucks”!), and that’s what this BSer did.
So congratulations to this
BSer STBBS! You did a lot of hard work on your app and that’s why you’re in this great place. And if it took a little tough love to get there, so be it.
ETA 2/28/14: If you want to see “mean” then check out these responses to two different inquiries that were sent to a woman in Cleveland who runs a job bank for marketing professionals: Mean Response #1 and Mean Response #2. Full article is here.