Following our recent rant about the BSer who decided that the game is rigged, we wanted to clarify some things. Specifically, how do we decide when a BSer is arrogant?
Obviously some may lob that accusation our direction. We have strong opinions about many things and our confidence level in ourselves is high. We know that we rub some people the wrong way.
And we know that we don’t really know the people who we’re making these judgment calls about. After all, how well can you get to know a person through just email and the written word? It’s not like we’re using GMAT scores as a proxy to decide who’s cocky – far from it.
Here’s some trip-offs that put up the radar for us:
1. Worst offender: Career goals that change with every shift in the wind. If you come to us not really knowing why you want an MBA, no problem, we can deal with that. There’s a process by which you can sort through your options and figure things out. But if your career goals are changing more frequently than Taylor Swift’s boyfriends, this just irks us the wrong way. What this says to us is that you are trying to game the system – that you don’t have a good reason for why you want the MBA, that you’re just enamored of getting those three little letters behind your name and you’ll do whatever it takes to get it, that you just want the prestige and the glamour of getting into an elite school, but you don’t have honest intentions of why you need the education. It’s totally annoying. The MBA is supposed to be a means to an end; it’s not the endgame itself (which means that you don’t get to make up whatever you want as a ploy to get in).
2. Next worst: Incorporating our words verbatim into your essays. This is called plagiarism, people. When we critique someone’s draft, we might offer suggestions for where to take things, or explain why the adcom may not respond well to how you’ve phrased something. It irks us no end when the next draft comes back to us with our words exactly included. (In fact, over the years we’ve realized that it’s inappropriate for us to do too much of this “suggesting” since it means that it’s our thought process going into the essay, not the applicants. So we don’t do it anymore.) If we offer some ideas to a BSer on how to improve their pitch, we hope that at minimum they will adapt those ideas into their own language.
3. Pretty much tied with both of those: Changing the story to fit our feedback. If you send us a draft that talks about something that happened to you and you sound like a real jack-off in how you tell the story, we’ll let you know. If the next draft comes over with the same story yet you acting totally differently in how it went down, well… how does that work? Revisionist history much? Doesn’t fly with us. We’re completely unimpressed by the BSer who is willing to change the facts of the life they have lived in order to make an essay sound better. Why would you do that?
Maybe it’s unfair of us to paint these behaviors with the “arrogance” brush – that’s a strong word, and there could be lots of reasons and motivations behind someone doing these things (some possibly even innocent). Maybe a better word is INSINCERITY. These things feel incredibly smarmy. Seeing a BSer act like this will not endear that person to our hearts.
Other actions in the category of super-annoying include asking us what they should do in Situation X — and then proceeding to do the exact opposite. Our favorite is them asking “What should I do to get off the HBS waitlist???” and us saying “Nothing – and whatever you do, don’t send in anything unless they ask for it” and then two months later when they’re rejected, they tell us “Well, at least I know that I did all that I possibly could. I had 13 friends send in recommendations for me! I guess HBS just doesn’t want finance guys…” There’s many such examples, we need not bore you with the catalog.
The reason that EssaySnark started this blahg oh so many years ago was not to help more of the jerks get into bschool. The bschools are already well populated with that type. We much prefer the privilege of being able to advise the Nice Guys of the world, and we’re very grateful that so many of you have found us.